Bart Simpson has had his fair share of enemies of over the years. Nelson Muntz. Principal Skinner. Sideshow Bob. The country of Australia. Space Mutants. But these formidable foes have been mere child’s play compared to the deadliest enemy of all: the gender binary.
The Simpsons, of course, is no stranger to controversy. But in recent decades, the show’s penchant for edginess has fallen by the wayside. And so it has fallen upon Simpsons Comics, the show’s funnybook corporate sister, to pick up the gauntlet of provocative social commentary. From the looks of things, it appears the Bongo Comics creative team has risen to the occasion with this – dare I say – daring premise for an issue currently available in stores:
Bart becomes an Internet sensation after being filmed while donning a wig and performing for his friends at Springfield Elementary. Little does he know it will all lead to fame, fortune, and the all-you-can-eat backstage buffet as he becomes the new (female?) pop diva sensation…Torie Missouri!
Yes, that’s right. Bart Simpson is being enlisted to fight in the war against Gender.
For too long, western society has perpetuated the myth that “men” are supposed to act a certain way, while “women” are supposed to act a different way. By moving fluidly between hir “Bart Simpson” and “Torie Missouri” personas, Bart will prove that gender is merely an illusion in a graphical deconstruction of the gender binary. A bold move from Bongo.
Given that the comic series is marketed towards children, don’t be surprised if comics vendors quickly pull this ish off the shelves. The Fredric Werthams and Helen Lovejoys of the world wouldn’t want America’s youth to become “indoctrinated” with subversive new concepts of equality. Comic books can be powerful agents of social change. Forward-thinking publishers like Bongo realize this. The guardians of the status quo also realize this… that’s why they fear the medium of comics and try to ban it at every opportunity. But their influence will always waning as long as progressive fighters continue to stand up to authority and order it to eat their shorts.
Some day in the future, we will be free of Gender. And we’ll have Bart Simpson to thank. [Bongo Blog]