If you’ve not seen the definitive anime Akira, I highly suggest you make the time to watch it. If you’ve not read the comic it’s based on, I demand you get on that shit, like, yesterday. Set in post-nuclear Tokyo (well, technically “Neo-Tokyo,” an artificial island in the bay), Akira is a sort of post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story—just with telepathy, gang wars and terrorism. The first of the six volume series was released in 1982, but the decrepit futurism and universal themes have made it a timeless classic.It’s difficult to imagine anyone collaborating with or updating it, but the Akira/Simpsons mash-up, Bartkira, is positively inspired.
Hundreds of cartoonists are collaborating to re-create all six volumes of the series, panel by panel, recast with characters from The Simpsons—you can see the cast list (pre-determined for consistency) here. The project will run until the series is reproduced in its entirity, and you can actually submit your Bartkira fan art to the Tumblr (which has a ton of great art), or send samples of your work to email@example.com if you want to contribute to the actual Bartkira comic.
As if that wasn’t ambitious enough, over fifty animators have actually produced a video trailer for the project, and it’s dead-on. If you’re wondering if this is legal, so are the artists involved:
We’re not sure. We kind of just leapt into it. To be on the safe side, we’re keeping Bartkira as an entirely non-profit operation and we’re giving all the proceeds from sales of books, shirts and so on to charity. If you’ve made merchandise from your Bartkira artwork, we encourage you to do the same. We suspect the project occupies a legal grey area protected by parody laws. Regardless, as of writing we’re a year in and we haven’t received our cease-and-desist yet.
Supposedly, Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo got a kick out of the project, and while Matt Groening hasn’t been reached for comment, he’s got a huge collection of bootleg Simpsons merch, and likely wouldn’t care. And who wouldn’t be flattered by a project this formidable? The scope and artistry of the parody is positively sublime.
H/t Jason Clarke