Comicbook / The Simpsons
aka: Simpsons Comics

After its success in prime time TV, The Simpsons spawned into Comic Book territory with its own series based on the show. The comics were created by Bongo Comics. Simpsons Comics, The main title was launched in November, 1993 and is still ongoing. There have also been several spin offs such as Bart Simpson, Treehouse of Horror, and Radioactive Man.


  • Abusive Parents: Agnes Skinner tells Seymour he's a failure all the time, and has even sown the word 'failure' into his dressing gown. But even she cannot tolerate his moping about the house, so she tells him to go get his old job back in her usual fashion.
    Agnes Skinner: "Your dream is small and pathetic, but so are you! The shoe fits! Now get out there and wear it!"
  • Adaptation Expansion: Characters who don't often appear on the show get more use here. For example, Apu's nephew Jamshed, who previously appeared in only one scene of one episode.
  • Affectionate Parody:
    • The Radioactive Man and Bartman comics parody the living hell out of every superhero cliché and trope out there, then go back for seconds.
    • There are infrequent appearances by the Z-Men.
    • Most Treehouse of Horror stories are retold versions of horror movies, including Cat People, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Exorcist.
  • A.I. is a Crapshoot: One issue has Smithers commissioning a supercomputer with Mr. Burns's personality, to take over his operation in case he dies. In an inversion, the computer is everything Burns isn't: Polite, genial, helpful (if in a misguided sense). So naturally, once Mr. Burns learns about this, he has Smithers destroy "Monty". Smithers instead manages to smuggle him back to his home computer.
  • All Just a Dream: Apu is so sleep deprived he believes Manjula and his eight children are just delusions. He freaks out when Lisa tells him the truth.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • Even happens to Mr. Burns, who laments that while he is very, very, very rich, the trillionares look down on him from their "towers of diamond."
    • As big as the Presidential mansion of Bosqueverde is, there is another much grander house, belonging to Bumblebee Man.
    • Groundskeeper Willie's big brother Angus is better, smarter, a clearer speaker, more good looking and a successful movie star. Willie also thinks their parents prefer him more, though they really don't care about either of them.
  • Another Story for Another Time: During a montage sequence in issue #68, we find Homer somehow managed to become Prime Minister of New Zealand. The narration tells us it's a story for another time. Homer is missing for the rest of the issue, and somehow causes Australia to declare war on New Zealand.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Chief Wiggum seems to think Canada is Germany.
  • Artistic License – History: John Wilkes Booth tried to kill Lincoln because the man sent a familiar-looking idiot in his place, one who ate most of the food in the theatre, and stole a fruit basket belonging to Booth from his private room, and was foiled by a time-travelling Professor Frink.
  • Art Shift:
    • Treehouse of Horror, an annual series of Halloween comics inspired by the televised Simpsons episodes of the same title.
    • Issue 15 is the most blatant example. Just about every writer and illustrator who worked on that issue have made names for themselves in the independent comic book field.
    • Issue 17's final segment includes a Story Within a Story done in the style of EC Comics.
  • Ascended Fangirl: This fan's picture gave her a job offer from Bongo Comics.
  • Ascended Meme: "Boo-tleg," A story in Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror #15, features a bootleg Black Bart who had plans to sell shirts of himself at a flea market.
  • Asshole Victim: Frequent in Treehouse of Horror comics.
    • Sideshow Blob's first victims include Dr. Nick, and the bullies, just after the latter had attacked Bart on Halloween Night.
    • The Homer-plant eats Mr. Burns.
  • As You Know:
    • Parodied in a Radioactive Man comic, where a villain, after describing her plan declares "a sudden irrelevant desire to recount my origins!", much to her henchman's annoyance.
    Henchman: (In thought caption) Here we go again...
    Other Henchman: We just went over this at breakfast.
    • Subverted in another instance, when Magmo the Lava-Man begins monologing about why he's attacking the surface, only to stop when he realises he already knows what his plan is.
  • Ate It All: Homer once ate the entire Thanksgiving Turkey himself, on purpose, without even trying to hide it, while the turkey wasn't even half cooked.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: Homer gets angry at traffic reporter Arnie Pie, and calls up the radio to cuss him out. It gets him thrown in jail.
  • Back to Front: Issue #43, "Journey to the Cellar of the Kwik-E Mart", is told in this fashion, starting with the family driving off a bridge, then flashing back through the kids' investigation of an urban myth at the Kwik-E Mart, and ending with a flashback to decades earlier which confirms the story was true.
  • Badass Normal: One story involves the power plant exploding, giving everybody superpowers - except for Bart, who was grounded at the time.
  • Banana Republic: Bosqueverde, which the Simpsons visit when they win a Duff competition. It even has a black market that sells giant bananas.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Most of Lisa's swimsuits are midriff-baring.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Mister Burn's adopted father is responsible for the Hindenburg (he sold the makers discount hydrogen), the Titanic (he had the hull made out of tinfoil to save costs), communism, and the disappearance of Amelia Earhart (whose plane just happened to have a very large amount of incriminating tax receipts on-board).
  • Big "NO!": Bart at the very beginning of the first Bartman story, after having just learned that he's going to have to go to summer school.
  • Black Widow: Agnes Skinner once had a dream of marrying and then immediately killing Stalin. A few panels after she reveals this, she notes that she has a gentleman caller coming round, and tells Skinner to get out of the house. As he leaves, we see who it is: Fidel Castro.
  • Blessed with Suck: Mr. Burns is so irradiated he can't touch a computer without it short-circuiting.
    • When everyone in Springfield (save Bart) gets superpowers, Moe gets the power of being... three inches tall. The barflies immediately contain him in a beer glass and go wild on the duff.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The Treehouse of Horror issues are darker and more disturbing than the most recent episodes have been, even when they act as parodies of existing movies and film franchises.
  • Bluff The Imposter: Homer claims to be Canadian to avoid a speeding ticket. Chief Wiggum hands him a bottle of maple syrup and tells him to drink it, and since every Canadian liquid is at least 15% proof, Homer gets drunk instantly.
  • Brick Joke: In the fourth installment of the main comic, Milhouse is reading a newspaper. It's mentioned in a small column on the front page that the actor who portrays Scratchy the Cat at the Krustyland amusement park has mysteriously disappeared, but none of the characters notice this, as they're too concerned with reading about the baseball game later that day. Not until Bartman #3 do we learn not only that the disappearance was a kidnapping, but that it ended up creating a citywide crisis in Springfield that now only Bartman and Radioactive Man can resolve.
    • In the very first issue, Mr. Burns' scientists warn him against messing with dangerous experiments by reminding him about "Project Q" (sealed in a vault that absolutely must not be opened until the year 10,000 A.D.). About thirty issues later, Homer becomes amnesiac and, believing that he's actually Radioactive Man, accidentally releases it to wreak havoc on the nuclear plant.
    • An in-story example occurs in "The Greatest D'oh On Earth" when the Simpson family (minus Bart, who's been grounded) go to the circus. Homer is refused admittance because twenty years earlier he had attended the same circus and taunted one of the clowns by throwing peanuts at him - and the actor playing the clown now works at the ticket booth!
    • "In the Name of Lava" has one of these. Near the beginning of the story, Bart asks Homer if he's got lava insurance (as part of a prank which leads the townspeople into thinking the world's going to end), to which he responds that he doesn't even have car insurance. At the end, when the dam bursts and the two are left adrift with the family car, Bart reminds him that he doesn't have car insurance.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: During the trial of Homer Comic Book Guy for the selling and distributing of obscene horror history comics Bart is able to act as their lawyer, he then has the entire jury replaced since they are not a jury of the defendants peers since they know nothing about comics and thus cannot truly understand the case. The jury is reformed with geeks who drop the obscenity charges, but charge them with a bunch of petty grievances instead.
  • Cain and Abel: Jebediah Springfield's sons Obadiah and Zechariah were this, according to Lisa.
  • Call Back:
    • To "The Ziff Who Came to Dinner" in "Marge the Sellout" and to "Boy Scoutz n' the Hood" in "Breaking Bart".
    • Simpsons Super Special issue 6 is one great big call back to the first inter-comic crossover.
  • The Cameo: Pee-wee Herman (although never mentioned by name) is the freak-show handler in "The Greatest D'oh On Earth." (It's something of an in-joke, since Pee-wee portrayer Paul Reubens grew up with several families of circus performers as his next-door neighbors, and of course appeared in Big Top Pee-wee.)
    • Jimmy Carter appears in a flashback in "Marge the Sellout", building a home for Marge's old prom date Artie Ziff.
      • Hillary Clinton, J.K. Rowling and Condoleeza Rice all appear in Lisa's dream urging her to try her hardest to gain admission to a good university in "Nobody's Purrfect".
    • Oprah Winfrey appears, identified by name no less, in a Mexican labour camp that has scammed numerous rich people, including Mr. Burns.
  • Canada, Eh?: One issue has Principal Skinner deported to Canada, portrayed as a tree-filled wasteland where everyone wears flannel shirts and plays hockey, with Skinner forced to work in maple syrup mines in exchange for socialized healthcare. He eventually escapes by throwing a beaver at a Mountie's face.
  • Canon Foreigner: Occasionally these show up.
  • Cassandra Truth: No-one believes Homer when he becomes a successful wrestler, least of all his own family. Marge only realises the truth when Homer's outfit gets damaged in the ring, revealing his labelled underwear.
  • Characterization Marches On: An early Bartman comic has the Comic Book Guy willingly partake in selling deliberately made "error" comics, simply in order to make money.
  • The Chessmaster: Bart, at the beginning of "The Prime of Miss Lisa Simpson", when he has all the teachers deported.
  • Church of Happyology: "Scifiometry", who use pointless gadgets, sell self-help books, and talk about aliens. It's eventually revealed that they have actually contacted aliens, specifically Kang and Kodos... and swindled them too.
  • Cloning Gambit: One Treehouse of Horror revolves around Burns using a cloning machine that creates perfect imperfect duplicates of whatever it's aimed at to create the perfect worker, by using it on Homer. It creates Superman.
    • One story in the main line has Mr. Burns deciding to end a strike (over a ridiculously small wage increase) by firing everyone and making clones of Smithers, at a cost far greater than it would have been to just give them the wage increase.
    • After an attempt at a computerized replacement goes wrong, Mr. Burns decides to go back to cloning attempts.
    Smithers: Old-school is best, sir.
  • Comically Small Bribe: In order to convince Homer to pretend to be a pro-wrestler, Smithers is ordered to adjust his salary. Homer pauses to think about whether to accept the offer, and it takes long enough for Smithers to point out it's only a thirty-six dollars a year raise.
  • Comic-Book Time: Radioactive Man notes that Bug Boy has been trying to cure his shrapnel problem for thirty-six years, but has stayed twelve years old all that time. Bug Boy spends the next several hours explaining how that's possible with math.
  • Commander Contrarian: Bart in regards to his favourite comics. He hates the current stagnation they're going through, but immediately complains at the mere suggestion of change.
  • Continuity Snarl: The comic makes occasional use of the team known as The Z-Men, but Mark Millar and Grant Morrison appear in one issue, and are explicitly said to have written X-Men proper (though exactly which one wrote the proper X-Men is something they argue about. Violently).
  • Corrupt Cop: Everyone knows the Springfield cops are corrupt. In one issue, Homer and Wiggum discuss a bribe like it was a tip. Wiggum goes for five dollars, or more if the service was exceptional.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Krusty purchases the company that makes Bart's favourite characters. The inevitable happens, and he runs it into the ground within a few months.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Homer had the gutters outside the house padded in case he passes out in them.
    • Nelson stole a giant dodgeball and kept it on his person just in case he needed to throw it at Martin.
    • Every Krusty-Burger franchise has a giant hook installed on the roof for easy removal.
    • Chief Wiggum keeps a bottle of Canadian maple syrup on hand in case someone tries to get out of getting a speeding ticket by claiming they're Canadian.
  • Crossover: The four-part "Futurama Simpsons Infinitely Secret Crossover Crisis".
    • The early days of the comics had When Bongos Collide, a three-issue storyline crossing over all three of the then-running Bongo titles: Itchy & Scratchy Comics, Simpsons Comics and Bartman. Interestingly enough, this storyline involved a plot device similar to the one in the Futurama/Simpsons crossover, with a device that brings fictional characters into the real world — hence Itchy and Scratchy are running loose in Springfield, and Bartman teams up with Radioactive Man.
    • Later on, a series of Bartman stories that saw him targeted by a villain called "the Canker" somehow tied into an earlier Simpsons Comics story about Ned Flanders being abducted and replaced by Kang and Kodos (who were teamed up with Sideshow Bob, who revealed that he was the man behind the Canker), aided by henchmen who showed up in a seemingly innocuous Rainier Wolfcastle/McBain strip. The Bongo titles were actually surprisingly good at this sort of thing.
    • "The Greatest Radioactive Man Event Ever!", which runs through "Simpsons Comics", "the Simpsons Presents Bart Simpson" and "The Simpsons Super Spectacular".
  • Crisis Crossover: A three-part story focuses on these. Bart and his friends hate them because of the sheer price involved with all the tie-in issues, and the fact that the stories aren't even that interesting. Others are mentioned and show, including one took so much work it sent the artist and inker mad.
  • Crying Indian: When garbage is littered all over an endangered duck pond we see a tearful Apu.
  • Cultural Translation: Parodied in "The Simpsons Comics Internationale!" with supposed examples of The Simpsons as adapted by other cultures. The issue presents a Bart Simpson manga, a story from Mexico, and a Belgian comic that mixes elements from both Tintin and The Smurfs.note 
  • Cutaway Gag: In "A Brand New Burns: Part Two", when Homer swears to save Mr. Burns from his encapturement in a Mexican sweatshop, Marge reminds him about the last time he rescued something. Cue flashback to him pulling a poor dolphin with a net around him out of the water at the beach. It's revealed that he put him in a hot tub still flailing around desperately with a net around him, insisting to Marge that if he cuts it, he'll escape.
  • Darker and Edgier: The storyline of "They Fixed Homer's Brain" is far more serious and emotional than any other issue in the series.
  • Death Is Cheap: In the Radioactive Man comics, this is parodied. When the eponymous hero is blasted with a death ray, and his sidekick mournfully announces he's dead, one of the other heroes just thinks "show-off. He'll be back by the end of the month." He is in fact back by the next issue.
  • Death Ray: Mister Burns plans to use one on a village fair, though Smithers points out it only kills plant life.
    Mr. Burns: "Thank you for reminding me, Sammy Spoilsport!"
  • Defictionalisation; There have been comics about the comic book within a show, Radioactive Man.
  • Dissimile: In the first issue of Simpsons Comics, Burns contemplates becoming a giant and says, "I'll be like the Jolly Green Giant, only not green, and not jolly!"
  • Downer Ending: "Nobody's Purrfect" ends on one of these. About to start a new life after being ridden of her obsession with cats, Eleanor Abernathy reverts back to normal when some kitties start chasing after her when she picks a nice sweater up from the garbage can. Even worse, the blue cat's wink at the end makes it seem like they planned it.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • A man is shown about to jump off a bridge in "Ralph Wiggum's Day Off". Luckily, Ralph cheers him up and he decides not to do it.
    • Homer is initially fine with living on an island made of garbage, until he learns there's no cable TV. He snaps and tries to get himself eaten by sharks. This fails because the sharks have already died from the polluted water.
  • Drunk Driver: Played with. Sideshow Bob is run over by a Duff truck, whose drivers are sampling the goods in order to determine what Duff tastes like.
  • Epic Fail: Gil's attempt to defend Krusty in court somehow ends up with the courthouse being burnt down, and Judge Snyder set on fire twice.
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: A film featuring Groundskeeper Willie's brother Angus tries to translated the thick Scottish accents the actors have, but it can only do so much...
    Angus: "Ye spilt me wee lager, ye soft jessies!" (Pardon me, I believe you accidentally spilt my adult beverage)
    Scotsman: "The Lord take ye for a dummock, ye airy tweezer!" (We strongly condemn your harsh appraisement)
    Angus: (brandishing a rake) "Oh, it's on, then, and best of British on yez both, ye knacked fencepost gibbons!" (????)
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: One early issue focuses on the mystery of who stole a sculpture of a puma (the Springfield Elementary mascot) from the school. The mystery must be solved before Principal Skinner returns from a trip. Given a dozen suspects with increasingly bizarre motives, Lisa deduces that Skinner took it with him to protect it.
  • Evil Counterpart: Evil Bumblebee Man, who even comes with a sinister goatee, monocle and eloquent speech patterns. He sells a wanted Homer out to the police, pointing out that he 'is' evil.
  • Executive Meddling: In-universe, and parodied, like everything else, when we see comic book company executives working on a new plan to reinvigorate their readers. None of them have an original thought, and when one of them suggests getting a writer in to help, he gets shouted down.
  • Expy: Radioactive Man gets more development in the comics that he does in the show. As it turns out he's part-Superman (well-respected superhero with a long-standing crush on a reporter), part-Batman (foppish layabout with a teenaged sidekick), and part-Hulk (got his powers from an atomic bomb).
    • A great many of Radioactive Man's supporting cast (and RM himself) take a great deal from other superhero comics.
      • His sidekick Fallout Boy is a mix of Robin (teenaged sidekick who lives with superhero), and Spider-Man (social outcast with an elderly aunt).
      • Bleeding Heart is Captain America (patriotic superhero, with the name change after his faith is shaken) mixed with Green Arrow (vocal left-wing after massive upshift in life) and Tony Stark (the Superior Squad's financial backer and former weapons developer).
      • Weasel Woman is a gender-flipped Wolverine.
      • Plasmo the Mystic is just Doctor Strange (fancy cape, tendency to make dramatic proclamations)
  • Extreme Omnivore: When everyone in town (except Bart and the Squeaky Voiced Teen) get superpowers, Homer becomes the Indigestible Bulk, whose hunger is proportional to his anger. He manages to eat part of a brick wall with no problem, and in another appearance many years later, an entire fighter-plane.
  • Fake-Out Opening:
    • In the very first Simpsons comic story from 1994, "The Amazing Colossal Homer," we see a looming shot of Homer in the very first panel and think he's become a giant (because both the cover of the book and the title of the story have led us to expect that). But it turns out we're just viewing a normal-sized Homer from the point of view of the bathroom floor; his turning into a giant comes later.
    • An even funnier example was at the beginning of "Be-Bop-A-Lisa." We think at first that we are seeing Edna Krabappel and Groundskeeper Willie in the middle of an amorous embrace... but then we turn the page and realize that it's just two of Bart's friends parodying Edna and Willie for a school talent show.
    • In fact, the Fake-Out Opening quickly became a staple of the comic. For a long time, nearly every issue had one, some of them being... rather forced.
  • Fantastically Indifferent: Lenny and Carl engage in a conversation about water from a cooler (and saltines), utterly ignoring Homer fleeing for his life from some thugs.
  • "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: In "They Fixed Homer's Brain", Homer becomes intelligent after taking a special pill during his job as a guinea pig for medical research. He becomes miserable while being smart, but decides to have a more complete surgery for Lisa's sake when the pill starts wearing off. Lisa stops him from having the treatment so he doesn't sacrifice his happiness for her sake, and he goes back to his normal dim-witted self.
  • Frame-Up:
    • Comic Book Guy, obsessed with being a hero, begins framing the children of Springfield as shoplifters, finally being exposed when he tries this on Bart.
    • In a later issue, Bart goes to the ice cream parlour, and soon comes to the cashier complaining about finding octopus legs in his ice cream and demanding a refund. The Squeaky Voiced Teen points out that Bart always finds octopus legs in his ice cream. The manager takes Bart's side, because "the customer is always right."
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: "Ned Simpson" is about Homer and Ned switching bodies.
  • General Ripper: Subverted in one Radioactive Man comic, with a general who looks like J. Jonah Jameson, but is actually reasonable, trusting and even-tempered.
  • Gigantic Gulp: In one issue, Bart, Lisa, Martin and Milhouse find giant squishee cups the size of children while exploring the Kwik-e-Mart; Squishzilla. Apu later explains that they weren't used because they were so heavy when filled that no one could carry them away.
  • Global Ignorance: When Hank Scorpio's son threatens to evaporate all the world's oceans, and does so to the Indian Ocean as a threat, the USA representative for the UN is terrified. Just not for the right reasons.
    US Rep: There's an Indian Ocean?! Where the heck's that?!
  • Godzilla Threshold: Parodied when the police use Willie playing the bagpipes off-key to stop Otto playing loud rock music in the middle of the night.
    Lou: "We won, chief!"
    Chief Wiggum: (sighs) "When it comes this far, Lou, nobody wins."
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop:
    • When chewing Bart and Lisa out for ruining a school production, Skinner is constantly undermined by Mrs. Krabapple, who suggests harsh punishments for both of them.
    • "Hail to the Cat" begins with Wiggum forced to be both sides, due to massive budget cuts meaning he's had to let go every other police officer. And because of that he has to leave early, asking Snake if he'd be willing to beat himself up.
  • Good Is Dumb: Radioactive Man is (more or less) a good person, but is completely lacking in any manner of common sense.
  • A Good, Old-Fashioned Paint Watching: A Treehouse of Horror segment has an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon that has them doing this, due to the Pod People.
    Itchy: "The paint is drying."
    Scratchy: (Beat): "Yes." (The end)
    Homer: (To Bart and Lisa) "How can you two watch this show?"
  • Go Look at the Distraction: Bart uses this to avoid being wrongfully arrested by Apu.
    Bart: "Look, it's Vishnu!" (flees)
    Apu: "(gasp) He has escaped. I am so annoyed I am tempted not to say... Thank you, come again!"
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Kearney is revealed to be wearing pink underpants in Bartman #1, after his shorts slip off while he's hanging from a catwalk in a factory. (On the other hand, since Kearney and his fellow goons are legitimately threatening, this could be an example of Real Men Wear Pink.)
  • Government Conspiracy: NASA is faking most of its space missions, since two-thirds of them failed miserably, and have taken to filming rovers driving around in the desert. Lisa and Homer stumble across one of their shooting sessions. Lisa decides not to tell the truth, but as it turns out Homer defaced one of the sets anyway.
  • Granola Girl: Lisa sees some people moving gigantic bananas around, and rushes over to lecture them on "perveting nature's bounty", ignoring the fact that these people are black market dealers, and heavily armed. They try to kill her.
  • Grounded Forever: In one issue Bart says that if he doesn't find the school puma by the next day, he'll be doing detention till he's 80.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Homer has one when he learns he's being filmed without his knowledge. He spends several days lying in bed not moving.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Kearney, of all people, is a member of Lisa's environmental group. He contributes donations in his own special way.
    • Homer can recognise an episode of Jeeves and Wooster, and when it was made.
  • Hilarity Ensues: One strip in a Bart Simpson comic has Bart trick Milhouse into thinking he's invisible when he loses his glasses. He ensures his "friend" that hilarious hijinks are bound to ensue if he takes advantage of it, then thinks to himself that he should stop reading the program descriptions in TV Guide.
  • Horror Hunger: Treehouse of Horror #17's story "Marge of the Dead" features Marge getting a organ transplant from a cadaver, with the transplant giving her an insatiable craving for human brains.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Chief Wiggum has arrested Homer for obscenity, and as he throws Homer in the cell, swears loudly. This earns him a sharp rebuke from Kearney, who happens to be in a cell with his son.
  • I Am Spartacus: In one issue, Grampa becomes a vigilante (El Grampo) and when Chief Wiggum tries to arrest him, the other members of the Springfield Retirement Castle claim to be the real El Grampo. They don’t do this because they care about Grampa but because they think that pretending to be El Grampo will result in their families paying attention to them. The whole thing turns out to be one of Grampa’s nonsensical stories.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin: The genetically engineered doughnuts Mr. Burns tried to give to his workers instead of pay, of course since they were intentionally designed to be addictive this isn't too surprising.
  • I Have Many Names: One of Radioactive Man's fellow superheroes changes his name frequently. He starts off as Purple Heart, later changed to Purple Badge of Courage after delivered C&D notices by the U.S. Army lawyers, then Bleeding Heart, then finally Broken Heart, when he becomes a brooding anti-hero. Bleeding Heart seems to be the one that won out in the end.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Radioactive Man is stuck with a piece of metal embedded in his forehead which cannot be removed, thus denying him the ability to go back to being boring old millionaire playboy Claude Kane the Third.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: A given with a character named Radioactive Man, who owes his origin to being near ground zero of a nuclear bomb test, along with his side-kick Fallout Boy.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: John Wilkes Booth happens to look almost exactly like Frank Grimes with a moustache.
  • Insistent Terminology: As they explain to Mayor Quimby, the people from Fox aren't the same as Hollywood executives. The difference? Those were a bunch of immoral predators. The TV people are amoral predators.
  • The Insomniac: Mister Burns never sleeps, after one too many visits from holiday spirits telling him to change his ways.
  • Ironic Echo: A rather short version. In one comic, Bart is assisting Comic Book Guy at a comic convention, and is stuck running the booth while Comic Book Guy is away. A worker comes around to collect the booth toll, and Bart honestly - if a bit rudely - says "I don't know nothin'. Talk to Comic Book Guy." The worker instantly decides to take the booth toll in trade by swiping Bart's Radioactive Man comic, and when Bart protests, the worker just yells back "I don't know nothin'! Talk to Comic Book Guy!"
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: Invoked during Radioactive Man's latest funeral, where's it's pouring down due to several men operating a massive hose, making it look like it's raining.
  • It's Been Done: A clown-lawyer tries to give the Simpsons a free holiday in lieu of paying damages when Homer injuries himself, but no matter what country he suggests, the Simpsons have in fact been there already.
  • It Will Never Catch On: One issue of Radioactive Man has the title character and fellow superheroes Bleeding Heart and Black Partridge travelling across America. After stopping at a diner, Partridge thinks to herself the idea of superheroes travelling across America is ludicrous. Just to ram the point home, what's clearly Oliver Queen and Hal Jordan can be seen behind her.
  • Jerk Jock: Subverted in one Radioactive Man parody of Spider-Man's origin, with a jock who's trying to be supportive towards a nerd, who assumes he's this. He's even seen lamenting his inability to "help his fellow man".
  • Jive Turkey: Purple Haze, one of Radioactive Man's teammates. Lampshaded, of course.
    Henchman: Oh, you lousy stereotype!
  • Kent Brockman News: Well, yeah. Including such highlights as Kent Brockman commenting on a barbaric gameshow that is designed to kill anyone who takes part ("Just the touch of Darwinism society needs"), an overblown news report on his divorce, or this:
    Kent Brockman: "We now interrupt this show because, heh, basically we can!"
  • Killer Rabbit: Mr. Burns truly believes puppies are dangerous killing machines, due to his aunt being eaten by a band of roving puppies during the lean years of the Hoover administration.
    • During an employee competition, Carl hands out hamsters to everyone at the plant. Then they drink some radioactive water...
  • Kill It with Fire: Give Homer community service disposing of highway trash, and he will do this, with a flame-thrower.
    • Homer also doesn't realise that the phrase "fighting fire with fire" is not meant to be applied literally.
  • Last of His Kind: Bug Boy completely blew up his entire planet as an infant. A later comic shows that some of his species survived, and not surprisingly, he didn't want to go home.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Lampshaded, like every other superhero trope, when the inhabitants of Springfield all get superpowers, and the bullies pick a fight with the retirement home inhabitants.
    Kearney: "Why are we fighting, anyway?"
    Jimbo: "Because, dude, we totally have superpowers now. This is what we're supposed to do!"
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Parodied with the Z-Men, who have multiple titles for sale, including the aptly titled Another Bunch of Z-Men.
  • The Long List: Marge recounts every single job Homer's ever taken. It takes several hours.
  • Long Runner
  • Lost Him in a Card Game: One issue has Homer win Smithers off Mister Burns and he and Marge fight for Homer's approval.
  • Mad Scientist: Frink is shown working hard to make an edible car. Unfortunately his choice of material is what he proclaims the "ultimate foodstuff": Lard.
    • During the time when Springfield is divided over ownership of the town's water supply, Frink designs a 'tar pig', a pig with all its blood replaced with tar.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Subverted. Sideshow Bob is badly injured after being hit by a truck and has reconstructive surgery, leading Bart and Lisa to suspect he's changed his identity. Come the climax and we find out he looks exactly the same, to us at least. In-Universe, Bob claims that he looks at least ten years younger thanks to what they did. He takes offense at Bart saying he doesn't look different, and prepares to kill him. Cue a Big Damn Heroes moment from Sideshow Mel.
  • Male Gaze: In one of Bart's comics, the Z-Men are discussing how they must protect those who hate and fear them. Two men who happen to be standing behind the Storm and Jean Grey expies note they don't hate or fear them at all.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: In When Bongos Collide, every human in Springfield except Bart got hit with a nuclear blast caused by Itchy and Scratchy turned real. Not only did they gain diverse powers, but they started fighting each other for no particular reason. Bart observed, "With great power comes even greater irresponsibility!" In order to set things right, Bart dons his Bartman persona, and using Flanders' video camera, a comic book, and the same alien technology that made Itchy and Scratchy real, he teams up with Radioactive Man.
  • Meat-O-Vision: Subverted. Stuck on a garbage island Homer sees Lenny and Carl as a hamburger and a hot dog, but as it turns out they're wearing costumes while their clothes dry off.
  • Meet the New Boss: Springfield Elementary used to be ruled by bullying nerds, until Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney came along.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Stuck on an island made of garbage and going slowly mad, Lenny and Carl agree to kill Homer and woo Marge, on the agreement that Carl will murder Lenny in turn.
  • My Greatest Failure: A hobo claims he is the one responsible for New Coke, hence why he's now a hobo.
    Hobo: "Why? Why did I try to play God?!"
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: When in Paris with Bart and Krusty, Milhouse tries to talk to a ticket collector and ask him why Krusty's show has been cancelled. He accidentally asks if he'd like a cup of squirrels. When Bart tries, he finds out the guy speaks English.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In one issue, Bart manages to ruin the economy of an entire country, causing it to declare war on Bart and Lisa.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: Parodied, like every other super hero cliché, when Bart visits the Android's Dungeon in one issue, and there's a shot of dozens of comics, including such lovely names as Deathkill, Killdeath, Deathdeath and The Lockjaw Legion.
    • And again with a Radioactive Man issue, where a clone of his becomes a nastier, edgier Radioactive Man, who is much more popular with children and marketing executives. The original defeats him with an attorney.
    • Another Radioactive Man story that's supposed to be set during the Silver Age features his friend Radioactive Ape undergoing a series of bizarre transformations, the last of which sees him becoming an ultra-muscled, gun-toting thug covered in spikes and belts. After curing him, the two joke about how super heroes would never look that ridiculous in the future.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Bart once managed to trick Abe into getting stuck in the back of the family car, apparently by posing as Quentin Tarantino.
    • Homer tried to join ZZ Top at one point, the only record of this being a photo of him with an extremely long beard. Marge notes that he promised not to mention it again.
    • When asked why he has a spare set of clothing, Abraham Lincolm mentions a time when he and Stonewall Jackson got incredibly drunk, but he angrily cuts off before he goes further.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Accused of being deviants, Homer and Comic Book Guy take to the streets to proclaim their innocence. Seconds later Homer has stripped naked and is rubbing himself down with Vaseline. His sandwich board even says "I'm normal, I swear it."
    • Abe Simpson has a heart attack when visited by IRS ninjas, and after a visit to the hospital goes to complain at someone.
    Government official: "Mr Simpson, I assure you, it's rare that this government makes a mistake."
    Aide: "Sir, sir! I think we bombed the wrong embassy again! I'm not sure there even is a Prussia anymore!"
    Homer: "Pfft, that's ridiculous, I- ooh! That cloud looks like a pork chop!"
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In Treehouse of Horror #17, the last story in the issue, "Harvest of Fear," utilizes this and Gory Discretion Shot by having the final page be drawn to look as though it was cut out. However, on the remaining sliver of page left, one can barely make out Bart getting his face ripped off.
  • Not Me This Time: When being taken into protection from foreign agents going after the Simpsons, Homer cheerfully remarks that at least it's not his fault this time.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bart and Lisa's reaction on seeing Homer leave Moe's at three in the afternoon, completely sober.
    • When seeing Krusty acting as a doctor, Hibbert and Dr. Nick have this reaction. Hibbert even thinks he's in Hell.
    Dr Hibbert: "Dr. Nick I understand, but I did all that tithing!"
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Radioactive Man doesn't get along with the Radioactive Man of Beta-Earth, in one instance trying to trick the guy into sacrificing himself at the drop of a hat.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In order to avoid an angry mob, Mr. Burns disguises himself as Marie Antoinette. It doesn't work for an instant.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Parodied when Professor Z tries to give an inspiring speech to his 'Z-Men', but it quickly becomes incomprehensible nonsense. Wolverine knock-off Weaselsine still comments "those are some right pretty words, professor."
  • Peeling Potatoes: According to one of his war stories, Grampa was so good at peeling potatoes that it made him a war hero.
  • Pet the Dog: Bart has all the teachers in Springfield deported, and as they're being bundled onto an airplane, Miss Hoover asks where Mrs Krabapple's being sent.
    Mrs Krabapple: (smug grin) France.
    Miss Hoover: (Death Glare) Student's pet.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Marge in the donut issue; she rallies the town when Mr. Burns addictive donuts starts to threaten the local economy, loses in court, and Burns stops donut production anyway for unrelated reasons. Lampshaded by Lisa, who notes that the problem solved itself regardless of Marge's actions.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Radioactive Man represents the conservative 50s viewpoint, no matter the era he's in, so when he and fellow superhero Bleeding Heart are kicked out of a diner from dressing like hippies, and Bleeding Heart ruminates on how they live in a country where people are denied service just because they're slightly different, Radioactive Man chimes in with "it makes me proud to be an American."
  • Power Perversion Potential: In the strip listed under Hilarity Ensues, Milhouse (with the encouragement of Bart) goes into the girl's bathroom when he thinks he's invisible - only it's not for the same reason as most examples of this trope are - he does it to scare the girls and even announces his presence to them. Of course, they can see him and run out screaming, trampling on him in the process.
  • Product Promotion Parade: Spoofed in a "Chocobots" strip, which provides the image for that page.
  • Properly Paranoid: In one issue, Abe Simpson hides in the boot of Homer's car, convinced the government has designed robots to steal false teeth. Later on, we find out such robots exist, designed by who else but Frink.
  • Put on a Bus: A much more literal case than usual. A reality TV show has Lisa put on a bus to Smart Kid's Camp when she refuses to take part. She doesn't return for the rest of the issue.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Mr. Burns has several workers deposited onto an island made of garbage, hoping they'll turn it into a nation and give him a tax break. The lack of proper food and supplies becomes apparent, as does living on garbage. Bart even mentions he has scurvy.
    • Bart and Milhouse sneak into the power plant, hoping to get bitten by a radioactive animal and gain super-powers. They get radiation poisoning, Mr. Burns gets sued, and Homer gets fired once more.
    • Mr. Burns has a helicopter made out of solid gold. Naturally it can't fly very fast or very high.
    • After obtaining a massive amount of sunken treasure, Mr. Burns decides to swim in it. He instantly manages to break every bone in his body.
  • Reference Overdosed: The "A Brand New Burns" two-parter. What else would you expect from a story revolving around famous billionaires?
  • Reset Button: One storyline revolves around Springfield being nuked by Itchy & Scratchy (long story) and everyone gaining superpowers, save Bart. It's undone via time-travel.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog:
    • Denied in one issue, where Burns demands this when an employee stops being useful to him, only to be reminded he's at the Power Plant, and the dogs live in his mansion. He releases the Smithers instead.
    • In another issue, faced with an angry mob angered by his penny-pinching ways, Burns tries to set the dogs on them, only for Smithers to point out that since he cut off their water, the hounds are too thirsty to move.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: The robots designed to steal false teeth for the government are so human-like only one in sixteen-thousand, five-hundred and thirty six would notice.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Exposure to one too many of Homer's stupid ideas in a short space of time causes Moe to snap.
    • When the town decides to go without sleep, this is the natural result for almost everyone. Bart becomes convinced he's in a video-game, Lisa decides to eat every book in the library to reach Nirvana, Wiggum becomes convinced he's in a '70s cop show, Comic Book Guy is convinced he's Superman, Willie starts seeing everyone as sheep, and Smithers believes he is Mr. Burns.
    • According to the makers of Radioactive Man, the artist and inker behind the last big crossover event had to be institutionalised, there were so many characters.
    Inker: The roll call never ends! It never ends!
  • Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times: In "Bart Simpson and the Krusty Brand Fun Factory", Grandpa says he has seen When Animals Attack 37 times.
  • Sequel Episode: "Sandwiches Are Forever" is this to "You Only Move Twice".
  • Serious Business: Maligning history with horror comic books that take people like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Christopher Columbus and turning them into murderous merpeople and cannibal onion men respectively is a punishable offense by law in Springfield.
  • Shmuck Bait: "Harvest of Fear" in Treehouse of Horror #17 ends with Bart learning the author of the comic that's been driving him nuts removed the last page from every edition because he knew it'd drive kids crazy and lead them to him to find out what happened. The author transforms into a monster and, as can just about be made out on the last page, he rips Bart apart.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Halfway through issue 1, the story has a reference to Doctor Strangelove, with Wiggum refusing to let Marge into the Springfield War Room because "she'll see the big board!"
    • Issue 66 has Dr. Hibbert, Dr. Nick and Krusty reciting a list of several Robin Williams movies when they see Krusty's become a doctor. They never manage to figure out which one they're thinking of.
    • In issue 72, Mr. Burns' attempt to re-enact Logan's Run fails because killing his workers is banned by union rules. Later on, Homer goes mad and starts acting like he's in Gilligan's Island.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespear: Before "Twenty-Two Short Tales about Springfield" aired, Bumblebee Man spoke exclusively like this.
  • Show Within a Show: The "Radioactive Man" comics. Some of them were printed by Bongo, with the conceit that they're the actual comics enjoyed by Bart and friends in The Simpsons (for example, an issue allegedly from the 1970s features a letter from young Marge Simpson). This also lets the writers parody comic book tropes and well-known stories (to illustrate, an issue dated from the 1990s might parody the comic book "Dark Age").
  • Snap Back: One issue has Bart manage to gain ownership of a comic book company. Come next issue, and it's vanished into the aether.
  • So Proud of You: What Rabbi Krustofski says when he learns Krusty's become a doctor. This vanishes when he learns it's a temporary arrangement.
  • Space Is Noisy: An exception in a science fiction movie featured in one issue. Homer’s nerdy friend Doug gets involved in the production of Saturnforce 3000. To keep the science realistic, he removes all sound from the space scenes. Everyone hates the movie, except for Comic Book Guy who declares it a triumph.
  • Start of Darkness: Jimbo, Dolph and Kearny used to be victims of the nerds that ran the school, until Bart pointed out that they were bigger than the nerds, and could beat them up with ease. They quickly find the violence empowering, and the rest is history.
  • Status Quo Is God: The show's tendency towards this is lampshaded sometimes. For example, when fired Homer just mutters to himself.
    Homer: "I'll be back. I'm always back."
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Bartman is always pulling this on Milhouse, in an obvious Shout-Out to the Batman/Commissioner Gordon relationship.
  • Stepford Smiler: While having an important internal struggle, Lisa asks Marge about how important the truth is.
    Marge: "The truth is very important, Lisa, you can't live a lie. But if you do, you've got to keep smiling and accept your choices. There's no turning back now."
    Lisa: "Um... Mom?"
    Marge: "I love your father, and that's all there is to it. End of discussion."
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Instead of the Bat-Signal, Radioactive Man has the Atomo-Signal, which is an actual explosion.
  • Stylistic Suck: The "Boo-tleg" story from Treehouse of Horror #15 is about people dying from the poisonous bootleg candy Apu has stocked at the Kwik-E-Mart. To cover up the deaths and to avoid losing money Apu just has the dead individuals replaced with shoddily made bootleg clones.
  • Superhero Episode: Quite common .Either focusing on Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl, Bart being the Bartman character he dressed as in Three Men and A Comic Book or comic book within a show character, Radioactive Man.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Homer finds a pub in Scotland which happens to have Scottish counterparts for everyone in Springfield, even Bumblebee Man.
  • Take That!:
    Smithers: "Sir, please. He's a human being!"
    • There are only two types of standards lower than Krusty's, the first is Homer's. The second, and the worse by far? Government standards.
    • In issue #100, when Bart and Lisa are trying to figure out the secret behind their comics, they approach Homer, who claims he's busy trying to find out how much beer it takes to make Becker funny.
    • Each Radioactive Man story has at least one Take That! included, usually aimed at something from comic book history.
    • "The Best Radioactive Man Event Ever" manages one to Marvel Zombies and Secret Invasion in the first four pages. The rest of the event goes on to mock every modern trend in mainstream comic books.
  • Temporary Bulk Change:
    • In "Dullards to Donuts," Mr. Burns tries to save money by giving his employees delicious and highly addictive donuts in lieu of pay. This backfired when A: it was costing him millions to manufacture the donuts, and B: the workforce became obese and spent more time eating the donuts instead of doing their jobs, which caused productivity to drop significantly. By the end of the story Burns had to reinstate regular pay, but kept the donuts with their fat content and addictive quality reduced.
    • "Fly Away Homer" ends with Homer becoming skinny while laboring to get to the cruise ship the rest of the family's on, while Marge and the kids get fat from just sitting around and eating.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: A selection of deathtraps Mr. Burns and Krusty peruse over has the options of lions, tigers, bears, oh my and "bathroom at Moe's". They have no idea what it does.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Patty and Selma are this in one issue, after being fired and finding their flat burnt down. It gets so bad that even Marge yells at them to get out.
    • Krusty in another, blackmailing the Simpsons into filming his show in their house, in exchange for not suing them.
  • There Was a Door: Lindsey Neagle leaps out of a window when Lisa accuses her of stealing her ideas.
    • A characteristic of Radioactive Man, who will smash through a wall when there was a perfectly good window available. Sometimes he even smashes a separate hole on his way out.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: While chasing Mister Burns and Smithers, Moe demands the angry mob stop what they're doing, because it "just isn't right." He then immediately reveals a massive box filled with torches and pitchforks. It takes some time before the mob realises that their flaming torches can be used to set things on fire.
  • Trap Door: Mr. Burns has one in his office, just like in the show. At one point it actually gets jammed because of Dolly Parton.
  • Two-Part Episode: "A Brand New Burns", in which Mr. Burns gets kidnapped at a hospital and put in a sweatshop for billionaires, and Homer tries to save him with terrible results.
  • Two-Timer Date: The plot of "Springfield's Typical Teen-ager".
  • The Unpronouncable: Bart and Lisa become pen-pals with children who live in the cities of Hagendazopolis and Zszsbec, in a country that no-one seems to be able to say out loud. A pair of secret servicemen eventually just decide on 'Kakhfk'.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: A hell of a lot of the content and jokes makes no sense at all to children and is geared towards adults.
  • We Care: Used in at least one Simpsons comic with "Globex Corporation - We Dominate Because We Care", the company from the TV episode "You Only Move Twice."
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: In one Simpsons Super Special, Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney steal exhibits from a scienctist' convention. Kearney winds up with X-Ray pants, and repeatedly tries to get a swap, to no luck.
  • You No Take Candle: Mr. Burns unleashes two cheaply-bought Russian thugs on Homer who speak like this.
    Thug 1: IS TARGET!
    Thug 2: Him get! Him get!

Alternative Title(s): Simpsons Comics