Title: The Goon: Nothin’ But Misery
Format: Graphic Novel
Art/Story: Eric Powell
Colours: Eric & Robin Powell
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
It’s a twisted world where a mafia thug battles the undead hordes of his arch-nemesis, the Zombie Priest with no name who lives on Lonely Street. It’s the noir-influenced 1930’s which Eric Powell’s Goon calls home.
The Goon is a mob enforcer who, with the aid of his pal Franky and the motivation of the protection money that rolls in, battles the living dead of the Zombie Priest bent on the destruction of the Goon’s boss, the myserious LaBrazio. We learn very quickly that LaBrazio is not one to be trifled with, as does a television announcer and the dastardly Fishy Pete.
Throughout the pages of Nothin’ But Misery we meet the strange and hilarious denizens of The Goon’s world. The first is Fishy Pete, a gangster who, as his name suggests, is a fish-man. His arms and legs have been taken by The Goon and replaced by hooks and peg-legs, respectively, and Pete isn’t too happy about it. There’s also Buzzard, an Old West gunslinger cursed by the Zombie Priest to feast on the flesh of the dead to survive. Merle the Werewolf with an unnatural phobia of midget hands makes an appearance, and there’s even an appearance by Santa Claus and his elves. The most interesting characters however, are The Goon and his sidekick, Franky. Which makes sense, really, because they’re the main characters. The Goon fights the forces of evil for money and, more importantly, because they’re infringing on his turf. Franky… well, he’s just freakin’ hilarious. You’ll have to read the book to see what I mean.
Powell’s art brings the dark and dingy world of The Goon to life with a fairly muted colour scheme, interspersed with a billious green or a bright dash of red(usually, and unsurprisingly, blood). The Goon looks as goonish as you can get, appearing, as he describes himself as “a shaved gorilla with twenty pounds of ground beef for a head”. Pools of blackness are common and reminiscent of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, which will probably appear in this column soon or later.
The Goon is probably one of the best comic books you’ve never heard of, and you’d be doing yourself a favour to pick up Nothin’ But Misery and see what’s up. Trust me, even if you don’t like comics you’ll find something to like about The Goon.