The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror #20

Love The Simpsons or zombies? This is for you. A big book that's worth the cover price.

The covers: All your Simpsons favorites have been turned into zombies for this annual outing from Bongo Comics. This is a great cover, that would look terrific on a poster or tee shirt, created by Jason Ho, Mike Rote, and Nathan Kane. The back cover is an add for Barney’s Bowlarama promoting “Grab a Bite, Then Stay and Bowl a Few FRAAAAMES..!” Zombie Apu, Moe, and Otto are watching zombie Homer throw his head down the lane for a strike. The image is from the pins’ point of view and it’s clever, but not as good as the text. This was illustrated by Bill Morrison. Overall grades: Front A+ and Back B

The stories: This is a monstrous collection that’s 45 pages long with no ads! Definitely worth the cover price of $4.99. This collection starts out with “Zombienado” by J. Torres, with the zombie apocalypse in full swing, and now a tornado, which the congregation at church believes was sent by God, sweeping up the zombies. The last panel on Page 3 was hilarious and the repercussions at the top of 4 equally funny. The next five pages deal with Homer’s experience swirling within the tornado and dealing with the zombies. It’s mildly funny, but not great. “The Walking Ned” by Max Davison is much better with Mayor Homer and Ned sparring for leadership of the surviving humans during the apocalypse. Ned has some fantastic lines with Homer being the voice of stupidity. The ending of this story was like a missing television episode. “Dusk of the No-Brainers!” by Jesse Leon McCann has Springfield Elementary going on a trip to Springfield Mall, where things quickly become Dawn of the Dead. The students running amok in the mall is filled with several funny moments, and how the zombies finally gain entrance is perfect. What destroys the zombie hordes was a good laugh, and the final three panels of this tale made me really giggle. An excellent story. “Power Plants Vs. Zombies,” a nice send up of the game Plants Vs. Zombies, is by Ian Boothby. Bart’s at the power plant with Homer for “Take Your Kid to Work Day” and the he convinces his father go into the “Top Secret” room. The bottom two panels on the third page of this story is the funniest joke in the entire book, and will go completely over young readers’ heads. When Burns and Smithers appear it only gets better. Page 8’s “idea” for destroying the zombies is completely within Homer’s logical realm of thought. The plants don’t enter into the story until late, but that was fine. The final page had an especially funny ending, since I’m a teacher. I’m going to put this page up in my classroom. Only the first tale is a little weak, but the rest of these stories are very fun. Overall grade: A

The art: “Zombienado” is penciled and inked by Hilary Barta doing a nicely dark shaded job on Homer within the tornado. The final page is a fun view of Simpsons’ characters views on Homer’s death. Tone Rodriguez on pencils and Phyllis Novin on inks do a good job on “The Walking Ned.” The splash page is really cool, the attack of the Seven Duffs funny, and Pages 6 – 9 great silly zombie action. “Dusk of the No-Brainers!” is also really fun stuff from John Delaney, penciller, and Andrew Pepoy, inker. The second page’s third panel perfectly captures the chaos of an arcade. Bart’s teasing of the zombies is a laugh out loud visual that requires no text to enjoy, but what is said is funny. Seeing what all the kids do with free reign of the mall is great, as are their sleeping choices. The final page was excellent. “Power Plants Vs. Zombies” is by James Lloyd on pencils with Pepoy again inking (whose work can also be seen in Protectors Inc #9). This also is well done, with the plants aping their videogame counterparts in solid fashion. There’s a lot of motion in this story and it’s really slick. Homer’s “D’oh!” in the Top Secret room still makes me chuckle. Great art can be found on every page of this book. Overall grade: A

The colors: Art Villanueva has the most difficult job on this book trying to bring color to the interior of a tornado. He gets some color out of Homer’s traditional blue church suit, but it’s so dark, and the zombies are so muted, that there’s not much bright in this opening story, save the opening and closing moments. It’s a dreary story. Nathan Hamill does “The Walking Ned” and joins with Villanueva to do “Dusk of the No-Brainers!” The first is a gloriously bright story that shows you can have a zombie story with bright colors. The final panel is beautiful. The second story is also bright and bold, especially during the action sequences. This pair does an excellent job on this tale. Villanueva closes out the book with “Power Plants…” This story is also bright, with the sound effects and zombie exclamations stand outs. This story shows that “Zombienado” really fenced in Villanueva’s choices, because he shines in this story. Overall grade: A

The letters: One letterer on this huge book and it’s Karen Bates. She creates dialogue, titles and credits, a church marquee, screams, sounds, opening narration on “Dusk”, mall signs, and a graduation sign. All look great, the sounds are fun, and the moans in the bottom panel of fourth to last page of this book funny. Outstanding throughout. Overall grade: A

The final line: Love The Simpsons or zombies? This is for you. A big book that’s worth the cover price. Overall grade: A 

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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