Current Reviews


Bart Simpson Comics #61

Posted: Thursday, August 4, 2011
By: Ray Tate

Scott Shaw
Scott Shaw, Mike DeCarlo (i), Nathan Hamill (c)
The first story is lame. It's essentially Gamera vs Legion with none of the drama. In the Gamera film, the Guardian of the Universe faces off against a monstrous ecosystem trying to make earth its own. Giant-sized bugs prove hazardous to Gamera's health. In Bart Simpson Comics #61, Bart entertains Ralph with a story about a boy who becomes a mad scientist and creates a patchwork monster made of reanimated pets that include a monkey and a turtle. His sister tries to stop him with giant ants.

The artwork by Scott Shaw, Mike DeCarlo and Nathan Hamill is outstanding. They tap into Z-Grade Movie milieu, splash on the over the top lighting effects and capture the insane, depraved nature of the fiasco. The art team contrast this look with a more benign appearance for the section in which Bart's sister combats the menace, but since its Bart's story, the battle ends in fiery destruction and a triumph of the dark shades. That said, the story commits the ultimate crime. It's not funny.

Carol Lay's story however is thoughtful and funny. Lisa reaches an ethical impasse. She realizes that her vegetarian lifestyle results in the death of plants. She also comes to the erroneous conclusion, albeit through sound reasoning given her age, that plants are an intelligent life form.

Lay very cunningly makes Lisa a harbinger of doom and hilarity. Homer, always confident in his daughter's intellect, listens to the little firebrand. Lay brings in excellent research to strengthen Lisa's case, and it results in Homer swearing off doughnuts and beer, in fact, all food. Homer of course doesn't have the respect for life that Lisa does. Lisa's argument simply allows Homer to arrive at an epiphany. If plants evolved, they could mount a revolt.

Homer isn't truly stupid. As the series established, he has a Crayon lodged in his brain. However, even in his deprived state, he still accepts evolution, and that gives him an edge over more than half the Republican party. He's also not so far off. If plants evolved to emit another gas instead of oxygen, we might find the age of humankind over.

While Homer and Lisa suffer from vivid, hunger-induced nightmares, Bart takes advantage of the situation and decks out some remote controlled toys to wreak vegetative havoc on his sis and father, but even Bart comes to the conclusion that enough is enough and his family must eat. Bart loves his sister. So, he finds a way to break through the barrier she has erected.

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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