Thursday, October 13, 2005

Unfortunately, a Bland Treat

Since this is October, Halloween is always a good subject to talk about. and since I was talking about comic books then, here's a comic with a Halloween theme.

Unfortunately these days, finding a truly funny comic book is a difficult task. The rare exception to this though are Bongo Comics. For over a decade, Bongo Comics has been the home for the "Groening Universe" (Simpsons Comics Presents Bart Simpson
,Radioactive Man
and of course, the original Simpsons

These titles are able to keep the humor of the original animated series and transfer it to the comic page. There are often times when I think I'm remembering a scene from a Simpsons episode, when in reality it's from the comic.

Each year at Halloween, much like the TV show, Bongo Comics release their own Treehouse of Horror. I look forward to these since they're able to recruit some very talented comic artists and writers. To prove this point, here are some of this years' contributors:
John Severin
, Mark Schultz
, Al Williamson
, Marv Wolfman
, Len Wein
, Gene Colan
and Len Wein
. Not a bad lineup, eh? This should be damn good, right? Well if you read the title at the beginning of this blog....

The book is split in two, featuring two covers. (one side of the book is rightside up while the other is upside down). At the top is one cover and below is the other:

In the side of the book with the Homer & Marge cover there's one long story called Two Tickets to HECK. The emphasis on EC of course refers to the classic company of horror, gore and war comics from the 1950's. The Simpsons are at a Halloween themed park. The family split up and Bart & Lisa find themselves entering mystery doors that enable them to travel through time. Thanks to the talents of artists Severin & Schulz you're supposed to get the feeling of the EC books, but it really doesn't work for me. What works even less is the tepid stories and very lame jokes. I expect more from the THOT issues, hopefully the "flipside" will save it.

Well, the first story, The Sub-Basement of Dracula has a neat concept. It reunites the creative team from Marvel's underrated 1970's Tomb of Dracula series, Wolfman & Colan, as they transform The Simpsons cast into TOD's vampire hunters.
The story has some funny lines (though is a bit over written) I did think it was fun seeing Colan's unique penciling depicting The Simpsons.

The highlight of the issue though (for me anyway) was Squish Thing. It's a clever idea/story that actually works. The original creators of DC's Swamp Thing, Wein & Wrightson retell the classic muck monster's origin with Homer Marge & Moe filling in for the original cast. Wein has some funny lines and the origin involving a swimming pool and a lime squishee is very good. But what really makes this a standout are the pencils & inks by Wrightson.

Bernie's the only one of the talented pencilers in this mag, that's able to depict the look of the Simpson characters and their environment in his style that doesn't look forced or jarring.

I expect better from Bongo's Treehouse of Horror issues and for half a book it's probably not worth the $4.99.

So if you're in a Comic Shop sneak a peak at the funny half and if you laugh and feel guilty that you weren't going to buy it but was entertained, then buy it! (or you could just avoid the whole soul searching and just watch the Treehouse of Horror episode this November 6th).

Wait a minute a Halloween episode on November 6th??? What the hell???..........

At least the comic came out in time for the Holiday.

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