This week, in a very special issue of The Goon, everyone’s favorite zombie killin’ lug racebends, genderbends, transforms into a socialist, finds Jesus, and generally gets bent out of shape. Or is that exactly what Goon creator Eric Powell wants you to think? Before you try to storm the Dark Horse offices with your pitchforks and scally caps, take a moment to read our interview with the Goon-in-Chief himself and hear what he has to say about the state of the industry, the challenges of going monthly and the status of the long-awaited Goon film. Plus, we have an exclusive preview of cover art for The Goon #41, coming in August.
Nerdist: First and foremost, congratulations on your Eisner nomination for Chimichanga. It’s well-deserved. Second and secondmost, what are your influences – writers, illustrators and even sources outside the comics universe – when it comes to comics?
Eric Powell: Thanks! I draw a lot of inspiration from the EC Comics guys: Jack Davis, Wally Wood, etc. But the list of influences is really too long to list. The same for writing. But I think a lot of it comes from growing up on too much of the Twilight Zone and The Any Griffith Show.
N: I just saw the cover for The Goon #39. Looks like there’s quite a few changes coming our way. What can you tell us about that?
EP: Ha! Well, I wouldn’t say changes so much as smart-ass remarks. My readers shouldn’t worry too much.
N: Do you feel that the comics industry has become too bogged down by gimmicky events and shock-value reveals like you’re lampooning on the cover?
EP: Yes. Yes, they have. The industry is lazy. We keep selling a rehash of a rehash because it has a built in audience to exploit. But that audience keeps shrinking because they are getting tired of it. It takes effort to do something new and that’s what we need: new diversified content to appeal to a wider audience.
N: I’m extremely excited about The Goon going monthly. What sort of challenges does this present to you as a creator?
EP: The biggest challenge is to keep up the quality of content in a limited time frame. Not just the art, but the story as well. But I think I’m up for it. I’m happy, as much as I can be, with the what I’ve produced so far on the new schedule. The book hasn’t come out monthly yet, but I’ve already been working under a monthly routine.
N: It’s been fourteen years since the series made its debut at Avatar. I just re-read my copy of Rough Stuff the other day and it was very intriguing to see how the characters and storytelling have evolved. How do you think the book has changed over time?
EP: For the better, I hope. It’s hard for me to look at that early stuff. I feel like I’m learning and trying to get better all the time. But that was definitely my kindergarten work.
N: Speaking of Rough Stuff, it reminded me a bit of a more mature version of Ethan and Malachai Nicolle’s Axe Cop. Have others drawn this comparison before? Any chance of a Goon/Axe Cop team-up one-shot? Something in the vein of Dethklok vs. The Goon, perhaps?
EP: No, I haven’t heard the comparison before, but they are both off-the-wall concepts. I doubt there will be a cross-over. I don’t want to do too many, but I’m always down for something cool and fun if the idea pops up.
N: Any word on Satan’s Sodomy Baby 2?
EP: Lots of words. Dirty, dirty words.
N: I’m always keeping my ear to the ground for rumblings about The Goon movie. Last we heard David Fincher and Blur were seeking funding for the film. What can you tell us about that?
EP: They are still seeking funding. Hollywood never does anything fast… unless it’s to green light Transformers Part 7. Fingers crossed.
N: Apart from The Goon, what else are you working on right now that you can share with us?
EP: Well, we have another Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities mini-series coming out called The Orm of Loch Ness. I bet you’ll never guess where the freak show ends up this time!
N: You must be buried in comics; what are you reading and enjoying right now?
EP: Right now I’m reading Rachel Rising, Fatale, Heart, Ragemoor, and anything Mignola’s working on. But, unfortunately, I’m out of the loop on a lot of comic stuff. Hard to read all of them and make them at the same time.
And without further ado, here is an exclusive preview of the cover for The Goon #41. And what a beaut it is!