A Catch Up with Christopher Golden – Co-creator and Co-writer of Joe Golem

After the success of Baltimore: Cult of the Red King, Christopher Golden and writing partner Mike Mignola are back, this November with a comic book set in their Joe Golem Universe, published by Dark Horse Comics.  Here at Comic Crusaders we were able to catch up with Christopher after his recent visit to NYCC and chat about the new book, alternate history and preferred Halloween costumes:-

jgolem1p2CC: Hi Christopher, thank you for taking a timeout to speak to us again.  First things first, how was NYCC? Pick up any bargain books?

CG: I picked up a bunch of stuff, but the one that I’m most looking forward to reading is THE NEW DEAL by Jonathan Case, a terrifically talented artist and writer. Yes, it’s a Dark Horse book, but that’s just the honest answer to that question. I’m also very excited about NIOBE from Stranger Comics. The artist, Ashley Woods, is not just a huge talent, she’s a very cool human. I spent a lot of time talking to her at the con and predict big things for her.

CC: Last time we spoke the Baltimore book was about to hit the shelves – how was the book received? Are you pleased within it was received?

CG: We’ve been doing BALTIMORE for a long time now, but I’ve never been as happy with or excited about an arc of the book as I was about THE CULT OF THE RED KING. It was a huge challenge for Peter Berating, I think. Two “theatres of war,” really, and ten different protagonists, never mind the horrors they encounter. But Peter made it all work and made it beautiful. It’s the turn in the story, the beginning of the third act, I guess you’d say. As for how it was received…absolutely. Both reviews and the responses I’ve had directly (online and in person) from readers have been excellent.

CC: Joe Golem is a cross media type of event. What can you tell comic book readers, who may not have picked up the original books, about the character?

CG: Y’know, I’m happy to answer, but the most important thing to say about this is that you absolutely, one hundred percent do NOT need to have any familiarity with the character to pick up this comic. It’s not made for that. Yes, if you read the novel, you’ll have some insight and some textural understanding of the story that new readers won’t, but the comic series starts ten years earlier than the novel. You can come right into it the same way you would with the first issue of ANY other comic. As for Joe…he’s just a guy in a world that’s strange to us, but normal to him. It’s 1965 and he’s an occult detective in a New York City that’s half submerged under water due to a cataclysm that happened forty years earlier. Oh…and he doesn’t have any memory of his life before coming to work with an old Victorian detective named Simon Church, who’s been keeping himself alive with magic and steampunk-y mechanisms. Oh…and Joe has dreams and visions that suggest maybe he was an actual golem created to hunt witches in 15th century Croatia. So there’s that.

CC: With Joe being an Occult Detective, what were your influences?

CG: I can’t speak for Mike on this, but for me, Joe is Humphrey Bogart in an H.P. Lovecraft world.

CC: Alternate history seems to be becoming a popular vein to mine, especially in small press books. jgolem1p3What is the attraction for you? How does it affect a collaborative piece of work such as Joe Golem?

CG: One of the reasons Mike and I have worked so much together over the years is that we share a mutual love of both folklore and history. This story is a perfect example. For me…I’ve always loved history. It was one of my two majors in college. I also love old pulp novels, 1940s Hollywood, and old New York. Throw in Kolchak the Night Stalker…All I can say is that while I guess I may be generally aware, as a consumer of pop culture, when something becomes popular, there’s never any conscious thought about doing that thing because it’s popular. Hell, I hope you’re right. But I honestly doubt that people who read this comic are going to come away from it with “alternate history” as the first thing on their minds. It’s alternate history because we wanted to create the perfect world for these stories to take place in, and the real world didn’t fit, and the present day didn’t fit. It also makes me happy because automatically it’s a world in which anything can happen…and will.

CC: Halloween is just around the corner, two final questions, who is your favourite classic monster of all time and what is your preferred costume of choice for attending Halloween parties?

scoobyCG: My favourite classic monster is easy…Creature from the Black Lagoon, but I think that’s just because the movie is so amazing. It shouldn’t work at all, but it’s executed perfectly. As for costumes…I usually trick or treat with my kids and then come home and watch old horror movies, so costumes aren’t something I’ve thought about for a very long time. What I’ve wanted to do forever is get my wife and kids to be the Scooby gang with me, but I’ve never been able to persuade them. Maybe if I buy a replica of the Mystery Machine….

CC: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us.  Good luck with the book.

CG: Any time!

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