Review by Karl Verhoven
This is quite the odd collection, as the strip one might imagine would work best falls flat, leaving a story about Patty and Selma to take the crown. Once again, almost a platoon of creators are involved.
‘A Trip to Simpsons Mountain’ is written by Mary Trainor and Bill Morrison, with Morrison’s standards high to date, and starts with the inspired idea of pastiches of TV shows from the early 1970s such as The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, and The Waltons. It’s the sort of material that slots so well into the TV show, with Grandpa Simpson reminiscing about the festive seasons of his younger days, yet falls flat in the comic. And that’s with a familiarity with the material being satirised, so it’ll be even weaker for readers who’ve never seen those shows. Stephanie Gladden’s art is fine.
The Patty and Selma story sees them fired from the DMV and their apartment block burned down, meaning they have to move in with the Simpsons. It’s not an arrangement suiting anyone, and one that escalates into mayhem. “I’m sure you two will find a vocation that’s not only fulfilling”, offers Marge, but where there are no smoking restrictions”. Lona Williams and Jeff Rosenthal produce the script, and supply a number of good visual gags for artist Phil Ortiz, including Burns airlines’ planes having his face painted onto the nose cones.
Bumblebee Man stars in the best of the back-ups, some extremely short, this only two pages of heartbreak. It’s a day in the life format presented by Scott Shaw. Also decent is Adam Fein and Chris Roman’s depiction of Milhouse on a quest for the elusive Muttonchop Yaz baseball card, and a one page text and illustration piece of Dr Nick Rivera offering his services.
Homer being unable to comply with a presidential edict to lose weight has its moments, as does Bart and Lisa running a TV station, although the best of that is a one page Itchy & Scratchy interlude. Overall, though, the Simpsons collections peaked with the opener, Simpsons Comics Extravaganza, and it would be several years before that consistency was approached again.