Tag Archives: COMIC BOOKS

Eric Powell Takes to Internet, Talks ‘Goon’ Movie Kickstarter, Knifes You in the Eye

Eric Powell, creator of comic book property The Goon, took to the Internet to answer questions via Reddit’s IAMA (“I am a . . . ask me anything”) subreddit. While his intro and answers were mostly in relation to the in-progress Goon Movie Kickstarter, he was candid and forthcoming about plenty of his other work as well.

As of today, The animated Goon Movie’s Kickstarter is nearly half-funded, with 10 days remaining to raise about another $200,000. The funds, if successful, will be used to create “the film-making process by producing a feature-length STORY REEL.” This, according to the project’s participants (Powell, Blur Studios, Dark Horse Entertainment, David Fincher). The rewards for a successful Kickstarter start as low as $10 with a five-issue digital bundle of The Goon comics. That represents a discount to usual comics prices, mind you, even digital ones.

The talent attached already includes Paul Giamatti as Franky, the Goon’s size-challenged, pupil-less, ultraviolent sidekick (catchphrase: “KNIFE TO THE EYE”), while the big man himself is due to be voiced by Clancy Brown. Those actors and the animation studio demonstrate how The Goon animated movie might look and sound in this ~3-minute video, which they are calling a “proof of concept” trailer.

“The Goon” Movie Proof of Concept Trailer from Goon Kickstarter on Vimeo.

Let’s be perfectly clear: the talent (Fincher, Brown, Giamatti) surrounding the project is enticing, but the real reason to support this is because it’s the goddamned Goon. Sort of a macabre, ultra-violent mash-up of Popeye and old gangster flicks with some freakish carnival sensibilities thrown in for good measure, The Goon thrives on Powell’s visual storytelling, detailed art, and wicked sense of humor. For more details on the project, the property, and Powell, check out the IAMA he did — or, if you’ve recently suffered a knife to the eye and are having trouble reading, enjoy the below highlights:

ON KICKSTARTING vs. traditional fundraising:

[quote]”We’ve been pitching the film to studios for years. Hollywood is just really hesitant about original material. They want a remake or a sequel. Add to that the fact we’re making an animated film without singing animals for six year olds … Realistically raising 30-40 million on kickstarter wasn’t going to happen. But there were so many asking I finally said to Fincher & Blur, ‘Why not? If nothing else it will let these people’s voices be heard.’ Blur had the great idea of kickstarting something we could actually achieve. The story reel. So here we are.”[/quote]

ON HIS FAVORITE work for hire projects:

[quote]”The Bizarro World book was offered specifically to me. No way I could turn that down. Still my favorite work for hire project. That and the Simpsons story I did.”[/quote]

ON EVEN David Fincher having trouble getting a film made:

[quote]”Hollywood is not known for having balls. They want safe and easy. We’re selling them original and innovative.”[/quote]

ON ARTISTIC influences:

[quote]Wally Wood, Jack Davis, Will Eisner, Bernie Wrightson, Frazetta… I could go on.”[/quote]

ON PROPERTIES THAT would interest him from Marvel/DC:

[quote]”I think I could do a kick-ass Demon comic. There’s lots of stuff I’d like to do, but they wouldn’t let me the way I would want to. It’s much more rewarding to me to do my own thing.”[/quote]

Pantheon! ComiXology’s 100 Millionth Download Unearths Underlooked Classic

Last week, comiXology, the cross-platform digital comics subscription service, announced that the company’s 100 millionth download was issue 3 of Bill Willingham’s Pantheon, a comic book series that began publication in 1998 by Lone Star Press. While on the one hand, this news showcases the volume of sales that comiXology has managed since its founding in 2007, it also demonstrates one of the key assets of the service: the opportunity to delve into comics that were undersold, overlooked, or otherwise experienced limited availability.

While Willingham these days is best known for his DC/Vertigo series Fables, and many fans fondly recall Elementals, his groundbreaking series from Comico, Pantheon‘s independent publication and unsteady publishing schedule (13 issues took six years) may have contributed to its lack of impact. Which is a shame — because the book is really quite enjoyable. At 99 cents an issue on comiXology (which you can use on tablets, Kindle Fires, PCs, etc.), it’s worth at least a look.

In Pantheon, Willingham springboards off of the mythos of superheroes as readily as his Fables series does from storybook fantasy. The premise is fairly uncomplicated. The world’s superheroes, largely analogs of DC and Marvel mainstays, have jailed or otherwise taken care of the preponderance of the world’s villains. Now it’s time for the infighting to start. The heroes of the Freedom Machine; the U.S. government and its agents; a former ally; and newly jail-broken enemies are the primary players contending to see what the landscape of the world will be.

Several comics series have tried to answer what will happen when the world is ready to move past its superheroic era; The Dark Knight, Kingdom Come, and Watchmen to name a few. But it’s Willingham’s execution and extrapolation that make it highly different from anything with a related premise. His stories tend to zig when you expect a zag, something he established in Elementals way back when. Another difference is that this is unapologetically a tale of superhumans, and keeps one foot in the standard tropes, even uses them to explore non-standard paths. What would, say, the Silver Surfer be like is he stopped giving a crap about the world, having moved past mortal concerns? And what would the Supergirl analog do if he begged her to run away with him to another galaxy, even as the Earth is about to perish? High drama, sure, but delicious little moments too, with team interrelations, teen heroes finding themselves in the big leagues when it matters most, and clever, non-standard, and unusually violent ways that they defeat their foes.

The art throughout most of the series is good, though the artist-switch-ups in the middle may throw you for a touch of a loop. Mike Leeke’s stuff in particular is outstanding. The original issues were black & white; these digital reprints seem to be in color — which, in my opinion, takes something away from the original pencils and inks, but by no means ruins them.

This series is worth a look — and if you end up enjoying it, the Pantheon Complete Script Book — sadly not available digitally — makes a lovely complement.