“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 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, and the series continues to this day.
“The Simpsons” presented a satirical depiction of a working class family which consisted 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, 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 everyone from the Simpsons clan to the various supporting characters such as Itchy & Scratchy, Krusty the Clown, and Mr. Burns, 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 series which reprints select comics stories that star characters from “The Simpsons” and that were published by Bongo Comics. Harper Design recently published Simpsons Comics Colossal Compendium Volume 4 (July 2016).
THE LOWDOWN: It has been at least a decade since I last read a Simpsons comic 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 a few months ago. [I just recently got around to reading it.]
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.” 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 Wiggums 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.
You don't have to be a fan of “The Simpsons” to like Simpsons Comics Colossal Compendium Volume 4. If you like good humor comics, you need an occasional jolt of Simpsons comic books in your reading life. That is what the Simpsons Comics Colossal Compendium series is here to do.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans of “The Simpsons” are not really fans of “The Simpsons” unless they have Simpsons Comics Colossal Compendium Volume 4 on their shelves.