We got a chance to sit down with The Goon creator Eric Powell. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, do yourself a favor and check it out.
Nerdgasms: What is going on with The Goon movie?
Eric Powell: They are doing final edits on the animatics which we did the Kickstarter for. And they’re super close to having that finished. When that’s done, we’re going to go through the whole pitch process again and hopefully get a studio behind it or private backing to actually make the rest of the movie.
NG: Typically Hollywood people lack imagination, but seeing comic panels looks like a story board for them. What happened with the pitches for The Goon?
EP: You put it perfectly. They don’t have a lot of imagination. So when Blur [Blur Studios] did all this test footage and went out and showed it to these movie executives. They were like “Wow, this looks amazing. This looks awesome. What do we have to compare this to?” And they were comparing it to things like Beowolf. The Goon is so not the Robert Zemeckis Beowolf movie. The fact that they can’t make that separation doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s the same thing when I first tried to get this book published. I would take it to a publisher and they would be like “I don’t know what to compare this to so I don’t know how much money we’ll make off it”. There’s nothing out there like it right now. But when the book did come out, it was a success. So I’m cautiously optimistic that the same thing will happen with the movie.
NG: When you did the Kickstarter, did you expect the success that you had?
EP: I didn’t know what to expect. I was really nervous. If it flopped, we’re pretty much screwed. But in the first day it blew up. I think we did over $100,000 or something like that. It was crazy. But like most Kickstarters, it slowed in the middle. But by the end, we exceeded our goal by a lot. So it’s a sign that the readers want to see this movie and movies like it. You’ve got a generation of fans who grew up on animation and now they’re watching things like Adult Swim. You’ve got a mature audience that likes animation. The market is out there. It’s just waiting to be tapped into. They just need to exploit that. Hopefully we can be the ones that do it.
NG: There’s an audience that wants to see things that push the boundary.
EP: Exactly. We could make a live action movie out of The Goon, but to truly do it and do it right, it has to be animated. And there’s nobody out there that could do it better than Blur.
NG: You’ve worked on big existing properties like Godzilla as well as your own characters. How does your mindset have to change to work with existing properties versus your own?
EP: When you’re working on a licensed property, you have a little more to draw from. There’s a pre-existing element that you can draw inspiration from. However, it’s a double-edged sword because you have to stay faithful to that history. But if it’s something you like, it’s a lot easier to do it because you have an affection for the material.
NG: Having a comic that is well-known like The Goon…when you do something else, do you find people are more receptive or that you get a bit pidgeon-holed?
EP: I don’t think there is much type-casting in comics. Once you establish yourself, you get offered a lot more projects. The thing is that I’m so focused on my own books that I don’t have a lot of time to devote to other projects. I don’t want to be the guy that did well with creator-owned and then jumped ship to draw a bunch of super heroes. So I try to stay faithful to the creator-owned stuff and put my money where my mouth is and try to push that.
NG: Do you ever try to balance other work with your own? Doing enough so people keep asking?
EP: It depends on the project. If someone approaches me with a good project. DC has been great about that. They offered me a Superman book with Jeff Johns and Richard Donner. That’s awesome. Swamp Thing covers. DC has been great about it. They always offer me great stuff. Yeah, it just matters on the project. I’m writing a Big Trouble, Little China book for BOOM right now. So it all depends on the project. If someone approaches me with a project I like and I have time to do it, I do my best to do it.
NG: For all of us that missed The Goon 15th Anniversary party, what did we miss?
EP: [laughs] You missed a lot of booze and some good bands. It was pretty awesome. We had a band from Texas called Urizen. They kinda stole the show. They had this giant robot fight thing going on. Everyone loved them and they were great. Then we had the Protomen, which are a great band. We actually had them at the 10th anniversary, so they were our hold over. They’ve always been super supportive. So it was just a really good time.
NG: When you switched The Goon from a numbered series to a mini-series, was that a hard decision for you?
EP: Well, it’s much easier and much less confusing to the readers. I always wanted a series where I kept the numbering, that had a legacy to it. But the fact that I was jumping on and off it and I was doing it all by myself. It wasn’t like “Ill write this issue and have a fill-in artist for a couple issues to keep it rolling” I feel like I’m cheating the fans if I hand of the work to someone else. So it was very sporatic in how it was being released. I couldn’t keep up a constant rotation of books. And the mini-series format is just easier for everybody. It’s easier for me. I can work on the four issues. I get them done. We can release them monthly. The fans know when they’re coming out. It’s just easier for everybody.
NG: It’s easier for fans that are just learning of The Goon to jump into the story and not feel like they’re really behind.
EP: They can start out with a new #1 and not worry about prior continuity. They can jump right into the story and get going.
NG: I know for me, starting out as a Marvel/DC guy, a comic like Hellboy did the mini series and it was nice. If you got out and came back, you have a natural starting out point.
EP: Plus, I think you can really recapture the excitement every once in a while. Like “that mini-series was great” then you go work on something else and then “hey here’s a new one.” So you’re not oversaturating the readers with stuff. You get to rebuild the excitement.
NG: Your table is getting a bit crowded. So is there anything you want to plug or mention?
EP: No. That’s about it. We had a one-shot come out in June called One for the Road. And in July the Occasion for Revenge mini-series started. And the Big Trouble, Little China book came out in June as well.