Even the Undead Fear Him

the-goonCreated in 1999, Eric Powell’s “The Goon” is an amalgamation of ’30s and ’40s crime-noir and paranormal worlds made famous in films like “The Night of the Living Dead” and “Evil Dead.” In your face, gritty, hilarious and at times, out right silly, “The Goon: Nothin’ But Misery,” which is the first volume of the series available in trade form, is a tribute to B-movies, old time America and a medium that often takes itself too seriously.

Despite the fact that there’s nothing truly monumental about the stories presented in this collection, you won’t be able to erase the smile off your face while reading it.

Our main character is a nameless thug at first glance with an equally as quirky sidekick, but after a few pages, you see a Jackie Gleason and Art Carney combination develop, only with Gleason being able to back up his talk by any means possible and Carney being even more out there than any episode of “The Honeymooners.” Add in a villain in the zombie priest that is pure evil and is able to keep his forces strong and in ample supply and you have a battle that has the potential to go on for a long time.

However, there’s more than just a battle between good and evil and the undead here. Other characters introduced like the Buzzard, The Psychic Seal [Arf, Arf], Merle the werewolf and even Santa Claus flesh out the story and give it a sense of unpredictability. Already a wild read, seeing this intriguing and different cast of characters in the later issues gives the story even more appeal.

With all of these positives already on the series’ side, Powell’s writing is fantastic. Channeling his inner pop-culture geek, Powell is able to create a world that comic book fans will want to travel back to. Feeling like “Sin City” meets “Mad Magazine,” “The Goon” is also armed with several “phony” advertisements [making fun of everything from nostalgic comics to the spirit-channeling John Edwards] in-between the action, effectively giving the series a laid-back and energetic feel. Add in excellent art by Powell, which is showcased in several beautiful splash pages, an obvious ode to the old “Tales From the Crypt” series, and you have a everything needed to make this collection a memorable one.

Only someone with a true love for the medium and story-telling in general can create something that draws inspiration from so many outlets and that is why “The Goon” ultimately shines. Even more a testament to the quality of this collection, there is nothing stolen or “knock-off” here. While these familiar elements are one of the main reasons why you’ll feel so connected to these characters and their story, Powell’s imagination and ability with a pencil are the deal breakers.

The dead may fear “The Goon,” but you won’t be able to hide your love for him and his antics.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 13220 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.