Monday, October 10, 2016



[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITERS: Tom Gammill & Henry Gammill; Brian Houlihan; Mary Trainor; Max Davison; Sergio Aragones; and others
PENCILS: Mike Kazaleh; John Delaney; James Lloyd; Tone Rodriguez; Kassandra Heller; Sergio Aragones; and others
INKS: Andrew Pepoy; Mike Kazaleh; Dan Davis; Sergio Aragones; and others
COLORS: Art Villanueva; Nathan Hamill; Kassandra Heller; and others
LETTERS: Karen Bates
COVER: Matt Groening
ISBN: 978-0-06-242326-9; paperback (July 5, 2016)
176pp, Color, $17.99 U.S., $21.99 CAN

“The Simpsons” is an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company.  “The Simpsons” began in 1987 as a series of animated shorts that were part of the comedy variety television program, “The Tracey Ullman Show.”  The shorts were eventually developed into a half-hour animated TV series and began being broadcast on Fox in December of the 1989-90 television season.  “The Simpsons” continues to this day, and Fox has ordered new episodes into 2018.

“The Simpsons” present a satirical depiction of a working class family which consists of Homer Simpson (the father), Marge Simpson (the mother), Bart (the oldest child and only son), Lisa (the precocious and brilliant elder daughter), and Maggie (a baby girl).  “The Simpsons” also parodies American culture, pop culture, society, politics, media, etc. via the denizens of The Simpsons home town, Springfield.

In 1993, Matt Groening, Bill Morrison, and Steve and Cindy Vance founded Bongo Comics Group (or simply Bongo Comics).  Over the course of more than two decades, Bongo Comics has published numerous comic book series and single-issue publications based on “The Simpsons.”  The comic books have starred and featured all the characters that are part of this franchise, from the Simpsons clan to the various supporting characters, including Ralph Wiggum and his father, Chief Wiggum; Itchy & Scratchy; Krusty the Clown, Duffman, McBain, and Mr. Burns and Smithers, to name a few.

Since 2013, Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins, has been publishing Simpsons Comics Colossal Compendium.  This is a paperback graphic novel (or trade paperback) series which reprints select comic book stories starring characters from “The Simpsons” that were originally published by Bongo Comics.  Harper Design recently published Simpsons Comics Colossal Compendium Volume 4 (July 2016).

It has been at least a decade since I last read a Simpsons comic book (although I have read one since I finished this book).  I always enjoyed them, so I don't know why I stopped.  Bongo Comics consistently delivers high-quality comic books that capture the spirit of “The Simpsons” television series.  I was intrigued when Harper Design sent me a copy of Simpsons Comics Colossal Compendium Volume 4.

Right from the start, Simpsons Comics Colossal Compendium Volume 4 delivers a bang with the story “Donut Disturb,” which follows Bart and Lisa's battle to win the “Donut Kid of the Year” contest.  This contest is put on by “Lard Lad,” the immensely popular donut chain, and this contest has plenty of wacky contestants.  However, the true fun and the best satirical moments come after the winner claims the crown, which hangs heavy on the head.

Mike Kazaleh, one of my all-time favorite cartoonists, draws the Chuck Jones-inspired “The Man of the House.”  The story makes me think that the true comedic potential of Ralph Wiggum really has not been tapped.  Also, “Sun Burns” shows Mr. Burns in all his grubby Rupert Murdoch-like glory, but the story also showcases the plucky side of the brainy Lisa Simpson.

Writer Sherri L. Smith and artist Kassandra Heller present a wonderful Lisa Simpson tale, entitled “Lisa's Lending Library.”  Heller's pastel like illustrations give this story a fairy tale-like aura.  MAD Magazine legend and Groo the Wanderer creator, Sergio Aragones, offers the delightful two-page “Maggie's Crib,” which shows the toddler's mischievous side.  The Judge Dredd parody, “Judge Redneck,” is an unexpected and clever treat.

You don't have to be a fan of “The Simpsons” to like Simpsons Comics Colossal Compendium Volume 4, but if you like good humor comics, you need an occasional jolt of Simpsons comic books in your reading life.  The creators and editors behind Bongo Comics' Simpsons comics are as good at humorous parody and satire as any other humor comics creator – and better in most cases.  So that is what the Simpsons Comics Colossal Compendium series is here to do – fill your comedy and humor comics needs.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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