Welcome to Holsom

Welcome #1 cover

Welcome To Holsom #1-24 (2005-2007). Gospel Publishing House, Craig W. Schutt (w), Steven Butler (p 1-6, 8-12, 14, 16, 18, 20-24), Sonny Carder (p 7), Gordon Purcell (p 13, 15, 17, 19), Jeff Albrecht (i 1-5, 7-15, 17-20, 22), Al Milgrom (i 6, 16, 21, 24), Dan Davis (i 5, 23) $3.75 (for packets of three consecutive issues), 12 pp.

This series centers around the lives and adventures of a group of tweens and young teens in a small middle-American town named Holsom. The story begins with the discovery of an abandoned laboratory under a barn by four young people – Lucy (an adopted Asian girl), Shelby (a strong Christian), Mouse (a near-genius African-American boy) and Jorge (a Latino bad boy). This laboratory was owned by Horatio Holsom, an eccentric scientist who the town was named after, and who, in the late 1950s, secretly created giant robots. The children attempt to keep the lab a secret (along with a reactivated giant robot, Rover), but it eventually becomes known, attracting the attention of the wealthy, unscrupeous and power-hungry businessman JD Raye and his attorney, Miss Vile (a cross between Phylis Diller and Cruella DeVille). The cast expands to include many others, such as Jordan, the local pastor’s pretty daughter, Noah, a good-hearted jock, Tabitha, a social outcast goth girl, Otto “Chopax” Farless, a hermit obsessed with UFOs and strange phenomena.

This series was developed as an aid in teaching young people basic decision making skills on ethical questions from a Biblical perspective. The issues are offered in packets of three issues each (i.e, #1-3; #4-6, ). These are intended for give-aways to children attending Sunday School. Most issues feature a plot summary of what has happened previously, a back-page word puzzle, and discussion questions about the behavior of the characters in each issue’s story. The didactic element is developed subtly within the stories as the children are confronted with moral and spiritual dilemmas – and while the kids often make the right decision, sometimes they don’t. Whichever the case, the consequences flow naturally from those decisions. The Christian characters are not presented as perfectly flawless paragons but rather exhibit poor attitudes and commit sins like anyone else. However, they do grow through their mistakes and become more mature and ‘real’ in the process.

This series is part Archie, part 1950s sci-fi, part Andy Griffith Show, part Disney classic animated movies with a solid Christian foundation carefully laid into the mix. The story works because the moral and spiritual teaching seems natural and not forced. Steven Butler, the main penciller, takes a cartoony approach to the characters that works well with the material, and one could easily see this story translated into an animated cartoon series. Interesting tidbits are thrown in for observant comics fans, like Al Milgrom’s homage to Wally Wood in inking issue #6. Here’s hoping that Welcome to Holsom is a great success and that there will be many return visits to this quintessential American-as-apple-pie small town.

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One Response

  1. Greetings!

    Just wanted you to know how much I appreciated your review of Welcome to Holsom. You really “got” what we were trying to accomplish with the series.

    In fact, your review summarizes Holsom as well — if not better — than most of the promotional copy we’ve written for it up to this point. I’d like to talk with you about the possibility of quoting parts of your review for future promos. If you’re open to that, please email me.

    In any case, thanks for your insightful (I’m biased, I know) observations. I’ve read many of your other reviews and I think you’ve got a great blog going here. Keep up the good work!

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