Thursday, April 30, 2009

Charlie Noodles is Good People

Virtue and the Grim Consequences Thereof is volume 4 in the excellent series The Goon, by Eric Powell. I've been a Goon fan since I discovered the book about three years ago, and I've been slowly adding the trade paperbacks to my library since then.

Volume 4 is no exception to the usual Powell genius. It opens with the story of the Fighting Fish-Canners, a football squad headed up by Goon (of course) that brings new life and hope to the run-down, unnamed city that is the book's setting. There's actually some real drama and tragedy in this bittersweet story, but I won't ruin it for you.

Powell follows the football story with a retelling of Dickens' A Christmas Carol as only he can. Scrooge is played by the Zombie Priest, the Ghost of Christmas Past is Frankie, and Goon fills the role of the Ghost of Christmas Present. The tale is an affectionate send-up of the original, filled with his trademark casual violence and '40's noir slang.

The main story in the collection - the one that actually advances the plot - features the mad scientist Dr. Alloy going rogue yet again. It's a typical Goon story, filled with bizarre supernatural creatures, fighting robots and murderous children.

The last few pages are occupied by a short story written by Thomas Lennon. The story's title is "Jimmy Turtle and the Legendary Boxcar of Well Made Ladies Shoes" and stars Frankie with the eponymous Jimmy Turtle as costar. Lennon is more famous for playing Lt. Jim Dangle on "Reno 911." I didn't know he could also write, and great comedy at that. His prose perfectly captures the spirit, pacing and humor of The Goon. I found myself chuckling several times throughout the story, but my favorite quote is this gem: "The plan was to make nice with him by way of the pie, acquire the map, and then: rock to the head. The "make nice" part was plan A. Plan B started with the rock, and didn't involve making nice at all. In plan B, the pie would be consumed by us, in celebration of acquiring the map."

Virtue and the Grim Consequences Thereof is a great book, and if you aren't reading The Goon already, you should start pretty soon.

"Are you the prophet of the gilded bear in the checkered pants? He won the checkered pants in the tournament of chaos and hot-dog eating! They are a prize coveted by all!"
- Frankie, while rendered temporarily insane in another dimension

On a different topic, I'm currently at my sister's house, on the opposite side of Germany from where I live in Amberg (central Bavaria). I've finally gotten used to my new BMW 128i to the point where I can really push her, so this trip was made in record time. Googlemaps suggested 3 hours and 48 minutes for the 405-klick journey; I did it in 2 and a half. Maintaining a 140 mph average speed didn't do much for my gas mileage though.

Being with my sister's family brings to mind again the pros and cons of being a self-sufficient bachelor. She has four kids from 5 years to 6 months, who shall be referred to as White Billy, Red Billy, Brown-Eyed Billy and Little Billy. She has different pseudonyms for them on her fiber blog, but I prefer my own. I had to watch them this morning so she could drive to the airport to pick up a friend. Between my 8 o'clock wake-up and her return just after noon, I had to change diapers for the two younger kids twice each. I made breakfast and lunch, broke up fights between the three ambulatory children, and dried Brown-Eyed Billy's tears, which would flow any time I gently told her not to engage in whatever dangerous pastime she came up with.

Even so, taking care of children that you love and love you back has it's own kind of fulfillment that makes the headaches worth it. And when else do I get the chance to play catch with five different random balls, play cowboys vs. indians vs. dinosaurs vs. airplanes with a 5 and 3 yearold?

That's me holding Little Billy after his bath. One of these days I'll have to have some of my own.

1 comment:

  1. aww Jonathan, that is a wonderful picture of you and Jonah =) I didn't know you had a blog .how are you doing??