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Comic Book / The Simpsons

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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, a publisher operated by show creator Matt Groening. Groening ran the Simpsons comic line without involvement from series executive producer James L. Brooks or any of the dozens of other producers, showrunners or writers that worked or are currently working on the television series.

Simpsons Comics, the main title, was launched in November 1993 and ended in October 2018 at 245 issues.

There have also been several spin-offs (such as Bart Simpson, The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror, and Radioactive Man), as well as two crossover miniseries with Futurama.

The Simpsons provides examples of:

  • '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.
  • 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!
  • Accidental Hero: In the story "Asleep at the Well," Barney falls asleep in the men's room at Moe's and walks out just in time to slam the door hard on a guy who was about to shoot up the bar.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Several characters from the show have quite a few color changes in the comics, with some of them carried over from the show's first season:
    • In the early issues, Bart was often seen wearing a blue shirt instead of his trademark orange one. The blue shirt became rarer, though; in later issues he only wears it when he's Bartman.note 
    • Moe Syzlak's navy blue apron and matching bowtie are changed to a white apron and pink bowtie, in most cases.
    • Krusty the Clown's beard is not made up like the rest of his face, and is in its natural dark brown color (in the show and most merchandising appearances, his beard is painted from either light orange to a peachy color.)
    • Seymour Skinner's hair is brown in the comics, instead of gray as in the show and most merchandise.
    • Similarly, Apu is shown in the comics with black hair, which he indeed had in the first season, but from the second season onward his hair was changed to gray.
    • Also, Patty and Selma's hair are generally the same shade of gray in the show and most merchandising appearances, but generally in the comics, Patty's hair is a more violet color, as it was in the show's first season.
    • Grampa Simpson generally wears a blue shirt and pants in the comics; in the show he only wore this color in the first season, as from the second season onward he started wearing a beige shirt and gray pants.
    • Sideshow Bob and Groundskeeper Willie both have slightly lighter complexion from many of the other characters in animation, but in the comics and many merchandising appearances, their skin tone is the same as the rest of the yellow-skinned characters.
  • 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. Not to mention, Radioactive Man's stories often parody other famous superhero storylines. And in a disturbing twist, they often don't change very much from said stories...
    • There are infrequent appearances by the Z-Men.
  • 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.
  • Alternate Self: An early issue of Simpsons Super Spectacular confirms Bartman and the Cupcake Kid come from alternate realities. They team up with Stretch Dude to fight another version of Bart, who's taken over Springfield.
  • Alternate Timeline Ancestry: In a one-shot story, a mishap in Professor Frink's lab that resulted from one of his monkeys putting aluminum foil in microwave near some equipment led to reality being warped, with only Frink and a flying monkey being the only ones who know everything's changed. In this new reality, Bart and Lisa are in Mr. Bergstrom's fourth grade class, though it seems because they're the same age, as Lisa sees no point in his puzzles, which she thinks are too complex. However, Lisa seems to be an only child as she's the daughter of Marge and her ex-husband Artie Ziff, while Bart is Maggie's older brother and they, along with their father Homer, were abandoned by Mindy.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • Even happens to Mr. Burns, who laments that while he is very, very, very rich, the trillionaires 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.
  • Animesque: "Too Crazy Juvenile Prankster: Bartomu!", featuring guest artist Nina Matsumoto, from Simpsons Comics #131
  • 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.
  • Apophenia Plot: In The Perplexing Puzzle of the Springfield Puma, the Springfield school puma statue gets stolen while the director is on a business trip. The investigation gets increasingly bizarre, with nearly everyone having weird motives to steal the statue (from a teacher whose aunt was mauled by a puma to a student who believes that the statue is a jewel-encrusted treasure repainted to look like plaster, obviously parodying the genre clichés of noir stories like The Maltese Falcon). Eventually it is revealed that the director took the statue himself to keep it safe.
  • 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:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • The first comic book involved Homer being on the receiving end of one of Mr. Burns' experimental growth rays. He ended up rampaging through Springfield until a dose of an experimental formula returned him to normal. The giant Homer ends up being brought back for The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis.
    • As a Call-Back to this story, the final issue has Mr. Burns restarting the project, only this time the one that gets enlarged is Maggie's new pet rabbit, Bongo.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: Apparently, Ned Flanders after he's lost in the woods for weeks during a camping trip and is presumed dead. It's actually an Evil Clone made by Kang and Kodos, who have the real Ned on their spaceship.
  • Automatic Door Malfunction: In "Tales from the Kwik-E-Mart", a man walks into the store only to get bifurcated when a malfunctioned automatic door closes abruptly.
  • 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In Issue #241, Bart has to deal with a group of nerds protesting the new female Radioactive Man movie. It turns out they're not mad about the Gender Flip as Bart initially believed, but about the character's costume being the wrong shade of red.
  • Bait-and-Switch Time Skip: In one issue, three characters have been trapped in the trunk of a car. The next shot is of several pages falling off a calendar. Homer looks at the calendar, saying, "Stupid bank calendars. The cheap glue they use never lasts past March."
  • Banana Republic: Bosqueverde, which the Simpsons visit when they win a Duff competition. It even has a black market that sells giant bananas.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: A group of old people steal a bus belonging to the school board, and are met by Skinner, who assumes they're inspectors. When called on it much later, they admitted they were just going along with it at that point.
  • Bedtime Brainwashing: X'T'H'K'K, the old Olmec man who's apparently lived in the Simpsons' giant Olmec head since Mr. Burns gave it to them, has been gradually brainwashing Bart into becoming his successor every night by sneaking into his room and whispering in his ear. Marge makes him give up the habit after learning of his existence, so X'T'H'K'K starts hanging out with Bart during the day instead.
  • Been There, Shaped History:
    • Mister Burns' 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).
    • According to the comic "Zombie Moves," Michael Jackson's dance moves in the "Thriller" video were inspired by a young Barney and Homer shambling to maintain their Totem Pole Trench as they played a zombie extra in a horror film he saw.
  • Behind the Black: In one issue Marge shows Bart a big poster with her face on it that's embarrassing to him under the circumstances. Bart says maybe he can pretend he's not related to her, but the next panel gives her a smaller speech bubble, which uncovers a caption saying she's his Mom from the same angle he was watching it.
  • Betty and Veronica: Parodied in a flashback story spoofing Archie Comics with Mr. Burns' niece, Victoria, functioning as the Veronica to Marge's Betty where Homer is concerned.
  • Big Anime Eyes: Lampshaded in an issue where Comic Book Guy lived his life as a Japanese cartoon, and did so with the help of some extra-large contact lenses.
    Kent Brockman: But aren't they painful?
    Comic Book Guy: (with a forced smile) Excruciating!
  • 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.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: In Issue 2, Bart and some of the school's other misbehavers visit prison in a Scared Straight-type program, where Snake advises them not to end up there as "We only get two channels—and one of them is Fox!"
  • Bizarro Universe: There is a story where a malfunctioning invention of Professor Frink's turns the Simpson-verse bizarro—Sideshow Bob is principal of Springfield Elementary, with Milhouse as the top prankster, Bart as the nervous side character, and Lisa, bored with school and unhappy with her good grades. Krusty is an ex-clown sidekick in jail for framing his boss, Mr. Burns is not a rich businessman (With Smithers as his dog), Homer is a single dad raising Bart and Maggie who works for Comic Book Guy's mafia, Marge is a single mom who acts as Springfield's mayor, and most shocking over all, Homer and Marge never met! In fact, the only unchanged person is Moe the Bartender, still running his tavern—though he now has a glass eye. In trying to get back home, Frink ends up causing a series of events that makes the bizarroverse more like the real one.
  • 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.
  • Blasphemous Boast: In an issue, Homer becomes the owner of a new boat and proclaims that it is so powerful that God himself could not sink it. And then Moe drives a truck carrying a large ice cube into the boat, causing it to sink; following the repairs, Homer claims that he wishes to retract his earlier comments about God's ship-sinking abilities, also offering praises to Allah, Buddah, and Ra for good measure.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Body Horror: Issue 50 features Professor Frink's "tar pig", a pig that has all body fluids replaced with tar. It looks horribly wrinkled and skinny and constantly wheezes.
  • Body Paint:
    • An issue has Homer painting on a shirt and going to work like this to cope with a heatwave. Later, he's seen in a jail cell with a towel wrapped around him, talking about how his idea of painted on pants was not as subtle or well-received.
    • Another issue has a group of people disguising themselves as statues to follow Bart. Lisa wonders if they've painted all their bodies, and given their pores room to breathe. Cut to them being taken away in ambulances.
  • Book Ends: "Clip Clip Hooray!", the Issue 100 story, begins with a splash page showing the Simpson family falling down a cliff. The following page is a Proscenium Reveal showing that Bart is seeing the aforementioned splash page in his copy of the 100th issue. He then admits to Lisa that he doesn't know the context behind it, having skipped to the last page. Soon Marge comes over and takes the comic away from the kids, saying they're too old for it. At the end of story, the family is walking through a fog, with Bart complaining, "I just wish I still had that copy of Simpsons Comics #100. I skipped to the last page without reading the story, and it's really bugging me not knowing why we fell off that cliff!" Then they end up stepping off a cliff, having not seen the "WARNING CLIFF AHEAD DO NOT WALK WHEN FOGGY!" sign. Cue a quite familiar final page...
  • Bowdlerization: One issue doing Shakespeare parodies does Titus Andronicus. It leaves out most of the really family unfriendly stuff. But since it's done in the form of an Itchy & Scratchy, it still leaves the mutilation, murder, and people getting baked into pies.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Issue 131's "Too Crazy Juvenile Prankster: Bartomu!", during Bartomu's battle with Yoshiberra, Manga Homer is fretting over the situation when another Manga Homer yells at him from the panel to the right, saying the readers were supposed to read his panel first and claiming, "This is not true manga!" Both Manga Homers start strangling each other across the panel borders, while their respective Manga Maggies clash swords.
  • 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 ("Project Q" was an elaborate robot intended to merge with Burns' body and sustain his mind when he became too old, but the robot was built so well that it rebelled and disliked the idea of babysitting Burns for all eternity).
    • 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.
    • One Bartman comic has a masked vigilante hypnotizing mischief makers and making them do strange things. Bart later discovers that the vigilante is Principal Skinner using a hypnotic coin that he himself lost. Bart once used it to hypnotize the teachers at Springfield Elementary into acting like chickens. Groundskeeper Willie says that you shouldn't say "barnyard" in their presence because it will trigger the hypnotic suggestion again. After Bart defeats the vigilante, he plants a hypnotic suggestion in his mind where he says "It looks like a barnyard in here!" the next time he enters the teachers' lounge.
  • 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.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Just like the cartoon, character's eyes tend to be the only thing visible in the darkness. Like in the show, this is frequently mocked, for example in issue #100, Bart asking Lisa how that's even possible.
    Lisa: That's what you get when you're exposed to radiation for years.
  • Cain and Abel: Jebediah Springfield's sons Obadiah and Zechariah were this, according to Lisa.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Krustonia issue revolves around Krusty going to extreme lengths to avoid having to pay taxes as he did in "Bart the Fink". Bart even gets recruited by Krusty's lawyers because they figure after what Bart did he knows his way around the tax codes.
    • 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.
  • Camera Spoofing: In an issue, Homer, Lenny and Carl snuck out to go to a baseball game. Homer chose the Polaroid option, but accidentally attached the picture upside down. Burns, after having his TV viewer checked to make sure IT wasn't upside down, sent guards to investigate, but the picture fell off JUST as Homer got back to his seat. Burns never even noticed. Oh, and Lenny picked a third option, sticking a robot double in his seat.
  • 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:
    • In "Sideshow Blob", Lisa tells Bart they need to warn everyone about Sideshow Bob's rampage. Bart rightly points out no-one's going to believe them, and sure enough... the only person who does is Apu, and then only because Bob is trying to eat him as they speak.
    • 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.
  • Chained Heat: Bart and Sideshow Bob in Issue 2, after the two end up next to each other on a chain gang which Bob escapes, taking Bart with him. Bart manages to save his own life by pointing out that it would be highly impractical for Bob to kill him while they're chained together, as he'll be easily caught if he's dragging a body around, so Bob has to look for a way to break the chain.
  • 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.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Parody: Issue 41 is about the Krusty Brand Fun Factory, with Krusty hiding four golden straws in his Cherry Soda. It all goes wrong, with Sideshow Bob being the main villain.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: One early issue mentions "Project Q", which was a disastrous attempt by Burns to achieve immortality and had to be kept in a secure vault. Several issues later, Project Q is accidentally unleashed, revealing itself to be a Burns-shaped spider mech which nearly causes a nuclear meltdown which would've destroyed Springfield.
  • The Chessmaster: Bart, at the beginning of "The Prime of Miss Lisa Simpson", when he has all the teachers deported.
  • Christmas Light Chaos: In one of the comics, Homer is having trouble untangling the Christmas lights because Snowball II is playing with them.
    Stupid cat!
  • 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.
  • Clip Show: The hundredth issue is essentially a Simpsons clip show in comic form. The issue revolves around Bart and Lisa discovering that there are comics about them, and trying to find out why they never knew this, while getting to read snippets from earlier issues.
  • Cloning Gambit:
    • 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.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Homer Vs. The Wallpaper". Homer's horrible attempts to wallpaper Maggie's room have him swearing so much he actually runs out of English curses and has to switch to Chinese.
  • 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.
  • Comically Small Demand: While on strike, the power plant workers demand a five cents pay rise. Not five percent, just five cents. Mr. Burns still angrily refuses to do that.
  • 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.
  • Composite Character: As a background Mythology Gag on Bart's theory that Casper is Richie Rich's ghost because they're identical, there's a standee in Android's Dungeon for Gilly, the richest ghost in the world. Apparently he tries to buy friendship.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Invoked with Professor Frink's mononizer, a ray gun that compresses trilogies into a single feature by cutting subplots, exposition and foreshadowing. It works on books like Dune and movies like the Star Wars trilogy, although it causes most of the events to happen near-simultaneously such as Luke blowing up all of the Death Stars in the trilogy in the same scene.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In Issue 3, the school's puma statue disappears and Edna tries to wring a confession out of Bart and Milhouse (who didn't take it) by having Willie play the bagpipes until they crack.
  • 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.
    • An enemy of the Superior Squad is surprised to find out they have a battle plan which consists entirely of someone cutting a circle in a pane of glass.
      Brain-o: You have a plan that consists entirely of someone cutting a circle in a pane of glass?
      Captain Squid: We have a lot of spare time on our hands.
  • Creator Career Self-Deprecation: In one issue where Lisa has gained some fame as a musician, Marge becomes concerned that it might lead her to go the Former Child Star route, having seen a daytime talk show about such people who "all grew up to be drug addicts, bank robbers and cartoonists."
  • Crossover:
    • 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 Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis, 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 shown, 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, where Homer willingly takes part in an experiment to boost his intelligence to get paid enough money to replace Lisa's saxaphone with the option to make this permanent and enjoys bonding with Lisa because of this, only to find out being a super-genius causes him to become arrogant and lose all sense of humour. Eventually he decides to not retain his high intelligence.
  • 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.
  • Denser and Wackier: The comics often go into much crazier territory than the show does. Blatantly supernatural and Elseworld story premises are fairly common, and they are frequently presented without the kind of Framing Device that the show would use to ease the audience into them.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • In “The Burger Kings of Comedy”, Homer's quest to get his own restaurant and run the franchise to the ground with its terrible working conditions all came from Krusty Burger rejecting his breakfast coupon past 9 AM.
    • In "The Cask of Amontilad'oh", Moe comes up with an elaborate plot to lure Homer in his bar's basement and kill him because... Homer said his pickled eggs stunk.
  • 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.
  • Dragged into Drag: As something of a Running Gag. Bart would be forced to dress as a girl via things like Loophole Abuse to join the cheerleaders, become a "female" pop star, play female roles in amateur films, be forced to disguise as his sister Lisa for any number of reasons, be left wearing rather frilly pink skirts and dresses after having no other clean clothes in the house and visiting an all-girls school.
  • Drinking Game: Homer plays one in "Homer's America" when forced to chaperone Lisa's class on a field trip to the National Museum of Museums:
    Tour Guide: The National Museum of Museums is the only national museum dedicated solely to displaying other museums!
    Lisa: Dad! Is that beer?
    Homer: I made up a game. Every time he says "museum", I take a drink!
  • 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.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The early issues of the comic were tonally much closer to Treehouse of Horror stories, such as with the first issue's storyline involving Homer growing to giant size. The majority of the stories soon became more akin to normal episodes of the show, albeit still a lot Denser and Wackier, and occasionally diving into kinds of stories that the show normally wouldn't cover.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Issue 97 reveals that Ned Flanders has a tattoo of a heart with Homer's face on it on his arm, which he apparently got when the two went to New Orleans for Marti Gras. He refuses to elaborate further.
  • Epic Fail:
    • "Homer Vs. The Wallpaper". It starts with Homer poisoning himself by taste-testing the glue. He then manages to hideously injure himself repeatedly, and get covered in wallpaper.
    • Gil's attempt to defend Krusty in court somehow ends up with the courthouse being burnt down, and Judge Snyder set on fire twice.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • After Bart and Milhouse are blackmailed by two plagiarists who stole their idea for a comic book idea which involves them drawing the issues for free and seek Lisa's help to get out of this, Bart picks up two "MOD" magazines with very similar covers and partially folds one cover against the other which gives him an idea. They send a copy of the new comic to a reporter with instructions to fold the cover a very specific way which launches an investigation that gets the plagiarists arrested. To show the reader how this happened, a page with the full cover is included with the book which if the reader folds the exact same way, shows a "Wanted!" Poster of one of the plagiarists.
    • After Lisa and Martin are appointed as substitute teachers due to Bart forging deportation documents that sent the school's teachers to different countries, neither of them have success with their classes. After a visit to Clancy Wiggum about Ralph's literal inability to understand or even touch books, Lisa finds out that Ralph has a near-photographic memory of shows he watches on TV which he learned to do so he can imagine things in different colors and to make them melt. Lisa then wins over her class by recording herself give a lecture and playing it on a TV to the class, who remember everything easily and set grade records the following tests.
  • 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 Has Standards: Even Itchy and Scratchy find Titus Andronicus is too violent for their tastes.
  • 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.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Santa's Little Helper repeatedly barks at Bart's new best friend Brad when he comes to visit. That's because Brad is actually an armed robber with dwarfism who would have killed Bart and robbed the rest of the family had the dog not come to the rescue.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Faked Food Contaminant: In one of the comics, we learn that Bart regularly puts tentacles in his ice cream so that he doesn't have to pay for it.
  • 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.
  • The Fat Episode:
    • From Dullards To Donuts: Homer, Lenny, Carl, and the rest of the employees at the nuclear plant spend the story gorging themselves on Mr. Burns' genetically engineered donuts until they all become too fat to do their jobs properly.
    • Lisa In The Middle: Most of the kids in Springfield Elementary except for Lisa and the bullies become morbidly obese thanks to them eating the school's nutritionally devoid meals now that Nelson's not stealing their lunch money anymore.
    • Fly Away Homer: Without Homer's usual shenanigans keeping them busy on vacation, Marge and the kids put on a few pounds from lounging around and indulging in snacks and junk food. Ironically, Homer's determination to reach his family for their vacation leads to him losing weight.
  • Fence Painting: Tasked with cleaning out the house's storm gutters, Bart attempts this on Rod and Todd. It backfires because Rod is so nice that he doesn't want to hog any of Bart's fun, so Bart just threatens to frame them both for graffiti-writing instead.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: During the "Secret Bongos" crossover, Radioactive Man has swiped a bit of alien tech from Kang and Kodos' ship, and before Bart can flip the switch asks if he's sure it won't ignite Earth's atmosphere and kill them all. Then Kang and Kodos melt down the wall, and inform Bart that if he had flipped the switch... well, you can probably guess.
  • Flanderization: A lot Denser and Wackier than its parent show, due to skewing younger. Not to say it lacked sharp satire and black/blue comedy that would fly over kids' heads!
  • Flashback Cut: When the Superior Squadron's enemy Brain-o has infiltrated them, they ask how he came up with such a plan. It cuts to him listening to fellow villain Hypno-Head ranting about how he wants Brain-o to infiltrate their headquarters and kill them. Flashback over.
    Bug Boy: That wasn't much of a flashback!
    Brain-o: Eh.
  • "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.
  • Forced Transformation: An alternate Bart who takes over his Springfield has turned his family into birds.
  • Fourth Wall Psych: At the beginning of the 100th issue, Bart informs Lisa that there is a comic book about them and their family, asking, "What kind of SICK WEIRDO would want to READ it?" The page ends with Bart and Lisa seemingly looking at the reader... only for the top panel of the following page to show the same scene from a different angle, revealing they were actually looking at Maggie.
    Bart: Well, Maggie doesn't know! Let's ask Homer!
  • 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."
  • Freak Out: The power plant employees go insane when Burns tells them he's getting rid of complimentary donuts.
    Take my family, but not the donuts!
  • Gave Up Too Soon: X'T'H'K'K spends most of Issue 98 waiting for Xttapalatakettle, a god who is prophesied to bring divine judgement upon his return. After Bart and Lisa successfully trick him via the former pretending to be said god, X'T'H'K'K moves out of his Olmec head and back to his home village. Immediately after he leaves, the real Xttapalatakettle shows up when Homer is watching TV; fortunately for humanity, Homer convinces him not to destroy the world by showing him the wonders of TV, donuts and beer.
  • Gender Bender: At the end of one story in "Lisa Simpson's Book Club", after several incidents involving an age-changing carousel, Homer and Krusty have become old, Grampa has become a young man, Bart is a baby... and Milhouse is inexplicably a girl.
    Krusty: Now, you understand it wasn't easy getting the ages just right... that is... ...uhhhh, no refunds!
    Milhouse: But how come I'm a girl now?
  • Gigantic Gulp: In issue #43, 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, but circumstances inspire him to offer them as clothing instead after Lisa 'wears' one because her dress was destroyed while exploring the store basement.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: Used in Springfield Elementary's version of Romeo and Juliet, as the start of Tybalt (Jimbo) and Romeo's (Nelson) fight.
    Tybalt: Dude, you are so whipped.
    Nelson: At least I have a girlfriend.
    Tybalt: Kelly's real! She lives in Canada!
    Nelson: Last time, it was Iceland.
    Tybalt: Alright, that's it! Let's duel!
  • 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.
  • Going Postal: One issue has a mailman attempt to shoot up Moe's bar as payback for being the butt of the patron's "psycho-mailman jokes."
  • Golden Snitch: The father and son picnic in "Now You Wiggum, Now You Don't" has several events, but the final event, a Scavenger Hunt, is worth triple the points of the other events and, in Krusty's words, "makes the others meaningless".
  • Gone Horribly Right: To get back at Krusty in “The Burger Kings of Comedy” for rejecting his breakfast coupon and parking his restaurant to three other Krusty businesses, Homer decides to put the working conditions in his own Krusty to below government standards: cockroaches infesting the facility, rescuing straws and napkins, buying canned beef from military surplus, using his kids as child labor, buying air sickness bags, etc. The plan works and the franchise is almost driven bankruptcy. However, Homer still has to pay back all the creditors in addition to all the bills that were twice the amount he paid for the restaurant. And once the franchise confiscates his restaurant to regain the reputation, he has to take a second job as a cosmetics service maid.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel:
    • A comic features Bart suffering from a moral dilemma, complete with good and bad angels; the good angel knocks out the bad angel by throwing its halo like Captain America's shield, at which point Bart remarks, "It figures that my conscience would suffer from mood swings."
    • A much earlier issue has Bart being visited by shoulder angels when considering sneaking out of the house to attend a convention. As his good angel tries reasoning with him, Bart flicks him away.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop:
    • When chewing Bart and Lisa out for ruining a school production, Skinner is constantly undermined by Mrs. Krabappel, 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.
  • 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 "perverting 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.
  • Guilt by Association Gag: In Issue 2, Skinner summons Milhouse for punishment along with Bart even though he wasn't involved in Bart's latest, responding to his protest with "Let this be a lesson to you, young man—we're judged by the company we keep. Besides, arbitrary punishment is a prerogative of power." As it turns out, Skinner has a shot at being named "Disciplinarian of the Year" at an upcoming convention for school principals, and sees cracking down on repeat offenders (of which Milhouse is technically one) as the key to his success.
  • Hand Wave: Issue 61 justifies why Homer has Ultimate Job Security despite how many times he's quit for other jobs: in addition to Burns' constantly forgetting Homer's existence, the plant's so poorly run that the accounting department has to use abacuses that would have to be replaced if Homer was ever taken off the payroll.
  • Heroic BSoD: 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 recognize 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: After eating an entire, not entirely cooked thanksgiving turkey by himself, Homer flees Marge's wrath by going to Moe's. When he gets there, he finds Moe has, as Homer mentioned earlier, gone to the Simpsons' house for Thanksgiving.
    Homer: You're having Thanksgiving at Homer's?! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!!
  • Hourglass Plot: "Fly Away Homer" starts with Homer being told he can't fly on an airplane because he's too fat. After protesting to get an airline for fat people started, and then having to repair a plane all by himself, Homer's lost a lot of weight. Meanwhile, the rest of the family spends their time relaxing on a cruise and eating, causing all of them to gain weight. By the end of the issue, Homer's told Marge and the kids are too fat for the flight home.
  • How We Got Here: Issue 43 opens with the Simpson car being fished out of a lake with a chicken costume tied to the top, Milhouse's shorts covered in foam, Martin having a pie on his head, Bart colored red, Lisa wearing a giant Squishee cup, Marge's hair cut in half with a cleaver and Homer's mouth glued shut. The rest of the issue repeatedly skips back to show how all these incidents happened.
  • Hyperlink Story: A variant: issue #90's first story "Homer's America" have Homer, chaperoning Lisa's class's field trip, take over driving the bus after driving Otto insane with his singing, and takes them on a tour across the country, telling them Little Known Facts he makes up about the founding of the USA (such as George Washington slaying redcoat vampires and that Mount Rushmore was made to scare off aliens), all of which greatly annoy Lisa. The second story is mostly unrelated, involving Krusty the Clown's copyright ending up being signed to ventriloquist Arthur Crandall in the guise of "new Krusty", seeking revenge at Krusty for defaming him and Gabbo. After all is resolved and Crandall is defeated again, Krusty takes off for a vacation and Lindsey Naegle needs a replacement since they're out of reruns (as they used the master tapes to record a Gunsmoke marathon. Bart's idea for a mid-season replacement is Homer's History Corner, where like in the first story, Homer tells his made-up history facts, this time to the kid studio audience, much to their amusement (and to Lisa's annoyance, of course.)
  • Hypocrite Has a Point: In Issue 6, Lisa and Otto become a joint musical sensation after a studio accidentally records both their music on the same tape, and Lisa joins Otto's band. Just when they're about to play a big show in Capital City, Bleeding Gums Murphy chides Lisa for being a Sell-Out, causing her to realize she's compromised her artistic vision for acceptance and leave the band on the spot. Bleeding Gums instantly offers to stand in for her, stating that unlike her he can't afford to be principled. Frustrated though she is by this, she still feels she made the right call.
  • 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.
    • Marge finds Chief Wiggum standing guard outside the local Try-n-Save during Thanksgiving, on handing to prevent looting. As he tells Marge this, Lou steps out with the items Wiggum sent him in to loot.
  • 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 Ate WHAT?!: The absolute last straw for the people of Krustonia is finding out the salami they've been living on isn't made of soy, but tadpoles, which prompts Homer to rouse everyone into a mob.
  • 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'm Standing Right Here: In issue #100, Krusty complains about his agent. Who is standing right behind him. It's Mr. Teeny.
    Krusty: I know you're standing right there. You're a lousy agent!
    Mr. Teeny: (shrieks at him)
    Krusty: You threw poop at Stephen Spielberg! You call that negotiating?!
  • 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.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Homer, in issue 100, reads issue 1, and expresses confusion about being turned into a giant then shot in the butt. Bart suggests maybe all his early morning beer drinking is affecting his memory. As Homer says this is ridiculous, he freaks out at the sight of Maggie.
  • 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'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.
  • "Jar of Jellybeans" Contest: Featured in one issue, which Bart and Lisa try to win. Despite Lisa's calculations, they fail, but Homer wins it by just happening to say the correct number while he's nearby. When the jar is emptied, Lisa finds out why she didn't get it right - one of the jellybeans was much bigger than the others.
  • 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!
  • Kicked Out of Heaven: In one story, Gil is kicked out of Heaven after selling an Angel harp wax that melted the harp.
  • 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.
  • Lampshade Hanging: When Reverend Lovejoy decides to ask the congregation for questions, one of the people who speaks up is Apu, asking why he's even in the church when he's clearly a Hindu (a jab at the artists being lazy, and often drawing Apu in crowd shots).
  • Last of His Kind: Bug Boy completely blew up his entire planet as an infant, by accident. A later comic shows that some of his species survived, and not surprisingly, he didn't want to go home.
  • 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.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Lampshaded, like every other superhero trope, when the inhabitants of Springfield all get superpowers, and the bullies (who formed the WildB.R.A.T.S., pick a fight with the retirement home inhabitants, who formed Oldblood.
    Kearney: Why are we fighting, anyway?
    Jimbo: Because, dude, we totally have superpowers now. This is what we're supposed to do!
  • Lighter and Softer: The main comics are marketed as children's comics, and Bongo was one of the last companies to participate in The Comics Code. This is averted with the Treehouse of Horror titles, which hearken back to classic horror comics.
  • Literal Money Metaphor: After Bart forges some deportation orders for the teachers of Springfield Elementary School, Lisa and Martin are forced to teach their classmates because they're the smartest kids in their respective classes. After several attempts at teaching them only resulted in getting beaten up, Martin tells his class that getting an education can result in them earning good money later on. They all settle down and start paying attention, only because they thought that Martin said he would pay them to learn.
  • Look Behind You: 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!
  • The Long List: Marge recounts every single job Homer's ever taken. It takes several hours.
  • Long Runner: This comic book series lasted nearly 25 years before it ended, with its first issue being released in November 1993 and its last one being released in October 2018.
  • 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.
  • Majority-Share Dictator: Homer ends up being bequeathed 51% of the shares in Duff Brewery by the will of Sam Duff, with Montgomery Burns controlling the other 49%. He ends up driving the company into the ground with idiotic decisions and is forced to sell the shares to Burns. Fortunately for Homer, it turns out Sam Duff wasn't actually dead (so that 51% had never been actually his to begin with), and Homer had the chance to enjoy something he didn't own for a while.
  • 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, the Squeaky Voiced Teen, and Mr. Burns 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.
  • Medium Awareness: In the Bartomu story, Homer gets into an argument with Homer in the next panel over, as they argue about the proper reading order of manga (which should be right-to-left, but is written left-to-right). They then try to strangle one another.
  • Meet the New Boss: Springfield Elementary used to be ruled by bullying nerds, until Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney came along.
  • Mining for Cookies: This gag appeared a few times, usually to show a character's ignorance.
    • When Bart gets Principal Skinner deported to Canada with fraudulent paperwork, Skinner ends up having to escape forced labor in the Maple Syrup mines.
    • When the town splits, with Lower Springfield taking the water supply with them, the affluent Upper Springfielder start deliriously talking about Lower Springfielders enslaving them to work in their water mines.
    • The Greek poet Homer (as played by Homer Simpson) claims to have faked blindness to get out of being a slave in the olive mines.
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: In the Simpsons Super Spectacular #11, Marge thought the lingerie and fishnet-wearing superheroine Mademoiselle Meringue was a hussy because her sidekick was called the Tart. She doesn't want Homer and Bart near them.
    Lisa: Mom, she's not that kind of tart! I hope.
  • 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.
  • Necessarily Evil: Nelson's depriving kids of their lunch money is apparently viewed as a good thing, since it leaves them unable to buy and eat the school's grossly unhealthy meals.
  • 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.
  • 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 Lincoln 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!
    • When he confronts Abe about not teaching him to surf, Abe blames Homer's terrible attention span.
      Homer: Pfft, that's ridiculous, I— ooh! That cloud looks like a pork chop!
    • Hank Scorpio's attempts to show he's a benevolent and caring boss, and not a crazed Bond villain, are not helped by his friends being cartoonish supervillains.
  • Nothing Personal: The nerds assist Cecil in trying to ruin Lisa's life not because of anything against her, they're just bored.
  • 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.
  • Not So Above It All: As a gag, Bart edits Lisa's diary to be full of juicy scandal about the family and then submits it to a publishing contest being held by Skinner. He offers her a contract for the diary and the family don't bother reading it until it's already been published. Marge is not amused and insists on having every copy destroyed—until a $45,000 advance check comes in.
  • Not Where They Thought: At the start of "What Would Possibly Happen If...Cletus Went to College?" from Simpsons Comics #51, it is mentioned that Cletus has mistaken a photo booth for an outhouse twice.
  • Nutritional Nightmare:
    • Mr. Burns' genetically engineered donuts have absolutely no nutritional value, which coupled with their addictive qualities makes all his workers morbidly obese.
    • Springfield Elementary's cafeteria menu includes meals such as "Cream of Lard." Eating the food on a regular basis makes most of the students extremely overweight.
  • Offer Void in Nebraska: Often utilized in the fake advertisements. A notable example is where's taken up a notch in an ad for Krusty's Three Fingered Fireworks, with the fine print on the bottom reading "This offer not valid in" and lists the initials for all fifty states of America!
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The climax of "Krusty: Agent of K.L.O.W.N." - which apparently involves Krusty being kidnapped and taken to an island fortress, the entire team storming in with an army of Krusty clones to save him, and everyone escaping when a space station crashes into the fortress and sinks it - is completely skipped over and is only recounted by Krusty after the fact. When one of the executives complains about not getting to see it, Krusty notes that the show ran out of budget paying for his helicopter shoes.
  • 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!
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: In "Bobbing For Vengeance," Sideshow Bob saves Bart from a violent mob for this reason.
  • Only One Finds It Fun: In "The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth", Doug and Troy McClure make a sci-fi movie and Doug insists on no sound effects during the space battles and no faster-than-light travel to make it scientifically accurate. The movie bombs, but the Comic Book Guy declares it a triumph.
  • 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.
  • Personality Swap: Homer and Ned undergo this after appearing on a reality show in which they direct a home makeover on each other's houses.
  • 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 Krabappel's being sent.
      Mrs Krabappel: (smug grin) France.
      Miss Hoover: (Death Glare) Student's pet.
    • Bart performs a stunt with Grampa on live TV which involves spraypainting the Duff blimp with a message ordering the returns of a product called Westphal's Auxiliator. Upon seeing it, Mr. Burns becomes nostalgic over the product prior to its discontinuation, then declares that he'll buy the company that used to produce it and resume production. The end shows that he kept his promise, as Bart finds a couple cans on sale.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Marge in the donut issue; she rallies the town when Mr. Burns' addictive donuts start 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.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: In one early issue, Bart and Milhouse create their own superhero comic book, which is so popular at Springfield Elementary that fights for an issue break out. They try to sell their comic to real artists at a convention, but are turned down. Months later, a new comic comes out, starring a blatant expy of Bart and Milhouse's character with only the name changed. However, this shows the problem with stealing someone's idea- because the company isn't imaginative enough to create new ideas, the comic's stories become stale, and the publisher has to blackmail Bart and Milhouse into making new comics for them.
  • 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.
  • 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 that story, but her misadventures there are covered in the next one.
  • Race Against the Clock: During a town-wide weight-loss event where the prize for everyone losing a certain amount of weight is a free water park for Springfield, Homer ends up being the sole citizen holding the town back due to him sneaking fatty foods and slacking off. He goes to Rainer Wolfcastle who's running the event to make amends and requests a strict training regime to lose enough weight for the deadline. However, he falls short just by a very small margin and quickly calls in Otto with blood extraction equipment in case this happened in order to remove enough blood to lose just enough weight right on the scale.
  • Race Lift: Judge Snyder, who is depicted as black in the show, is depicted as white/yellow in the comics.
  • Recycled Plot: It has often been told you can track the decline of the parent show from when it started more frequently borrowing from this than vice versa...
  • Red Skies Crossover: Itchy & Scratchy #3 is advertised as "Part 1 of 'When Bongos Collide' crossover! With special guest star Bart Simpson!" But the actual content related to the crossover only occurs in the last five pages, which is done by a different writer/artist team than the rest of the story.
  • Reference Overdosed: The "A Brand New Burns" two-parter. What else would you expect from a story revolving around famous billionaires?
  • Refugee from TV Land: "When Bongos Collide" has Kang and Kodos bring Itchy and Scratchy into the real world, resulting in them running amok and causing a Mass Super-Empowering Event in Springfield. Bart tries to summon Radioactive Man through the same method using the Radioactive Man TV show, but he only succeeds in summoning a black-and-white Dirk Richter in costume. It is only after Bart gets the idea to project one of his Radioactive Man comic books onto the TV screen that he's able to bring the real Radioactive Man to the real world.
  • 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 Robots: 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.
  • Ridiculously Successful Future Self: One comic set in the future which revolved around a mysterious benefactor who donated a digestive tract to save Bart's life which Lisa found suspicious and began an investigation on who it was based on Bart's assumed last words "Fish Logs", which was a product he made a fortune selling thanks to Fat Tony that improved Springfield until Mayor Quimby and Principal Skinner's meddling nearly destroyed the town in bankruptcy trying to stop the sales. The benefactor's identity was in far Uter, who became an extremely-successful movie star and owed his success to Bart thanks to after being introduced to fish logs, developed an extreme addiction to them which caused him to slim down and get a role in acting.
  • Role Swap Plot: Bart and Lisa go through one of these when the teachers get food poisoning and are replaced by substitutes. Bart's substitute reads profundity into all his improvised school assignments and favors him with a special project, while Lisa's is fascistic to the point of seeing her as a troublemaker for asking questions and wanting to learn, giving her Bart-typical punishments such as Writing Lines. Oddly enough, they both manage to get their typical grades anyway: Bart fails the project assignment, not so much because all he has to show for his effort is a stick as because the teacher assumes he's ripping off Marcel Duchamp, while Lisa's teacher misinterprets her artwork in praise of multiculturalism as a satirical comment against multiculturalism and gives her an A, which she takes about as happily as Bart takes the F.
  • Running Gag: Came in three "flavours". Which, incidentally, is the actual number Dr. Pepper has, the other 20 being marketing ploys. Introduced some of its own, took some from the parent show, and took inspiration from the parent show to create some of its own.
  • 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.
  • Saw "Star Wars" Twenty-Seven Times: In "Bart Simpson and the Krusty Brand Fun Factory", Grandpa says he has seen When Animals Attack 37 times.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: While playing a MMO, Bart's party are struggling to defeat Comic Book Guy's avatar. Bart resorts to asking Smithers through his avatar if he's playing at the Power Plant, then telling him to shut off the power to The Android's Dungeon. This boots Comic Book Guy from the game as it also turned off his internet modem.
  • Separated by a Common Language: Used for all it's worth in "Hail to the Cat". All color TVs in Springfield are replaced by colour TV, and Homer gets confused by a police officer telling him a lorry (truck) that he drives into had right of way.
  • Sequel Episode: "Sandwiches Are Forever" is this to "You Only Move Twice".
  • Series Continuity Error: 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).
  • 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.
  • 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 17 has a comic "advertising" KrustyCo "Vinylite-Gripped Steel-Tipped Lawn Darts". The comic parodies "Street Ball", an ad for a line of Spalding basketballs appearing in many comic books from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s. Krusty even wears a rainbow wig similar to Julius Erving's hair (Julius having starred in the adverts alongside Rick Barry).
    • 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.
    • In Issue 87, amongst the British invaders are The Fourth Doctor, The Minister of Silly Walks, Harry Potter, John Steed, and Arnold Rimmer.
    • At one point in Issue 90, Homer tells Lisa to get back on his magic school bus. Lisa calls him out for ripping off said series, only for Homer to note that "no one likes a trademark enforcer".
    • Issue 110 ends with Ned Flanders hallucinating the world as a video game: Bart and Ned are Mario and Luigi, Homer is Donkey Kong, Lisa is Sonic the Hedgehog and Marge is Lara Croft.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Before "Twenty-Two Short Tales about Springfield" aired, Bumblebee Man spoke exclusively like this and Issue 74 is one long shout-out to his works.
  • Similar Squad: When the Simpsons go to Scotland (again), Willie's brother takes Homer to a familiar looking bar, which has Scottish versions of near every man in Springfield, including a Scottish version of Bumblebee Man.
  • Skewed Priorities: The story "Angels With Yellow Faces" sees Chief Wiggum successfully blackmailing Bart into serving as an inside man in a sting operation which essentially uses him as bait to catch Sideshow Bob. The blackmail material is just surveillance footage of him using the church's fax machine for a Cheek Copy.
  • Skinny Dipping: An issue ends with the townspeople getting drenched in mud and going skinny dipping to wash off. Overlaps with Dance Party Ending as the townspeople managed to resolve their social circle differences.
  • Sleep Deprivation: "24/7th Heaven" features Springfield enforcing all businesses to be open all times in an attempt to improve its economy. This backfires when the city's residents go insane from the lack of sleep.
  • 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.
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: In one issue, Ned, lonely while his sons are at Bible camp, lavishes his paternal attention on Lisa and Bart. They, and Marge, pick up his overuse of idiomatic proverbs, driving Homer nuts.
  • 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.
  • Spin-Off: Bart Simpson, Treehouse of Horror, and Radioactive Man.
  • Start My Own: Krusty decides to found his own country, inspired by a comment of Bart's (who'd just that day seen a video half-explaining the beginnings of the American Revolution). Just so he doesn't have to pay taxes again.
  • 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.
  • Superdickery: In a spoof of old-school romance genre comics, the cover page for the story "Patty & Selma's Ill-Fated Romance: My Sister, My Homewrecker!" has Homer caught canoodling with Selma of all people. (It was actually a realistic dummy of Homer that she was pretending to romance as part of a complicated therapy exercise, if you were wondering.)
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • 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.
    • Mr. Burns thinks he can save money by getting his workers addicted to specially engineered donuts and offering them in exchange for a cut in the workers' salaries, but a month into their addictions his employees are now incredibly fat and have such a hard time doing their jobs the drop in productivity and the money it takes to keep them in donuts means Burns is now losing his profits.
    • At the end of the first Simpsons Super Special story, Krusty has been revealed to be framing Homer, and is caught. The Blue Haired Lawyer steps in to point out that as a rich celebrity, Krusty will just walk away scot-free, and everyone knows it. So Homer pies him.
    • A flashback to the 1960s shows young Homer looking for a job to pay for repairing damages he caused to his father's yard. After failing to obtain employment at several businesses that are struggling due to the day's fashions, he tries to enlist in the Army. He still fails there because, even though the recruiter admits they're struggling to find volunteers for the Vietnam War and would love to take him, they can't overlook the fact he's too young to enlist.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Homer finds a pub in Scotland which happens to have Scottish counterparts for everyone in Springfield, even Bumblebee Man.
  • Take That!:
    • One issue has a lot of these directed toward Millennium (1996), rather gratuitously and mean-spiritedly, but that doesn't make it any less funny.
    • When Burns traps Homer in a violent TV gameshow, Mr. Smithers is perfectly fine having Homer killed via poison chainsaws, and poisoned darts, but James Cameron's Oscar acceptance speech on a continuous loop?
      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.
    • An issue written by Gail Simone of all people featured Grant Morrison and Mark Millar duking it out in a knife fight over their respective X-Men comics.
    Grant Morrison: Oh, aye. Ultimate X-Men. Sure and that counts.
    Mark Millar: Check the sales charts, ye rogue. The sales charts dinnea lie!
  • 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.
    • Bart, Milhouse, and most of the kids in Springfield Elementary become overweight after Nelson stops bullying them for the lunch money which lets them buy the horrible food such as Cream of Lard. After Nelson goes back to bullying them, the kids slim down to their normal size, albeit they're all incredibly bruised and battered.
  • Tempting Fate: In "Hail to the Cat", Lisa removes the second amendment, on the grounds it was only done to keep the British out anyway. The next morning, after all the guns in Springfield have been rounded up, what should happen, but a full-scale invasion of Brits.
    Brits: They have no guns, they're defenceless!
  • Thanksgiving Episode: The Issue 51 story revolves around the Simpsons' Thanksgiving preparations going horribly wrong and their ensuing misadventures: Marge fights through a supermarket-turned-warzone to get the last turkey, Lisa and Grandpa visit a casino, Homer rescues Mr. Burns and Smithers from angry turkeys and Bart meets the evicted orphans from the orphanage.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Bartomu's reaction when he's about to be crushed by Yoshiberra's spiked bat.
    Bartomu: Eep! I am too dead.
  • 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.
  • "Truman Show" Plot: "The Homer Show" sees a TV network bugging every building in Springfield to film a show about Homer after realizing that his penchant for pratfalls is comedy gold. Everyone in town is in on it except for the Simpsons themselves.
  • 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:
    • In "Springfield's Typical Teen-ager", a teenage Homer accidentally plans a date with Mr. Burn's niece and Marge at the same time, forcing him to drive back and fourth. Barney even compares Homer with Archie Andrews.
    • Another issue has Itchy and Scratchy being replaced (due to Cecil Terwilliger blackmailing Krusty) with Jeeves and Wooster, in a made-up episode where Jeeves has two dates on the same day he's supposed to marry the queen. Homer complains about this... because it's based on the "later" novels.
  • Unishment: When Bart has all the teachers deported, he sends Krabappel to France. She doesn't even try to hide her smug smirk when Ms Hoover calls her a "student's pet".
  • 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'.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The story "It's In the Cards" has Homer pull some Camera Spoofing so that he can skip work to attend a baseball game. Burns thinks the picture is frozen, and in his scramble to outrun Burns' Stormtrooper-esque maintenance crew to his station, Homer knocks the picture down from the camera, hitting a button which causes a power outage affecting the vendor at Springfield Elementary where the teachers' food is stored. The teachers all get sick and are replaced by substitutes while they recover, kicking off a Role Swap Plot for Bart and Lisa (Bart's substitute likes him and trusts him with responsibilities while Lisa's dislikes her and treats her like a troublemaker) that ends badly for both of them. In a moment of Dramatic Irony, Homer then scorns Marge's aesop about how the important thing is that they should do their best despite the fact that, inevitably, "sometimes our actions have unforeseeable consequences."
    Homer: (as the health department detonates the contaminated food vendor behind him) Kids, don't worry about that "unforeseeable consequences" baloney. Just remember that we love you, even if you are failures!
  • Uranus Is Showing: A NASA scientist claims they can't tell anyone about their space missions going wrong because every time he mentions loosing probes near Uranus, they laugh.
  • 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 scientist' convention. Kearney winds up with X-Ray pants, and repeatedly tries to get a swap, to no luck.
  • Yandere: The Smithers clones take their genetic template's obsession with Mr. Burns to an unhealthy degree. After fighting amongst themselves for things as trivial as possession of a tissue that Burns sneezed on, they collectively decide to kill "Smithers Prime" and clone Mr. Burns so they can each have unfettered access to a Burns of their own. And when it becomes apparent that they can't draw the blooded needed to clone Burns using a needle, they decide to get it by dismembering him with a buzzsaw instead.
  • 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