COMIC REVIEW: The Goon in Theatre Bizarre

It is October and Halloween is fast approaching.

Dark Horse Comics is celebrating by releasing a special one-shot edition of The Goon written and illustrated by series creator Eric Powell.

The Goon has been going strong now for just over 16 years and has become one of Dark Horse’s most popular and enduring titles. With a much publicized Kick started animated movie promised in the future, interest in the Goon remains strong and continues to grow.

If you are a die-hard fan then this one-shot Halloween special will be right up your dark and creepy street.

In this special Halloween one-shot, Goon finds himself trapped in the Theatre Bizarre at the mercy of Zombo the Clown and burlesque queen Roxi Dlite!”


Theatre Bizarre has all of the many tropes that have come to define the series; The Goon punches someone, Franky wisecracks and seeks a beautiful woman or really any woman, and there are sinister and supernatural goings on aplenty.

There is definitely a lot for fans of the Goon to enjoy here, however if you have never read the book before you will not be completely lost. Even the return of the devious Queen of Burlesque Roxi Dlite who first appeared in The Goon issue 36, and incidentally is based upon the real life article, will not confuse you too much. One of the strength’s of The Goon as a series is its simplicity; It has no need to indulge in over-complex characterizations and the Goon and Franky may be archetypes but brilliantly realized ones. If the Goon doesn’t like something he hits it and if it doesn’t go down the first time he hits iunnamedt harder. That is all you really need to know.

One of the best things about Theatre Bizarre is Eric Powell’s distinctive artwork, which has been one the many enjoyable aspects of the Goon as Powell has written and illustrated the series since it’s inception.

Powell depicts the Theatre Bizarre as the ultimate horror carnival in all of its twisted beauty. After an opening scene in which Goon and company are travelling to the carnival, the colours change dramatically from muddy greens and greys to a blood-red neon nightmare. It is a striking contrast and Powell packs in as many Carny tropes and visual gags as he can. Even after finishing the story, which is rather short, I found myself returning to the book to pour over all of the hidden details.

The Theatre Bizarre feels real and it surprised me to discover that it is indeed a real life annual event held in Detroit, though whether it is run by an actual zombie clown is not so clear.

I do wonder whether Powell has used the comic to merely publicize the event, but I am sure the real life Theatre Bizarre has nothing on what exists in Powell’s imagination.

The Goon in Theatre Bizarre is a short comic but it packs enough dark humour and stunning visuals to make this a worthwhile Halloween purchase.

Title: The Goon in Theatre Bizarre

Publisher:Dark Horse Comics

Rating: 5/5

Reviewer:Matt Davis @DecadentGent

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