The stories behind the stories

Bart Simpson #27

“Your words have no power, Lisa. The jingle has him!” — Homer Simpson

“No Purchase Necessary”

At a crosstown KrustyBurger, Bart Simpson loses the winning piece in the restaurant’s contest promotion somewhere in its germ-ridden playland. Wackiness ensues…
Published by Bongo • December 2004
Written by John Jackson Miller

Pencils by Phil Ortiz

Inks by Mike DeCarlo

Lettered by Karen Bates

Colored by Nathan Hamill

Cover by Jason Ho

Edited by Bill Morrison

Issue includes “Hot Air Buffoon” and “The Case of the Sax Solo Saboteur” by James W. Bates

I bought the first Simpsons Comics issue off the shelf way back in the early 1990s and have followed Bongo’s titles ever since. I had met editor Bill Morrison early in the company’s existence, but never got around to pitching my first story until late 2004.

That turned out to be “No Purchase Necessary,” in which I devised a multi-purpose send-up, targeting fast-food restaurants and their contest promotions. It’s fairly easy from-life humor. Bart’s Playworld experience comes in part from my own kids, who never fail to enter one of those kiddie habitrails without catching the plague.

As a longtime fan of humor comics, it was a lot of fun getting to do straight comedy here. Every single joke I wrote made it in, and Phil Ortiz and Mike DeCarlo did a great job of finding visual space for them all. I hope to work more humor comics into my schedule in the future.

“I’m not sure I approve of the food, but I can’t deny the wholesome appeal of clowns serving ice cream.” — Marge Simpson

Of course, the original Monopoly uses street names from Atlantic City, New Jersey, not Flint, Michigan. Flint had been in the headlines for some years following the hollowing out of that city by the automotive industry, and tended to make its way into a lot of punchlines.

Nathan Hamill, Bongo colorist, has a famous father in Mark Hamill. I had actually spoken with the Dark Horse Star Wars team earlier in the same week that I first talked to Morrison about doing a story for the Simpsons.

The “grease, grins, and kin” joke is a reference — already old at the time — to a retired McDonald’s slogan that the restaurant was home to “food, folks, and fun.”

Yes, there are people like Comic Book Guy who know the exact odds of landing on a Monopoly space. One of my stranger experiences was making it to the final round of the GenCon Monopoly tournament in a game which nearly broke out into a brawl over the rules, of all things. You’d never believe how intense these things can get…

And, yes, that’s a reading of Tommy Lee JonesFugitive speech that Lisa paraphrases there. Wouldn’t be Simpsons without the pop culture references!