Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror # 16

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror # 16 (Bongo, 2010).

Another year, another Treehouse of Horror comic. I typically don't buy these - even when I watched The Simpsons on television, the Halloween show was always one I'd skip - but Bizarro Wuxtry set aside a copy of this one for me because Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer contributed the 15-page lead story. Well, if it's Dorkin, I'm willing to roll the dice.

Really, these two did a terrific job on their collaboration. It's a wild and loving - if that's the word - tribute to Jack Kirby's monster comics of the late fifties, with scientists bringing atom-age creatures to Earth. Carnage, mayhem and gore results, as Springfield gets obliterated and the cast, knowingly wordy as these old comics were, gets decimated in progressively grislier encounters with the alien menace. There were a couple of bits where I thought it sailed a bit too far for my liking, but I'm an old fuddy-duddy and nobody cares what I think. Maaaaaatlock!

As impressive and funny as this was, it's one of several stories in the comic. Honestly, I think that the most entertaining tale is a 13-pager by Peter Kuper, which opens with Bart getting his eyeball stuck sticking out of his head when a wedgie from Nelson goes awry and becomes a clever parody of various Edgar Allen Poe tropes by the end. While Dorkin's Kirby pastiche follows a pretty clear, if hilariously blood-spattered, path, Kuper's story is an unpredictable mess and I greatly enjoyed watching it unfold. Probably not for younger readers, or the fuddy-duddier among us, but if you still enjoy the guilty pleasure of gruesome fates and unhappy endings, you may find some malevolent chuckles here.

No comments: