Simpsons Comics
Barn Burner

Authors: Various
Artists: Various
Titan Books
RRP 8.99
ISBN 1 84576 0107
Available 21 January 2005

More scintillating suburban satire, courtesy of that most dysfunctional of yellow families: The Simpsons. Gasp in disbelief as Homer manages a boy band, gets mixed up in the local mayoral elections and gets into the swing of things when a dance craze hits Springfield. Be amazed when Bart and Lisa leap into superheroic action as Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl. Let your mind boggle as you experience these and a host of other strange delights in the latest
Simpsons graphic novel bonanza...

Barn Burner is a strange title for this collection - there isn't a single story revolving around a farm or any other country bumpkin clichéd plot. But then I can't think of a suitable title either.

What we do have though is a collection of near perfect stories that Matt Groening himself would be proud to have written.

The Man With Two Wives was my favourite story in this collection. This sees Homer win Mr Smithers from Mr Burns in a game of cards. Mr Smithers is then obligated to be Homer's servant - much to the jealousy of Marge who feels that her role as a homemaker is in question.

Other gems see Homer managing a boy band (of which Bart is a member), Homer running for Major and Mr Burns's attempts to turn an area of outstanding beauty into a golf course. But in all honesty there isn't a bad story in here.

There are plenty of adult jokes hidden away within this collection. One of the most obvious is a conversation between Mr Burns and Smithers. Mr Burns says: "It's been too long since I did a bit of male bonding. How about you Mr Smithers?" To which Smithers replies: "Well, as a matter of fact, just last night..."

From the very first tale, where Bart becomes a police informer, to the last, this is a collection for all fans of the animated series.

Ray Thompson

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