Eric Powell's last couple issues of The Goon have been some interesting forays into surprisingly emotional areas, be it the allegorical tragedy inspired by The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire or just a journey into paying tribute to his lost grandmother by showing us a chapter of The Goon's early life. They've been stunningly good reads, but it might've led some to wonder when the dark and nasty humor will be returning – and The Goon #39 has your answer in the form of a savage satire of the entire superhero comic industry, and it's so unflinching in its evisceration of the tropes of the genre that you might have to put down your funnybooks for a while and read something else. Anything else.
Really, the cover will tell you most of what you need to know about the content of this issue. Note the Dark Horse logo mocking the lame new DC Comics branding.
Inside is a pseudo-dream sequence where The Goon turns out to be a mighty alien warrior sporting a codpiece and a lantern-looking hammer, mocking the press-seeking Ultimate Spider-Man changeover, the multicolored Hulks and Lanterns, the revolving door of comic book death, constant costume changes and reboots, gratuitous ass shots, and Franky wearing a thong and a chestplate with metal nipples on it. It's enough to make you feel bad for liking things, and certainly enough to make you stand up and say "you know, I'm going to have to wait until tomorrow to read Avengers vs. X-Men."
Then, once the story is done, there's a long letters-page screed from Powell about how it's okay to like superhero books, but get some goddamn diversity in your pull list, will you? Only 24 of the top 1000 comics sold in the United States last year were not superhero comics from Marvel or DC. That statistic is insane, and Powell makes an excellent case for selling to other demographics besides cape readers. "If Harry Potter were a Dark Horse comic instead of a novel," he says, "it would be struggling to sell ten thousand, just because it's not in a Marvel or DC superhero universe. Where's our Harry Potter? Where's our megahit that comes out of nowhere and draws people into comic shops? Why are we denying ourselves the possibility of that?"
He posits that the corporate ownership of the Big Two could easily decide to cut costs one day and stop publishing comics entirely, and just make movies or cartoons or whatever, and the industry would be destroyed the next day, and thus, new creator-owned content in all genres should be the driving force for the future.
We love our capes here at Crave Online, and we love our Red and Green Hulks, but how's about we all do ourselves some favors and branch out a bit more? I've got trades of Fear Agent and Morning Glories here waiting for me to have time to read them. What non-superhero books would you recommend to anyone? Let 'er rip.