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Sunday November 1, 2009 11:30 am

Bart Simpson #50: Sergio Aragonés!

Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Reviews, Independent,

BartLet’s get this out of the way right up front: I have a bias when it comes to Sergio Aragonés. I grew up reading his Marginals in MAD Magazine and later worked for a company that published his work (two graphic albums and The Mighty Magnor mini-series with Mark Evanier). During that time, I not only met him, but he once dropped by the office on a day that coincidentally was my birthday and, in the time it might take me to read an email, he drew in ink (no penciling) a breathtaking 9x12 illustration of multi-character cartoon goodness as a gift. I still have it, framed on my office wall.

So my bias goes well beyond fancrush. I was saddened that MAD Magazine went quarterly because it meant 8 fewer paychecks per year for all those freelancers associated with the magazine, including Sergio. But I knew that anyone who draws as fast and funny as he does would find another outlet for his work, and I was delighted - and surprised - to discover that it would be The Simpsons.

He’s joined Bongo Comics, and they’ve made a big deal out of his debut on Simpsons Comics Presents Bart Simpson #50, subtitled “Mad About Sergio.” Sergio writes, pencils and inks two complete stories. The first is “The Simpson Project,” about what happens when Bart and Milhouse’s homemade rocketship triggers a domino effect of international nuttiness. And the second is “Big Top Flop” where Bart and his friends sneak away from Cirque Du Lune (”the elegant art of mime and the subtle fantasy of Asian contortionists”) and try to sneak into a “real” circus. There are also two shorter gag pieces by Sergio.

Read More | The Beat

Aragonés captures the Simpsons’ world quite well. He has the personalities of the characters down, and “The Simpson Project” feels like it could be expanded into an episode of the TV series. His vibrant linework infuses the characters with added energy and he comically jams his panels with brilliant detail. There’s a two-page spread of the Simpsons’ front lawn packed with a helicopter, a tank, a troop truck, a newsvan, a missile launcher, several other cars, trucks and vans, and more than 75 characters. It’s stunning. Kudos to Bill Morrison for bringing him in and I hope this will be one of Sergio’s homes for a long time.

(And what’s really funny, of course, is seeing Matt Groening’s contractually-obligated signature on Sergio’s work. That never gets old.)

[Artwork: Cover to Simpsons Comics Presents Bart Simpson #50, by Sergio Aragonés, © Bongo Comics]



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