Review: Dark Horse Comics' "The Goon: Chinatown and The Mystery of Mr. Wicker"

I used to collect comics pretty religiously when I was a kid (after all, there was a comic book store right across the street from the church my parents always took me to), and lately I've been thinking of getting back into the hobby -- there's something really magical about sequential art and word balloons. And while, if the rumors are true, the new product coming from Apple will probably offer up a better way to do it, I was pretty impressed with my first experience reading the funny pages on the iPhone, in Dark Horse's "The Goon: Chinatown and The Mystery of Mr. Wicker" [iTunes link]. For just a fraction of the price of the actual TPB (trade paperback), you get to flip through a nice set of story and art pages, formatted (pretty) coherently for the iPhone.

There's not a lot of flash in the options -- the comic consists of about 420 "pages," which are basically screen-sized panels that tell the story of Eric Powell's hero The Goon, a broad-shouldered fella with ugly mug in the vein of Sin City's Marv, who mixes it up with the bad guys, gets beat up pretty often, and chases after a dame or two. You can either flip through the screens yourself (which I preferred, soaking in the art and pacing), or have them flip after a delay of your choosing. Unfortunately, the art is sometimes cropped a little closely, and the iPhone's small screen doesn't always let epic scenes play out in their original scale (again, something a tablet would be better at). But for $2 for a readthrough, I enjoyed the book a lot. Dark Horse has a nice series of comics available on the iPhone already (including a free sample), and if you're in the mood for a cheap read on your iPhone, they're worth a look.

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