The covers: A great shot of Springfield’s most famous aliens staring down at poor Homer Simpson comes from Jason Ho, Mike Rote, and Nathan Kane. I’m a huge fan of 1950s hokey aliens and this twosome always tickles my funny bone. I love that one of the aliens has a ruffled brow to show he’s angry, while the other looks on, drooling, anticipating a possible meal. The latter even has his tentacles moving in a gesture of eagerness. The coloring is sci-fi cool and the logo is awesomeness to the extreme. I love that the title ends in an exclamation point. The same trio is also responsible for the back cover which is a fake travel poster promoting visiting Rigel VIII. In this image it’s just one of the space creatures, holding the Simpsons in its appendages, with only Maggie free, on top of its helmet, holding a ray gun ready to save her family. Both are great and worthy of being posters. Overall grades: Front A+ and Back A
The stories: Ian Boothby writes the opening tale titled “The Big Kang Theory!” Nelson, Milhouse, and Bart have been captured by Kang to offer up to Kodos for a meal. The boys are able to trick the pair in allowing them to be their trainers, rather than their dinner. There’s a lot of potential in this story that delivers tons of laughs, with my favorite being told in the bottom two panels on Page 3. There’s a clever visual pun at the top of 7. The last two panels are funny and the last one has the best “classic” dialogue. “Spit Happens” is by David Degrand who writes a four page gag with Professor Frink being abducted by the pair. It’s impossible not to hear the professor’s voice when he speaks, Degrand has captured it that well. Four pages is the right length for this bit, with the closer being clever. Aping the style of a young girl’s magazine such as Tiger Beat, the center of the book is “Teen Cosmos Presents: Under the Dome” by Max Davison. This is only two pages but captures the prose style of these genre magazines excellently. Shane Houghton does the redneck writing on “Hillbilly Abductshun” as the aliens abduct Cletus. How the hillbilly takes out this pair is hilarious. I wish this was an actual episode from the series. The final page is written by Terry Delegeane and it’s a “Ask Kang & Kodos” letter page that was typical of comics from the 1960s. The advice they give to one reader is delicious. All of these stories were funny and had me thinking of the better written Simpsons episodes. Overall grade: A+
The art: The first story is illustrated by Jacob Chabot, and this looks closest in style to one of the stories seen on television. His aliens look great and the boys look fine, though occasionally there’s some really heavy shading on characters, such as Milhouse at the bottom of Page 3. If this wasn’t done so often, this would have been an A+. “Spit Happens” is drawn and colored by its writer, David Degrand. It’s done in a very underground art style, similar to the work of the 1960s. I don’t care for this art, as it looks to unlike the usual depictions of the characters I’m familiar with. Mike Rote is also a double hitter, drawing and coloring the two “Teen Cosmos Presents” pages with six images of the characters. Not much showy work, but typical of girl magazine photos. A nice meeting of underground art and what I’m use to seeing is penciled by John Delaney and inked by Andrew Pepoy, whose work can be seen each month in Joe’s Comics’ Protectors Inc. Their style seems to have the artwork flow off the pages. All the characters seem to be in motion in every panel and that was exciting. “Ask Kodos & Kang” is drawn by Jason Ho and inked by Mike Rote. It’s a funny look at the characters’ past. Unexpected and well done. Overall grades: A
The colors: “The Big Kang Theory!” is colored masterfully by Art Villanova. I love the bright colors on these pages that match the strong shades of the series. The pinks on Page 7 were perfect. Nathan Hamill’s work on “Hillbilly Abductshun” is a perfect match for the frantic action of the story, employing primary colors to make the thrills electric. Hamill also colors the “Ask” final page, using calming powder blues to accentuate a story from the aliens’ youth. Both do a great job. Overall grade: A
The letters: One letterer does this entire issue: Karen Bates. She uses a style that’s unique in Simpsons’ comics, with the letter y being a giveaway. The titles are bold and comic booky and the sounds are gloriously over the top throughout. She can do no wrong on this book. Overall grade: A+
The bonuses: There are two bumper stickers in this book. That’s right, bumper stickers. Oh my God, are they funny! They’re located between the “Teen Cosmos” pages and they’re political bumper stickers: Don’t Blame Me…I Voted for KANG and Don’t Blame Me…I Voted For KODOS. These are worth the price of this book alone. Overall grade: A+
The final line: The greatest aliens in the universe have their own one-shot with bumper stickers included! Funny stories with excellent visuals. Worth every cent you pay. 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.