This is an interview I conducted with writer/artist, Eric Powell (creator of The Goon, Chimichanga, and Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities) back in October of 2004. I no longer remember why it wasn’t published on any of the sites I was contributing to at the time and, based on the intro I wrote below, that reason is likely lost to posterity. It only ever saw the light of day when I eventually threw it up on Blogger just to get it out into the world. I don’t know if anybody really saw it there, but it’s pretty doubtful.
As a fan of Eric’s work it was still satisfying to get a chance to talk to him, even if only by e-mail, and I think it turned out pretty decent for what it is.
Sometime near the end of last year (I think it was Halloweenish) I did an e-mail interview with Eric Powell, writer and artist of the fabulously kooky, The Goon. The interview, for various reasons, never saw the light of day and is probably no longer ‘current’ enough to find its way onto any proper comic book websites. I was going to run it on Meanwhile… since it’s supposed to be the kind of place where I can do that, but I figured I’d publish it here first and give anyone who reads this blog the chance to check it out first.
Now, I should qualify that the interview was done as a sort of 20 questions by e-mail, so it’s not terribly conversational. Still, I’m happy with how it turned out, overall, and it was fun swapping e-mails with Eric for a bit.
I hope you like the piece…
MIKE JOZIC:The Goon is now in it’s third incarnation as part of DHC’s loosely affiliated horror line of books. How exactly did Scott Allie lure you to the Dark Side, if you’ll pardon the pun?
ERIC POWELL: Money. No. Yes, money. Actually it was to get some of the work off my back so I could just worry about making the comic.
JOZIC: The horror genre seems to have made quite the comeback in the last couple of years – as far as the comic-book industry is concerned, anyways – and I wondered if you might have any thoughts on why that might be?
POWELL: Because there is better material coming out.
JOZIC: Did you have the background for the character and the world of The Goon worked out well before starting, or has it grown quite a bit from the first issue?
POWELL: It’s definitely changed as I’ve gone along. It’s evolved with me as I’ve grown as a writer and artist. It’s always been about me being able to do what I want to do so it will probably keep changing.
JOZIC: When Franky and Goon are driving around or mowing down Zombies with their car, I get a real Sam & Max vibe off of the book. Has Steve Purcell been an influence on the tone or humour of the book?
POWELL: Actually, I’m unfamiliar with that book. I’ll have to look it up.
JOZIC: I think you’ve made reference to chickens in one form or another at least once per issue since the Avatar run. What’s the obsession with poultry?
POWELL: Mmmm. Chicken. I never noticed that. I guess chickens are funny to me.
JOZIC: You’ve got a little bit of everything in The Goon, but I wondered what your favourite type of monster was?
POWELL: The tragic monsters are the most interesting to me. The misunderstood outcast. It’s kind of boring if it’s just an evil monster.
JOZIC: What would be your top 5 monster movie picks?
POWELL: Uhm…that’s hard. Bride of Frankenstein, The Thing (original and remake), Evil Dead 2, Night of the living Dead, & Creature from the Black Lagoon.
JOZIC: Will Psychic Seal ever get his own one-shot or series?
JOZIC: Do you listen to any music while drawing or writing the book?
POWELL: I listen to a lot of music while I draw. Tom Waits is a good one to draw Goon to.
JOZIC: If it had one, what would the soundtrack for The Goon sound like?
POWELL: It would sound like a mix of 50’s monster movie music and Tom Waits.
JOZIC: Your bi-monthly schedule has you landing on both Halloween and Christmas. Did you sit down at the beginning and plan it out that way when you worked out your schedule with DHC?
POWELL: Nope. Just coincidence.
JOZIC: I love Eric Wight’s stuff, but I’m curious why you have him drawing the Atomic Rage story rather than doing it yourself?
POWELL: Because he nails that retro style better than I ever could. It’s cool to get to collaborate with people sometimes too.
JOZIC: Will we be seeing more of these shorter strips and fake ads like we did in previous volumes of the series?
POWELL: Probably. I don’t make a conscious effort to do those kinds of thing. I just do them as the ideas come.
JOZIC: What do you think of the PVC set and was there anyone you wished you could have included that you didn’t have a chance to?
POWELL: It was awesome. I know a lot of people wanted Dr. Alloy.
JOZIC: In your mind, what would be the ultimate Goon merchandise?
POWELL: Well, I’ve had a Bowen Statue. That is about the best thing I can think of.
JOZIC: Out of the licensed and ‘big company’ work that you’ve done in the past, which projects have been your favourites to do?
POWELL: I did a Giles one shot for DH that was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed doing the Arkham covers too.
JOZIC: You recently featured Hellboy in The Goon, crossing the two characters over for the first time. Considering the different storytelling styles between the two of you, how did you and Mike decide to split up the book story and art-wise?
POWELL: Mike came up with the idea of how they would get together and they just told me to run with it. We really didn’t have to worry about splitting anything up. The way it was conceived was that he would do bookend segments. I did the majority of the story and added some HB dialogue.
JOZIC: I thought the issue was a great success, with the mixing and matching of styles. What are the chances we’ll see Hellboy again, or any other characters for that matter, in future issues of The Goon? Have you got the cross-over bug yet?
POWELL: No, I don’t think I’ll be doing crossovers with other books. Plus, I want to keep the Hellboy issue special. Who knows if Hellboy will be back.
JOZIC: As both the writer and artist of your book, I wondered which of the two you actually prefer to do? Is there one activity you turn to when the other becomes too stressful, or are they equal parts of a whole?
POWELL: It’s creating the comic. It’s all the same thing to me.
JOZIC: I’ve also read that you prefer your painting to the actual sequential work. What is it about the painting that you find more satisfying?
POWELL: It’s less repetitive and painting just seems more substantial to me.
JOZIC: In other interviews you cited Rockwell and Frazetta as big influences on your own artwork. What about each of those artist’s style have filtered into your work?
POWELL: Energy and the textures of Frazetta and the storytelling and expression of Rockwell.
JOZIC: In a lot of the press you’ve done over the last year or so, you seem either very playful or just a little frustrated with having to answer questions like, “How did you come up with The Goon?” over and over and over again. Does it get a little taxing to do the interviews after a while or is that a part of publishing the book that you enjoy?
POWELL: Yes, it’s a pain. Stephen King has said numerous times that people always ask him where his ideas come from and it really annoys him. I can see where he’s coming from. It just seems like a silly question. How do you know where an idea comes from? It’s a long process of revision. You take the things you like smash them together and eventually something forms.
JOZIC: Obviously The Goon is a dream project for you since you’ve gone through a lot to get it where it is, but is there any other character or concept rattling around in your head, or even an existing character or title, that you would love to tackle at some point?
POWELL: Yes, I have three other concepts I want to get off the ground at some point. One of them is actually already in the works.
Catch you next time!