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The Illustrative Man

Wikisimpsons - The Simpsons Wiki
Bongo logo 2012.png The contents of this article are based on an issue of Simpsons Comics or another comic series and is considered to be non-canon and may not have actually happened/existed.

The reason behind this decision is: .

The Illustrative Man
The Illustrative Man.png
Comic Story information
Released: September 1998
Comic series: Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror
Written by: Batton Lash

The Illustrative Man is a Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror story first printed in Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror #4.


The Simpson children encounter a circus freak whose tattoo-covered body tells many different stories.


Bart and Lisa meet a circus freak with a body covered in tattoos. He claims that each tattoo tells a story if they look hard enough, but warns them that the stories are unpleasant, and that they may see themselves and those they know within the stories.

The first story seen by Bart depicts a zombie trying to escape from Patty and Selma, but the two sisters begin to argue instead.

The second story, also seen by Bart, depicts Apu getting attacked by Herman's missing arm. The arm causes trouble around Springfield, including robbing a bank and getting into a fight with Homer, but eludes the authorities each time.

The third story seen by Lisa depicts her worst nightmare: bullying, rejection from her music teacher, her lazy father and The Birch Barlow Show. At the end of the story, she runs away screaming.

The fourth story seen by Bart depicts himself and Milhouse asking Groundskeeper Willie about the contents of a basket he carries with him. Willie refuses to tell, so the boys assume it is a second, evil head attached to his body. They discover it contained only food. After the boys leave, Principal Skinner is revealed to be the one with an extra, sinister head. Willie prepares to use an axe on Skinner.

Once all the stories are told, the Simpson family go home and the circus freak laughs at how gullible Bart was to believe in story-telling tattoos. A tattoo on the freak is revealed to depict himself laughing.


Comic issue Release date Country
Simpsons Comics #46 October 5, 2000 800px-Flag of the United Kingdom.svg.png
Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror: Spine-Tingling Spooktacular September 18, 2001 Flag of the United States.png
The Best of The Simpsons #24 October 13, 2005 800px-Flag of the United Kingdom.svg.png
The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Ominous Omnibus Vol. 1: Scary Tales & Scarier Tentacles August 2, 2022 Flag of the United States.png

The Saga of Carl - title screen.png Wikisimpsons has a collection of images related to The Illustrative Man.