Eric Powell Smirks Slyly To Ryan King About Assorted Goonery

Eric Powell Smirks Slyly To Ryan King About Assorted GooneryRyan King writes for Bleeding Cool. He's been talking to Eric Powell at WonderCon.

Ryan King: Allow me to begin by saying congratulations on the constant success of your Dark Horse comic series The Goon. The quirky sense of humor, dark seriousness, and glorious monster mayhem make it a top of the pile read whenever an issue is released. Not to mention your magnificent artwork. And now, as many of your fans know, a movie is in the works. Congrats.

Eric Powell: Thank you.

RK: Since your last update in January, you and David Fincher confirmed The Goon film is underway but the only obstacle blocking the path to Hollywood is financing. Is this where the project still stands?

EP: Yeah, that's exactly where it still is. It's finding the combination of the right budget. Finding some producers who get it, or some financiers who get it, and understand what we're trying to do with it and can get behind it. You know? And embrace it as much as we have.

RK: Besides the matter of film financing, let's talk about the film's script. Would your movie adaptation stay honest to the comic book premise?

EP: It's very, very honest to the source material because I wrote it. And that's all Fincher wanted. He wanted the source material. He didn't want to take it and make it more hip or soften it or do anything else to it. He just wanted to adapt The Goon. While the script is not a direct adaptation, like Sin City or something like that, it's definitely a derivative of all of The Goon kind of collectively.

RK: Would you say that it would be a linear type of story-line, because The Goon is very well known for being kind of choppy—

Eric Powell Smirks Slyly To Ryan King About Assorted GooneryEP: Kind of episodic? Yeah. That's the main thing that's kind of in the way of doing a direct adaptation because The Goon is episodic. Every issue, I try to give the reader a beginning a middle and an end. I want to give them a story. I want them to not have to buy a hundred issues of The Goon in order to understand what's going on. So that is very hard to take and adapt into an hour and a half long film. So what we did is found the through-line of the story and condense it and make a story that holds up as a film. But the characters are all there. All these characters were just taken out of the comic and propped into the film script. The characterizations are all there.

RK: What about the zombie priest? Is he going to remain the same antagonist?

EP: I don't know what I'm supposed to say yet. So I'm going to leave that blank. I think you'll be happy with the cast of characters that shows up in the movie.

RK: As many of your readers know, The Goon features a whacky and original cast of characters, from the undead eating Buzzard, to the gang of orphan hell raisers. Do you suspect any characters will be scrapped or set aside for the purpose of the film?

EP: What do you mean by scrapped?

RK: Just meaning that there's such a vast majority of characters, I mean, you can't possibly touch upon all of them. Or maybe you can?

EP: If there's anything, and I've told myself this personally, if anyone doesn't make an appearance in the film, it's just because they weren't on camera. It doesn't mean they're not in that world, you know? I can't think of any character that we specifically just wrote out. You know, like 'That guy doesn't work. Take him out of the story.' I can't think of any characters. There are definitely characters that don't appear that are in the comic, but I can't think of any character that is specifically taken out.

RK: Just today, you made a mysterious and ambiguous announcement that in the months to come there will be a big event in the The Goon series. Would you care to say anything more on the subject?

EP: We'll just wait. I'll wait a little while on that. But yeah, we got some good news coming up on the series, comics specifically. So it's not big TV news, not big movie news, not something, you know…whatever, it's all comics.

RK: Right on. Besides The Goon, you have worked on three other successful series. First Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities (with art by Kyle Hotz), second Chimichanga, and thirdly IDW's resurrection of Godzilla and the remainder of the Toho monsters. Will fans get a chance to see you return to these crazy and exciting worlds? I personally would love a sequel to Chimichanga.

EP: Yeah, I have something in plan for Chimichanga but right now I've got so much Goon stuff on my plate that it's going to have to take a back seat for a little while. But eventually I'll get to another Chimichanga story.

RK: What about Billy the Kid?

EP: We're working on a new series right now called Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities and the Orm of Loch Ness and I believe the first issue comes out in October.

RK: And any return to Godzilla?

EP: No, probably not. I did my story and I'll leave it there.

RK: One more topic before I cast you off my line. A little over a year ago you and Robert Kirkman put together a helluva viral video to promote creative diversity regarding what Kirkman refers to as the "Creator Owned Movement." In almost a week's time, the video was retracted from Youtube because it had "clearly become a divisive force instead of the unifying positive one [you] intended it to be." Do you still feel this way?

EP: Well, first I want to clarify a lot of people thought that Robert Kirkman was in that video. It's actually a buddy of mine from Nashville who just happens to look a lot like Robert Kirkman. So that was not actually—

RK: I did not know that.

EP: Yeah, so that's good you're breaking this down. So anyone thinks that Robert Kirkman was responsible in any way for that video, he wasn't. That was all me, if anyone wants to yell or scream or anything. Yeah, it was really disheartening for me with that whole thing. Because, first off, I was trying to do something funny, and a lot of people didn't think it was funny. But a lot of people just took it and had no sense of humor about it whatsoever and like I said, it didn't do the intended impact. I was trying to unify other creators in the industry to really bond together and do this thing and all it did was get us yelling at each other. It just was serving no purpose other than like letting me piss all over people which wasn't my intent, you know? I really wish people would have more of a sense of humor, for one, and I wish they would have listened to the message instead of taking things out of context the way they did. I had people saying that I was bashing anyone who was working for a superhero company or that I was saying that people shouldn't buy Marvel or DC books. I've made those jokes in The Goon, I've definitely done that, but you know what? Those are also jokes. I also said that in The Goon that if you bought superhero comics it led you to pedophilia and since I don't believe that every person in this convention right now is a pedophile, I believe that was a joke too. So that is definitely not what I am trying to say and the problem being is so many of the fandom of the superhero stuff just gets so bent out of shape that you just say, 'Hey, it would be a great idea if some of these guys did creator owned books.' And if they would stop and think for a second, if we have more diversified content and if we can draw in a broader audience and make our industry stronger, you're going to get more of what you love. Not less. You're going to get better comics because people can afford better rates and you're going to have people who just leave comics because they can't make a decent living wanting to do comics. You're going to have better Batman, you're not going to have less Batman. I just really think we have to change what we're doing more. There is a change going on, I think we need more diversified comics and to appeal to a broader audience instead of just rehashing what we've already done and selling to wind in profit.

RK: And what about the creators that wish to share your message? Although the exaggeration of sodomy was a bit extreme, isn't there some remaining value in the video if it lingered on the internet?

EP: This was something I debated with myself a lot. At the time, I was like anything that was going to come out of it has already been started because it did get a lot of discussion going, good or bad I guess. I thought about putting it back up and doing a creator's commentary, like a DVD commentary to it. But then I just think about how all the crazy stuff came out of it, and just frankly ignorance came out of it of the topic and twisting it into something. There are so many people that you could just hear their comments that took none of the point I was trying to make out of that video. They got nothing out of it other than they felt I was bagging on something that they loved. So it's like, do I reopen that wound? I'm still vocal about creator owned comics I just don't know if that video, putting it up back now right now, would help. Although I still think about it.

RK: Before setting off into the ether, do you wish to say anything to the readers at Bleeding Cool.

EP: [slyly smirks].

RK: Thank you so much for your time here today, Eric. It's been a pleasure.

EP: Thanks, man.

Ryan King is the current editor-in-chief of Go Suck A Comic (www.gosuckacomic.com), where he cane be contacted on all matters of insanity in sub-culture. One day, he intends to do his damnedest at writing the first official Big Trouble in Little China comic series.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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