“Golem” by contemporary design icon Lorenzo Cecotti, aka “LRNZ,” is a political-sci-fi graphic novel with visual stylings influenced by both manga and western comics. Previously released in Italian, the English edition of the 280-page graphic novel was released in March of 2016. “Golem” employs different visual techniques wielded by a master craftsman to simply tell a story about the complexities of social strata.
Set in a future, post-Eurozone Italy, “Golem” follows Steno, young boy kidnapped during a political protest, who learns that he has the power to not only change the city, but the state of the human condition.
“Golem” is deeply embedded with visual symbolism. LRNZ’s went to great lengths to make every choice in his art mean something. The creator explained this to his publisher Magnetic Press:
Golem is a weird convergence of visual needs.
Every one of those needs was urging me to find a very specific solution for each of them. First of all, I do believe in the reader’s visual powers and culture. The human brain is a pattern-spotting machine. I could’ve used a much more pedantic approach to the novel’s structure: heavy use of captions, textual aids to set time and space, deranging the reader from the deep experience that visuals can deliver.
I decided to use a more subtle approach instead, one that enriches vision and leave the textual storytelling to an almost empty state. That gives the viewer all the information he needs without having to explain anything, using a multi-layer channel. Exploiting the reader’s ability to make sense out of complex visual information. Dreaming, flashbacks, augmented reality, vision of the future, insanely fast action, daydreaming: they are all rendered in a very specific technique to make a deal with the reader, to set a reading pattern that needs no explanations.
The graphic novel contains an appendix of sorts that explains much of the symbolism in the book. Perhaps a bit heavy-handed for some readers, the addition of the appendix makes “Golem” a perfect candidate for use in a classroom.
“Golem” was LRNZ’s first full-length graphic novel, an ambitious taking for any artist. However, the design icon is no stranger to visual narrative. He is also author and artist to man imaginative animated shorts which were perfect for cutting his teeth.
“Animation is a state of mind (that helps making 100+ pages of comics seem like nothing!).”