Current Reviews


Simpsons #156

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

Ty Templeton
Ty Templeton (p), Shane Glines(i), & Art Villanueva(colors)
Bongo Comics
"The Simpsons Save the World"

Take a trip to the future and a tour through the Simpsons museum. Ty Templeton posits a time when Earth has become a Utopia all because of the actions of the Springfield's favorite family. Templeton relates the big story through three shorts that run on contingency theory and display the author's extensive knowledge of Simpsons continuity.

Monkeys have always played a part in The Simpsons mythology. A Halloween episode related the terrors of the Monkey's Paw. Homer once acquired a helper monkey, which he corrupted into slobbish oblivion; monkeys attacked Flanders, requiring Reverend Lovejoy to come to his rescue; Krusty's pet, Mr. Teeny, makes frequent cameo appearances; and a stage magician performed an illusion where Marge seemed to come apart into monkeys, which prompted Homer to speak the immortal "So she was made of monkeys, eh?"

It is no accident that a monkey's skull catalyzes Homer's trip to the hospital. Templeton knows what small detail will make the story funnier. In the hospital, Dr. Hibbert comes up with a Machiavellian scheme that satirizs (of all things) the patenting of genes. The plot literally sets Homer into motion. The trip takes him to a familiar landmark but, in the end, it's the paperwork that gets you.

Templeton collaborates with Shane Glines and Art Villanueva. The gentlemen have little difficulty in capturing the look and feel of the series. They actualize Groening's characters with scary ease.

In addition to being knocked out by the rainbow color palette, I am also in awe of way the artists replicate the illusion of animation. The final cut in the story is so brilliantly executed that, for a moment, I thought I was watching a Simpsons episode rather than reading a comic book based on the show.

In the second story, Bart reacquaints himself with an old, ancient menace. By exploiting a loophole in the promise he made to his mother, he finds himself in possession of a VIP's cellphone. Templeton makes use of Bart's cunning in this story, and he takes Bart's phone-in pranks to a higher level of crudeness and cleverness. Marge saves the day in this one, and although the story is hilarious in it's own right, it's Marge's final warning to Milhouse, and the hapless flunky’s fate, that makes the reader bust a gut.

The third story teams Lisa with her father and pits them both against the passive evil of Mr. Burns. Homer has a surprising moment of clarity in this tale, but it is not out of character.

Homer's not actually stupid. There's a crayon lodged in his brain. My feeling is that Homer's lucid instances are a result of the crayon shifting position.

In any case, Templeton foreshadows the way in which Homer will actually be a responsible parent. It is very easy to miss because Templeton cunningly slips the clue into Homer's every day babbling. The author follows the rather brave and responsible action from Homer with a superb klutztravaganza. In terms of character, I found it rather sweet that Homer does not exhibit any anger over Lisa's actions. He just accepts them and counters them.

The book ends with the other shoe dropping. Old friends pop in on the world that The Simpsons have created. The visitation serves as the perfect punchline to a series of carefully contrived jokes.

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