He Ain't Heavy


Nobrow Press

Writer/Artist: William Exley

Golemchik is a rare comic. However it isn't the low print run that makes this book rare, but the emotions that it captures. This title is a one shot comic, stuffed with life and youthful vigor. Nobrow Press is a lesser known publisher of many indie comics such as Hildafolk and Vacancy. The publisher notices the occasional fine line between comic and children's book and crosses it frequently to make enchanting all ages tales. This one in particular is written and drawn by William Exley, who has left his world of illustrating concert posters and record covers to produce this work of art.

Golemchik tells the story of Kevin, a boy who finds himself alone for the summer as all of his friends have left for camping trips and similar fine weather activities. Even though he is by himself, he tries to make the most of it by using what he learned in boy scouts to explore. He stumbles upon one of his friend's hats, and having no need for it, places it on a nearby pile of stone. Discouraged by what may be a very dissapointing summer, he goes home for the day. During the night, the hate gives life to the pile of stone, through what I can only assume is the power of friendship, and thus a Golem is born. The Golem sees Kevin's scout handbook nearby and decides to build a fort like it suggests. The following day Kevin gets the same idea, and is surprised to find his book being used by this mammoth stone giant. Instead of being afraid, Kevin befriends the short tempered, bull in a china shop Golem, and together they attempt to make the best fort in the woods. However with one creature of extreme strength and one naive boy, can the friendship last?

Exley has written a tale of friendship that will bring adult readers back to a time when anything could have life and be your friend. The somewhat Calvin & Hobbes-esque relationship provides an obvious bond while still questioning how it will all end. Even though this is a 24 page story, there are absolutely some feels to be had by the end. Exley also does an impecable job of capturing the boyish wonder of the child as well as a similarly juvenile mindset in the Golem.

The art is something to behold. Exley's style has a very cartoony look that makes this very accessible for all ages. Kevin looks like... well a boy, and the Golem looks large and strong, but doesn't exude danger or intimidation, making for further accessibility. The envvironments are basically all nature settings, with each panel varying from the last with creeks, caves, and even differing leaf patterns on the trees. The colors Exley chose to produce this story in further emphasize the creativity and feel of the story. Besides the lines (all of which are relatively thick which I always enjoy) the whole story is dichromatic, using and mixing different shades of blue and orange. If Exley and his look don't become more common in the comic community then I... well... I'll be dissapointed.

Look, you can't go wrong with William Exley's Golemchik. It mixing the charm of a kids book, a coming of age story, and a tale of friendship into one to produce a beautiful experience. Anyone can pick this up and enjoy it and seeing as how it is only one issue/book (maybe more someday?), there's no fear of falling behind. As I mentioned earlier, this book foesn't have a super large print run (but very high production value), so make sure to try to pick it up! You can but it in Nobrow's online store. While you're there, check out some other books from the publisher. Thanks for reading and check out the new podcast episode on Wednesday!

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