Lil’ Homer #1
Simpsons Comics one-shots glorify our favorite minor characters
As a lifelong fan of The Simpsons, I have dabbled lightly in Simpsons comics, mostly Christmas related stories given to me as gifts from my parents. They are always fun and there are so many different story types to pick up in TPB.
I’m currently in a phase where I have many, many more things I’d rather read than Simpsons comics, so I usually avoid the kid’s comic rack, but there was one release that I have been awaiting with keen eyes and impatient heart. Last week the 3rd installment of Simpsons comics one-shots became available, this issue focusing on the innocent antics of the dimwit we all know as Lil’ Homer. As an adult, Homer Simpson’s values are contained within the television set, a good doughnut and occasionally his loving family. Despite the great number of careers he has held, he has surprisingly low work ethic and spends more time and energy avoiding work and responsibility than anything else. Lil’ Homer should display the same attributes, but as a child, we can expect him to have slightly more energy (although with a slightly lower attention span). Lil’ Homer #1 features six stories dedicated solely to the little scamp, and if examined as a whole, these stories reveal a lot about Homer Simpson’s childhood personality.
The first story is about a cruel genie (played by the Ye-ee-ee-ee-ss Guy) who Lil’ Homer inadvertently releases from a lamp. Despite expectations, Homer never reacts in the typical “I’ve released a genie and now I’m happy that I get to wish for crazy things” manner. Instead he only expresses fear and worry for the consequences of his prospective actions. I guess to keep this story short, the genie, however cruel, is made into a fool who reveals to Homer before he makes his first wish that his wishes will all have unexpected and terrible consequences no matter what. So Homer tries to think of anything that could never possibly have a negative outcome, but with no avail. This story is very revealing about Homer’s true caring nature, but whether his actions are products of love or fear, we do not know.
The second story is more about the Homer Simpson that we all know. He is determined to not bathe, so Abe Simpson reads him a story about a man-boy who wouldn’t bathe and the ultimate consequences. The story shows a boy who is excommunicated from his village because the public cannot stand to be around him and his putrid stink. He leaves town and lives in a shack alone until he’s a man and decides to return to town to see the life that he missed out on, still having never taken a bath. He is met with same hostility that was the source of his expulsion in the first place. His parents see a horrible vagrant and refuse him on the door step. Marge is married to Artie Ziff, and they make witty remarks about transcendentalism, Henry David Thoreau and Walden pond. He leaves town again and resumes his solitary existence in the woods and lives “happily ever after.” The man-boy in the story closely resembles Homer, so we would assume that Lil’ Homer would be frightened by these consequences, but ultimately he is excited by the prospects that a life without hygiene might bring.
The third and fourth story are simple one and two page stories about a trip to the fishing hole and being late for school.
The fifth story shows us what Lil’ Homer is capable of when he puts time and effort into something he cares about. He has been investing in a series of model kits and charges kids admission to see them when they are completed. Abe Simpson thinks that his son is wasting his time and would rather have Lil’ Homer perform chores rather than expand his mind in creative ways. This shows how Homer might have been stifled as a child due to the generation gap between his father and himself. It bothered me initially but Lil’ Homer escaped the chores and eventually began building his new model he had been saving for. Havoc ensues and Lil’ Homer eventually hallucinates that he is trapped as a model kit being built by the untalented sheriff-to-be, Clancy Wiggum, who enjoys blowing up his monstrous creations after completion much more than actually building them. Lil’ Homer wakes up to find himself fused to the family car with modelling glue and has been entered by Abe into a car show, in the category of best custom paint job. This story showcases what it was like for Homer to grow up under a strict male parent who was constantly trying to pin his ideals on his son, and ends in a joke about the all-too-real world of an abused child. These stories are deeper than they seem, but as we have seen in Homer’s sometimes perverse adult habits, these situations he lived through as a child definitely had real consequences.
The final story is another one-pager about flying a kite and problem solving that blows up in Lil’ Homer’s face.
I enjoyed this comic immensely because it was more than just a great series of thought provoking and entertaining stories. The basic idea of a one shot is to have shelf appeal to new readers and to give current readers a little treat, and The Simpson’s one-shot series definitely performs these tasks. I highly recommend picking this story up, as well as Ralph Wiggum #1, Milhouse #1 and Maggie Simpson #1 once it is eventually available.