The Goon and Me: How One Hillbilly Changed My Life (Not really... Sort of...)A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: Sierra Hahn
In November, I had nothing to do with Eric Powell or The Goon. It was nothing personal, per se. I wasn’t working on the book, and I actually hadn’t read the series. I’ve been familiar with the character for years, mostly due to its hillbilly roots. You see, I myself, I have some roots that hearken to hillbillies, 'cept I call them hicks. I grew up on a mountain-top, went fishin’, rode dirt bikes, drank Lucky Logger beer, and became quite proficient at knife throwing - where I'm from the law books even state that you’ll be fined $10,000 if you kill Bigfoot! I think, perhaps, that I kept my distance from The Goon, and, more specifically, Eric Powell for just these things (because of its insight into my culture, and its mockery of my culture!). I’m a sophisticated woman these days, having spent time abroad and in New York City; the last thing I wanted to do was align myself with something so…familiar.
But then this beautiful, and, dare I say, "classy" lookin' book showed up on my desk. It was The Goon: Chinatown, and, suddenly, I started wondering if I had been too rash - maybe I had judged too soon? So I took the book home, cracked it open around 1AM, and devoured the sucker late into the night. I read it straight through. I teared up more than few times. (It's funny! It's sad!) Today, I'm publicly a fan.
It's January now, and I'm officially working on The Goon. There couldn't be a better time for me to jump onto the book - just off the hot heels of Chinatown, the series has just started going monthly, and this month, the online anthology MySpace: Dark Horse Presents devotes an entire issue to Powell’s creation.
While DHP isn’t written by Powell himself, the characters are his, and the essence of story presented remains true to world that he’s created. Powell and Tom Sniegoski (sometimes comics scribe who’s now better known for his novels The Fallen and Sleepercode) gave us the setup for the DHP story (naturally, the hunt for your friendly neighborhood zombie’s missing pecker), which was then broken up into four parts (three eight-page stories, and one two-page story) that are written and drawn by a variety of talent—all of whom are big fans of The Goon.
I’ve since quickly devoured Powell's entire series, and I regret that a bunch of stupid reasons kept me from reading this series for so long. These are some of the funniest and most heartfelt stories I've ever read and that's not hyperbole, and this isn't a sales pitch (even though it kind of is). Discovering and enjoying The Goon is just my experience, and I hope it’s one that others will have too.
Sierra Hahn is an assistant editor at Dark Horse Comics, and in her spare time enjoys drinking tea and reading poetry. She grew up in the wild woods of Washington state, but has acclimated to life in the thriving metropolis Portland, Oregon.