Eric Powell’s The Goon is insane enough. But what happens when he invites Evan Dorkin, creator of Milk and Cheese and Beasts of Burden into his world?
We got these two crazy cats together to talk August’s The Goon #35, where, and I quote, “Goon and Franky stumble upon a bizarre freak show at Brigadoon’s Dreamland Carnival, where the evil barker pits the Goon against a horrendous, bacon-eating behemoth, the Ten-in-One!”
Are you scared? You will be. You will be.
Pitted against one another, Powell and Dorkin unleashed a reign of death and destruction from which Newsarama might never recover. You have been warned.
Newsarama: Okay, one of you tell us what this darn story is about. You can fight over who gets to say.
Evan Dorkin: It's about the Goon and Franky stumbling onto a mysterious carnival in the middle of nowhere and the hilarious hi-jinks that ensue.
Rated T for Terrific. Features intense violence, blood and gore, crude humor, comic mischief, use of alcohol, use of pork products and suggestive themes. Suitable for teens and adults who like that sort of crap and have basic reading skills. If there's anything else you want to know you can buy the comic when it comes out in August.
Nrama: Eric, I do declare that this is the first time in my recollection you've brought a guest-writer in for a story you've illustrated for the main Goon book. What made you want to bring Evan his mopey self on board?
Eric Powell: Yep, other than an Unholy Bastards short in Goon Noir written by Tom Sniegoski, this is the first time I've drawn Goon material, and a full issue, written by someone else.
I've been a fan of Evan's for a long time. He can do Marx Brothers anarchist comedy and also touchingly poignant stuff. I really selfishly just wanted to see what he'd come up with on a Goon story. And I wanted to draw it.
I really thought he’d just laugh in my face and call me a hack when I asked him to do it. But instead he laughed in my face, called me a hack, and then asked me how much I’d pay him.
Nrama: Evan, what made you want to work on the Goon?
Dorkin I was flattered to be asked, and I thought the characters would be fun to write. Also, Eric's girlfriend threatened to kick my ass if I didn't do what he said.
Powell: It's true. Not that my girlfriend was going to kick his ass. That I pose no physical threat so I have to get a lady to intimidate people for me.
Nrama: What's the collaboration been like? How have you two dealt with the ups and downs?
Dorkin It's been smooth sailing, at least from my perspective. Once I pitched Eric on the idea for the story he trusted me to go off and write it. We talked a little before I started. I wanted to make sure he was okay with a few details, I didn't want the story to step on any plot points he might want to deal with regarding the Goon's carnival past.
I tried to capture the Goon and Franky's voices as closely as I could manage. Obviously, if I muffed the dialogue or characterizations in places he'd tweak it. I tried not to write too much dialog or put too many panels on every page, but Eric knows what I do, and I assumed he figured he might have a job on his hands. I like to pack an issue with material, there's a lot of action and jokes in here, a lot of detail.
You'll have to ask Eric how he felt about it, I hope he enjoyed drawing ,it and didn't have to throw too much material out. I wrote it primarily for him, I figure if he liked it, his readers would like it. He won't tell me what he thought of it, though. I emailed him a few times, but his girlfriend told me to stop bothering him or she'll kick my ass.
Powell: My main part of our collaborative process was convincing Evan that I actually liked what he did and it didn't suck. And also figuring out that I had given Evan the wrong email. He kept writing Shirley’s Bail Bonds. I just want to confirm I have never dated a surly 300-pound chain smoking bail bondsman named Shirley. I did tap that ass a couple of times, though.
Nrama: You're payin' some deep ol' homage to Freaks in this one. Both y'all, what's most compelling about this nauseating little bit of 1930s cinema? Evan, what makes one go from Yo Gabba Gabba! to gabba-gabba, we accept you, one of us, one of us?
Dorkin I'm fascinated by old carnival sideshow culture, and the ‘30' is one of my favorite eras for film, pulps and pop culture in general. Since The Goon plugs into all of that, it all just came together once I worked out the basic plot.I'm a fan of the movie, but I didn't start out to do a Freaks take-off. It's been done plenty of times. But once I started scripting I figured why not toss in a few references, it's hard to do an over-the-top sideshow story without a tip of the hat to either Freaks or Nightmare Alley, I guess.
As far as going from Yo Gabba Gabba! to The Goon, that's par for the course for me. I've always worked on a variety of comics and shows, my first year doing comics full -time I was working on Milk and Cheese, Predator, and Bill and Ted.
I've done work for magazines published by Disney and Penthouse, Sarah and I have written for the Adult Swim and for daytime kids’ TV. I like a lot of different genres, and I can wear a lot of different hats. Even if I look crappy in all of them.
Powell: I've only ever read his Penthouse stuff. What’s Milk and Cheese?
Nrama: And then there's Brigadoon. Why does that musical haunt us?
Dorkin I can't answer that question, because it's stupid (that's what you get for calling me mopey). As far as how it crops up in the Goon, I was just using the basic enchanted location concept. Brigadoon's the best-known version of the enchanted village bit, although the folk story it's based on is apparently German, not Scottish.
I referenced the movie but I'm not a fan of it. Actually, it's dull, it doesn't have a strong song list and there isn't a killer set-piece dance sequence. Worst of all, it wastes Cyd Charrise, which is a mortal sin. So I don't recommend it. If you're up for a musical, see Freaks. It has a better song and dance sequence than Brigadoon. You know the one I mean.
Nrama: Evan, what's the biggest thing you learned from collaborating with Eric, other than to not ask him about the meaning of Satan's Sodomy Baby?
Dorkin I never learn anything. If I did, I'd have gotten out of comics years ago.
Nrama: Eric, what's the biggest thing you learned from collaborating with Evan, other than how to find the gray cloud in every silver lining?
Powell: That it’s better we work together over email. Once we met face-to-face, and our combined negativity and spite formed a sentient dark cloud that ran amuck in a Waffle House and consumed a small child. That’s all I can say at this time, as the trial is still pending.
Nrama: How will this affect the overall Goon saga, or whatever you want to call this? Nightmare? Calgon-induced hallucination?
Dorkin It's a self-contained one-shot that affects nothing and no one, it's a comic book published in a forest with no one around to read it. Dark Horse doesn't plan to collect this issue in a future Goon trade owing to Eric's girlfriend's orders. It'll be like it never happened. For all I know it didn't happen. It's like Brigadoon, baby. But buy it anyway when it comes out this August.
Powell: SHIRLEY HAS NO SAY OVER MY REPRINT RIGHTS! |
How will this affect the Goon saga? Well, the Goon uses something every issue called a story. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard about it. It’s a thing long ago replace in the comic book business by the tie-in event campaign.
You see, the Goon takes characters and places them in situations, and then resolves those situations at the end of the book. Sometimes not well. Sometimes in ways that don’t make a hell of a lot of sense. But each book has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Studies show this is a really stupid way to try to sell comic books. But I was educated in middle Tennessee. I’m pretty frickin’ stupid.
Nrama: Would you two work together on the Goon or on another book in the future?
Dorkin I'd work with Eric again in a heartbeat. That being said, Eric's a busy person and has a solid career, I think he's suffered enough. I like him and wouldn't want to weigh him down again, we all know the sales will tumble on this issue of The Goon.
It was nice of Eric to give an older guy with a fading career a break, like when the WWF used to bring the Brooklyn Brawler back for a beat-down so the fans could get a few laughs and the poor slob could earn a few dollars to buy groceries.
So, let's just say I don't think we're the new Lennon-McCartney. Unless you're talking Lennon-McCartney circa 1975.
Powell: I equate it more to when Jerry "The King" Lawler teamed with Bill “Superstar” Dundee to take on The Fabulous Freebirds. But then the Moondogs showed up and nailed 'em in the head with a meat bone from the top rope... What were we talking about?
Nrama: What's next for both of you?
Dorkin I'm still doing comics for Bongo, still working for Mad Magazine, and Jill Thompson and I will have three new Beasts of Burden stories running in Dark Horse Presents later this year. I'm finishing up the cover art for MC Frontalot's upcoming CD, and working on a few things that haven't been announced yet, one of which is a non-comics gig.
Powell: I'm planning on mowing the yard tomorrow.
Nrama: Anything else you want to talk about that we haven't discussed yet?
Dorkin Hell, no.
Powell: $%#€ OFF!
The Goon #35 takes readers to the freak show this August.