Book Celebrates the Goon, and So Does Creator Powell

Article excerpt

Byline: Joseph Szadkowski, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Eric Powell's Web site ( reveals the biography of a comic-book creator who once saved a baby, wrestled a grizzly bear and discussed processed meats with the Dalai Lama. However, he is best known as the man who brought the zombie-hating enforcer named the Goon to life.

While wasting his talents on such books as Angel, Black Panther and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he kept returning to the lovable thug and, after a less than satisfying self-publishing stint, gave Dark Horse Comics the privilege of printing and distributing the Goon's legendary adventures.

In honor of Mr. Powell's Eisner Award-winning creation, Dark Horse has dubbed October as Goon Month and has released the hardcover book "The Goon: Fancy Pants" ($24.95), which collects all of the character's essential stories in chronological order for the first time.

The demented author recently gave Zadzooks a piece of his mind (but no processed meats) in the 51st chapter of an open-ended series that profiles the elite of the comic-book industry.

Eric Powell

Age: 30

Educational background: I am a self-taught artist. I was going to go to an art school and decided against it because there was not a strong emphasis on illustration. So I stayed home and took on any jobs to keep me going. I painted motorcycle helmets, took any freelance work, and eventually comics came up.

Why do I create comic books? In junior high school, after a friend reintroduced me to comics, I automatically decided to become a comic-book artist. I was always drawing and even wrote stories to go with [the drawings], and it seemed to be exactly what I needed to do.

My first paid job: At London Night Studios, I did three issues of Razor, and it was pretty nice to get a paycheck.

The origins of the Goon: I wanted to do my own thing and draw what I wanted, whatever crazy thing I could come up with. I like to draw big, ugly guys and made a character that was a thuggish brute, and he kind of evolved from that. I was really into monster movies and anything that had a monster in it. For comics, I was into the Bernie Wrightson issues of Swamp Thing and all of the old science-fiction and horror movies.

Reader reaction to the Goon: I have been floored with the response. I did not expect the reaction, considering how hard it was to have a company pick it up in the first place. I had confidence in the concept and thought it was fun and people would like it. I was hoping it would reach a certain level of popularity so I could make a living with it, and it has gone beyond that. …