Posted tagged ‘Eric Powell’

Review: the Goon: Calamity of Conscience

October 2, 2009

The latest collection of the Goon brings to a close the Return of Labrazio epic.  This story is certainly the most ambitious project Eric Powell  has attempted thus far.  It spans a years worth of comics, involves a few dozen characters, and wraps up nearly every loose end introduced into the comic since it began.

On its own this is a gorgeous looking book, full of horrible things and surreal humor.  This is about as far from an entry point book as you can get, which is a problem Powell has totally avoided up until now buy mostly focusing on done in one stories.  And in all honesty I think I prefer that format for the Goon.  In this book Powell just can’t quite fit his trademark gags into the story seamlessly.  

But this book does make for a great conclusion to the Labrazio story, and leaves the surviving characters in a great place for the comics to come.


Review: The Goon: Those That Is Damned

July 20, 2009

Man do I love having a new Goon collection this soon after the previous volume.  

This book continues the Return of Labrazio story arc in admirable fashion.  These issues are a large departure for the series, featuring almost no humor at all.  Instead the Goon is forced to accept an unhappy future as his allies begin to fall

But the book does contain a few short pieces by a number of guest creators to help offset the sense of dread from the main story.  Kyle Hotz comes up with a story featuring a shaved ape disguised as a teacher, Rebecca Sugar checks in with Dr Alloy in prison, and a group of comic luminaries collaborate on a parody of the Maltese Falcon.  There’s also a few brilliant pages from the great Gris Grimly as an added treat.

Review: The Goon: A Place of Heartache and Grief

June 4, 2009

I have been waiting sooooo long for this book to come out.  For the last year and a half Eric Powell has been writing a single epic into his ongoing series, and for some inane reason Dark Horse decided it was a good idea to wait until it was done to publish the first (of 3) volumes collecting it.

But fortunately it was worth the wait, as Powell continues his streak of brilliance.  The Goon has always been a unique comic, somehow living in the area between Jimmy Cagney’s gangster films (there’s even a version of the Dead End Kids from Angels with Dirty Faces in here) and the horror/comedies of Peter Jackson’s early career.  If you ever wanted to see a fight between Atticus Finch and a giant, rabid, transvestite then this is the comic for you!  

But what’s always made the Goon a great comic (besides the amazing art) is the more serious tone imbedded just behind the gags and scenes of pony’s being mauled by bears.  From the last issue in this collection it’s clear that heartbreakingly bad events are in store for every member of the cast, and yet somehow Powell still manages to leave the reader with a smile.  It’s a balance I’ve neven seen another writer nail so perfectly.

Thank God the next volume will be out a little faster than this one.

Review: Madman Atomic Comics Vol.1

August 14, 2008

Mike Allred is one of the greats of modern comics, being the best pop artist the medium has ever produced (with the possible exception of Steranko).  And now, after taking a number of years off to work on other projects he has finally returned to his greatest creation, Madman.

Now Madman had always been a great comic, fun, clever, and full of brilliant art (and 70’s rock references), but in the time off it is clear that Allred has grown enormously as an artist.  He’s picked up a new pencilling technique (influenced by a new friendship with Eric Powell) and has begun to experiment far more in each issue.  Most notable in this collection is the third issue in which Madman goes off on a metaphysical journey to redefine himself, passing through a series of images in which Allred exorcises all of his artistic influences.  Every panel of the issue is modeled on a different artist, and Allred nails each and every tribute (these range from illustrators like Maurice Sendak to animators like Chuck Jones to comics luminaries like George Herriman and Gil Kane).

Allred has also picked up some changes to his writing after working with Peter Milligan on the X-Statix, a book that was unafrad to completely upset the story in every issue.  Madman is now a book in which anything can happen at any time.  This approach isn’t entirely without its faults.  In a seeming effort to prove how far he’s willing to go Allred has opted to kill off two of the more important characters almost randomly, and their death scenes ring a bit hollow.  But overall Allred’s gambles have paid off and Madman has become a comic truly worth watching.