Saturday, June 09, 2012

Simpsons Summer Shindig #6 (2012) – A Review

Happy Summer Everyone!  Time of leisure and hiatus – oops – I mean leisure and relaxation.  Actually, those are both synonyms, so let’s put it more simply:  TIME OFF!!!  (“[Time] off to the great white north, [Time] off it’s a beauty way to start…”)  You know what’s funny about summer? I’m not sure when it actually begins.  Oh sure, you have that whole solstice thingamajig, but you also have Memorial Day weekend and the annual opening of the neighborhood pool.  Then there is the summer movie season, which really starts the day before Free Comic Book Day (and we all know what film kicked it off  [and it is still kicking] this year and I’m not going to mention it today – five weeks in a row is enough).  I guess when it comes right down to it, especially if you have children; the start of summer coincides with the end of school.  And miraculously due to no snow days (because Jim flew south for the rest of his life), my kids just got out yesterday, which is WAY earlier than they’ve ever been out before.  So, to celebrate this wonderful event at least until everyone starts to get on each other’s nerves (I predict by Monday), I’m going to review the latest Simpsons Summer Shindig special by Bongo Comics that came out the Wednesday before last.  (C’mon, it hasn’t been that long since I reviewed something; it just seems that way.)

Now, I did not ask for this book to be placed in my box.  However, I understand how it got there.  I signed up (after dropping several titles) the week prior for the Simpsons One-Shot Wonders series, which has already featured Martin and Millhouse (and will next spotlight Little Homer).  So, when what appeared to be a Simpsons Comic one-shot showed up, it naturally went in my box.  Forget the fact that it is issue number six!  With the exception of the aforementioned O-S W’s, I always get the Simpsons Super Spectacular comics for one reason only: Radioactive Man!  I love RM and besides maybe one backup story in a Simpson’s Comic, I’ve got every single comic featuring the bolt-headed hero, including the ultra-rare 7-11 (#711) issue.  When I perused the Shindig, I was pleased to discover a brand new RM story!  So, it was serendipitous that I did not miss the latest installment of one of my favorite characters.  I won’t bore you with the history of Radioactive Man in comics, but suffice to say they’d all make a fine HC collection one day – really entertaining stuff.

This 48-page special consisted of three 10-page stories and one 15-page story, the latter being the RM one – All for only $4.99. (Boy, that’s a lot of numbers in a single sentence.) Okay, five bucks for a comic is pretty steep, but when you have this many pages and it’s actually GOOD, plus only coming out annually, that’s not a bad deal. (See you can publish sporadically and still maintain an audience.)  Bongo also uses a different paper stock that’s actually pretty hefty, you could probably drive over it and not bend it too badly.  Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but compared to what the Big Two use, I like it much better.  If you’ve been counting then you know we only have 45 pages so far, but once you throw in the cover, the single House Ad (for Simpsons Super Spectacular #15 on sale later this month), and the solitary “real” ad on the back cover, you get to the proper page count.

I’m an old time Simpsons TV fan, but haven’t seen it in recent years.  It’s not something I really want my children to watch, particularly because of the way the kids interact with their parents, but as an adult I find it funny without it (usually) being too offensive.  Compared with the single episode of Family Guy that I had the misfortune of catching one day, it’s pretty tame and even though dysfunctional, it’s still more family oriented than not.  The comic series is even more kid-friendly (as it should be), so it’s a great way to continue my exposure to the characters.  Still, I usually have to answer bewildering questions on why I can read a Simpsons Comic, but not allow them to watch the show.  I don’t know why I felt compelled to offer that little tidbit – a confession/justification of sorts, perhaps?

Anyway, here’s a quick lowdown on the four stories:

Tattoo You

Homer wants to get a manly tattoo, but thinking that he needs to sway Marge first, he claims only to want her name over his heart -- an initial “baby step” to flaming dagger and snake-filled glory.  Unfortunately, he didn’t bargain for the 50 to 3,000 stabs per minute and the possible diseases.  So, it’s off to the family doctor to see if he can take the stress.  “If my heart is good, I have to get the tattoo.  If my heart is bad…This is a lose-lose situation!”  He ends up asking Lisa to help him out of this pickle.

Anchor Blues

Kent Brockman dressed as Superman, having just completed hosting the annual Channel 6 All-Stars Halloween Super Variety Showcase, is robbed of his payment (gold ingots) in parody-ical Amazing Fantasy #15 fashion by Snake.  Snake also steals his car and his Southwest frequent flyer miles. “But those miles aren’t transferable!” “Then I’ll trade them in for a gift certificate to Appleby’s.” “Noooooo!”  Once again, it’s Lisa to the rescue with her Newsgirl Legion to spur the weathergirl lusty anchorman to remember his investigative reporter roots and catch the thief, as well as uncover an even broader crime spree.

The Radioactive Manqués!

The bumbling irradiated crusader is upstaged by four copy-cat fans that are actually more effective at catching criminals than he is. Some fans want to start a club or build a website…But my fans want to be me!”  That is until they encounter their own copy-cat super-villain team: Dr. Crab’s Crew!  Hey!  Th-that wasn’t nice!” “No spit, chubby…Why would you think fans of a super-villain…would be nice?!”  After getting over his jealousy at their success, RM tries to encourage them to continue the good fight with unexpected results.

Locked In A Brewery

Homer and Barney take it upon themselves to add some extra features to the “official” Duff Brewery tour and end up there afterhours, when they stumble (literally) out of a top-secret brewing room. “Wow! That was amazing! It was like we were breathing beer!” “I never want to breathe any normal air ever again!”  They’re having the time of their lives in the plant when they stumble (again) on a mafia plot to steal the secret formula of New Duff.  “Oh no!...The company could go out of business!”  So, the inebriated and intrepid duo calls upon their hero, Duffman, to save the day.
All of the stories were great and filled with your typical Simpsons wry humor and puns.  Honestly, the stories were so dense that it seemed like the book was more than 48 pages.  I LOVED IT!!!  So, celebrate the start of summer yourselves and pick up a copy.

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