Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Like a few other crossovers mentioned here, the two long stories in which the cast of the SIMPSONS meets the crew of FUTURAMA are not the greatest stories in either mythos. For that matter, I've never thought the humor of these Matt Groening concepts translated well to the comics page.  In the animated TV shows, if a joke doesn't work, you just move on to the next one, a la the example of vaudeville. If a joke doesn't work on the comics page, it just there, silently reminding the reader of its failure.

Still, the first of the two Simpsons- Futurama crossovers, written by Ian Boothby and drawn in the Groening style, has some decent SF/comics-related in-jokes, like the one above, in which SIMPSONS character Waylon Smithers dons the outfit of classic anime character Captain Harlock. Similarly, the planet Nerdicus looks like Jack Kirby's "living planet" Ego crossed with the face of Jerry Lewis. Most of the interactions of the protagonists from the respective series are at best fair: Lisa gets along well with Leela, but nothing catches fire between Homer and Bender, Bart and Fry, or Marge and Maggie with Nibbler. The best joke appears when the universes of the respective characters are interconnected by a cosmic rift that looks just like a tear in a comic book page.

But though the first Groening-fest is reasonably enjoyable, Boothby's second trip to the well comes up with an empty bucket.  The Simpsons cast-members, who are fictional characters to the world of Futurama, accidentally plunge into the "real" world. Because they have no legal status, the evil tyrant "Mom" subjects them to slavery-- an idea which sounds promising but doesn't go anywhere. All things considered, it's not the "worst crossover ever," but even the good jokes would have worked better had the same project been undertaken in the form of an animated special.

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