We in the stamp-collecting community have known it for a while now, but today, the U.S. Postal Service made it official: The Simpsons will be honored with U.S. postage stamps for their 20th anniversary. (Yes, this sounds a tad like an April Fools’ joke, but the philatelic press has known about it for months. Heck, when I first heard about the first Simpsons movie trailer- which was released on April Fools Day- I thought it was a joke.) The stamps- featuring the five members of the Simpson family- will be official unveiled on April 9. The sale date will also be announced at that time- although the philatelic press have assumed it will be May 7.
Too bad they didn’t make room for some of the other Springfield citizens. Souvenir sheets of 10 (The Muppets), 15 (Star Wars), and 20 (Comic Books) with different designs are not uncommon, so it would have been nice to see a Hank Azaria & Harry Shearer character depicted, too. Still, (speaking as one of the few philatelists here at the Dope), great news.
And this will dovetail conveniently with the other big Television stamp issue scheduled for this year.
The Muppets issue was an unusual 11 stamps- 10 Muppets and Jim Henson.
Apparently, these stamps will be issued as a booklet rather than a souvenir sheet, so they can be sold at vending machines and other places booklets are usually sold. An interesting idea on the Postal Service’s part- given the accessibility, the large number of stamps being printed, and the nationwide (and indeed worldwide) popularity of the Simpsons characters, this could sell well and give the Service a bit of a much-needed financial boost.
Yeah yeah, I knew someone would nitpick that.
Where’s my spy camera? Where’s my spy camera? Where is my spy camera?
The stamps have been officially unveiled, and they look pretty nice. It reminds me of pop art, for some reason. The designs were apparently sketched by Matt Groening himself- they have a sort of loose style, but still recognizably on-model. Pretty nice.
Wow, does anyone else remember - it was probably just a silly advertisement but I was young and believed it and got excited about it at the time - when The Simpsons first went into syndication in the early [or maybe mid] 90s, the commercial, at least in my local market, said, approx., “the USPS declined to put Bart Simpson on a stamp, so we’re going to play The Simpsons 5 nights per week until they do!” I had given up on that.
Apparently, Fox asked the USPS to put the Simpsons on stamps in 1994, but they declined. The show entered syndication in 1994, so that would make sense.
Awesome. Great idea, and cool-looking stamps to boot. I have to get my hands on some of those!
Sounds like the USPS’s nefarious plot is working: they’re actually making people eager for the next rate increase (these being 44¢ stamps).
:tapping fingertips: ** Excellent!**
I’m a huge Simpsons fan, but I hate this, just as I hate the Disney stamps. As I posted in another thread a few years ago:
This kind of blatant commercial promo on U.S. postage stamps really annoys me.
The Little Mermaid, Bambi, Thumper etc. are Disney property, still making money for the company as we speak, zealously protected by Disney’s legions of lawyers against copyright infringement, and under copyrights that have been indefinitely extended - thanks to Congress’s eagerness to help Disney and other studios make an end-run around the Constitution’s provision “securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries” (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 8)(emphasis added).
The subjects depicted on U.S. postage stamps should be of national significance or of broad public interest, and not financially benefit any particular individual or for-profit company, IMHO.
As the Postal Service’s own stamp-design guidelines provide in paragraph 6, “…Stamps or stationery shall not be issued to promote or advertise commercial enterprises or products…” From here: http://www.usps.com/communications/organization/csac.htm
How many stamps will it take to send a letter to the Prussian consulate in Siam by aeromail? (And am I too late for the 4:30 autogyro?)
To diverge a bit, I’ll agree with you that the Simpsons stamps are shamelessly commercial (perhaps even more so than previous depictions of copyrighted characters on stamps), but the Postal Service also honors a lot of people whose likenesses are owned by an organization such as CMG Worldwide which specialize in licensing them to other people for money. Looking at the latest issue of the Postal Service’s catalog, USA Philatelic, I see trademark notices on Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, Louis Jordan, Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, Groucho Marx, Ed Sullivan, Dinah Shore, Alfred Hitchcock, Steve Allen, and Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. Of course, these are all entertainers, but even well-known and important figures such as Martin Luther King have their likenesses controlled by a for-profit organization. All of these people certainly have “broad public interest” (and in King’s example, most definitely “national significance,”) but since using their likenesses indeed “financially benefit[s]…[a] for profit company,” do you believe the Postal Service should not be using them?
This book must be out of date: I don’t see Prussia, Siam, or autogyro.
Why is Maggie so mad? What other cartoons have been on stamps?
A number of countries have issued stamps featuring familiar cartoon characters both native to their country and foreign. Here is a list of cartoon characters who have appeared on United States postage stamps (this also includes comic characters which could also be defined as “cartoon characters”:
Smokey Bear (1984)*
McGruff the Crime Dog (1984)*
Comic Strip Classics (1995- 20 comic strips ranging from 1898-1940s, including many which stil run today)
Bugs Bunny (1997)
Disney’s Snow White (1998)
Sylvester and Tweety (1998)
Daffy Duck (1999)
Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner (2000)
Porky Pig (2001)
The Pink Panther (2004, on stamp honoring Henry Mancini)
Walt Disney Characters (2004-2008, characters from feature films plus one design in each set with Mickey Mouse and friends)
DC Comics Characters (2006)
Marvel Comics Characters (2007)
The Simpsons (2009)
*Smokey Bear is the mascot of the National Forest Service, and McGruff is the mascot of the National Crime Prevention Center. Although mascots of government organizations, they usually appear animated in their PSAs, so I think they count as cartoon characters.