COMIC REVIEW: The Golem

The Golem has got to be the most underused, untapped creature in the genre today. The first time I came across The Golem was a little known 1967 English horror film called It!, in which Roddy McDowall finds The Golem in the ruins of a museum and brings it to life to create mayhem in London.

You may possibly have also heard of the very first Golem film, a 1920s classic filmed in Berlin, which still looks impressive today. But The Golem’s roots run deeper, going back to Jewish lore from 16th century Prague, where it was said that Rabbi Judah Loew (a great rabbi of the time in Czechoslovakia) created The Golem from mud & clay and brought it to life with some enchanted words. The Golem is, for all intents & purposes, indestructible, possessing great strength and can be used for good or evil.

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And so we have The Golem by Chris Kent.

It is 1897. Alfred Larchmont is a magician in a rather small and run-down theatre – the sort of place where a “full house” seems to be a miracle. Then, one dark, wintry evening as he sits in his dressing room, light and heat coming from a fire in the grate. Alfred receives a mysterious visitor, a certain Mr. Herbert Robonski. Larchmont is taken aback somewhat  with surprise, for Robonski’s father was the great illusionist Vladimir Robonski, who had recently passed away and rather strangely left Larchmont a small gift: a crate containing some of his conjuring equipment and an additional surprise.

Larchmont is bemused when he finds a casket containing an oddly scripted parchment in a rather large trunk.  Oh. and a creature made of clay. Larchmont comes into some coinage and his less-than-faithful wife tells the theatre manager about this and asks her to steal some of the gold coins from the trunk ,but she cannot find any.  And then tragedy as Larchmont’s female assistant is decapitated by a stage guillotine.  The theatre manager, the strong man and stage clown offer to make “it all go away.”

Larchmont feels the squeeze as the theatre manager blackmails him for £100 (in that period a fortune). Larchmont activates the Golem intending to use it and its special abilities to offer the theatre manager a huge money-making act.

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The entire book is drawn in pencil, which was a bit odd to look at initially but you soon get into it. At one point – I read and was writing the review at 04:30 – I suddenly stopped and thought “this is like watching an old silent horror/melodrama movie,” which was quite fun.

There are some rather surreal scenes in the story and they all work well.  There were, if I remember, two points where I thought a caption might have been useful to more smoothly link scenes BUT I think the lack of any captions added to the almost dream-like (or nightmare-like) story.

So if you want to read something different try this!

From Graphite Fiction

 

Rating: 4/5
GS Reviewer: SilverFox

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