Monday, 28 September 2015

The Goon, Volume 1: Nothin' But Misery by Eric Powell Review


I don’t know how I’ve done it but I’ve read the entire Goon series without ever reading the first volume! Anyhoo, it’s a fairly easy title to follow as most of the time it’s Eric Powell telling loopy horror stories with a heavy dose of black comedy - and I love it! 

Nothin’ But Misery follows that same zany approach as the best Goon volumes - or rather establishes it given this is Volume 1! Goon and Franky take on some fish fishermen (you heard me), investigate a haunted house, draw battle lines with the Zombie Priest (who has discovered the secret behind Labrazio), learn the origins of Buzzard, and save some poor kids from Santa’s demented elves. Also, Franky shows a sandwich who’s boss. 

Given that they’re both published by Dark Horse, you could easily compare Goon with Hellboy as they’re both tough protagonists who punch monsters within the framing of horror comics, and they are similar in that regard. Except Mike Mignola isn’t anywhere near as hilarious as Eric Powell is, whose comics are peppered with random sketches and gags that are so damn funny! 

Fake ads appear in the middle of stories - “Billy Lobotomy Kit - all heads taken from convicts and soulless heathens!” and “The Atomic Rage”, a parody of DC’s Firestorm character - as well as one pagers like “Stepping Over with Edward Johns”, a jab at fake TV psychics like John Edwards, and “The Psychic Seal phoneline!”

And the Conan parody is utterly silly but brilliant for it’s one liner - “Kronan, what is best in life?!” “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women.” “WRONG! You! What is best in life?!” “Pie.” “YEAH!” That page has got nothing to do with anything but it made me laugh. 

Amid establishing characters and story arcs for later books here, Powell tells entertaining stories driven by action and horror but soaked in his dark humour and as a result his comics are totally unique - any comparisons to other titles are gone within pages of reading a Goon book. The comics are so well written, so beautifully drawn, it’s why I’ve read some 15 volumes of this title and will read 15 more (assuming Powell keeps going). 

The Goon is an excellent series and so is this first volume, which gives you a good idea of the delightfully chaotic delirium that awaits the reader going ahead. Take a trip to Lonely St., one of the funniest places in comics, you won’t regret it!

The Goon, Volume 1: Nothin' But Misery

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