Are you ready for the Simpsons mixed with mad science? Well too bad, because Bongo released a one-shot starring everyone’s favorite Jerry Lewis sounding minor character, Professor Frink! It’s PROFESSOR FRINK FANTASTIC SCIENCE FICTIONS #1. Ga-hey!
If for reason you’ve been living under a rock for the last thirty years (ostensibly one without internet access), The Simpsons is one of the longest running animated sitcoms. At some point it ceased to be merely a show and became a fixture of popular culture, like Garfield or Super Mario Brothers. It just wouldn’t do to have The Simpsons not around by this point, even though many people claim it’s gone beyond its recommended life span. More importantly, many people think the show ceased to be funny years ago.
I’m not one of them, but then again I don’t watch television to any significant degree.
In either case, it’s no surprise that The Simpsons would get their own set of comic books, including the identically named Simpsons book and the solo series for Bart Simpson, one of the show’s main draws. These books are published by Bongo Comics, and I’ve personally only come into possession of one older issue from a stack of unrelated comics. It wasn’t bad. I guess if you like straight up comedy, there’s worse comics you can pick up, and comic shops tend to lump them with the all-ages books.
Anyway, in addition to the titular dysfunctional family, the show is well known for its eclectic cast of hundreds of minor, side, and background characters. The story of The Simpsons is in many ways the story of its town Springfield (state unknown and in many cases wildly contradictory), and its population. Given the many years of the show’s run (and the accompanying comics), fans get to know all of them very well.
One of those characters is Professor Frink, the resident scientist archetype with a speech affectation heavily inspired by the (original) Nutty Professor as played by Jerry Lewis. Since Bongo seems intent on releasing various one-shots featuring different characters (next month is C. Montgomery Burns, by the way), they threw the professor a bone and gave him PROFESSOR FRINK FANTASTIC SCIENCE FICTIONS #1!
Since, as I mentioned previously, I fell in love with the mad science inspired Genius the Transgression, I decided to give this a whirl.
There are three stories contained within PROFESSOR FRINK FANTASTIC SCIENCE FICTIONS (yes, I love saying all that). The first is “Frink Sinatra”, where the good professor – after a night of passionate making out with a scientist lady friend accompanied by romantic discussion of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle – accidentally contaminates the Springfield water supply with Cool Juice. This causes any town residents too willful or nerdy to become hip cats, dadio. Naturally Frink realizes that all his neighbors being really cool is simply unnatural, and must be stopped. Unfortunately, he makes the poor choice to vocalize his intent in front of Homer and his bar mates, who form a mob in protection of their newly acquired style.
It seems all of these fellows joined the Midnight Crew, and have no intention of letting any nerds spoil it.
Next is “Hook, Line, & Frinker”, where the professor attempts to “jump-start evolution” on the town’s resident three-eyed mutant fish.
You know. For Science.
This leads to the fish spontaneously growing legs and reproducing asexually at an accelerated rate, devouring all they see. It’s Trouble With Tribbles all over again! Quick, someone build an exact replica of Springfield before Celestia gets here! Oh wait, I think I’m mixing my references.
Lastly we have “Synchronicity for Two”. In the story, Frink gives a lecture to Bart Simpson’s elementary school class about quantum physics. Of course he also brought his latest Wonder with him, a large laser cannon of some kind. For Science. Bart, being the impulsive idiot he is, fires if off against Frink’s wishes, and by happenstance it hits them both, sending them into another dimension.
Although it’s Frink’s own fault in the first place. If he wasn’t going to fire the thing off, why did he plug the thing in? And if it had its own battery, why was it on?
In this other dimension we get the gimmick of this comic: anaglyph 3D! Yes, the parts in the other dimension are formatted in such a way as to appear in 3D if you wear a pair of those red and blue 3D glasses. No, the modern stereoscopic 3D glasses you pay an additional seven dollars for at the movie theater don’t work. Thankfully, the comic comes equipped with its own pair of Frink-O-Matic Goggles! In fact, the last page of the book commands readers to take pictures of themselves wearing the punch out paper goggles and email them to Bongo.
Of course I, being loath to ruin the original state of the book, decided to keep them inside and use a pair I got with a copy of The Rockin’ Dead for the PC. A game I have yet to play. Come to think of it, why do I own The Rockin’ Dead? Oh wait, 4-pack of games. That explains it.
This comic was decent enough, and it’s scratched whatever itch I might have had for Simpsons comics. For a while, at least. I’d give this one a try, so long as you don’t mind eyes strain from the 3D glasses. At least this 3D works, for whatever that’s worth. Unlike a certain other 3D comic I could mention.
As for the rest of the Simpsons comics, there is one other thing I can recommend quickly. It’s a Radioactive Man comic, written in the style of an in-universe comic (Radioactive Man being the Simpson’s resident Superman expy).
I’ve only ever skimmed it at book stores, but it seems like a love letter to the long history of superhero comics. From a parody of Golden/Silver Age superhero origins, to a parody of the Dark Age of comics, and even going into crisis crossovers. Check that out too, if you want.