Bootleg Bart

Bootleg Bart

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Updated Jun 17, 2018 at 08:28AM EDT by Y F.

Added Jul 29, 2015 at 04:57PM EDT by Ari Spool.

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Bootleg Bart refers to original unauthorized merchandise and/or original or contemporary fan art created with the image of Bart Simpson, often mutated or badly drawn, or sometimes with the character represented as a different ethnicity. While originally created to capitalize on fandom for the original character, the bootleg version now has a clear fan base of its own.


Bart Simpson was launched along with the rest of The Simpsons family in 1987. In the early 1990s, a fan trend called "Bartmania" took hold; millions of types of merchandise were sold, much of it featuring unauthorized, fan-drawn images of Bart. An Entertainment Weekly article from the time estimates that more than $200 million worth of Bootleg Bart merchandise had already been sold, and the popularity of The Simpsons didn't peak until seven years later, in 1997.[1]

Bootleg Bart merchandise has always been sought out by collectors and acknowledged by people involved with the production of The Simpsons, as in a 2009 issue of the comic book "Treehouse of Horror."[8] However interest in the phenomenon became popular online with the debut of a single-topic blog devoted to the phenomenon, run by an anonymous person known only as Leo.[2] The blog began as a Facebook page and expanded into other platforms, eventually spawning its own web site.[3] In 2014, in an interview with Vice Magazine, Leo explained that he began collecting the shirts in 2003, but that much of what is on the blog comes from the readers who send in images of their own.[4]


Bootleg Bart has expanded far beyond the original Facebook and Instagram pages, which have 12,000 followers and 38,800 followers, respectively; for instance, although the official Instagram account has 648 posts as of July 29th, 2015, there are almost 10,000 posts on Instagram tagged with #bootlegbart.[5] The term is also popular on Tumblr, where the results return modern fan art.[6]

In a February 2015 episode of the IFC show Portlandia, a main storyline features a t-shirt manufacturing character who believes he has the right to create a shirt featuring an image of Bart Simpson, along with the words "Bart Ska-Mpson." Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons cameos in the episode in a courtroom scene regarding the shirt.

In Los Angeles on July 25th and July 26th, 2015, a magazine called Be Street sponsored an art show called "Bootleg Bart," where contemporary artists, selected from a pool of more than 1000 submissions, created new Bootleg Bart art. Groening himself, rumored to be a large collector of Bootleg Bart merchandise, visited the show.[7]

Eat Pant

Eat Pant is a poor misspelling of Bart Simpson's catchphrase, "Eat my shorts." The phrase first grew in popularity after appearing on two cakes. The first was first posted to Twitter on July 24th, 2016 by @gaysexhaver420,[9] where it gained over 110 retweets (shown below, left). The second first appeared on Reddit's /r/Ooer[10] board on September 15th, 2016, where it gained over 350 points (shown below, right).


The cakes have appeared several times on Reddit. The first was posted on September 21st, 2016 to /r/crappyoffbrands[11] where it gained over 3,200 points. The latter was also posted to /r/crappyoffbrands[12] on February 1st, 2017, where it gained over 13,000 points, as well as /r/therewasanattempt[13] on May 6th, where it gained over 19,000 points. The second cake became the more popular of the two and the drawing of Bart is what is associated with "Eat Pant" images. For example, a Simpsons Shitpost was uploaded to Funnyjunk[14] on April 29th, 2017, in a post that gained over 1,000 likes (shown below, left).

EAT PANt ES EAT ALL SHIRT. IMA LEVEL-FIVE VEGAN. I ONLY EAT PANT l can't believe it.. now my pant is chafing me

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