I’ve always enjoyed the horror-comedy mix of The Goon and was pleased to see it back on the shelves again courtesy of Eric Powell and his Albatross Funnybooks. And, this month’s sophomore issue of the new run is an excellent example of The Goon’s appeal.
Our focus this issue is on local mob boss, Vinnie Nosferatu, who’s origins, back in the old country, we learn about over the course of several stunningly illustrated pages, all done in pencil on a sepia background. It’s not the only time Powell plays around with mixed media either, and it’s this artistic approach that really adds something special to each issue. It’s a truly unique comic book and well worth your attention, if you can find a copy that is. My local comic book store was all sold out even on NCBD, so be warned. The Goon may not be the sales force he once was, but there’s still a place for this Gothic-Americana title out there today. It’s also one of the best looking books out there too, thanks to Powell’s amazing talents.
The world of Powell’s The Goon is reminiscent of the same Depression-era USA that Popeye was spawned from, and it’s this sense of a bygone, timeless, oft-romanticised age that informs the book’s aesthetics. The Goon himself looks like Popeye’s long lost brother – minus the reliance of Spinach as a stimulant for his impossible strength – while his smart-alec side kick, Dwight T. Albatross, easily outsmarts Vinnie’s vampiric henchmen, much to the entertainment and delight of this particular reader. Rachel Cohen’s murky, swampy colours adds to this overall feel of a town that’s seen better days, while being haunted by all sorts of supernatural waifs and and strays that have always been part and parcel of The Goon’s world. It’s a world that’s developed over the past two decades and is as rich, varied and colourful as The Simpson’s own hometown of Springfield. A great source from which to pull stories from.
And, while there is clearly a larger story being told throughout this series, as The Goon’s return to town sees the townsfolk regaining the spine they collectively lost during his absence, this is a book that also tells a tale that’s done-in-one, and so easy for any new reader to pick up and get stuck into. And, that’s no mean feat in itself. I just hope it finds the readership it deserves and doesn’t get lost in all the noise that’s around these days from so many other indie publishers. Here’s hoping reviews like this will hit the right readers and get you supporting this stunning, silly book.
The Goon #2 is out now from Albatross Funnybooks.