The Simpsons Comics Guide

Bongo Beat

A Brief History of Bongo

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Bongo Beat: A Brief History of Bongo
by Matt Groening
Transcribed with notations by Bruce Gomes ( from Simpsons Comics #49

Of course, you all know the story of how Matt Groening created The Simpsons - how there were 48 shorts that ran as part of "The Tracey Ullman Show," how the show debuted as a Christmas special in 1989, how the show was launched as a regular series in January 1990, and how it has garnered enthusiastic critical praise and numerous awards during its eleven seasons (with at least two more seasons to come).

But many of you do not know the publishing history of The Simpsons - how the fan magazine Simpsons Illustrated. created by Matt Groening with longtime friends Steve and Cindy Vance and aided and abetted by Bill Morrison, was published from 1991 to 1993, and how that magazine's success led to the one-shot comic book Simpsons Comics & Stories. The incredible response to this comic was the impetus behind the creation of Bongo Comics Group, and on November 25, 1993, Simpsons Comics #1 and Itchy & Scratchy Comics #1 debuted. Three weeks later, on December 16, Bartman #1 and Radioactive Man #1 hit the stands. Thus began a marathon year that saw a new comic being put together every three weeks by a small but tireless crew (including Matt Groening, Steve and Cindy Vance, Bill Morrison, Tim Bavington, Phil Ortiz, Susan Grode and Jason Grode.) It was at the end of that year that Steve & Cindy Vance bid a tearful goodbye to Bongo after guiding the creative direction for the first eighteen comic books and setting a standard of quality rarely seen in the humor genre, In fact, during their creative tenure. "The Amazing Colossal Homer" from Simpsons Comics #1 garnered an Eisner Award for Best Story, and Diamond Comics named Bongo "Best Publisher of the Year."

Helmed by Jason Grode and guided artistically and editorially by Bill Morrison, Bongo ventured into its second year, which saw the unveiling of three new series: Lisa Comics, Krusty Comics, and the annual favorite Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror. It was also in 1995, that Matt Groening formed Zongo Comics, an imprint where alternative comic artists could publish their work. It was through Zongo that Gary Panter published seven issues of Jimbo and Mary Fleener found a home for Fleener! In later years, Bongo began to publish other titles like Bill Morrison's Roswell, Little Green Man and Stephanie Gladden's Hopster's Tracks.

About the same time Bongo Comics started to be printed around the world in several different languages. Currently you can find the same issue of Simpsons Comics in England, Germany, Italy, Australia, Belgium, Mexico, and Spain. Bongo Comics has also created a comic strip that debuted in The Times in England, has run in Italy and Czechoslovakia, and is available through Universal Press Syndicate in approximately 50 papers in the United States. On the horizon is the debut of Bart Simpson Comics, slated for an August release, and the long-awaited return of Radioactive Man as a quarterly series.

Bongo keeps growing and just keeps getting better, but is is important to recognize that during the past seven years we have had a lot of help bringing you Simpsons comic books. Our staff, which has grown to about a dozen people over the years, are grateful to the contributions of many people whose unique talents have molded and shaped the comics you have read and enjoyed. While it is impossible to thank everyone, and we are absolutely certain we will leave someone out who was pivotal to the proceedings, here are about 300 people that come to mind:

Jeffrey Abrams, Edwin Aguilar, Jon Aibel, Peter Alexander, Mike Allred, Laura Allred, Neil Alsep, Mike Anderson, Jaime Angell, Sergio Aragonés, Carmen Arenal, Roger Ash, Norm Auble, Peter Bagge, Jesus Ballaz, Lou Bank, Lorena Barraza, Angelica Barron, Hilary Barta, James W. Bates, Karen Bates, Tim Bavington, Jackie Behan, Peter Benson, Glenn Berger, Tracy Berna, Laurie Biernacki, Stefania Bitta, Jeannine Crowell Black, Rik Booth, Ian Boothby, Jeanette Rose, Mary Bradner, Sharon Bridgeman, Katie Briggs, Gerald Calabrese, Mimi Carroll, Lisa Carroll, Shaun Cashman, Dan Castellenata, Annette Andersen Caton, Jim Chalmers, Tanya Chambers, Chiu Chan, Vivian Cheung, Chris Clements, Antonia Coffman, Comicraft, Pamela Cooke, Richard Cornell, John Costanza, Serban Cristescu, Scott Cunningham, Marie Josée Danis, Geof Darrow, Annie Dauphin, Richard Davies, Darren Davis, John Davis, Manelick de la Parra Vargas, Claudia De La Roca, Dan DeCarlo, Terry Delegeane, Warren Dern, Fae Desmond, N. Vyolet Diaz, Tony DiBisceglia, Skip Dietz, Francis Dinglasan, Paul Dini, Chuck Dixon, Laureano Dominguez, Sandy Dominic, Evan Dorkin, Chip Dornell, Julie Dufine, Barry Dutter, Art Ebuen, Martin Eden, James Eisele, Electric Crayon, Luis Escobar, Henry Eshelman, Jackie Estrada, Colleen Farrell, Tom Fassbender, Adam Fein, Joe Ferrara, Joe Field, Film Roman, Craig Fisher, Mary Fleener, Tom Flinn, Marilyn Frandsen, Alan Friel, Simon Furman, Lisa Galaz, Sondra Gatewood, Robert Graff, Todd Grenwald, Milton Griepp, Clay Griffith, Susan Grode, Jarrett Grode, Jason Grode, Deborah Caplan Groening, Matt Groening, Angela Guerts, Jim Haines, Rob Hammersley, John Hammond, Jason Hansen, Tim Harkins, Carl Harmon, Chris Harmon, Patricia Hart, Francisco Herrera, Jason Ho, Bill Ho, James Huang, Karen James, Justin James, Allison James, Christy Jimmerson, Laura Jordan, AJ Jothikumar, Shelly Kale, Nancy Kalpakian, Nathan Kane, Olga Katola, Trena Keating, Kathy Kerr, Wendy Killiam, Tom King, Cathy Kirkland, Juliana Korsborn, Robert Kramer, Peter Kuper, Deb Lacusta, Nick Landau, Will LaRue, Batton Lash, Volker Lauster, Lisa LaValley, Abel Laxamana, Steven Leaf, Suzy Lee, Caroline LeMay, Rejean Letendre, Bill Liebowitz, Jim Lincoln, William Lipton, Michael Lisbe, James Lloyd, Oscar González Loyo, Steve Luchsinger, Marc Lussier, C. Scott Morse, Heidi MacDonald, Janet MacDonald, Deanna MacLellen, Jim Mahfood, Tim Maile, Michael Malone, Mike Manley, Scott Marcus, Wayne Markley, Mike Martens, Michelle Martucci, Jim Massara, Jesse McCann, Maura McIntyre, David McKean, Jim McLauchlin, Harry McLaughlin, Scott McRae, Angelo Messina, John Jackson Miller, Mike Milo, Edna Montuano, Jeanette Moreno, Bill Morrison, David Mowry, Eric Moxcey, Max Müller, Holly Munter, Tom Napier, Steve Nappa, Michael Neidorf, Christian Neuber, Kevin Newman, Joey Nilges, Laura O'Brien, Rob Oliver, Jennifer Ortega, Phil Ortiz, Andrew Osbourne, Kathleen Paleno, Gary Panter, Chris Paquette, Jim Pascoe, Christian Peterson, Binh Phan, Bonita Pietilla, Mike Polcino, Julius Preite ,Laurence Prince, Polly Provost, Publisher's Management Services, Lynn Rabinowitz, Matt Ragone, David Razowsky, Nate Rdger, Claire Rich, Ray Richmond, James Robinson, Eric Rogers, Franki Roizman, Chris Roman, Rory Root, Jeff Rosenthal, Deborah Ross, Mike Rote, Sondra Roy, Monique Roy, Aaron Rozenfeld, Billy Rubenstein, Carol Sabo, Mike Sakamoto, Lee Salem, Liz Sample, Adina Savin, Bill Schanesm Chris Schendekm Cary Schramm, Mark Schultz, David Seidman, Jessica Seymour, Cindy Simmons, Gail Simone, Jennifer Sindon, Jeff Smith, Sherri Smith, Bob Smith, Rita Smolinksi, Mili Smythe, Jim Sokolowski, Robert Stanley, Richard Stgarkings, Chris Staros, Steve Steere, Jr., Gerald Steffen, Terry Stewart, Jerry Stoltenberg, Tom Stormonth, Jan Strnad, Tim Stroup, Cathy Stroup, Dan Studney, Bonnie Stylides, Ray Supreme, Doug TenNapel, Jill Thompson, Maggie Thompson, Mark Thompson, Mary Trainor, Erick Tran, Nancy Trempe, Rich Trummer, Doug Tuber, Marguerite Tucker, Chris Ungar, Steve Vancy, Cindy Vance, Sib Ventress, Jean-Luc Verspeeten, Tal Vigderson, Arturo Villanueva, Steffen Volkmer, Rob Walton, Susan Weinberg, Don Welsh, Megan Welsh, Doug Whaley, Michael White, Lance Wilder, Lona Williams, Amber Willliams, Wade Wisinski, Mike Worley, Patricia Wyatt, Peggy Yamamoto, Chris Yambar, and Bob Zaugh.

But this list only scratches the surface of those who have made it possible for Simpsons Comics to reach its 50th anniversary. We thank our fans and readers who have supported the show and our books over the years. It's for you that we celebrate this landmark in our publishing history with Simpsons Comics #50 (in stores in August), an 80-page, all story, no ads, prestige format issue, complete with wraparound cover. We revisit the four original Bongo titles (Simpsons Comics, Bartman, Itchy & Scratchy and Radioactive Man) along with two other limited series (Lisa Comics and Krusty Comics) with six brand-spankin' new stories and then top it off with a tour of the Bongo offices conducted by Matt Groening himself.

And if that wasn't enough, with the printing of Simpsons Comics #51 in October, Simpsons Comics goes monthly! So stick around for a while, the best of Bongo is yet to be!

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This page last updated on March 15, 2014 by Bruce Gomes (

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