By Tom Dougherty, Rex Lindsey, Dan Davis, and Art Villanueva
Bongo comics are just too good. Every comic they put out is oozing with love and devotion to the source material from which they’re derived. Simpsons Comics #209 is no exception, delivering a reading experience as good, if not better than an actual episode of the show. Even for fans unacquainted with current episodes Bongo’s Simpson Comics is always welcoming to new readers, and laden with in-jokes for seasoned veterans.
In this month’s installment, Bart wrecks the Springfield bridge, and Grandpa Simpson becomes the elementary school’s teacher. As a typical classic Simpsons episode would unfold, plot and subplot divide and merge, and resolve to hilarious ends. All the usual suspects are present, appearing with perfect comedic timing to deliver each of the issues multitude of punch lines.
Easily the best aspect of this issue is its ability to tie serious, real world political issues into the story, mainly in ways which would seem innocuous to a younger reader. Funding for a major public works project leads to a massive monetary cutback in Springfield’s education sector; with no money to pay for teachers the school pulls in regular citizens, regardless of qualification; due to Grandpa Simpson’s unique ability to spin the truth he’s recruited to run for governor; feeling the power of political influence Homer becomes a lobbyist.
All of the issues listed above are huge problems in the political world, many of which mirror actual events across the country. Taking the time to bring provocative political issues to the attention of both young and adult readers shows how creators at Bongo are willing to play with an established formula to include a larger message. The Simpsons already has a considerably large built in audience, so including thought provoking messages, and even the potential to start dialogues between groups in its readership, is encouraging on so many different levels.
It may have been said before, but it’s going to be said again: Bongo comics, and in this case Simpsons Comics delivers one of the biggest bangs for your buck the comic rack can offer. Combining the antics of one of television’s most beloved cast of characters with prominent issues of society is a fantastic way to keep a comic fresh and interesting. The love and devotion shown to telling a compelling and funny comedy story is only enriched by Simpsons Comic’s subtle ulterior motives.