The creator-owned comic following the titular bruiser and his foul-mouthed little friend Frankie as they mix it up with vampires, zombies, mobsters and general weirdness has been absent from Dark Horse’s regular schedule for over a year. That time was filled by the ups and downs of an attempt to get a “Goon” CGI movie off the ground with David Fincher and uncertainty on whether the book would ever get back to its bi-monthly pace.
This weekend at Emerald City Comicon, the final pieces of the long-promised return fell into place as Dark Horse confirmed to CBR News that “The Goon” will follow its June one-shot, “One For The Road,” with the all-new “Occasion of Revenge” miniseries in July. And as Powell told us, that mini is just the first in a run of monthly-shipping limited series which will bring his characters back into readers’ lives with stories both wacky and woeful. Powell went on to explain how he got his series back on track, why “Occasion of Revenge” will be a big, tragic event in his character’s life and what the miniseries format means for the future of “The Goon.”
CBR News: Eric, it’s been a little time since we last saw “The Goon” hit the stands on a regular basis. What was the challenge in developing a complete return for the book?
Eric Powell: We had geared up to take it monthly again in 2012, and then a bunch of life stuff happened for me, and I moved. It kind of dismantled my whole schedule, and I was never able to get anything back in a reasonable shape again. Everything was in flux, and I was trying to get a bunch of stuff squared away on my end. I felt really bad because we told everyone we were going to go monthly, but stuff happened that was beyond my control and screwed that up.
It was a bi-monthly book, but I could only deliver the bi-monthly issues at certain times. I was working on movie stuff for a little while, and then I’d take a break from the book. So it’d come out bi-monthly for a while, then it’d stop. Then it’d come out bi-monthly again. It was really confusing to people. They thought, “It’s just a monthly book that never comes out.” So even though I really liked the idea of having ongoing numbering, it made more sense to turn it into a miniseries format. That way I can do the four issues, have it come out monthly, and no one will get confused.
So I’ve got a one-shot coming now in June, and the first miniseries of the new format comes out in July.
Does the new format change anything about how you’re telling the stories? “The Goon” has always been built on crazy one-off adventures, but with projects like the “Chinatown” hardcover, you’ve built in a more serious mythology as well. Is there some way you’re approaching this to reintroduce the big ideas of the series?
Well, I’m still taking the same approach to the stories. I do it the way I would like it. If I pick up a comic book, I want a story. I don’t want “Part 1 of 12 Parts.” I want to be able to pick up that comic and read a story in it. If it’s part of a bigger story, then that’s fine, but I don’t want to feel like I spent three bucks on a quarter of a story. So I’m still very much focusing on the fact that every issues — even if it’s through a subplot — should have a beginning, middle and an end.
But even as I’m working like that, the next two miniseries I’m doing are parts of a much bigger story. Doing those series with those stories comes at a good time, but if I have a smaller story or crazy idea I want to do, I’ll still do it as a one-shot. I’m going to switch back and forth between the one-shots or little two-issue miniseries and the four-issue series where I can tell bigger stories.
So where do we pick things up? Does the one-shot in June prelude the miniseries at all, or are they each their own thing?
The one-shot is completely separate, and I kind of jokingly named it “One For The Road” because it’s more in the vein of the lighthearted, not taking itself so seriously Goon issues. We needed one more issue to round out the latest trade paperback, and so I thought, “I’ll do one more lighthearted story before we tell this ‘Occasion of Revenge’ miniseries just to give the readers one more funny one before I start to depress them.” [Laughs]
Does a more substantial series like “Occasion of Revenge” build on any stories in the past in any specific way, or is it just the latest story you wanted to tell?
It’s really just about whatever the next idea is. I really try not to limit myself as to what I can do with the book, and obviously it’s jumped all over the place in terms of what the tone and content might be. That’s kind of the point. This next series is definitely in the vein of “Chinatown.” It’s pretty tragic and more serious in tone. It develops the character a little bit more.
But really I think the whole point from when I started the book is to do whatever I want. There’s no battle plan like, “I have to do two funny ones and then a serious one.” It’s just however the stories develop for me — that’s the order I put them in.
At this point, you’ve also had a long collaboration on the book with colorist Dave Stewart. Is he returning for the ride this time?
He’s coloring the one-shot, but I’m doing some more experimental stuff with the art on the miniseries, just to set the tone for it, so I’m actually doing the colors there. Maybe we’ll have Dave come back after this story is done. The early issues, I did all the coloring, and then Dave came along. You can’t do much better than Dave Stewart.
Mike Richardson has spoken about “The Goon” returning, and he gave the impression that after the long road of trying to get the movie off the ground, you were feeling reenergized by getting back to the comics. Is that a pretty accurate description of how you’re working these days?
I feel reenergized, period. Not to delve too much into personal bullshit, but I had a pretty dark period around the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. It was a hard time in my life, and that made it hard to work. Now, I feel like I got a new start. I’m super excited about work, and I’ve got a lot of projects on my plate. I do feel reinvigorated to work on the book, and I’m trying to make up for all the lost time I had last year.
“The Goon: One For The Road” ships June 25 from Dark Horse.