Tuesday, 24 November 2009

My Simpsons habit

Who's your favourite Simpsons character? Standard question really, the same one that could have been directed at anyone from any background of any age in the last twenty years. Note that it is assumed that you like the Simpsons to begin with.

Okay, maybe there are a few people out there who don't, but personally I haven't met any, although one of my work colleagues only saw his first episode last week, pretty good going for someone who owns a television. Not surprisingly, he enjoyed it.

The reason that I bring this up is not because of the long running TV show, but because of the comics which have been going on for nearly as long. I don't know why I wandered into my local Forbidden Planet comic shop, back in 1997, I know I felt out of place and slightly embarrassed about my age, I was 30 at the time, little did I realize that this is about the average age of a comic shop customer.

Once inside, I was confused and overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of comic book titles. I ended up looking through the back issue boxes where I found a divider labeled 'Simpsons comics'. I bought several back issues that day, including the first one that I laid my eyes on, issue no.21. The bright block colours jumped right off the cover, my hands felt cold and clammy, my heart raced and I felt that childish need to have, to own it now!

To the present day it remains my most consistent title that I collect, I even had a letter published in issue 93 in 2004. In it I referred to a storyline that ran in issue 11, entitled 'Fallen Flanders', in which Ned Flanders is abducted by the aliens Kang and Kodos whilst on a family camping trip.

The aliens create an evil clone of Ned and send it back down to Springfield. High jinx and evil doings ensue with Bart and Lisa hot on the trail to solve the mystery.

Cut a long story short, the original Ned is repatriated with the Flanders clan after Groundskeeper Willie fires a canon upon the alien spacecraft. In the meantime Ned's evil clone has seen the error of his ways, and realizing that there is only enough room for one Ned Flanders in Springfield he heads out of town in the direction of New York, off to spread some 'okely dokely' Samaritan goodness amongst the big city folk.

I've spread my comic reading wings since then and now pick up a whole bunch of different titles, the problem I face now is how to keep within an acceptable budget. One things for sure, my kids love comics, especially The Simpsons, and are already squabbling over who will inherit my ever increasing mountain of pulp.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering who my favourite Simpsons character is, it's a tied first place between the deliciously wicked Mr. Burns and the god fearing good neighbour, Ned Flanders himself!

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