There are football (or soccer) comics on the coffee table this month. Last year I saw a really good FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Brisbane between Australia (Socceroos) and Japan (Blue Samurai) and recently I attended a Sydney FC match and witnessed the Italian master Alessandro Del Piero (a.k.a. the little painter) play. Del Piero says he was inspired to play football by the Japanese animation and manga character Captain Tsubasa (see image below). Growing up in Australia with the SBS television broadcaster, the Special Broadcasting Service, I was aware of football’s cultural origins. Due to its coverage of ethnic programs SBS became an amusing acronym in the schoolyard for ‘Soccer Bloody Soccer’ especially for followers of the other football codes such as rugby league, rugby union and Australian rules, and later with it’s screening of adult art films prior to the early morning broadcast of live football matches from Europe, ‘Sex Before Soccer’.
So some of my set of Simpsons soccer figures and Comic Book Guy comics are in play this time with the cast kitted out to fill a couple of soccer teams and Mr. Burns as the referee. Comic Book Guy seems to be miscast here, invading the playing field and shown the red card for not being a member of either team. There is no sign of the ball, lost perhaps in the long grass. Springfield is not known for its smooth playing surfaces. Perhaps Homer was supposed to mow it?
In the recent comic book series Death of Comic Book Guy, the first issue cover is a pastiche of the Jack Kirby design for The Fantastic Four #1 back in November 1961 with Comic Book Guy trading places with The Thing, Bart with Human Torch, and Homer with Invisible Girl(see above). Oh, did I forget to mention Billy the Fish?
UPDATE #1(February 2014): The Simpsons show is currently cartoonising some of the members of English Premier League club Chelsea FC. (L to R in the photo below) are Eden Hazard, Fernando Torres, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech.