Simpsons Comics #184

A comic review article by: Ray Tate

Lisa attempts to get into the Karma-Con, a gathering of followers from different faiths that includes karma amidst the teachings. Meanwhile, Homer accepts an inadvertent balloon race challenge from Flanders.


This outrageous couplet of A and B stories are laugh-out-loud funny, in places quotable and completely unpredictable.

Quotable Homer

All three assets describe some of the finest absurd Simpsons episodes, and given Phil Ortiz's, Mike DeCarlo's and Art Villanueva's artwork, the entwined visual narratives would work beautifully on the television show. The panels flawlessly creates the illusion of animation. The colors mimic the candy coats of Springfield. The illustration acts like a detailed, finished storyboard.

What's more. Writer Ian Boothby solves every problem presented in the story through an elegant, inventive solution intrinsic to the continuity, both internal and overall. For example, where can Homer find a hot air balloon? Boothby answers that question. How can Homer be entertaining alone in the balloon? The writer conceives a way to introduce Bart in the basket. You must also applaud the variety of encounters he provides for the balloonatics. 

Likewise Boothby addresses Lisa's dilemma in trying to score tickets to the Karma-Con. How can a genius like Lisa fail, by hook or by crook, to dope out a means to brech the gathering? Boothby exploits chance to outmaneuver her. In such a way, he preserves Lisa's smarts while at the same time providing comedy, sometimes slapstick humor, at her expense.

Foiled Again

In addition to all of these main story elements, Boothby characterizes the rest of the cast such as Marge, Reverend Lovejoy and, of course, Ned Flanders superbly. Each of them earn a good, often hilarious, line or two. 

The Marge Sketch

This issue of the Simpsons is simply... the tops.

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, where he 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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