Obscurity of the Day: The Simpsons

 


 

The Simpsons TV show burst onto the small screen in 1989 and quickly became a huge hit. The show became a cultural touchstone and ‘appointment viewing’ throughout the 1990s. The critical consensus is that the show began a sharp decline in quality and originality starting around season ten, yet it has managed to stay on the air and remain popular until today, its 32nd season as this is written. Geez does that make me feel old … but I digress. 

The Simpsons moved to the paper realm as a successful suite of comic book titles starting in 1993, and by 1999 the decision was made to try newspaper syndication as well. Befitting the property’s popularity and prestige, it was decided that the comic strip would be Sunday-only and would be required to run as a 2/3 page — even bigger than the half page format demanded by mega-hits Calvin & Hobbes and Doonesbury

Most newspapers were by 1999 running a mere four to six pages in their Sunday comics sections, so most balked at offering a single strip, even The Simpsons, that much real estate. The new strip thus was only picked up by a relatively modest number of newspapers. 

The series debuted on September 5 1999. At first the creators were uncredited; each strip was ‘signed’ by Matt Groening, who undoubtedly had nothing to do with them. It wasn’t until the October 31 episode that credits began, and those who took an interest in such things quickly came to see that the writers, pencillers and inkers (most of whom also worked on the comic book series) changed practically every week. While the quality control of the art was high — I never noticed a single panel with off-model characters — the writing has to be considered less than stellar. There were a few impressive installments, but most relied very heavily on readers’ love of the characters. The use of catchphrases and familiar pratfalls from the TV series, while to be expected, were leaned on over and over in lieu of original humor. 

The creators of these strips might well point their fingers at the newspaper clients as at least partly to blame for the lackluster writing. Perhaps the writers would have offered more edgy material, but an episode of the new series featuring Itchy and Scratchy (see sample) was met by pushback from some readers and editors. Of course anyone familiar with the TV series would not be shocked by the cat and mouse team’s penchant for violence, but it was a little much by most anyone’s standard for the Sunday funnies, generally a violence-free zone in deference to the kiddies in the audience. It is telling that Itchy and Scratchy were never again featured in the strip. The writers may well have felt that the newspaper funnies were just too restrictive about content to give their imaginations free rein.

The first series of The Simpsons comic strip ended after a single year, though some papers that picked up the series late were given the early strips to continue with at the end of the run. Following is a strip-by-strip rundown of the series. A few notes:

* the original uncredited episodes (9/5 – 10/24/1999) gained credits when they were run at the end of the original run by the latecomer newspapers.

* credits were generally last names only; I have determined the full names of almost all the creators by referring to Wikisimpsons.

* I find it interesting that there are 1998 copyrights on the early episodes; were they in the can for that long before the newspaper strip began?

Date

ID (first word balloon or title, generally not including masthead)

Writer

Art (penciller/inker)

Source

9/5/99

(credits from 2000 reprint)

“Kopter One to Cargo Crew”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Gonzalez Layo, Steve Steere Jr.

 

LA Times

9/12/99 (credits from 2000 reprint)

“But since we can’t work”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

James Lloyd, Tim Harkins

LA Times

9/19/99 (credits from 2000 reprint)

“The Burns Paradox”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Stephanie Gladden

LA Times

9/26/99 (credits from 2000 reprint)

“All I Need is to sell another…”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Allen Roberts, Steve Steere Jr.

LA Times

10/3/99 (credits from 2000 reprint)

“Homer has made it all the way home…”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

James Lloyd, Tim Harkins

LA Times

10/10/99 (credits from 2000 reprint)

“Ungh! Smithers I Can Barely Swallow…”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Stephanie Gladden

LA Times

10/17/99 (credits from 2000 reprint)

“C’mon Son, Lift With Your Legs”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Allen Roberts, Steve Steere Jr.

LA Times

10/24/99 (credits from 2000 reprint)

“Planning a Trip to Springfield?”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Stephanie Gladden

LA Times

10/31/99

GoodFellowship

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Gonzalez Layo, Steve Steere Jr.

 

LA Times

11/7/99

“Calling All Culture Vultures”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Jim Massara, Tim Harkins

LA Times

11/14/99

“Oh Mrs. Homer Your Beauty…”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Gonzalez Layo, Steve Steere Jr.

 

LA Times

11/21/99

“Hey Kids, It’s A Jungle Out There”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Phil Ortiz, Tim Harkins

LA Times

11/28/99

“I’m Going To Get My Pills”

Neil Alsip

Phil Ortiz, Tim Harkins

LA Times

12/5/99

“Hey Hey Kids Have A Krusty Christmas”

Jesse Leon McCann

James Lloyd, Mike Rote

LA Times

12/12/99

“If These Crumbs Could Talk”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Jim Massara, Tim Harkins

LA Times

12/19/99

“It’s A Wonderful Slice”

Robert L. Graff, Jesse Leon McCann

Gonzalez Layo, Tim Harkins

LA Times

12/26/99

“Hey fellas whatcha Doin’?”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Gonzalez Layo, Steve Steere Jr.

 

LA Times

1/2/00

“One Flew Over The Retirement Castle”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Jim Massara, Tim Harkins

LA Times

1/9/00

“Springfield is Directly in the path…”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Gonzalez Layo, Steve Steere Jr.

 

Salt Lake Tribune

1/16/00

“In-laws need impressing?”

Neil Alsip

Phil Ortiz, Tim Harkins

Salt Lake Tribune

1/23/00

“Oh Oh A Tiny Arm Growing Out of My Back …” (third panel)

Robert L. Graff, Jesse Leon McCann

Joey Nilges, Steve Steere Jr.

 

Salt Lake Tribune

1/30/00

“Goodnight fellas. I’ve had enough drinking…”

Robert L. Graff, Jesse Leon McCann

Norman Auble, Steve Steere Jr.

Salt Lake Tribune

2/6/00

“Don’t Doubt It or Do!”

Robert L. Graff, Jesse Leon McCann

Gonzalez Layo, Tim Harkins

Salt Lake Tribune

2/13/00

“See you later, Marge. I’m going to Moe’s”

Bill Morrison

Bill Morrison

Salt Lake Tribune

2/20/00

“H-hey! My glasses!”

Jesse Leon McCann

Gonzalez Layo, Tim Harkins

Salt Lake Tribune

2/27/00

“Hey what happened to all my macaroni…”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Francisco Herrera, Steve Steere Jr.

Salt Lake Tribune

3/5/00

“Hello, I’m C. Montgomery Burns…”

Neil Alsip

James Lloyd, Tim Bavington

 

Salt Lake Tribune

3/12/00

“We here at the Simpsons understand the world…”

Neil Alsip

Joey Nilges, Tim Harkins

Salt Lake Tribune

3/19/00

“Uh oh, thirteen floors alone…”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Francisco Herrera, Steve Steere Jr.

Salt Lake Tribune

3/26/00

“Radioactive Man VII”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Phil Ortiz, Tim Harkins

Salt Lake Tribune

4/2/00

“Home repair can be costly…”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Gonzalez Layo, Steve Steere Jr.

 

Salt Lake Tribune

4/9/00

“Greetings, foolish Earthings. I am Kang…”

Neil Alsip

Phil Ortiz, Tim Harkins

Salt Lake Tribune

4/16/00 (copyright 1999)

“On the Champs Elysees we met Jacques…”

Robert L. Graff, Jesse Leon  McCann

Gonzalez Layo, Steve Steere Jr.

 

Salt Lake Tribune

4/23/00

“Hey, hey, it’s to dye for”

Neil Alsip

Phil Ortiz, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

4/30/00

“Are you sure you want to go through with this, Mr. Burns?”

Jesse Leon McCann

Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

5/7/00

“H-hey Bart, whatcha doin’?”

Jesse Leon McCann

Gerald Steffen, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

5/14/00

“Mother’s Day is very important …”

Dave McKean

Phil Ortiz, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

5/21/00

“See you tomorrow, class. Bart…”

Barry Dutter, Bill Morrison

Phil Ortiz, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

5/28/00

“It Came from deep below. A force…”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Stephanie Gladden

Salt Lake Tribune

6/4/00

“It was all supposed to be so simple…”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Stephanie Gladden

Salt Lake Tribune

6/11/00

“Looks like those good-fer-nothin’s …”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Gonzalez Layo, Steve Steere Jr.

 

Salt Lake Tribune

6/18/00

“I’ll show you exact change!”

Robert L. Graff, Jesse Leon McCann

Norman Auble, Steve Steere Jr.

Salt Lake Tribune

6/25/00

“Springfield Downs Race Track .. Come Run With The Ponies”

Jesse Leon McCann

Joey Nilges, Tim Harkins

Salt Lake Tribune

7/2/00

“Oh no, the day that I’ve always dreaded…”

Robert L. Graff, Jesse Leon McCann

Gonzalez Layo, Steve Steere Jr.

 

Salt Lake Tribune

7/9/00

“Whoops, Dr. Hibbert has fallen down…”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Yamamoto, Steve Steere Jr.

Salt Lake Tribune

7/16/00

“Nappie-time, Maggie. Sleep tight”

Jesse Leon McCann

Yamamoto, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

7/23/00

“Dad I’m so happy! My collection…”

Jesse Leon McCann

Gerald Steffen, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

7/30/00

“La la la! I’m on my little red wagon”

Jesse Leon McCann

Yamamoto, Steve Steere Jr.

Salt Lake Tribune

8/6/00

“Krusty’s Krustyburger Fun Mat”

Jesse Leon McCann

Phil Ortiz, Jason Ho

Salt Lake Tribune

8/13/00

“Goodby Lisa, have a fun day!”

Jesse Leon McCann

Yamamoto, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

8/20/00

“Main floor lobby! Going up, Sonny?”

Jesse Leon McCann

Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

8/27/00

“When dealing with bullies, brainiacs…”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal

Phil Ortiz, Tim Harkins

Salt Lake Tribune

9/3/00 (reprint of 9/5/99 with 1998 copyright; now has credits)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

9/10/00 (reprint of 9/12/99 with 1998 copyright; now has credits)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

9/17/00 (reprint of 9/19/99 with 1998 copyright; now has credits)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

9/24/00 (reprint of 9/26/99 with 1998 copyright; now has credits)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

10/1/00 (reprint of 10/3/99 with 1998 copyright; now has credits)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

10/8/00 (reprint of 10/10/99 with 1998 copyright; now has credits)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

10/15/00 (reprint of 10/17/99 with 1998 copyright; now has credits)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

10/22/00 (reprint of 10/24/99 with 1998 copyright; now has credits)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

10/29/00 (reprint of 10/31/99 with 1998 copyright)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

11/5/00 (reprint of 11/7/99)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

11/12/00 (reprint of 11/14/99)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

11/19/00 (reprint of 11/21/99)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

11/26/00 (reprint of 11/28/99)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokeman Review

12/3/00 (reprint of 12/5/99)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

12/10/00 (reprint of 12/12/99)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

12/17/00 (reprint of 12/19/00)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

12/24/00 (reprint of 12/26/00)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

12/31/00 (reprint of 1/2/00)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

1/7/01 (reprint of 1/9/00)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

1/14/01 (reprint of 1/16/00)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

1/21/01 (reprint of 1/23/00)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

1/28/01 (reprint of 1/30/00)

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

2/4/01 (reprint of 2/6/000

 

 

 

Spokane Spokesman Review

 

It seems perfectly natural and reasonable that The Simpsons comic strip was cancelled after that first year. Everything seemed to be against it. First, there was no one at the creative helm who was thoroughly committed to making the strip live up to the fans’ high expectations. Second, most newspapers had taken a pass on the strip entirely, and those that took the strip proved to be squeamish about the more mature content. And last but certainly not least, with such a small client list the money the strip was bringing in was undoubtedly chump change compared to other licensing opportunities. 

Bizarrely, though, the decision was made to continue. Though the strip seems to have been unavailable for the next year, it was advertised in the 2001 E&P Syndicate Directory. (Maybe they were trying to continue to sell that first series to more latecomers?)

If any newspaper anywhere was running it between February 4 2001 and January 13 2002, I have not been able to find it. I do however, find a number of papers starting it (or restarting it) on that second date, seemingly indicating that it was returned to syndication then, as opposed to having continued in the interim. 

Anyway, after a hiatus of almost a year, the series was apparently re-offered, this time at a slightly more newspaper-friendly half-page size. Nothing else really changed — the creative musical chairs started back up, and the writing quality only got worse. 

This time the strip ran for almost two years, and was reduced to a more conventional third page size on July 27 2003. It wasn’t until very late in the run that it gained a consistent creative team from week to week. The strip was pulled from syndication as of the December 28 2003 installment, to the sorrow of only hardcore fans.

I was unable to find any paper running the strip on July 7 and 14 2002; if anyone has those installments I’d be delighted to add the credits.

1/13/02

“This is Lisa.”

Gail Simone

Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

1/20/02

“A am Bart. Bart I art.”

Gail Simone

Julius Preite, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

1/27/02

“Apu, gimme the usual.” (2nd story panel)

Gail Simone

Gerald Steffen, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

2/3/02

“Cleanliness is next to funliness.”

Gail Simone

Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

2/10/02

“Okay, okay. I’m awake. Knock it off already.

Gail Simone

Joey Nilges, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

2/17/02

“I am Kang, emissary from a planet…”

Gail Simone

Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

2/24/02 (copyright 2000)

“This just in. Up yours buddy.”

Gail Simone

Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

3/3/02 (copyright 2000)

“Homey, I need you to run to the…”

Gail Simone

Phil Or (Ortiz)

Vancouver Province

3/10/02 (copyright 2000)

“Once in a land of fields and springs…”

Gail Simone

Phil Or (Ortiz)

Vancouver Province

3/17/02 (copyright 2000)

“Venture if you dare into … the unpossible..”

James Bates

Phil Or (Ortiz)

Vancouver Province

3/24/02

“I see a sale for ol’ Gil…”

Jim Cashman

John Costanza

Vancouver Province

3/31/02

“Too hot … brain melting …”

Jim Cashman

John Costanza

Vancouver Province

4/7/02

“*Click* A little bit of Rita’s all I need…”

Neil Alsip

Joey Nilges, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

4/14/02

“This kind of panel is called an inset.”

Gail Simone

Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

4/21/02

“With our country prosperous and at peace…”

Dave McKean

Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

4/28/02

“But if I put the hydrangea next to…”

Neil Alsip

Jason Ho

 

Vancouver Province

5/5/02

“Behold the playground! At first glance…”

Neil Alsip

Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

5/12/02

“Lordy Lordy I am Bored-y…”

Neil Alsip

Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

5/19/02

“Canada! It’s not fit for livin’…”

Dave McKean

Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

5/26/02

“Psst! Hey Simpson, check it out.”

Gail Simone

Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

6/2/02

“Pickle slices and a parsley sprig…”

Dave McKean

Igor Baranko

Vancouver Province

6/9/02

“Snack bra huff puff must reach snack bar”

Jesse McCann

Kim Le, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

6/16/02

“Guys I was here in the attic…”

Brent Fletcher

Jerry Steffen, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

6/23/02

“Man I hate wearing this jacket”

Gail Simone

Kim Le, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

6/30/02

“I thought you were going to make Maggie a jumper…”

Brent Fletcher

Igor Baranko

Vancouver Province

7/7/02

 

 

 

 

7/14/02

 

 

 

 

7/21/02 (production credit Karen Bates starts)

“Homer, you said you would take the kids…”

Dave McKean

Francis Dinglasan, Mike Rote

Sacramento Bee

7/28/02

“Groundskeeper Willie, I met this nice lady…”

Gail Simone

Jeanette Bose, Mike Rote

Miami Herald

8/4/02

“If my tail light’s a-blinkin’…”

Gail Simone

Jeanette Bose, Jason Ho

Miami Herald

8/11/02

“And as you can see your popularity…”

Gail Simone

Igor Baranko

Miami Herald

8/18/02

“Later dudes. I’m off to Scabby’s…”

Evan Gore, David Razowsky, Jeff Rosenthal, Eric Rogers

Gerald Steffen, Jason Ho

Sacramento Bee

8/25/02

“The children are here to receive the Burns…”

David McKean

Rich Koslowski, Jason Ho

Miami Herald

9/1/02

“A Mother Marge Tale – Jack Sprat Attacks”

Sherri L. Smith

Sam Ho, Mike Rote

Sacramento Bee

9/8/02

“Picture if you will a young boy asleep…”

Gail Simone

Sam Ho, Mike Rote

Sacramento Bee

9/15/02

“Dear Diary. I can’t believe it…”

Sherri L. Smith

Sam Ho, Mike Rote

Sacramento Bee

9/22/02

“Thanks for taking me to this exhibit, Dad…”

Sherri L. Smith

Jeanette Bose, Jason Ho

Sacramento Bee

9/29/02

“C’mon Kids, we’re going shopping for an SUV.”

David McKean

Kim Le, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

10/6/02

“Uh oh, tummy alert.”

Gail Simone

Jason Ho

Sacramento Bee

10/13/02

“I’ll get it.”

Gail Simone

Jason Ho

Sacramento Bee

10/20/02

“A child’s imagination should be given wings.”

Gail Simone

Francis Dinglasan, Mike Rote

Sacramento Bee

10/27/02

Pantomime strip about Moe seeing a beer commercial

Gail Simone

Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

11/3/02

“Hello Mr. Smithers? *woof* this is…”

Terry Delegeane

Francis Diglasan, Mike Rote

Miami Herald

11/10/02 (no production credit)

“Hey man, do you still pay cash for news tips?”

Gail Simone

Mike Rote

Miami Herald

11/17/02 (no production credit)

“Poetry? Kill me now”

Dave McKean

Igor Baranko

Vancouver Province

11/24/02

“Check out our new stereo…”

Neil Alsip

Dan DeCarlo, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

12/1/02

“Dad, do you have a solid financial plan…”

Dave McKean

Dan DeCarlo (layout), Jerry Steffen, Steve Steere Jr.

Vancouver Province

12/8/02

“Bart, it’s only the second day of half-term…”

David McKean

Dan DeCarlo (layout), Mike Rote, Steve Steere Jr.

Vancouver Province

12/15/02

“Hey folks, I’m crazy Gil…”

Brent Fletcher

Mike Worley, Steve Steere Jr.

Vancouver Province

12/22/02 (no production credit)

“Okay kids, time for your bedtime story.”

Neil Alsip

Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

12/29/02

“All right, Senor Huevo…”

Neil Alsip

Mike DeCarlo (presumably a typo for Dan), Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

1/5/03 (no production credit)

“Jimmy Crack Corn And I Don’t Care”

Gail Simone

Jerry Steffen, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

1/12/03 (copyright 2001)

“Ralph Wiggum in Humpty Dumped”

Sherri L. Smith

John Costanza, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

1/19/03 (copyright 2001)

“The Simpsons Present Old Moe Hubbard”

Sherri L. Smith

Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

1/26/03 (copyright 2001)

“Sing A Song Of Squishee:

Sherri L. Smith

Sam Ho, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

2/2/03 (copyright 2001)

“Wee Willie Waxer”

Sherri L. Smith

John Costanza, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

2/9/03

“This is gonna be so cool! This tattoo…”

Sherri L. Smith

Gerald Steffen, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

2/16/03

“Sorry little dudes…”

Brent Fletcher

Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

2/23/03

“Remember men, cleanliness is next to laziness”

Gail Simone

Kim Le, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

3/2/03

“Lousy, stupid alarm clock.”

Gail Simone

John Costanza, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

3/9/03

“We will, we will, rock you.”

Brent Fletcher

Kim Le, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

3/16/03

“Homey, how come you’re never romantic…”

Earl Kress

Kim Le, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

3/23/03

“Lisa Simpson Presents: The History of Polo”

Sherri L. Smith

Kim Le, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

3/30/03

“Great Springfield Pickup Lines”

Jesse Leon McCann, Amanda McCann

Phil Ortiz, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

4/6/03

“The Ab-Miser is the number one workout…”

Brent Fletcher

John Costanza, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

4/13/03

“Bart Simpson! If I’ve told you once…”

Jesse Leon McCann, Amanda McCann

John Costanza, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

4/20/03

“What are those? … The little chickadees…”

Brent Fletcher

Kim Le, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

4/27/03 (reprint of 1/12/03)

 

 

 

Vancouver Province

5/4/03

“Hmm. I think someone could use a B-A-T-H.”

Sherri L. Smith

Kim Le, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

5/11/03

“Homer, it says here that babies are like scientists…”

Sherri L. Smith

Mike Rote

Southtown Star

5/18/03

“Now for a little suntan lotion…”

Brent Fletcher

Mike Rote

Southtown Star

5/25/03

“Now tell me again how did you get…”

Rich Koslowski

Rich Koslowski, Jason Ho

Southtown Star

6/1/03

“Cleanliness is next to Marg-liness.”

Gail Simone

Kim Le, James Huang

Vancouver Province

6/8/03 (production credit adds Art Villanueva)

“A full can a day keeps the hairstyle okay.”

Gail Simone

Kim Le, James Huang

Vancouver Province

6/15/03

“Children! Childred! Let’s get this show on the road…”

Jesse L. McCann

Kim Le, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

6/22/03 (production credit adds Art Villanueva)

“The Monstromart has such good deals…”

Sherri L. Smith

Istvan Majoros, James Huang

Vancouver Province

6/29/03 (production credit adds Rick Reese)

“Who wants fresh-baked cookies?”

Earl Kress

Kim Le, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

7/6/03

“Mr. Burns, the marketing group for your new cologne…”

Gail Simone

Kim Le, Jason Ho

Vancouver Province

7/13/03

“Homer, go check on Maggie … Why me?”

Brent Fletcher

John Costanza, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

7/20/03 (production credit Nathan Kane, Chris Ungar)

“Chief Clancy Wiggum’s Crimewatcher’s Notebook”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

7/27/03 (start production credit Chris Ungar) REDUCED TO 1/3 PAGE FORMAT STARTING HERE

“All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Graduate School”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

8/3/03

“Every month I get letters from lonely…”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Miami Herald

8/10/03

“And now, the school’s cultural enrichment committee…”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Miami Herald

8/17/03

“Handsome Pete’s Shellfish Tales”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

8/24/03

“Springfield Celebrates Take Our Daughters to Work Day”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

8/31/03

“When Catchphrases Collide”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

9/7/03

“Hey Bart! We need a little neighbor favor”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

9/14/03

“Little Remoh In Slumberland”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Vancouver Province

9/21/03

“Gazooka Moe And His Guys”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

9/28/03

Mostly pantomime, Bart fishing

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho

Salt Lake Tribune

10/5/03

“I’m afraid there’s no cure”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

10/12/03

“Today On Channel 6”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

10/19/03

“Featuring The Girls Of Apt. 15996”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

10/26/03

“As part of my contractual obligation…”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

11/2/03

“Look, Homer, lemonade! Come to think of it…”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

11/9/03

“Original Comic Strip Art For Sale”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

11/16/03

“Calling all cars! Burglary in progress…”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

11/23/03

“Your Very Own Grease-Absorbant (sic) Krusty Burger…”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

11/30/03

“I’d like a triple scoop of double fudge ripple.”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

12/7/03

“One fine morning in Moe’s Tavern”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

12/14/03

“On This Day In Springfield History, Part I”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

12/21/03

“On This Day In Springfield History, Part II”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

12/28/03

“Good morning ladies and gentlemenahavin!…”

Patric M. Verrone

Jason Ho, Mike Rote

Salt Lake Tribune

 

10 comments on “Obscurity of the Day: The Simpsons

  1. I vaguely remember the Simpsons appearing in one of the Bay Area papers. I don't recall it being a strip so much as a hodge podge of gags and simple puzzles — a sarcastic version of Weber's Comics for Kids. There was a sense of it being merchandise rather than a comic, comparable to how other licensed properties were deployed on Happy Meal boxes, calendars, and novelty books largely culled from existing art.

    How long has it been since anybody tried to launch a new property-based strip? I've seen various old strips heavily retooled (as opposed to simply taken over by new hands), Nancy and Alley Oop being the most recent. It may be a sad indicator of print's decline that all those big Marvel movies didn't lead to more strips (although the venerable Spider-Man stepped up guest appearances by other heroes).

  2. Hi DBenson — Nope, the Simpsons was a normal comic strip, except in rare cases. One of those cases was a gallery of (fake) movie posters, another was a satirical board game (maybe that's the one episode that really made an impression on you?). Anyway, there was no shilling for Simpsons merchandise in the strip, and it seemed to be writing more to an adult audience than kids (much like the TV show).

    I wouldn't be surprised if the last 'property-based' new strip was Pink Panther, which debuted in 2005 to a chorus of yawns.

    –Allan

  3. Not a physical copy, but cartoonist Donnie Pitchford recently posted a video (on his Facebook page) of him paging through the January 28, 2021 Mena Star ending on the back page showing the Lum and Abner comic strip in a half page, full color format.

  4. If I remember correctly, "The Simpsons" is one of the longest entries in American Newspaper Comics, just because of the constantly changing creative team.

  5. Joshua —
    Simpsons takes up just about one column, and for the next edition I've consolidated the creators to single listings and refer readers to the website for details, so it will stay about that long despite finding a whole second run, as noted above.

    Mickey Mouse, on the other hand, goes on for over 4 pages in the first edition!

    –Allan

  6. And just when can we expect the next edition?
    Because of constant use I don't expect my current copy
    to hold up beyond a couple more years.

  7. DD — I'm hoping to do an online edition eventually rather than killing another grove of trees. Unfortunately my programming skills are so far out of date that I'm probably going to need a pro to set the thing up. I keep on the lookout for really good and simple tools for creating online databases, but haven't come up with anything yet.

    –Allan

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