EDITOR’S NOTE: This review contains spoilers. Such as the fact that burlesque dancers will apparently show off their tits. This review also ruins at least one of the best jokes in the book. Such as how burlesque dancers can sometimes drive men to try to write their names on the elderly. Plus, it spoils earlier Goon stories. Like how Franky has a knife. Which I guess we spoiled with this review’s title. Ah, nuts.
In 2009, Eric Powell announced Goon Year: a year when he upped his production schedule to once per month to tell the epic tale of The Return of Labrazio, which featured The Goon learning that he was literally doomed to unhappiness, followed by watching the love of his life die while we readers learned of a son that The Goon would never know he had.
It’s 2011. This month’s Goon features Franky wearing a fake moustache while peeing on an old woman’s head.
I love The Goon.
Since Powell started releasing The Goon again six months ago following 2010’s hiatus, he’s moved away from the epic storylines of Labrazio and the earlier Chinatown and given us three one-and-dones. Which is a welcome return to the humor-based origins of The Goon (not to discount those earlier-mentioned epics, which you should own), and which Powell seems to have taken as opportunities to champion people and ideas that he believes in. Apparently including peeing on the rich and elderly.
On paper, this should be a recipe for disaster. Normally when comics creators decide to use their work as a platform to take a stand on some personal conviction or cause, the book takes a nosedive (Hi, Frank!). Forcing a cause into a comic makes it automatically run the risk of becoming a Chick Tract, which is only good comics if your idea of an “adventure” story includes Kirk Cameron and a Left Behind marathon somewhere in the 280’s on your cable box.
Thankfully, the causes Powell has chosen for recent issues include pointing out the innate lameness of Twilight. And providing a showcase for indie humor comics writer Evan Dorkin. And in this issue, the cause is girls who shake their boobies for a dollar. Specifically, burlesque girls. More specifically, some burlesque chick named Roxi DLite. Powell’s ideas are intriguing to me and I would like to subscribe to his newsletter. Wait, I already do. But I digress.
The story in this issue – in nearly any issue of The Goon where Powell decides it’s more yuks and less pathos – matters so little as to make no difference. Roxi lands somewhere near the end of Lonely Street to be presented as Hunter S. Thompson if the honorific “author” meant “The ability to make tassels circumrotate oppositionally.”
Then there’s a robbery, a counter robbery, a balloon ride, and some hot, sweet, girl-on-harpy action. Then Franky winds up heartbroken while The Goon nails three Tommy Gun-toting gangsters who think that bras happen to other people, just like The Sopranos, or The Sopranos gay bear porn parody.
All of which sounds ridiculous, until you stop and think about the plot of, say, Flashpoint. Remember how that went? Yeah, neither do I. At least The Goon has piss jokes and tits. So pipe down.
Look: on one level, this book exists to get people interested in burlesque, which is a theoretical possibility the minute it becomes easier to spell “burlesque” than it is “stocking porn”. But on every other level, it’s a story about a chick who makes a living trading nipples for nickels trying to steal from a muscle-bound drunken mafioso and a cartoon whose catchphrase is “knife to the eye!” Plus, there’s a midget.
Tired of worrying about continuity and crossover events and who Batman may or may not be fucking? Pick up The Goon. It’s fun comics. You won’t be disappointed.
Plus, it has a centerfold of the actual Roxi DLite. If, say, you’ve been living in Western Massachusetts for the past week without power or Internet, you might even find this indispensable comics.