Hurricane Sandy Can't Stop The Goon

Eric Powell, creator of The Goon, is holding a Reddit Ask me Anything interview (AMA) right now, in support of the Kickstarter campaign for The Goon movie currently underway.

The last time there was an announcement that Powell was holding an AMA, it turned out to be a false alarm--and so it seems likely that he's bucking the current trend of cancelling everything for Hurricane Sandy in some part because he's had fans chomping at the bit for days. Still, as evidenced by the image above, that doesn't mean the creator won't at least acknowledge that his East Coast friends are being boxed in by wind and rain right now.

The film, set to be an animated feature starring Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti and directed by Fight Club and The Social Network helmer David Fincher, hasn't got a release date or anything like that--because they're still fundraising to make a story reel that will allow them to sell it to studios. Blur Studios have sunk thousands into the animation but acn't afford the $400,000 estimated for a story reel--and so far they've had trouble finding a studio willing to foot the bill without a proof-of-concept to show how well the comic can translate to the screen.

We'll update as it goes (and as time and Sandy permit--we're on the East Coast, too!), but the first question at the top of the page right now is a pretty good one. Asked whether we'd ever see the face of Charlie Noodles, Powell responded, "Maybe you already have!!! If I ever reveal what he looks like it will have to be in epic fashion. I don't have that idea yet."

Some highlights from the AMA below, with the questioners' names removed.

Will buzzard be making an appearance in the film? I think he's the most dynamic character and my personal favorite--would love to see him in it.

Well, we can't give too much of the film away... Screw it. YES! Buzzard is in the film!

Do you wish for the movie to be more in line with the tone of the comics pre-Chinatown or post-Chinatown?

Well, the film has a lot of humor in it, so I can't say it's like Chinatown. Which had none. But it does have a lot of heart and tragedy to it. I'd say it's an amalgam of the better parts of the comic. Lots of dark humor and lots of heart.

What has always struck me as the best part of the tone of the comic is how well it transitions from a joke to a tragedy and back again. That said, how much control will you have over the film; script and final product?

I have a voice in the decisions, but this is a group effort. Final say on anything I think comes down to Fincher. But he has always listened to my input and wants to make sure I'm happy with what's going on.

Have you yourself ever been knifed in the eye?

No, fortunately I still have two eyes... despite my 4th of July parties.

Why did you choose to fund the movie via Kickstarter instead of traditional funding methods?

We've been pitching the film to studios for years. Hollywood is just really hesitant about original material. They want a remake or a sequel. Add to that the fact we're making an animated film without singing animals for six-year-olds. Kickstarting the story reel came about totally by fan demand. I was getting hammered daily over email, twitter, & facebook to do a Kickstarter for the film. Realistically raising 30-40 million on kickstarter wasn't going to happen. But there were so many asking I finally said to Fincher & Blur, "Why not? If nothing else it will let these people's voices be heard." Blur had the great idea of Kickstarting something we could actually achieve. The story reel. So here we are.

I really like your drawing style in the Goon and all your other works including Justice League which was hilarious. Have you ever turned down offers that other artists might have picked up without even thinking about it?

I'm usually that guy. Publishers usually offer me projects when their main guy turns they down.

However, the Bizarro World book was offered specifically to me. No way I could turn that down. Still my favorite work for hire project. That and the Simpsons story I did.

Who do you have in mind for playing The Priest (assuming he's in the movie). Did you have an actor's voice in your head as you wrote him for the comics?

I have someone in mind but we haven't approached him yet.

With almost every comic on the shelf being optioned as a film, why has The Goon been such a struggle? Also, since when does David Fincher have trouble getting a film made?

Hollywood is not known for having balls. They want safe and easy. We're selling them original and innovative.

Have you ever written something with the intention of it becoming a TV show or movie rather than a comic?

Yes, Chimichanga was originally created for a television pitch. When it was rejected I decided to make it a comic.

Had you always planned on taking The Goon to a more serious, darker place, or was it something that occurred to you later? Was there some source of inspiration behind the shift?

From day one I always intended the book to be something where I could tell any kind of story I wanted. Humorous, tragic, horrific... whatever. So it that sense, yes. But I did not have everything plotted out from the beginning. It's evolved.

Were you solely responsible for the adaptation? How close to the original source material is the film script?

I wrote the script with much input from Fincher. It's not an original story but it's not a direct adaptation of any single comic.

You have no worries. It is 100% The Goon.

What was it like when you first heard Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti voice Goon and Franky?

It was the most surreal experience of my life. I went to LA to write the test lines and see them record the dialog. Tim Miller from Blur gave me a lot of s--t because he said I was grinning from ear to ear the first time Giamatti screamed, "KNIFE TO THE EYE!"

I have already contributed to the Kickstarter project. What are some other ways fans can help the project?

Get others to contribute. It's not just the dollar amount. We need A LOT of contributors. Show Hollywood people want this film. If you get everyone you know to donate $1, it all helps.

When did you develop your technique of using pencils as defining forms along with the inks? It's such a great looking technique that I don't see too many other people using.

We're at the point where you can reproduce in print anything you can put on the paper. I'm with you. I don't know why people don't experiment more.

As far as when, I don't remember. It just started slowly working it's way in.

Mr. Powell, I am here to ask you the questions the President wouldn't address. The real issues at hand.

Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or 50 duck-sized horses?

I, unlike a politician, do not duck the hard questions! I am not afraid to stand up and address the difficult issues of these troubling times!!!

Gotta go 50 duck sized horses. It would be hard to punch up at that duck and i gotta believe you could kick, stamp, and jump on those little horses no matter how swift they may be.

Why did you drop the pro-creator-owned campaign so quickly, and why do you think the message came across as less pro-creator and more anti-Big Two?

I really thought the goal was great, even if the execution stabbed the message in its crib.

If you're referring to the video, I took it down because it was starting all the wrong arguments and I couldn't get any other big name creators on board with "The Creators Front". Jill Thompson, Matt Wagner, and Mike Norton were highly supportive, though. Plus, the minute someone wrote me, "If you really give a s--t about creator owned comics, you'd get my book published!", it really put a bad taste in my mouth.

I'm still preaching about creator owned and trying to lead by example. But i'd rather try to corral a bunch of kangaroos than try to unify the comic business behind anything again.

What's the appeal of going through a publisher like Dark Horse instead of self-publishing? Is their cut really so small it's cheaper than footing the production bill?

  1. It gives me more time to just make the book. I don't have to worry about printing, distribution, advertising, etc...
  2. Sales. You sell more at an established publisher. And get better distribution.
If you could draw/write any comic from the Big Two, what would it be?

I think I could do a kickass Demon comic. There's lots of stuff I'd like to do, but they wouldn't let me the way I would want to. It's much more rewarding to me to do my own thing.

More a question to the Blur guys I guess, but I'm wondering if the movie will be hand animated or motion captured or a mixture of both (as often)?

I've heard them discussing this. As far as I know, no motion capture.