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Watch del Toro’s ‘Simpsons’ opening for ‘Treehouse of Horror’

simpsons-del-toro

Fox has debuted Guillermo del Toro’s epic couch gag for The Simpsons‘ “Treehouse of Horror XXIV,” which features homages to some of the filmmaker’s own works – Hellboy, Blade and Pan’s Labyrinth among them — and horror classics ranging from The Birds and The Shining to The Phantom of the Opera and The Car. There are nods to such influential figures as H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Harryhausen, Edgar Allan Poe and Ray Bradbury, too. Heck, Hypnotoad from Futurama even gets a cameo.

Del Toro said in paying tribute to The Simpsons and his inspirations, he drew upon the MAD Magazine work of Mort Drucker, Will Elder and Harvey Kurtzman.

“They would try to cram so many references in,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “You as a kid could spend an afternoon on your bed with your magnifying glass going through a frame of Mad magazine and finding all these references to this and that.”

“Treehouse of Horror XXIV” airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

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‘The Simpsons’ expansion is complete at Universal Orlando

simpsons-kang and kodos

A mere three months after Universal Orlando Resort announced plans for an expanded Simpsons area, the attraction was completed last week with the debut of Kang and Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl ride.

The theme park blog Inside the Magic has photos, video and a timeline of the Springfield expansion, which is anchored by the five-year-old The Simpsons Ride, and includes a Krusty Burger, the Frying Dutchman, Lard Lad donuts, Moe’s Tavern and the Kwik-e Mart. Visitors can also buy Duff Beer, brewed exclusively for Universal Orlando.

You can see a video tour of the attraction below.

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Converse puts the spring in Springfield with Simpsons sneakers

converse-simpsons1

It’s difficult to write about The Simpsons and fashion without belting out the words to “See My Vest,” but I’ll give it a try: Paying tribute to the long-running animate series — heck, the longest-running scripted primetime show on American television — Converse has released a line of screen-printed Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie (and, in the background of one of the designs, much of the population of Springfield).

The Simpsons Chuck Taylor All Star collection, which range in price from $37 to $60 for children and adults, is available now on the Converse website and at Journeys.

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Springfield comes to life in Universal’s new ‘Simpsons’ area

The Simpsons at Universal Orlando Resort

Who needs the Kwik-e Mart? Universal Studios Orlando, which has announced plans for an expanded Simpsons-themed area at the park that’ll open this summer.

The World of Springfield will be anchored by the existing The Simpsons Ride, as well as new spinning ride called Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl. The area will also feature Krusty Burger, the Frying Dutchman, Lard Lad donuts, Moe’s Tavern and of course the Kwik-e Mart. They also plan to sell Duff Beer, brewed exclusively for the park. Although it isn’t mentioned in the release, the image also shows The Android’s Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop, home of Jeff Albertson, a.k.a. Comic Book Guy.

I’m usually not a big fan of simulator rides (or at least my head isn’t), but The Simpsons Ride is very well done, mostly because the ride’s story is so much fun. So this should be a welcome addition to the park.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Jupiter’s Legacy’ debuts to more than 100,000

Jupiter's Legacy #1

Jupiter’s Legacy #1

Comics sales | Is Mark Millar on to something after all? The first issue of Jupiter’s Legacy sold more than 105,000 copies to direct market stores in April; the only other Image comic to reach those numbers in recent years is The Walking Dead. ICv2 runs the numbers and also posts the Top 300 comics and graphic novels for April. [ICv2]

Passings | Matt Groening’s mother has died at the age of 94. Although she always went by Margaret, Groening borrowed her name for Marge Simpson in his animated series The Simpsons. [Comic Riffs]

Retailing | Amanda Emmert has resigned after nine years as executive director of ComicsPRO, the direct-market trade organization. [ComicsPRO]

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Stan Lee will return to ‘The Simpsons’ next season

stan lee-simpsons1

Comics legend Stan Lee will pay another visit to Springfield next season, playing himself in an episode of Fox’s The Simpsons.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the 90-year-old Lee will pop by The Android’s Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop to offer advice about comics and romance to Comic Book Guy, whose budding relationship with a young Japanese woman/manga fan stands to be ruined by Homer.

Hopefully this time Lee annoys Comic Book Guy a little less than he did in his first appearance on The Simpsons, in the 13th-season episode “I Am Furious (Yellow).” Next season will be the show’s 25th.

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Artist organizing ‘Simpsons’ and ‘Akira’ mash-up

Bartkira

While something can be great on its own, the idea of mixing two things can lead to interesting combinations. Peanut butter and jelly, rock and roll, the Beatles and Jay-Z … and soon, The Simpsons and Akira. Cartoonist James Harvey is organizing a full-scale re-creation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s popular manga series with its characters replaced with members of The Simpsons.

“Milhouse is Kaneda. Lisa is Kei. Bart is Tetsuo,” Harvey posted on his blog. “Let’s do it.”

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Confused by ‘fiscal cliff’ debate? Allow Montgomery Burns to explain

Although he’s still reeling by the defeat of Mitt Romney — hey, he didn’t heed valuable advice — C. Montgomery Burns pulls himself together to deliver a helpful explanation of the “fiscal cliff” from within the ominous-looking headquarters of the Springfield Republican Party.

“Think of the economy as a car and the rich man as the driver,” he offers in a new Simpsons promo. “If you don’t give the driver all the money, he’ll drive you over the cliff. It’s just common sense.”

Watch the video below. New episodes of The Simpsons air Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

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The Simpsons’ Montgomery Burns offers his services to Mitt Romney

Boo-urns

Sure, President Obama has received high praise from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and, just today, the endorsement of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but Mitt Romney has now secured the invaluable assistance of the Springfield Republican Party.

In a video message from C. Montgomery Burns, the nuclear power tycoon and kingmaker offers the candidate a way to overcome “the one thing that might deny us the presidency that is the God-given property of the Republican Party.” It’s not the 47-percent video, the overseas bank accounts or even, as Mr. Smithers says, “the tax returns that even Wesley Snipes would call suspicious.” No, no, no … it’s the harrowing tale of Seamus the dog.

The Simpsons returns Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.

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Robot Roulette | Paul Maybury

Welcome once again to Robot Roulette, our interview feature where we throw random questions at comic creators and see how they respond. We’ve come up with 36 possible questions, and each week I will randomly select which of those questions our guest has to answer.

Paul Maybury

Today artist Paul Maybury puts on his best James Bond tuxedo and steps up to the roulette wheel. You might know Paul from such projects as Aqua Leung, D.O.G.S. of Mars, Party Bear and the upcoming Reign with writer Chris Roberson.

My thanks to Paul for agreeing to be one of our early guinea pigs on Robot Roulette. Now let’s see what he has to say about Fishbone, scary kids movies and Ed McGuinness.

5. If you were given the opportunity to spend 48 hours with absolutely anyone, living or dead, who would you spend it with and what would you do?

Well, it would have an be an artist, and my favorite has always been Van Gogh. I’ve simply never lost my enthusiasm for his work, and have had the opportunity to view it person often in my life. I might have an overly romanticized view of his passion for art, due to Kirk Douglas’s portrayal in Lust for Life, but I would love to observe someone paint with that sort of tenacity. Every piece of work moves, and I think there’s a lot of valuable lessons to take from his work as a comic creator.

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Comics A.M. | The Rover artist Douglas Phillips passes away

Douglas Phillips

Passings | Douglas Phillips, who drew many stories over the years for the rough-and-tumble British boys’ comics The Rover and The Victor, has died at the age of 85. [Blimey!]

Creators | David Macho shares his memory of the graciousness of the late Sergio Toppi, who passed away this week. [The Beat]

Creators | Green Lantern writer (and DC chief creative officer) Geoff Johns is returning to his hometown, Detroit, to appear at a comics shop and the Arab American National Museum, promoting Baz, the first Arab-American Green Lantern. Johns himself is of Lebanese descent. [Detroit Free Press]

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SDCC ’12 | You, too, can have Bart Simpson’s hairdo

TVLine has the first look at the Comic-Con International exclusive that everyone will be wearing … or stepping over on the convention floor: Fox’s Bart Simpson crowns. They’re made of heavy paper, like something you might snag at Burger King, but considering their limited-edition nature, they’ll probably end up becoming considerably more valuable.

The crowns will be available at the Fox Fanfare booth (#4313) on a first come, first serve basis. There’s also a Simpsons panel scheduled for 12:45 p.m. Saturday, with executive producer Al Jean, supervising producer Mike Anderson and voice actor Yeardley Smith in attendance.

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Matt Groening’s Life in Hell ends after 32 years

From the final installment of Matt Groening's "Life in Hell"

After more than three decades, and 1,669 installments, Matt Groening has ended Life in Hell, his influential weekly comic strip starring bitter anthropomorphic rabbits and a pair of gay lovers. Although the final strip appeared Friday,  reruns will be offered to newspapers through July 13.

“Thirty-two years is a long time to do it,” The Simpsons creator told USA Today. “I love the characters, I love doing it, but it was just time.” Groening added to The Poynter Institute, “I’ve had great fun, in a Sisyphean kind of way, but the time has come to let Binky and Sheba and Bongo and Akbar and Jeff take some time off.”

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Comics A.M. | Are You My Mother?, The Walking Dead top indie bookstore chart

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1

Sales charts | The American Booksellers Association has released its list of the top-selling graphic novels in indie bookstores for the eight weeks ending May 27. At first glance, it looks like it’s mostly literary graphic novels (Habibi, Are You My Mother?) with a healthy sprinkling of The Walking Dead. [Bookselling This Week, via The Beat]

Creators | Grant Morrison discusses the second issue of Batman Incorporated, which features Batman’s lover and Robin’s mom, Talia al Ghul. [USA Today]

Comics history | Could comics history have been radically different if Jerry Siegel had a different last name? Larry Tye, the author of the new Superman a biography, talks to Fresh Air about the origins of the Man of Steel and how he changed over the years: “The editors in New York over time started to exercise their editorial control. They saw this as both a character and a business. They would go down to the level of dictating just what his forelocks looked like. They could be too curly. His arms should be shorter and less ‘ape-like.’ And Joe should get rid of his hero’s ‘nice fat bottom.’ His editor told him that he worried that that made Superman look too ‘la-dee-dah.’ And they were really concerned about the image of the character.” [NPR]

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Matt Groening finally reveals the location of Springfield

For nearly a quarter of a century, we’ve been been plagued by one nagging question: Where, oh where, is Springfield (“Meanest Town in America”)?

The town’s location has been a recurring joke, with viewers teased repeatedly by the writers of The Simpsons. But now, at long last, the mystery has been solved, by none other than creator Matt Groening. In an interview with Smithsonian magazine, the cartoonist finally reveals Springfield (pop. 30,720) is in his home state of Oregon.

“Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon,” he says. “The only reason is that when I was a kid, the TV show Father Knows Best took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown. When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name. I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S. In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, ‘This will be cool; everyone will think it’s their Springfield.’ And they do.”

Asked whether he’d ever divulged that tidbit before, Groening says, “I don’t want to ruin it for people, you know? Whenever people say it’s Springfield, Ohio, or Springfield, Massachusetts, or Springfield, wherever, I always go, ‘Yup, that’s right.’”

(via Gawker)


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