Current Reviews


Simpsons Comics #98

Posted: Saturday, October 2, 2004
By: Ray Tate

"Return of Xttapalatakettle"

Writer/Artist: Ty Templeton; Bob Smith(i), Art Villanueva(c)
Publisher: Bongo

The Olmec Head was a stymieing gift from Mr. Burns to an ungrateful Nuclear Family in an early season of The Simpsons. Since that episode, Simpsons fans have considered it one of the few symbols of Simpsons continuity. Ty Templeton one of the former writers and artists for the best Batman series ever published imagines a very bizarre story surrounding the origins of the head.

Mr. Templeton takes a chapter from the Von Daniken playbook of untestable observations and runs with it to present yet another potential future where Bart will turn out to be okay--presumably, in a much more introspective and ultimately wizened state. Along the way, he manages to bring in to the book another bout of Bart versus Lisa, and he involves Mr. Burns quite brilliantly.

He characterizes the Olmec as likable and unlike the cliche natives and/or primitives seen in so many bad movies. Templeton patterns the Olmec in the same manner as Richard E. Grant portrayed Redfern in Warlock. Redfern did not believe little people trapped in a radio were making noise; likewise The Olmec can tell the difference between "fire vines" and "extension cords."

Mr. Templeton in a roundabout way centers the story on the antics of Homer J. Once again, Homer's unusual mindset ultimately saves the world in a stunningly laughable way, and you just don't see it coming.

Templeton with inker Bob Smith and the always reliable Villanueva brings a very smart style to a sincere Matt Groening imitation, and he wrings much subtlety in the cartoony, surreal designs. Examples can be seen in The Olmec's body language and the way the real god looks higher budget than Bart's fakery.

The superior issue of Simpsons Comics starts out weird, stays weird and finishes weird. For what more can you ask?

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