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Saturday September 26, 2009 4:32 pm

Simpsons Comics #158: Chuck Dixon and Phil Ortiz




Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Reviews, Independent

Simpsons158Chuck Dixon has been responsible for some of the manliest comic books in the direct market. From his work on Airboy to Punisher and Batman, his characters know how to take a punch and keep punching back (sometimes accessorizing with big guns).

Dixon is now at Bongo Comics where he writes Simpsons Comics. When you’re working on corporate comics, you’re always answerable to the corporate owners about how best to handle their characters. When you’re working a licensed property—whether it’s Farscape, Star Trek, or Terminator—there’s yet another corporate layer added into the “Please me” mix: the corporation that controls the license. Sometimes the actors step in as well. A well-known Star Trek actor had it in his contract that artists couldn’t draw the top of his bald head too pointy. That’s right: he had baldness approval. So it’s never easy working on licensed properties and I admire those who do it and do it well. Like Chuck Dixon.

At first glance, he might seem an odd choice for The Simpsons universe—the Batman writer tackling America’s favorite yellow cartoon people—but he’s a professional writer and that’s what they do: write. In Simpsons Comics #158, Homer is outraged that his newly won hot tub violates the Homeowner’s Association rules so he’s convinced to run for President of the Association in the conveniently upcoming election. Once he wins, it all goes horribly awry in the best Simpsons manner.

Read More | Chuck Dixon's Blog

Dixon successfully captures the flavor of the TV series, nailing the main characters’ personalities. He also works in most of the major characters and tosses in references to Karl Rove, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Harlem Globetrotters (who also appear), cross burning, and, in a fun gag, M. Night Shyamalan.

The art by Phil Ortiz and Mike Decarlo is appropriately Simpsons-esque and flows easily from panel-to-panel. This is my first Bongo comic in a long time—I picked it up because of Dixon—and it’s got me eagerly looking forward to the next issue. (There’s also an ad for The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #15 in the issue which boasts a line-up of top indy cartoonists—like the gang at Kramer’s Ergot—which is now also on my must-buy list.)

[Artwork: Cover Simpsons Comics #158 © Bongo Entertainment]

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