Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The sensationalism of this, at least for a certain audience that I'm included in, is to the max. An official Simpsons comicbook, endorsed by Matt Groening himself, with stories and art by folks from Paper Rad, C.F. aka noise artist Kites, and old-school mindbending indie comic artist Tim Hensley? It didn't even matter if the content was quality. This is historical. Monumental for all us punk-nerds. So the question is then, is it more than an artifact?
Tim Hensley opens this collection with a post-modern (in the very literal, self-reflective sense of the term) take on the ever-repeating open title sequence of the Simpsons cartoons. It is great to feel Hensley's classic 50's-tarded humor applied to the Simpsons, but it is hard to not wish for more. Somehow it feel more like an homage or even critique of the Simpsons than fully committed to being an official Simpsons story. Then again, that the insane and impossible line being walked here. Some complete fucked artists/writers have been commissioned. We want to see them break the mold right? But somehow I also want these to be more proper than a fan-fic. It is unfair to imply that Hensley is just taking the opportunity to smash the mold and laugh at the pieces. Far from it. But with only 1 page to work with, he isn't quite able to reinvent the Simpsons entirely. Again, take a huge grain of salt with what I am saying, because this is MY fantasy, not some M.O. printed in the beginning of the comic.
Subsequent stories, of greater length, have varying success as far as satisfying this desire of mine. The two that make me the most happy are "The Call of Vegulu" which feels just like a Simpsons story, but presents all the characters in an alternate/bizarro world sort of way. What alternate world? The alternate world of bike-punks, vegans, and DIY culture. But my favorite is "Boo-tleg" by Ben Jones of Paper Rad fame. It, of course, looks just like Paper Rad art, with the whole MS Paint style done masterfully. The story is more edgy than your usual Simpsons story. Sometimes this edginess resonates in just a more Family-guy crass sort of way, but at its best, it touches on issues of racism and capitalism in very contemporary ways that are far too forward thinking for television. All the while, with the characters being very, um, in character. Bootleg-Krusty saying "Excuse me, the factory didn't make my soul right," shivers me at the core. Amazing.
The issue is closed with C.F. then actualy smashing the mold. Shitting on the remains, and putting a bloody middle finger in the air. Definitly a memorable and appropriate way to end this insane comic and pop-culture event, although it does make me sad that such a good-bye seems to admit that this probably will never happen again. Oh well, fight the power.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the heads up- made a special trip out to the comic store (it's been ages!) just for some Springfield's Ergot. Funny- I've actually been a fan of Simpsons Comics in the past- most of the stories rival and often leave in the dust the best episodes of the past ten seasons or so. An interesting collision of two very disparate strands of the sequential art form at it's very finest (whatever that means).