The Simpsons writer reveals the origin behind *that* Marvel joke (and it's not Rick and Morty)

(Image credit: 20th Television)

It’s been a running joke for years: think of a one-liner, and The Simpsons probably already did it already. Now, the tables have turned. According to Rick and Morty fans,  The Simpsons' latest episode – the series' highly anticipated Marvel crossover –swiped a superhero parody from Adult Swim’s hit series. However, all is not as it seems…

First, the controversy. During The Simpsons season 31 episode “Bart the Bad Guy”, the residents of Springfield watch a spoof Marvel superhero series called The Vindicators. Sound familiar? That’s because The Vindicators is also the name of a comic-book-style team in Rick and Morty that were introduced during the show’s third season.

Some fans decided to firmly point the finger at The Simpsons on Twitter, suggesting that the longest-running animated sitcom took more than a little inspiration from Rick and Morty.

Matt Selman, executive producer and writer on The Simpsons, has addressed those concerns. He recounts the story of his version of The Vindicators, from failed ‘90s TV pilot starring “superheroes with real-life problems” all the way through to its usage on The Simpsons in 2020, some three years after Rick and Morty did it.

Selman also admitted he knew “full well that it has already been used in another show” but it appears to be a case of two incredibly-talented creative teams reaching the same punchline at different times.

Though, having said that, I’m starting to think the Kevin Feige-voiced Chinnos might be a rip-off of Thanos. Disney should look into that.

Woo-hoo! Here are the best Simpsons episodes ever, plus a look at some of the best Rick and Morty episodes so far. Enjoy the best of both worlds!

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.