When Disney bought Marvel Comics in 2009, much of the coverage of the move cited the publisher’s catalog of 5,000 characters. DC Comics, which was founded a few decades earlier and had gobbled up the character catalogs of many other publishers over the decades, must have a catalog of characters even deeper.
The cast of The Simpsons hasn’t grown quite that large, despite its 23 seasons and over 500 episodes, but there are an ever-increasing number of name characters within the city limits of Springfield, most of whom should be capable of supporting their own comic book. At least for one issue, right?
Case in point: Ralph Wiggum, Lisa Simpson’s dim to the point of zen nothingness classmate and the son of incompetent Police Chief Wiggum. The malapropism-spouting bit player usually only gets a cameo in episodes, when he appears at all, but those appearances tend to be the funnier bits of the episodes (and I say that as a lapsed fan who thinks the show might have climaxed a good 10 or 15 seasons ago, and started running on fumes a few seasons back).
Of course, on the show, Ralph works in small doses. Can he work in bigger doses? Bongo Comics gave us the chance to find out this week, with Ralph Wiggum Comics #1, a 25-page one-shot full of short stories starring Springfield’s most guileless resident.