Wr/Ill. Eric Powell
If I was an editor and Blazedent gave out editor's choice awards, I would be proud of the first recipient...The Goon by Eric Powell.
Certain words come to mind when sifting intimately through the first volume of this beloved series: exquisite, breath taking, refreshing, exhilarating are amongst the many colorful ones you can brand upon this book's cover.
Simply put, there has not been one series that has come out in a very long while to show the level of ingenuity that The Goon has presented.
The Goon's story is focused around supernatural, fabled themes set behind a 1930's and 1940's backdrop. It gloriously depicts the era in all it's authentic entirety with a modern twist. There are zombies, new fables, gangster characters, it is simply marvelous.
With that mythos mindset, it is no wonder that The Goon bears a striking resemblance to Mike Mignola's Hellboy. And, admittedly, if two pictures were presented to a person side by side, you would think that The Goon is Hellboy's human brethren.
That chameleonic image stems from Eric Powell's obvious and main artistic influence. That influence borrows heavily from Mike Mignola with the main characters facial and muscular features. Amongst other influences one can see a little bit of Michael Avon Oeming and the thunder bolt comparisons to Jeff Smith can be made as well.
Overall however the art is absolutely gorgeous. Eric Powell creates a dark and passionate world with luscious coloring that renders the art very believable and life like. He is a one man wrecking crew and his pure pencils, as you will find out midway through an issue in a flashback, are even better. The variety with which he can present his art represents his artistic capabilities. His style can go through old school Kirbyesque renditions, to a modern Mignola homage in mere seconds. It is quite amazing to see these shifts in the regular story and then the funny mock advertisement placements.
The art may not be a Jim Lee, but it takes a lot of artistic chances even though it is of a panel by panel rendition. But the clean cartoony style is just amazing to behold. It's fresh, crisp and compliments the world very well.
Adding to the art is the often hilarious story.
I can't remember the last time, besides books like Lenore and Bear, that I actually grinned with each passing page at all the oncoming barrage of unexpected jokes.
The Goon's world creates fables to claim as its own, but it is the marginally insane and belly rattling Santa Clause Christmas story that twists the modern mythology of the character and is the epitome of the book's humor. Just read it.
The Goon is also aided by his buddy sidekick Franky who displays a lovable, moronic tough man side, but is a character that mostly resembles one of the Three Stooges. Think of a gangster like Curly.
The beauty about all the characters within this book, even the villains, is that you care about them.
What is more plausibly reinforced about the authenticity of The Goon's world is the fantastic dialogue between the characters. It often times becomes mouth crescent bending banter for a reader, so that they cannot help but keep on flipping the pages and desperately readying themselves for another stomach laughter pain because of an ensuing event.
The presentation of the book is of the utmost quality. It is a hefty 16 dollars but well worth it. It comes with a funny as heck introduction, which I don't quite clearly understand and the book follows a super hilarious afterword by Eric Powell's independent publisher. There is also a small gallery. And all this presented in an elegant soft cover with wonderful page quality.
I am glad that comics like these are still being made to this day. We need more works of artistry like The Goon because quite frankly you can't go wrong with this book.
There was one last word that came to my mind when I finished this volume. A bit surprised, I expected a certain amount of greatness due to the hype that I heard from this title. But still, it delivered, and beyond. It is not a classic, not the greatest story ever written, but a really well crafted tale and an exhilarating must read.
Mouth agape, I breathed, looked at the cover once more and uttered,
- Pawel Goj