Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Releases: The Goon #43

From "Billy the Kid's... Oddities," written by Eric Powell with art by Kyle Hotz.
Month-after-month, few comic books with a "standard" price of $3.50 pack as much into a single issue as Dark Horse Comics The Goon. This most recent issue, released this past Wednesday, November 21, is a primary example. Whereas most mainstream books published monthly will include anywhere from 16-20 pages of new content, artist/writer/creator Powell manages to produce no less than three stories in twenty-three pages (each of varying length, but consistently high quality).

Cover by Powell.
Each of the stories, all (at least) written by creator Eric Powell, build on the Goon mythos in such a way that one of Powell's other projects, Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities, is seamlessly brought into the same "world" as Goon and his partner Franky. As any fan would not be shocked to know, it is a misunderstood "freak," The Ossified Baby of Nuremberg, that connects these characters together. Taken as a whole, there is an implied symmetry to the stories: first is a Billy solo, the second features both Billy and Goon, and finally a penultimate Goon solo story.

The issue's first story is the Billy the Kid one, and it introduces the reader to the aforementioned Ossified Baby. (For those who enjoy this issue of The Goon, Powell and co-creator Kyle Hotz--who also provides artwork here--recently began the third miniseries of miniseries featuring  Billy and his gang, Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities and The Orm of Loch Nes.) The four pager serves as an introduction of sorts to both Billy's world and the Baby, closing with the ominous words "Thank the Dark God. Our burden has been lifted."

From The Goon #34 by Eric Powell.
The second feature is the primary one and features not just Powell's writing, but his gorgeous artwork (here colored with assistance from Bill Farmer). It is here that Goon and Franky cross paths with Powell's other comic book partnership, Billy and his diminutive colleague, Jeffery.  Both characters draw energy, and narrative drive, from a strong relationship with carnivals and freak shows, a dynamic that Powell uses to great effect in both books as a spring board for many unusual adventures which defy the time periods in that each book is anchored (sort of). It goes without saying that when Sproules Biological Curiosities & Wild West Extravaganza rolls into the Goon's town, the "Giant Stone Baby of Nuremberg" has somehow been returned to the groups slate of attractions and things are sure to go astray and snowball quickly... and they do. One of the many pleasures of this story in particular is having the chance t see Powell draw Billy's crew. While Holtz's style perfectly suits the dark and dank adventures Billy experiences in his own miniseries, the cleaner ("brighter"?) palette of Goon's world suit both the story,and the character's experiences within it, very well.

Many is the day I've thought this same thing... art by Mark Buckingham
The issue's final story is the concluding chapter of a three-parter that has run as a backup over the previous two issues of The Goon, entitled "The Bog That Lurked Like a Thing! A Bad Thing!" Drawn by Mark Buckingham, in a style very reminiscent of Powell's, this black and white (more of a gray and white, really) wraps up with someone getting smacked in the face with "a $#!T stained street urchin"... 'nuff said!

Though it's been out for a few days now, when you find yourself back at your local comic shop this coming Wednesday, you could do mu-u-u-uch worse than to make issue 43 of The Goon your first!


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Mister Scott said...

Thank you for stopping by and commenting!