Eric Powell's The Goon is the comic-book nerd's comic book: a five-time Eisner Award winner that's beloved by critics and ignored by the mainstream. Blending 1930s gangland noir with a cartoonish visual style and a heavy dose of the paranormal (zombies, witch doctors, mad scientists and sorcerers), The Goon sits comfortably in its very own universe. The book follows the titular Goon, an iron-jawed, muscle-bound former mob enforcer turned neighborhood protector.
When it was announced in 2008 that a film version of the comic was in the works, fans were naturally skeptical of the idea. But then at the 2010 Comic Con, producer David Fincher (director of The Social Network and Fight Club) and Blur Entertainment debuted a two-and-a-half-minute short (see below) that proved they could maintain The Goon's slapstick tone, dialogue and look in a lush CGI setting. Clancy Brown voices the Goon and Paul Giamatti voices his small but spunky sidekick, Franky. In the short, the two characters spend an evening drinking with one of the neighborhood's undead residents.
The clip looked great and was very well received by fans. But little had been heard about the project until Tuesday, when Powell unveiled a teaser of rough test footage (below), created back in 2009, and posted it on Twitter with the message, "This film is still looking for funding."
That's a shame to hear, but not all that surprising. Even though The Goon's unique voice and easily adaptable episodic narrative would make a great movie, it's easy to imagine it as a commercial flop, especially if David Fincher stays committed to maintaining the source material. On the surface, adults may interpret its cartoonish visuals and hokey presentation as being just for kids. The Goon's extreme violence and obviously grown-up themes, though, exclude younger audiences. If the movie does get funding, it likely won't be from Disney Pixar. Imagine the millions of children unable to sleep for fear of Franky's trademark "knife to the eye!"