It’s no secret that comic book media is having a bit of a moment right now. The last decade or so has yielded a tremendous volume of films, television shows and even new comics. It’s fair to say that Marvel is largely responsible for this—2008’s Iron Man was so immensely successful not just in the box office, but in its cultural impact. Marvel took a derelict actor, slapped him onto a relatively obscure superhero and created an icon. Nobody outside the fandom gave two shits about the titular Iron Man before that movie. He was lame, he was honestly fucking goofy. But now he’s a total stud, and we love him for it.
But I’m sick of seeing the same Marvel and DC heroes every year. It’s getting to a point where the movies are starting to blend together, and aside from tremendous outliers like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant Man (I’ll explain later), they’re not as interesting or thrilling as they once were.
Remember Hellboy? Now that was a comic movie with character. Probably because it’s not based on a Marvel or DC property. Hellboy is a property of Dark Horse Comics, who pride themselves on being an artist-centered publisher. Although they have their own sort of universe a la Marvel or DC, a lot of their business comes from manga and licensed stuff. Star Wars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics are good examples of licensed stuff. There have been quite a few movies that are sneakily based on Dark Horse properties. 300, The Mask an Sin City are a few good examples.
But we’re not talking about those today. We’re talking about The Goon. The Goon is a different breed of superhero—if he’s even really a superhero. After killing a renowned gangster, he steals his hat and “Black Book” containing a list of his debtors. As he goes around town collecting debts he attracts the attention of forces otherwordly, and ends up fighting zombies, vampires and even aliens.
He’s never been successfully brought to screen. In 2012 there was a highly successful Kickstarter campaign for an animated movie, but it seems there’s been very little movement since then. Apparently there was an 85-minute animatic, but as far as I can tell it’s never seen the light of day. The fan response to the Kickstarter for such an obscure character kind of begs a question here: Why hasn’t a studio bit onto it?
“I think a lot of studios are not really sure if it has an audience,” said UK-based screenwriter Conor Walsh. “He sort of looks like a 1920’s prohibition gangster, and he basically fights the zombie king. But there’s a very noir feel to it. It’s one of those comics that has a cult following.”
Although the project seems like it’s in limbo, Walsh, who has experience working in Hollywood studios in addition to his immense fandom of the comic thinks there’s hope for the film.
“Tim Miller who directed Deadpool is attached the project, so I think there’s something there. Deadpool was kind of a cult character as well, but they were able to build a fanbase for him. I think they’re going to build a fanbase for The Goon in the same way,” said Walsh.
Deadpool was one of the highest grossing films of 2016, and had a sequel in the works within a few days in the theaters. With a mind like Tim Miller’s behind the wheel, it looks like we might actually have a chance at seeing The Goon make his Hollywood debut in the next few years.