Grim_Noir checks out DEM BONGOs! (mini-reviews)

BONGO logo

Poor L’il Bongo Comics Group. They are the Booster Gold of the comics publishing world; percieved by the general public as a quick corporate cash-in/tie-in to Matt Groening’s TV series, but secretly some of the best storytelling that no one has ever heard of…

  • Every year, they put out a quality Treehouse Of Horror issue, full of creepy fun and indie-cred surprises guaranteed to get you in the Halloween spirit. This year’s guest creators included The Go-Gos perennial pixie, Jane Wiedlin.
  • The Simpsons/Futurama crossover was a clever romp, which still managed to maintain the conceit that each show is fictional in the other’s universe
  • The five-part Death of Comic Book Guy storyline with their brilliant goof covers of classic comic book moments.

On top of which, Bongo has the best shadowing, foreshadowing and page layouts in the industry, hands down. No one’s narrative flows as smoothly as the Bongo crew’s. Even camera angle selection is lovingly doted on by this dedicated band of professionals.

Every Bongo Comics event leaves me smiling and wondering, “What can they do next?” Well, I didn’t have long to wonder because their “next” is HERE: Two stand-alone issues hit the shelves in the end of December, deserving the attention respected to any “event” book:

Simpsons Comics #185

Simpsons Comics #185 Cover

Title: Simpsons Comics #185

Writers: Patric M. Verrone, Evan Dorkin and Ian Boothby

Cover Art: Sergio Aragones

Artists: Hilary Barta, Evan Dorkin, James Lloyd and Andrew Pepoy

Colorists: Art Villanueva and Sarah Dyer

Letterer: Karen Bates

Reviewed by Grim_Noir

“You can’t judge a book by its cover,” is an old adage, but in the case of Simpsons Comics #185, it’s absolutely true: Creative Director Bill Morrison gave Bongo’s resident MAD man, Sergio Aragones, carte blanche to draw the craziest picture of Simpsonian antics that Sergio could come up with. Then, Bill challenged three of Bongo’s creative teams to each pen eight page stories based solely on Sergio’s cover artwork. The results are mixed, but oh-so-refreshing compared to the gritty and over-plotted monstrosities the “big two” are pumping out these days.

The first story in the trio, “The Big Finish” is definitely the best of the lot. Patric M. Verrone and Hilary Barta manage some fun twists within their eight-page cage that rewards the sharp-eyed. Sadly, the often off-kilter Evan Dorkin plays it way too safe in “The Play’s The Sting” and ends up feeling┬álike something we might have seen last season on the TV show. But the book finishes strong with “The Nut Cracker” as Ian Boothby comes up with the most ridiculous sitcom premise EVER, then methodically plays it as straight as possible until all you can do is giggle (except at the last pun; that’s truly a Police-Squad-deliberately-terrible-ending).

Simpsons Super Spectacular #14

Simpsons Super Spectacular #14 Cover

Title: Simpsons Super Spectacular #14

Writer: Batton Lash and Sergio Aragones

Art: Bill Galvan, Mike DeCarlo and Sergio Aragones

Colorist: Nathan Hamill

Letterer: Karen Bates

Reviewed by Grim_Noir

If you’re anything like me, you spent the months leading up to the opening of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark cringing in horror at the backstage mess and safety violations portrayed in the media.

Batton Lash, Bill Galvan and Mike DeCarlo give us fanboys (and fangirls) our revenge when Radioactive Man’s alter ego, Claude Kane III invests in “Radioactive Man: Turn Up The Silence.” This spoofy roman a clef storyline would be very much at home in MAD magazine. Everyone gets raked over the coals mercilessly: Money-grubbing producers, uncaring choreographers, egotistical pop superstars, agenda-wielding media types, and other assorted social-climbing sycophants.

The only thing that could have made this issue any better would have been if the TV show’s musical director could have written a score for this book, a la their Planet of the Apes musical…

Bottom line: If you have six bucks searing a hole in your jeans, don’t buy a second printing of some D.C. or Marvel event tie-in, BUY THESE BONGO BOOKS! You have all year ahead of you to wallow in graphic novel angst, but a few fleeting moments of merriment are worth their weight in “booster” gold.

* GRIM_NOIR is: A) Mad, B) Bad, C) Dangerous to Know, D) Now with 50% More Follow @Grim_Noir on Twitter

 

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