Eric Powell’s Albatross Funnybooks company has had some interesting titles such as Hillbilly, and the Spook House anthology but the creator best known for one of independent comics most cult followed characters didn’t come out of the gate with its heaviest hitter. That was until now…2019 marks the 20 year anniversary of The Goon and he’s finally back where he belongs.
Whether by serendipity or long term planning, Eric Powell is finally bringing all the dark comedy, noir violence, and quirky characters from the world of Goon where it belongs with the new #1. Not only are we getting a new ongoing series that picks up where it all left off but Powell is also in the midst of a 23 stop tour celebrating this milestone.
We had a chance to talk to Eric Powell about the new series and tour.
COMICS BEAT: Why is now the right time to bring The Goon to Albatross? I mean you could have launched your company with the character but opted to tell other stories. Was this all planned for an anniversary?
ERIC POWELL: After I wrapped up the mini series at Dark Horse, I really I felt like I would probably get back to him again at some point but I wasn’t sure, I just I felt like I actually need to give it a break. Well I had been looking at the 20th anniversary. It’s kind of a let’s see how I feel when that comes around because at the time I stopped doing the last book we were still three or four years away from the anniversary. I went off and did Hillbilly to test the self-publishing waters and did better than I had expected. It sort of snowballed from there to get here.
CB: The new book is a great catch up for the long time fans of The Goon. But it made me feel kind of old realizing I was reading this character I’ve read since SDCC was still able to sell walk up tickets. How does it feel for you to look back on these 20 years of telling stories in The Goon?
POWELL: It feels really good. The fact that I’ve been able to make a living off of this character. It’s definitely a source of pride. But even after 20 years I’m careful of the bottom falling out. Sometimes I think people are going to realize they don’t like this thing anymore. It’s the fear of every entertainment industry, going out of style or not being in vogue. Sometimes things reinvent themselves to stay relevant or appeal to younger audiences, I’ve just been fortunate to find a loyal audience that’s all in on what I’ve done with this character for 20 years.
CB: This new book literally brings GOON back into his own world with Franky and a lot of characters appearing to set up things for the future. What can we expect down the line from the new series?
POWELL: Broad answer to that is I want to take you back to it’s kind of humorous roots and I personally want to have fun doing it. I got a little depressing and dark with the last couple of mini series and I thought, personally, I want to lighten it up a little bit and focus on graphic storytelling and humor. And you know that times are kind of dark right now. I really thought about it and I’m like if I can if I can help distract somebody from their daily problems and get a chuckle out of them, at the same time that would that would be really great.
CB: As far as the creators coming on you’ve mentioned, is there anyone in particular you’re excited about working with?
POWELL: There a few people. I’ve never given up The Goon to another artist with the exception of a short here and there. I brought people on for two reasons. As a publisher, I wear a lot of hats now and I have to keep the book on a regualr release. The next story arc after mine, we’ve already got an artist working on it and I we haven’t made the announcement yet it’ll probably be coming out soon but I’m super excited. I think his style fits this universe soo well and I get excited just seeing the stuff come in from him.
CB: You do play things close to the vest. So how do you pick artists to work with on the book?
POWELL: Well one of the key things, I mean there are a few points that in my mind makeup a person who would be good working on The Goon. I think it’s first and foremost have to be a good storyteller. You know that if you’re going to do a comic you have to show tell a story. But also I’m really strongly drawn to people who can cartoon. And that’s becoming kind of a lost art in comics. As an industry, we’re at a high point artistically. There’s a lot of tech out there helping that, as a result we’re seeing more photo realistic stuff. At the same time the cartooning element is being stripped away and I feel like whoever I choose to work on these upcoming stories has to have a firm groundwork in that cartooning form of storytelling.
CB: You had the big party in Tenesse to kick off this 20 year tour, but one of the stops I’m curious about is at Grill Em All in LA. You’ve got stops at cons and stores but LA is at a burger joint?
POWELL: Yeah. Brendon Small that w’ere doing the Galactikon book with had mentioned he did some podcasts there and it was great and the crowd was super supportive. He asked if I would come do an appearance and I thought it sounded kind of awesome. Meet and greet, sit around and eat hamburgers. That’s all I want, you stick a hamburger in front of my face and I’ll be there.
CB: Good to know! I do like that place. It’s heavy metal, wrestling, and food. We’re getting The Goon which is awesome on its own, but now that you are your own publisher you have a responsiblity to put out more. Will Goon affect that? More importantly, am I getting more Big Man Plans?
POWELL: No, we’re still doing the other books. Hillbilly will be coming out one mini series a year. Spook House is still going to be a Halloween special. Grumble and Mega Ghost. We also have a graphic novel we haven’t announced yet. For BMP, I’m going to say chanes are extremely likely.
CB: You just made my day! I’ll expect that book on stands next week then. But while I wait for that, you should defintely pick up Albatross Funnybooks The Goon #1. If it’s in your area definitely visit Eric Powell on one of his tour stops where you can pick up exclusive merch and awesome tiki mugs for your home bar.
Find more info by following Albatross on Twitter:
3/8/19- GOON 20th Anniversary Party – Nashville, TN.
3/19/19- Grill Em’ All (event w/ Brendon Small)- Alhambra, CA.
3/23/19- Bridge City Comics- Portland, OR.
4/6/19- Bedrock City Comic Co.- Houston, TX.
4/10- Austin Books and Comics – Austin, TX.
4/13- Goon Art Show MONDO Gallery – Austin, TX.
4/20- Heroes aren’t hard to find- Charlotte, NC.
5/4/19-FCBD- Mile High Comics- Denver, CO.
5/18-5/20/19- Diamond Retailers Summit- Las Vegas, NV.
6/1/19- Aw Yeah Comics-IL. w/Mike Norton
6/8/19- Tardys Collectors Corner -Grand Rapids , MI.
6/12/19- Pastimes – Asheville, NC.
6/14-6/16/19- HEROES CON – Charlotte, NC.
6/19/19- Tates Comics- Miami, Fl.
6/22/19- Pensecola Pop Comics- Pensecola, FL.
6/26/19- My Parents Basement- Atlanta, GA.
7/17-7/21/19- San Diego Comic Con- San Diego, CA.
8/10/19- Space Cadets- Houston,TX.
9/14-9/15/19- The Dragon – Ontario, Canada
9/28- Powers Comics- Green Bay *Tentative 9/20 Depending on Packers schedule!
10/3-10/6/19- New York Comic Con- NYC, NY.
10/9/19- Aw Yeah Comics- Harrison, NY.
10/25-10/28/19- Maui Comic Con- Maui, HI.
11/1/19-11/10/19 – Adelaide/ Brisbane Supanova Comic Con- Australia