Sympathetic Monsters, an interview with Eric Powell, part 2

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Are you interested in doing further work for the big two? Do you have favorite characters you’d like to tell stories about?

I don’t have any objection to it. I just don’t see myself having enough time any time soon. I tried to get DC to let me do a Demon miniseries a while back but they wanted to go another direction. And like I said, I really wanted to do Spiderman or the Hulk.

What was your Demon series going to be like? What was the story?

It never got that far. I just told them I was interested in that character. It would have been more like the Kirby series I think. Big Monsters.

Many publishers have been very focused in recent years on structuring their comics in story arcs readymade for trade paperback collections. The Goon has been an unusual book in its dedication to standalone, single-issue stories. You’ve recently announced that you’re going to do arcs. Why?

I’m going to do arcs in combination with stand-alone issues. Trying to cram some of my ideas into a single issue was making the quality of the book suffer. I just decided not to constrain myself.

What attracts you to the 30s/’40s era that plays such a big role in The Goon?

I think it’s just a personality thing. I hate modern. Don’t like to draw modern things. Modern buildings. That era seems to have so much more character and personality. Everything isn’t slick and perfect.

You self-published The Goon before taking it to Dark Horse (and after it started at Avatar). What did you learn from self-publishing?

Self-promotion is key.

It seems like we’re in a horror comics renaissance right now. Do you see it that way?

I guess. It could be that we’re just getting more variety.

What do you think accounts for that?

Hellboy.

The movie or the comic?

The comic. I think it’s the most influential book to other comic artists right now. Before Hellboy, what was passing for a horror comic were T&A books. It actually has atmosphere. I think that’s essential for horror.

What do you like about horror as a genre?

I don’t really think of it that way. It’s just the stuff I like.

Besides the Frankenstein movies, what horror (comics, books?) did you like growing up?

I read a lot of Steven King. Pretty much the only horror comic I ever saw as a kid was Swamp Thing.

Then how’d you get from there (not seeing a lot of horror comics, or even being a big comics fan) to being a successful indie creator?

I loved horror/sci-fi movies and I loved to draw. I do the kinds of comics I’d like to see. Not what I’ve seen.

What comics, besides Hellboy, are you reading these days?

Not a lot. I don’t get a chance to make it out to the comic shop much anymore. Bone is gone. Hellboy doesn’t come out much. I pick up Liberty Meadows when I see it.

Do you watch horror movies? Any recent favorites?

A lot of horror movies. I have to say the Japanese are kicking Hollywood’s ass when it comes to interesting horror movies these days. I guess that’s why they’re remaking so many of them. I did enjoy the Dawn of the Dead remake. Even though the characters did pretty stupid stuff (one of my pet peeves). Wasn’t as good as the original but great zombies and lots of intensity.

What do you see in the future for horror comics?

I hope lots of interesting original material. I hope it continues to grow.

What do we need more of in comics? What do we need less of?

More originality. More fun in comics that are supposed to be fun. More artists who look outside of the Wizard top ten as their artistic influences. More comics about ducks. More comics about monkeys and ducks. More mutated half monkey half duck comics. And we need less autobiographical civil war comics. Those damn things are everywhere.

2 Comments

  • Des says:

    Great interview, Sam!

    Interesting and fun to read…that Demon series would have been really sweet!

  • Sam Costello says:

    Thanks Des!

    Yeah, I would have loved to have seen that Demon series. But who knows? Maybe he’ll get the shot another time.