Grotesque Anatomy
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
  A Pair Of Goons
THE GOON #6:  More Eric Powell fisticuffs and funny stuff.  In this issue, an otherworldly monster breaches the fragile fabric of our dimension, only to be soundly (and quickly) defeated by the Goon.  But before the monster expires, it has another trick up its sleeve:  It ingests a nearby horned Mexican fire toad and gives birth to a second monster, one which towers over the city and breathes fire.  Luckily Dr. Alloy is on hand to lend the Goon assistance.

Not much to comment on beyond the usual:  Another hilarious issue involving the usual monsters and mayhem.  If you've been enjoying the series so far, you'll probably like this one just as much.  Most of the humor this time around comes from the easily sidetracked narrator with, uh, certain other things on his (its?) mind, and from the strange Spanish insults spewing from Lagarto Hombre's mouth.  (And for those of you looking for a translation of the monster's dialogue, Eric Powell himself has helpfully posted one on the Dark Horse message boards.)

THE GOON: ROUGH STUFF:  This trade collects some of Powell's earliest work on The Goon (issues 1-3 of the Albatross volume) and, as Powell himself admits, it's not the work of a polished artist.  But as Powell also notes, it is a revealing look at a creator refining his ideas.  In addition to the three issues collected, Powell also includes early sketches outlining the evolution of the Goon.  It's interesting to see how the concept changed over time, from a brutish young monster attending school with other children to a half-man, half-ogre monster hunter to the Goon that finally saw print.  Also interesting is seeing how Powell's art developed:  Early drawings of "Mog" are very reminiscent of Dale Keown while Powell's early paintings are very strongly influenced by Simon Bisley, yet I hardly see any traces of those influences in Powell's current work.

As for the stories themselves, well...they are pretty rough, to be honest.  They don't quite have the same comedic charm of the current Goon series.  Most of the humor is a little more obvious and a little meaner, with the end result being noticeably less amusing.  Still, I'd recommend the collection for Goon fans, if for no other reason than to see how the series has progressed.   For one thing, it's interesting to compare the Goon's origin as told here with its compressed retelling in issue #1 of the Dark Horse series.  Some nuances were lost in the straight-ahead, shorter version, but I can see why Powell decided to abridge the origin for the new series.
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