"Little Orphan Bart"
Writer: Ian Boothby
Artists: John Costanza(p), Phyllis Novin(i), Art Villanueva(c)
Another fun-filled issue of Simpsons Comics kicks off with an Indiana Jones throwaway gag. Boothby follows through with a commentary on cigarette advertising, which astonishes by being marginally connected to the main plot device. Remember convolution is the Simpsons fan's friend.
While convolution still runs the show, Boothby surprises by upending some common formulations from the series. His use of truly obscure characters takes the biscuit. What seems like a throwaway gag suddenly becomes a running joke that provides a hearty share of the amusement.
The main plot is just as inane as every other Simpsons plot on the series or in the comic book, and Boothby deploys some of the wickedest continuity to move the story forward, for the sake of pure humor and to bring about a satisfying resolution that returns Springfield's Favorite Family back to status quo.
Costanza, Novin and Villaneuva do not falter despite the myriad characters in the script--sometimes duplicated and without a copy and paste function. The art team on the first page brings displays their skill. In the Groening style, Bart imitates indy, and the line by Novin is smooth, contoured and subtly heightened to create the illusion of depth. Villanueva shadows the characters with a lighter shade to provide a more natural look that contrasts the cartoony anatomy. The book progresses, and the colors just expand and broaden to touch every bit of the spectrum while Costanza and Novin capture the Simpsons body language with expertly timed "D'oh!"s. Their attention to guest stars enhance the comedy. The running gag involving a particularly familiar individual would not work quite so well if Costanza and Novin had not imagined how that character would look an act for real. And hey, kids! Free poster.
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