‘Lost in the Longbox’ with Brad Gischia, Episode 9

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The Goon: 25 cent Edition
(Dark Horse Comics, 2005)

Created by: Eric Powell

Greetings from the Wasteland!

I very often know about a comic before I ever have the chance to read it, and very often they’ve run their course and are not in continuing publication by the time I come around to them.  With the change in technology over the last ten years and the ever-increasing abundance of digital editions, it has become easy to find and read first issues and the following series, but I grew up reading paper comics and still enjoy reading them that way.  So how do I begin reading a series that has thus far spawned 18 trades and has been in publication since 1999?  Eric Powell and Dark Horse solved that problem for me.

I picked up The Goon 25 c Edition for its original 25 cents…and thought it was a steal at that.  (Especially since most of the full-priced comics I bought in 2005 have lost value.)  It is a reprint of the first issue Dark Horse published, and drops us into a fantastical world filled with zombies and bog-walkers, criminals and unlikely heroes.

The Labrazio crime family has held sway in town for as long as anyone can remember, and continue to do so because of their ruthless enforcer, The Goon, a man willing to beat the hell out of a giant spider for five bucks.  The opposing force to the Labrazios is the Nameless Man, a zombie priest who sticks with his undead pals to Lonely St., but has dreams of moving into heavier circles.

I should mention here that the comic is written and drawn by Eric Powell, and looking at the huge amount and quality of the work he’s accomplished, I can only assume that massive amounts of caffeine were ingested and sleep completely forgotten.

We also meet Franky, the cartoon-eyed pal of the Goon, who provides comic relief and whatever medical aid the Goon needs, as well as owning a handy little pocket notebook to keep people’s tabs in order.

The zombie priest goes to Hell in order to get the help of a demon and blackmails the creature with mention of an inflatable chicken.  The demon tells him that he must get a bog-lurk to eat the head and it will then gain the dead man’s knowledge.  It becomes a many page battle with the Goon and the bog-lurk, which ends in the priest finding out that Labrazio is dead and the Goon has been ruling in his name.

In the 25 c Edition, there is also a bonus story called Halloween Hoodlums, which looks and feels like a Peanuts cartoon until the children start hitting people in the face with shovels to take their candy.  It’s Charlie Brown and the gang if their teacher was replaced with the Goon. (Rest assured, the Goon and Franky get their cut.)

I love the way Eric Powell draws, it has a cartoony feel to it but at the same time we’re seeing blood and guts and demons and zombies and…I could go on about this for a bit…monsters and bog lurks…so, lots of bad guys.  He has a nice balance of humor and horror that make it an easy book to read and a hard book to put down.

There is a Goon movie in the works, though the lack of progress after the initial Kickstarter campaign is disheartening.  Blur Studios has said that they intend to make the movie, but backing is a problem in a time when the big movie studios are looking to maximize their profit.  The Goon film does not play to an incredibly wide audience.  But there is hope on the horizon.  I would guess that with the increased popularity of comic movies that many of these smaller pictures will get made, and if The Goon is anything like the Kickstarter reel that was provided by Blur, it will be a perfect adaptation of the comic and a great film.

So, The Goon 25 c Edition?  Easily worth the quarter I paid for it, but also a great way to get into a series that has stood the test of time, and the weight of countless undead…vampires…demons…werewolves…mummies…

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Follow Brad Gischia on Twitter:  @comicwasteland

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