The Goon #34


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The Goon #34


  • Words: Eric Powell
  • Art: Eric Powell
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Jun 29, 2011

Issue #34 of The Goon is my first exposure to creator Eric Powell’s zombie-slugging, criminal mastermind with a heart of gold. It’s a book I’ve been hankering to sink my teeth into, thanks in large part to Powell’s stunning illustrations, for a long time. I just never had the opportunity to sit down and properly enjoy the meal, so to speak. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a craving for Powell’s singularly twisted strip, especially considering this issue marks the series’ return to a bi-monthly schedule, after a long hiatus.

As a newcomer to The Goon, I was struck by the book’s timeless feel. Despite the obvious modern sensibilities coloring the series, Powell draws inspiration from a number of historical and modern classic comic books and strips. You can trace The Goon’s comic strip lineage back to Little Orphan Annie and Walt Kelly’s Pogo, with contemporary influences coming from Jeff Smith’s Bone and the fluid lines and design sense of Frank Cho. Throw in a bit of Hellboy for a little heat and you have yourself an instant modern masterpiece.

This issue is a great jumping-on point for new readers. Powell could be described as a master guerilla salesman, marketing and promoting his work with imagination, controversy, and flair. He and publisher Dark Horse take a more direct approach with this latest installment of The Goon, presenting a tight, delightfully twisted standalone issue that introduces the series’ main players for newcomers, without alienating those loyal (read zealous) fans already in the know. Spinning out of the demonic invasion of the infamous McGreg Home for Illegitmate, Wayward, and Possibly Homicidal Youths, the plot follows the notorious orphans the Little, Unholy Bastards as they desperately attempt to cajole, corral, and otherwise irritate a drunken Goon into squaring off against the offending spawn of Satan.

There are a lot of talented pencilers working in comics today but few true illustrators. Powell falls into the latter category. A one-man show, The Goon is obviously Powell’s baby. He infuses his work with craft, humor, and intelligence; never letting his own irreverent personality be overwhelmed by all the pretty pictures. Art and plot operate in perfect tandem, the lack of collaborators allowing Powell the freedom to break the fourth wall with impunity and aplomb and inject his script with humorous asides poking fun at his contemporaries and himself.

Gorgeously illustrated and featuring a bouncy, fast-paced script, The Goon #34 provides a great introduction to Powell’s dark, bizarre vision of the classic comic strips many of us grew up reading every Sunday morning. Infused with craft, imagination, and irreverent humor, The Goon is a timeless modern classic I plan on catching up with during the long, dog days of summer.

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