If you claim to be a die-hard fan of the The Simpsons, and the name Bongo Comics is not immediately recognizable to you, then you should stop whatever you are doing right now (besides reading this article), and pay attention. Your previous claims of fandom, albeit not totally erroneous, are subject to legitimate scrutiny.
Even the most apathetic American follower of the nation’s here today, gone tomorrow popular culture trends can probably tell you that Matt Groening’s claim to fame is the Fox TV series, The Simpsons. These folks could probably also regurgitate the fact that The Simpsons has become the longest running show in the history of the medium – longer than MASH, longer than Cheers, and longer than I Love Lucy.
Riding on the coattails of The Simpsons’ success, Groening proved he was not just a one-trick pony, playing a lead role in the creation of another animated TV series for Fox, Futurama. The show only ran from 1999 to 2003, but during this time, it developed a legion of fans strong enough to bring the show back to the airwaves in 2009.
In 1977, way before his meteoric rise to television success, Groening parlayed his love of comics and inherent talent for finding humor in some of life’s most heartbreaking moments into a comic strip aptly entitled Life in Hell. This deceivingly simple, black-and-white universe introduced us to the endearingly ill-fated character named Bongo, who mostly resembled a rabbit. Groening allowed us to follow Bongo’s trials and travails, along with those of a cast of similarly angst-ridden characters, for 35 years, before drawing the final curtain on the strip on June 16, 2012.
Bongo Springs Eternal
We all hold our first true love close to our heart. So, it should come as no surprise to even those aforementioned wannabe fans of The Simpsons that Groening would choose to keep the Bongo name alive, even though the character bearing it had one foot sliding precariously into the proverbial grave, when he, Bill Morrison, and Steve and Cindy Vance launched the Bongo Comics Group in 1993.
Initially, Bongo Comics published comics based on The Simpsons TV show, such as Simpsons Comics and Stories, Bartman, and Itchy & Scratchy. Today, you can pick up all of these classic Bongo Comics titles, and also some new ones, in the classic ink-and-pulp format, and on websites like comiXology that provide you with technology to read comic books online.
Here is a list of some of the Bongo Comics titles you can enjoy, with the ones available for online reading on comiXology marked as such:
- Bart Simpson’s Pal Milhouse (comiXology)
- Radioactive Man (comiXology)
- Ralph Wiggum Comics (comiXology)
- Simpsons Summer Shindig (comiXology)
- Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book
- Futurama Comics
- Futurama/Simpsons Infinitely Secret Crossover Crisis
- SpongeBob SquarePants Comics
- Sergio Aragones Funnies
- Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror
- Roswell, Little Green Man
- Simpsons Super Spectacular
- Krusty Comics
- Simpsons One-Shots
- Bart Simpson’s Joke Book
- The Official History of Bongo Comics
- Bongo Comics Group Spectacular
Kevin P. Hanson