Simpsons: Radioactive Man’s Musical Went Worse Than Spider-Man’s

It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say Spider-Man’s Broadway musical could have been better, but compare it to The Simpsons‘ Radioactive Man musical, and suddenly Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark is on par with Hamilton, as proven by Simpsons Super Spectacular #14, in a story aptly titled Radioactive Man: Turn Up The Silence.

When billionaire playboy Claude Kane III is visited at his home by three theater producers to discuss a musical based on Radioactive Man, Kane, who is actually Radioactive Man’s public alter-ego, worries they’ve deduced his secret identity. But, no. They’re just there seeking an investment. Kane agrees, believing it could be good PR for Radioactive Man while he will also be able to keep tabs on how he’s being portrayed. The story isn’t terribly subtle in regards to the parallels it’s drawing between this show and Spider-Man’s. Instead of U2’s Bono and The Edge on music duties, Radioactive Man’s music will be handled by U-Turn’s Ohno and The Wedge.

Related: The Simpsons: Gil Has The Saddest Superhero Origin Story Ever

The show is a disaster before previews even start, with medics needed on set the first day of rehearsals due to one wire-work mishap after another. Cast and crew come and go, electronics catch fire, the safety inspector is threatening to shut them down, Actor’s Equity wants to fine them, and Ohno keeps rewriting the music. But as they say, the show must go on and previews begin. Soon, Turn Up The Silence is the talk of the town, but for all the wrong reasons. After the show is excoriated by the press, one producer assures the cast and crew that the media just likes running with bad news. “If it bleeds, it leads,” he reminds them, just before another producer reminds him “unfortunately some of the cast’s leads did bleed.”

In the end the producers come up with a plan straight out of, well, The Producers. If the show stays in previews, it will never technically open, which means it will never technically close, as more and more people flock to check out the chaotic “work in progress.” Despite Kane offering ideas for improvements, they cut him a check for his investment and usher him away.

As though the comic wasn’t being cheeky enough, its cover adds insult to literal injury, with Radioactive Man being mobbed by characters from Broadway classics like Cats, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, The Book of Mormon and The Lion King. Shaking his fist in the background is someone in a Spider-Man suit with one arm in a sling and his head wrapped in bandages. That raises the question: does Spider-Man actually exist in the Simpsons universe? Because there’s some compelling evidence that the Simpsons exist in his.

Simpsons comics have a long history of paying homage to – and poking fun at – comic book characters and tropes. Duffman’s origin story essentially just turned Green Lantern’s ring into a sentient can of beer. Homer once basically became The Spirit as he rushed to Moe’s. And the comics’ take on Watchmen Splotchmen – provided readers with a fun ribbing of the classic graphic novel. It’s clear that the creators are not only fans of the characters and stories they’re parodying, but that they’ve also done their research. In the end, the musical could have gone worse. At least none of its actors got drenched in acid, which is more than can be said about the Radioactive Man movie.

Next: The Simpsons’ RADIOACTIVE MAN Has An Actual Origin Story

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