Joe Golem: Occult Detective The Outer Dark #1 takes place two years after the events of Joe Golem And The Drowning City, in which the titular character saved the titular city from an undead takeover and defeats a child-snatching monster. The Outer Dark #1 picks up with Golem being approached by police to solve the mystery of a man who attacks citizens with superhuman strength, hears voices in his head, and has the “stars in his eyes.” While trying to aid law enforcement, Golem is also plagued with recurring nightmares that seem too tangible to be fantastical.
Wicked Horror’s April Bennett caught up with Chris Golden, one of the writers of the comic book series, to talk Joe Golem: Occult Detective, Hellboy, and Golden’s spectacular resume.
Wicked Horror: First of all I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this first issue of Joe Golem: Occult Detective–The Outer Dark #1. While the story was captivating, it also left just enough for the imagination to crave for more. So, my first question pertains to the story itself, what made you place such a fantastical plot in the 1960s?
Chris Golden: Weirdly, it’s all a kind of chain reaction. When I did the novel Joe Golem And The Drowning City with Mike, that was set in 1975. We have a particular timeline about what happened when (and why) in this world, so when we decided to launch the Joe Golem: Occult Detective series, we need to back up a number of years so we could be working in stories prior to that 1975 setting. The sixties were obviously a time of upheaval in the U.S., but the Drowning City is sort of set apart from that, at least to a degree. You also have two characters, Joe and Simon Church, who are men out of time. Simon is really a 19th century man, while Joe looks to the aesthetic of the 1940s and 50s, which would have been true of many men his age in the early to mid sixties.
WH: Also, the duller color pallet and emphasis on shadows of Joe Golem: Occult Detective–The Outer Dark #1 seems to be symbolic to the reader that not all is what it seems. Is there a reason for using this specific pallet?
CG: That’s a better question for Dave Stewart, but for me the overall effect is to create an atmosphere that feels both real and separate from our reality at the same time. “Heightened reality”,they’d say in the film world. There’s also this noir quality that we want, that goes along with Joe’s personal aesthetic.
WH: So, looking through your discography I noticed that a lot of your work is varied with comics and of full length novels that widely have fantasy and horror elements. What influenced you to arrive at these genres?
CG: My mother would love to know the answer to that. I can trace it back to a number of different influences, but they all come from the things I fell in absolute love with during my childhood. Reruns of The Twilight Zone, Kolchak The Night Stalker. A million creepy movies on Creature Double Feature, which was a weekend TV showcase that would do two monster or horror or otherwise weird movies in a row, in the days before you could record something from TV and you had to be there to watch it. I was mostly a Marvel comics kid, but the horror comics from them were my favorite. And then I discovered Stephen King and that entire generation of horror writers, and Norse mythology, and Tolkien. Imagination is a beautiful contagion.
WH: Of course, I can’t let you get away without asking you a Hellboy question. It was recently announced that you are helping to write the script for Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen. I know we are a long way off, but are there any breadcrumbs for fans about the film that you would like to share?
CG: There’d be a line of people wanting to murder me, so…no… Also, it’ll doubtless change a lot before it hits the screen, so even if I told you the entire plot, it might be completely different by then. What I will say is this: the closer the film can get to the character and atmosphere of the Hellboy in Mike Mignola’s brain, the happier I’ll be.
WH: Last question! What is next on the horizon for you? Besides Hellboy of course, are you working on any other projects?
CG: Always. My novel Ararat came out last month and seems to be taking off. We’ve had a lot of film discussions about that. And I’ve just wrapped a collaborative epic fantasy novel with Tim Lebbon called Blood Of The Four that will be out from Harper in February. And, of course, more comics!