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Joe Golem Occult Detective Books In Order

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Publication Order of Joe Golem Books

By: Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden
Joe Golem and the Copper Girl (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Joe Golem and the Drowning City (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Rat Catcher and the Sunken Dead (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Outer Dark (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Drowning City (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Conjurors (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Joe Golem Occult Detective is a standalone novel by Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola. The first novel in the occult detective series of novels “Joe Golem: Occult Detective” was first published 2015. The series of comic books is an adaptation of the story of Joe Golem from the novel “Joe Golem and the Drowning City”. Dave Palumbo the Spectrum award-winning painter did the covers while the graphics are by Patric Reynolds. The new series is set in a period before the events of “Joe Golem and the Drowning City”, 40 years post the events of an earthquake that leaves Lower Manhattan under 30 feet of water. The lead protagonist in the series is Joe Golem, who is the hero that is on the hut for a terrifying creature that is pulling children into the depths of New York’s canals. Similar to their collaboration in other series of novels such as the graphical Baltimore series, the events in the Joe Golem Occult Detective series happen in an otherworldly Mignolaverse. The Mignolaverse is a shared and strange universe where the Frankenstein Underground, Abe Sapie, BRPD, and Hellboy reign supreme. The series of novel offers a distinctive urban and haunting dystopian horror in mid twentieth century New York City. The series is full of magic, monsters, weird alternate histories, and pulpy goodness that follow Joe Golem as he solves mysteries alongside the enigmatic detective Simon Church.

The events in the Joe Golem Occult Detective take place in 1975 New York, 50 years after a cataclysm that caused many catastrophic events among them a massive earthquake. Sea levels around the world rose with Lower Manhattan being submerged. However, the residents of New York were a gritty bunch and some stayed on in the submerged area constructing bridges of wood and stone or just planks across the now Venice looking canals. Upper Manhattan is now the center of all commerce, while Lower Manhattan is for all the strugglers and survivors just getting by. The first five issue miniseries that is composed of The Sunken Dead and The Rat Catcher are two standalone narratives. Nonetheless, even as they tell different stories, they are part of the same arc explaining the relationship between the detective Simon Church and Joe Golem. It is through the eyes of the two characters that we see the evolution and the crazy happenings in the submerged city. Unlike in the novels, the comic series offers inklings and hints of a malevolent force at work that may or may not have been connected with the original tragedy 50 years ago. Joe Golem’s flashbacks are particularly illuminating in trying to make sense of the tragedy as it is through these incomplete memories that we try to find a way to begin an investigation into the crazy happenings in the city.

The Joe Golem Occult Detective series of novels has an emotional tone with plenty of mystique and a unique and interesting flavor. Joe Golem the lead character sees himself as stalwart, stand up, and dogged friend to persons in need. He is just trying to do what he believes is best for those in need and is not your typical arrogant hero who believes he can do anything. Part of his humility comes from the fact that he is constantly trying to define himself, given that he does not have any memories of what his life was like before he met Mr. Church. Nonetheless, he always feels a sense of loss for not having any memories, since he is troubled by nightmares that suggest that he might not even be a man let alone a hero. Joe’s is one of the most personable of persons and his name is not an accident. According to Golden, his love for classic films and characters such as Bogart is what led to the character Joe. His melancholic, determined, and quiet demeanor is akin to those old heroes that just want to help if they can and harm no one if they cannot. Joe Golem is a man that has learned that the notion that all men are good is misguided but he just will not stop doing good for the sake of the few that may have that goodness. Even as the stories have a lot of bizarreness, mystery, and evil, at their core they are all about what it means to be human and how we form our identities.

“Joe Golem: Occult Detective: The Rat Catcher and the Sunken Dead” is the explosive introduction to the Joe Golem: Occult detective series of novels. Joe is a golem that has been kept alive for centuries by a witch, though he does not know that he is one. His boss Simon who is a combination of a biomechanical and magical detective keeps him in a perpetual state of amnesia. Nonetheless, despite the magical and supernatural angles to his cases, most of the narratives have a 1950s pulp detective fiction feel. The volume has two tales – one of a cursed grimoire of the undead and the other of a water creature that is taking the children of the residents of Lower Manhattan. The golem angle makes this an entertaining noir narrative with a fantasy angle that is a witty and clever nod to the classics. The drowned city angles and the excellent drawings makes for some great atmosphere, particularly the decrepit urban landscape depiction. Even as the volume was made to be a bit of a throwback, their innovative take on 1950s pulp fiction is breath of fresh air in the genre.

“Joe Golem: Occult Detective – Outer Dark” is another excellent narrative in the Joe Golem Occult Detective series. Golem is struggling with his own demons after a series of terrifying nightmares. But these nightmares seem to be more significant as he believes that his unconscious is communicating with him. Fortunately, he does not have much time to dwell on his nightmares as a multiple homicide believed to have been committed by a paranormally strong attacker takes his attention. Golden and Mignola collaborate almost seamlessly to write a well-paced novel with great dialogue and just enough story to keep the reader hooked to their narrative. Patric Reynolds does an impressive job with the graphics emphasizing the darkly disturbing motes of the narrative and making the shadowy characters and the impact of unfolding impacts look almost photo real. He portrays the frenetic horror scenes and impassioned dialogues with a style that works exceptionally well for the graphic novel series.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Joe Golem Occult Detective

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