The Goon #3 was out last week from Eric Powell and Rachel Cohen and adds to the growing titles on my pull list that lean towards the more humorous, albeit it mostly dark humour. Though, while The Goon is clearly rooted in the conventions of horror, the humour isn’t necessarily dark. In fact, this issue reminded me more of Jack Davis/MAD Magazine from the bygone era mise-en-scène of the book, to the art style itself.
Slight exaggerations and caricatures on each and every face announces that this book is not to be taken too seriously, and it’s into this daft world that the horror is introduced. A horror that’s moulded and transformed by Powell into the kind of street-level punk we’ve already encounters and this issue is no different as we are introduces to a mummy with a curse (haven’t that y’all?). A curse that sees explorer Dr Harold Criddle – who unearths him – doomed to live his life with this monster at his side, forever destroying anything the good doctor likes. Anything. From a cup of tea (he is British, and we all drink tea by the bucket load) to his friends; pretty soon Criddle is all alone and having to live off pickled cod simply to survive. It’s a very novel, and funny, take on this infamous horror trope and is while funny, it’s still very frightening if you take the time to think about the consequences of such a curse.
It’s all very EC Comics – a clear and revered influence on Powell – but with a great twist on the ‘Curse of the Mummy’ type of story that he’s pastiching in this issue. And, while I should have seen the twist in this story coming a mile away, I was too engrossed with the absolutely astounding artwork Powell produces in this issue. It’s what won me over 25 years ago and its what brings me back to this character time and again. What is Dark Horse’s loss is Albatross Funny Books’ gain. Once again Powell mixes it up with straight forward pen and ink pages with more atmospheric, painted pages awash with varied ink tones and washes that bring the spooky, especially in the closing pages as we are confronted with the next threat to seek out The Goon. How much of this is down to Powell’s partner on colours – Rachel Cohen – is unclear, but I doff my cap to both for this and every issue of The Goon.
A comic that is purposefully timeless and, certainly in this issue, reminiscent of the classic Universal Monsters film of the early 30’s, Powell continues to fascinate me with this world where, at any moment, a new, yet familiar creature will be ready to go bump in the night, and mug your for your wallet.
The Goon #3 is out now from Albatross Funny Books.