Books on Movies: Video Tonfa (2016) Tim Goodyear


Video Tonfa (2016) Tim Goodyear
Floating World Comics
Trade paperback, 608 black-and-yellow pages
ISBN 9781942801931

(Derek and I briefly discussed this book on our Alternative Comics publisher spotlight episode a couple of months ago on The Comics Alternative podcast.)

Video Tonfa scratches two of my most dedicated itches: movies and comics. Goodyear, who has worked in the Pacific Northwest in comics, zines and video for many years, has created a unique product: a journal of movies he’s watched over the years – reviews and drawings of the original poster art or VHS/DVD box art. Reading the book is almost like looking at someone’s diary, but I suspect most diaries aren’t nearly this much fun.


Goodyear tackles everything: horror, action/adventure, science fiction, classic film, even some racy flicks. Many of these films will be recognizable to the average movie-goer, others will be less familiar. Some will be so far off the beaten path, you may have trouble tracking them down. All of the reviews are rendered in a very loose, conversational style as if your best friend was telling you about this awesome movie he just saw. To make sure you don’t mistake this for some formal, stuffy book of reviews, Goodyear also frequently and purposefully misspells several words. The end result is often hilarious and informative.

Some examples:

On David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises:

Only Cronenberg. If anyone else made this, it probably would have been o.k. but insted he did, & it fully dominates. Peep this out super hard y’all.

On Delores Claiborne (based on the Stephen King novel of the same name):

A strait nonsupernatural King, there is a poetic cosmic fraiming device but its a family drama crime heavy trip deal. Its great, it defies & also apitimises all the things folks connect with Kingness – abusive drunk father mysterious occward social disadence.

My personal favorite is Goodyear’s review of Carnosaur:

Chicken farm exploitation. Evil scientist, hippys, dipshitz. Nke 90’Z style Roger Corman Production. Fun, self awair video style movie. Diane Ladd. Is her dad Allan Ladd? Goodfun. No C.G. Yesssss. But it’s all T-Rex, typicle. I don’t hate on the dude, but man! Dude, give another dinosaur a chance. Anywho… Good paceing, jokes, some kind’a romance thing. Redicules but smart. Mild political stuff. Good deal. 


I don’t know how much time Goodyear spent on these drawings, but they’re quite impressive. Just think about all the different art styles we see in movie posters and DVD (and VHS) boxes. Goodyear does an admirable job of capturing the essence of the original artwork regardless of the style.


Anybody whose tastes range from Paths of Glory to Hell Comes to Frogtown has earned my respect and admiration. Video Tonfa is heavy on horror and action/adventure films, many of them from the 80s and 90s, but regardless of your interest in film, the book is a fun ride. I now have a whole list of films I want to discover from reading the book. I just hope watching them will be as much fun as Goodyear writing about and drawing them. So as Goodyear says, peep this one out.


Photos: Floating World Comics


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