The Neatorama Bill Morrison Interview/Simpsons Giveaway

You may recall that we asked you to send in your questions for The Simpsons' own Bill Morrison, who's been working with Matt Groening on the series since 1990. Bill has also served as editor and principal writer and artist at Bongo Comics, helping to creatively oversee Simpson's Comics, Radioactive Man, Bartman, and Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror.

Well, Bill made good on his end of the bargain by answering a lot of those questions! Check out the full interview below. Meantime, we're going to make good on our end of the bargain too, by giving away FOUR copies of The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis, which goes on sale tomorrow. But we got advance copies and are ready to unload them on four lucky neatoramanauts. Here's how to win: Read the interview! At the end you'll find a couple questions. Send your answers to me: david 'at' We'll pick winners at random and shoot you an e-mail to find out where you want your book sent. Pretty easy, right?

------ Now, on with the interview!------

Alex: How did you get started drawing cartoons? Where do you get your inspirations from? And lastly, do you have any advice for budding cartoonists?

Bill Morrison: I have an older sister who taught me to draw when I was only three years old! But I think I really got into some serious doodling when I discovered Batman on TV. I started reading Batman comics, and then every other kind of comic book, and I was hooked. I decided I wanted to be a comic book artist.

My inspiration comes from everywhere; current events, history, old movies, you name it. I recently wrote a story that was inspired by an urban legend I’d heard as a child. My series from the 1990’s, Roswell, Little Green Man was inspired by the story of the Roswell UFO crash, but also by my desire to draw vintage cars, fashions, architecture, etc. from the 1940’s. I was also influenced heavily by Dave Stevens’ wonderful Rocketeer strip.

My advice to budding cartoonists is to get a good education. Soak up as much knowledge and culture as you possibly can. It may seem boring now, but everything you learn will enrich your writing and your art in the years to come. When I was a student, I thought I would only be a comic book artist, and that I didn’t need to study certain things like English or History. Big mistake! I eventually became a writer and an editor, and had to educate myself in the areas I’d avoided in school.

Bill Peschel: Have there been proposed Treehouses of Horror stories that made y'all blanch and say, "Absolutely no way, Jose"?

Bill Morrison: Yes, but not often. The writers we invite to craft Treehouse of Horror stories tend to be great fans of The Simpsons, and they seem to know instinctively what to stay away from when they pitch ideas.

Paul in Prep: How does hearing the word Chondroitin, out loud, make you feel?

Bill Morrison: I love that word! It sounds like a noise that Jerry Lewis or Professor Frink would make!

Patty The Fatty: Any chance we're going to see a Roswell – Little Green Man TV series? If so, when? If not, why not?!?!

Bill Morrison: I would love to do a Roswell TV series or movie in the near future! I’m working on reviving the comic book at the moment, so after I reintroduce my little green pal to the world, I definitely intend to set my sights on the big or small screen (or both!)

burninglily: What's your muse? What was the deciding factor, that it moment when you just "knew" you were going to do this for the rest of your life?

Bill Morrison: As I mentioned earlier, I’ve wanted to be a comic book artist since I was a kid, but I think the moment I knew I wanted to make this my life’s work was when we won the Eisner Award™ for Simpsons Comics #1. Will Eisner’s work inspired me and influenced me from the moment I was aware of it, so receiving the award named for him meant a great deal to me, and made me want to be a part of the art form he called “sequential art.” By the way, if you missed it way back in 1993, we’ve included a reprint edition of the historic Simpsons Comics #1 inside The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis book!

Hellboy: Did the Simpsons created a new kind of hero : the stupid hero ? It seems to be the new standard in animated series (futurama, family guy, spongebob...) Does it reflect any kind of change in american society ?

Bill Morrison: I think “stupid” heroes have existed in animation going back at least as far as Disney’s Goofy (known way back at his inception in 1932 as Dippy Dawg!) In comics, the Captain from The Katzenjammer Kids, created in 1897 comes to mind. So no, I don’t think “stupid” characters are anything new. I do happen to believe that The Simpsons and Futurama are two of the most smartly-written shows on television. If there’s any conclusion about change in American society to be drawn from shows like these, I think it’s that we enjoy viewing smarter TV shows (and comics!)

Zim999: Will the following Simpsons Comics stories ever be reprinted?:  Bongos that time forgot from 32, More Bongos that time forgot from 35, The Itchy and Scratchy comics, The last 3 Bartman comics, The 4 stories from Simpson Comics and Stories, The Super Spectacular comics, The Winter Wingding comics, The Summer Shindig comics.

Bill Morrison: I was wondering what stories we had yet to reprint! Thanks for the handy list! I’m sure we’ll get to them all, eventually!

Bizznatch: Will there be a Bongo Comics website anytime soon?

Bill Morrison: Yes!

Bizznatch: How about a third Simpsons/Futurama Crossover comic series?

Bill Morrison: Funny you should ask! While compiling the material for The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis book, we got very excited and started talking about doing a third series. But we won’t do it just to cash in on the huge success of our hardcover collection. First, we need to think up a third story worthy of the first two!

Bizznatch: Any more Itchy & Scratchy comics coing?

Bill Morrison: We like to follow the lead of The Simpsons TV show by working Itchy & Scratchy episodes into our Simpsons comic book stories. We’ve found that the ultra-violent cartoon humor is much funnier in small doses!

Bizznatch: Will Sergio Aragones draw a full-length Futurama issue or cover? What other Bongo comics will Sergio Aragones be drawing this year?  All glory to the Hypnotooooad!

Bill Morrison: With Sergio, anything is possible! In the meantime, check out the dynamite two-page pin-up that Senõr Aragonés drew especially for The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis book! It features characters from both the Simpsons and Futurama meeting face to face at a very crowded comic book convention! And of course, Sergio’s work will appear regularly in each and every issue of Bart Simpson comics!

-----Contest Questions-----

1. Which neatoramanaut got props from Bill for helping him out with a list?

2. What's Bill's advice to cartoonists looking to break into the field?

That's it! Don't leave these answers in the comments please. Send them to me via e-mail!

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