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Bart Simpson Comics #41

Posted: Saturday, April 26, 2008
By: Ray Tate

Chuck Dixon, Mary Trainor
Delaney, Davis (i), Villanueva (c); Asprec, Steere, Jr. (i), Hamill (c)
Bongo Comics
In the first tale, Bart and Milhouse go to their local Krustyburger to obtain a Krusty Meal that includes a free comic. They're met by the Comic Book Guy and learn that free means crap.

Chuck Dixon brilliantly characterizes Bart and Milhouse. Bart's retort, for instance, against the Comic Book Guy really sounds like one that could have been delivered by a ten-year old.

The scene at Krustyburger segues into the comic book. The wrap-around sequence is funny. The comic book is painful, but it's supposed to be. There's no way a comic book starring personified food items such as The All-American Fry and the Australian Onion Jack can possibly be good. The trick is that Dixon injects that Simpsons' style of cynical charm to the book within a book. So while you're wincing, you're laughing at the pain.

John Delaney, Dan Davis and Art Villanueva keep everything on Simpsons model whether they're detailing a skateboarding burger or a portly comic book purveyor. Delaney's expressions for the fricasseed mythical employees of Krustyburger make you grin. Davis' inking is often dramatic for no good reason. Thus, the story becomes funnier, and Villanueva seems to be backing off a bit of his usual rainbow hues until Stan Lee drops by for a hilarious cameo.

The second story by Mary Trainor starts out rather ordinary but evolves into a very strong short. Bart appears to be mishearing things said by Mrs. Krabappel. Concerned, she calls Marge and suggests she take Bart to Doctor Hibbert.

Trainor shows that Mrs. Krabappel genuinely cares about Bart's well-being, and this gibes neatly with several episodes of the show. Mrs. Krabappel while Bart's traditional enemy is still a human being as well as his teacher, who feels responsible for her students.

The exact nature of Bart's problem is surreal, and surreal is always a bonus in any Simpsons vehicle. It's at this point I think that artist Marcos Asprec excels. He exhibits a terrific use of space that benefits the comedy between Hibbert and Bart. Steere's inks accent depth and scale, and Hamill's color palette keeps the focus on the action while offering a soothing contrast. Later in the book, the shades grow darker and more uncomfortable to instill empathy with Bart's mood.

Tony Digerolamo, Jason Ho and Hamill round off the book with a webisode of Angry Dad. Digerolamo thinks of a slapstick skit that could have been conceived by a ten-year-old but still appeal to adults; the mustache gag is fairly sophisticated, but Bart is actually pretty sharp, and it's within his purview. Ho contributes two types of styles successfully. He illustrates the typical Simpson look, and the more primitive art that attributes the Angry Dad episodes from Bart's imagination.



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