“X-Mas Marks the Spot”
The latest issue of Simpsons Comics begins with something I think we can all sympathize with–Homer’s catatonic reaction to a flood of Christmas trappings. This feeling, however, mutates as the spirit of the green–moolah, that is–seduces Homer J.
Mike W. Barr is known for numerous things, but they all tend to involve the fine art of detection–Detective Comics, Batman & the Outsiders, Maze Agency. This issue of Simpsons Comics is no different.
Barr concocts a fair play mystery within the seed of Simpsons’ zaniness. While Homer begins to see the lucrative lights, thugs take notice and try to drum him out of business. This leads Homer to hire his own muscle, which only adds to the absurdity.
Rapid fire gags, sharp characterization such as Lisa’s disdain for her father’s commercialization of the holiday mix with Springfield corruption and Homer’s surprising canniness. I suppose the crayon lodged against his brain moved.
John Costanza and Phyllis Novin make this Yule-tide yarn spectacular. The adventure involves a multitude of cast members. Costanza keeps them sight gag funny and distinct. Each of the joke players exhibit unique visual characterization. For instance, observe Apu’s desperation, Groundskeeper Willie’s cantankerousness and Bart’s sly looks as enhanced by Novin’s precision inking. Costanza and Novin also create a winter wonderland backdrop and Villanueva shakes down the rainbow for its colors, vibrant and varied in every scene. Simpsons Comics is the perfect stocking stuffer especially for those not that crazy about the impending holiday.