Current Reviews


Simpsons Comics #74

Posted: Monday, September 30, 2002
By: Ray Tate

"Laughter is the Worst Medicine"

Writer: Ian Boothby
Artists: John Costanza(p), Steve Steere Jr.(i), Art Villanueva(c)

Another Ian Boothby script means another gut-busting issue of Simpsons Comics. I can't decide which is funnier: Krusty suddenly becoming a doctor or the way Dr. Hibbert treats Dr. Nick as the quack he is.

The ludicrous story begins with a titillating eating contest. Homer has indulged before, but Mr. Boothby transfuses so many jokes amid the gluttony that you only see the history in hindsight.

Mr. Boothby follows the Simpsons style by taking a typical sitcom gag and turning it one-eighty. We all for instance know the aphrodisiac legends regarding oysters. I knew a young woman who became amorous after eating oranges: go figure, but oysters have become the stereotype. You think you're getting a sex joke. The punchline is quite a surprise and refreshingly surreal.

As the story progresses, Maude Flanders returns in a superb throwaway joke, and even Marge is funny in the story. She treats the kids like she would an escaped monkey "Shoo! Shoo!," and the writer's characterization validates her actions. They're funny to an outsider.
To Marge her behavior is generated by the love for her husband.

Mr. Boothby for this issue in fact tops the show by presenting Krusty as not surly but genuinely funny. He's jovial in his use of comic shtick to heal the sick. Part of the credit must go to the art team. They draw the only clown in comics that's not designed to frighten little kids or creep out adults.

Gail Simone backs up Mr. Boothby's story with a smart satire on reality television and the side effects of modern medicine, exemplified by drug advertisements. The artwork by Joey Nilges, James Huang and colorist Villanueva in the short keeps Dr. Hibbert laughing and the reader in stitches especially when reality meets fiction.

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