Joe Golem

Created by Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola

Known mostly for his comic book appearances, “occult detective” JOE GOLEM actually made his debut in Joe Golem and the Drowning City (2012), an illustrated prose novel by co-created by comics scribe Mike Mignola and novelist Christopher Golden and was only later transposed to the comics in the 2015 miniseries, Joe Golem: The Drowning City, but for those of you looking for a character-driven P.I. tale that relies more on storytelling, character and atmosphere than big bang woo-woo pyrotechnics, you’ve got to check this series out.

Joe’s not just your normal occult P.I.; a mere mortal constantly bumping into things that go bump in the night — he does a little bumping himself. And he doesn’t even know it!

You see, once upon a time, in in 15th century Eastern Europe, Joe was a Golem, an animated anthropomorphic being magically created entirely from clay or mud, brought to life for the sole purpose of hunting and destroying witches. But he was brought back to life in 1955 as a human being, with confusing memories of his original life, except for an occasional disturbing nightmare or two. In fact, his entire past is a little hazy.

Now he’s a private investigator who walks the beat in the Drowning City, a post-apocalyptic, mid-20th century Manhattan literally drowned by cataclysmic earthquakes and tsunamis; a half-submerged wreck of a city populated by “scavengers and water rats, poor people trying to eke out an existence, and those too proud or stubborn to be defeated by circumstance.”

Although he does seem to occasionally freelance, Joe seems to work almost exclusively for the enigmatic Simon Church, “maybe the most famous private eye who ever lived,” according to Joe) who’s also, apparently, an ageless mystic who has kept himself alive with some steampunk technology and a liberal dose of magic and sorcery, something Joe is blithely unaware of. Joe lives with Simon, who’s a combination of caretaker, landlord, doctor and father figure. But Simon has secrets of his own (he may be dying, despite his best efforts), and plans that may not be in Joe’s best interests.

There’s a mournful, elegiac, almost noirish tone to these tales, perfectly matched by the evocative artwork, that humanizes the proceedings, with the adventures of Joe tapping into many of the same themes as (but not the world of) Mignola’s other, more famous paranormal sleuth, Hellboy.


  • “The series is such a rich, complex conglomeration of pulp, myth and humor, yet Mignola’s vision so insanely precise, that each comic is able to effortlessly welcome and envelope you back into its strange world filled with odd characters and even odder ideas.”
    — IGN




  • “Joe Golem and the Copper Girl” (2012, digital) Kindle it!


  • JOE GOLEM: OCCULT DETECTIVE: THE DROWNING CITY Buy this book Kindle/ComiXology it!
    (2015-16, Dark Horse Comics)
    Five issues
    Written by Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden
    Art by Patrick Reynolds, Dave Stewart

    • “The Rat Catcher (Part One)” (November 2015; #1)
    • “The Rat Catcher (Part Two)” (December 2015; #2)
    • “The Rat Catcher (Part Three)” (January 2016; #3)
    • “The Sunken Dead (Part One)” (February 2016; #4)
    • “The Sunken Dead (Part Two)” (March 2016; #5)
  • THE OUTER DARK/FLESH AND BLOOD Buy this book Kindle/ComiXology it!
    (2017-18, Dark Horse Comics)
    By Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, Dave Stewart, Dave Palumbo

    •  “The Outer Dark (Part One)” (May 2017; #1)
    •  “The Outer Dark (Part Two)” (June 2017; #2)
    •  “The Outer Dark (Part Three)” (July 2017; #3)
    • “Flesh and Blood (Part One)” (December 2017; #4)
    • “Flesh and Blood (Part Two)” (January 2018; #5)
  • THE DROWNING CITY | Buy this book |Kindle/ComiXology it!
    (2017-18, Dark Horse Comics)
    By Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, Dave Stewart, Dave Palumbo

    •  “The Drowning City (Part One)” (September 2018; #1)
    •  “The Drowning City (Part Two)” (October 2018; #2)
    •  “The Drowning City (Part Three)” (November 2018; #3)
    • “The Drowning City (Part Four)” (December 2018; #4)
    • “The Drowning City (Part Five)” (January 2019; #5)
  • THE CONJURORS | Buy this book| ComiXology/Kindle it!
    (2019, Dark Horse Comics)
    By Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, Peter Bergting, Michelle Madsen

    • “The Conjurors (Part One)” (May 2019, #1)
    • “The Conjurors (Part Two)” (June 2019, #2)
    • “The Conjurors (Part Three)” (July 2019, #3)
    • “The Conjurors (Part Four)” (August 2019, #4)
    • “The Conjurors (Part Five)” (October 2019, #5)


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

Leave a Reply