Current Reviews


Simpsons Comics #153

Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2009
By: Ray Tate

James Bates; Chuck Dixon
John Costanza(p), Phyllis Novin(i), Art Villanueva(c)
The art in Simpsons Comics is fantastic as usual. In "On the Bubble" Costanza, Novin and Villanueva draw in all the principle student body at Springfield Elementary. They run Grampa Simpson through a series of silly gymnastics throughout the span of panels. The orchestration of design, cartoon anatomy, scale and color consistently creates the illusion of movement no matter who is depicted. In addition, the first story features some new characters nevertheless captured in the Groening style and rendered individually distinctive.

In "Pieces of Homer," Costanza and Novin play with the angles to stage a faux drama that's revealed as something far more mundane, although not to the dueling parties. The story soon expands over the Springfield community and allows the artists to visually characterize the second and third tier cast members. This all somehow leads to Homer and Marge donning hilarious disguises and the depiction of Homer in various poses familiar to any student of fine art. One of these paintings packs in more color than half the comic books on the rack. It's vividness within the vibrancy of Villanueva's variety.

Dixon's tale is brilliant. It's a classic example of snowballing storylines from the show. He also takes the rare opportunity to make Homer innocent and passive while Marge is convincingly active and cannier. The culprit behind the calamity makes perfect sense and connects with Simpsons continuity. Marge's reaction which turns the dial back to the status quo gibes with her characterization in the story, the series and the comics. In short, Dixon's story is the perfect mimicry of a Simpsons episode.

James Bates' story lacks the punch and originality of Dixon's tale. Bates merely retreads the Simpsons episode in which Homer's and Bart's shenanigans release grease snowflakes upon a school dance. Bates' choice of medium for duplication is dubious at best, but there are some nice bits between Milhouse and Bart that salvage the story from complete deja vu.

Buy this issue of The Simpsons for Chuck Dixon's second tale and the extraordinary artwork in both stories.

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