Sunday, 26 August 2012

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft

Welcome to Lovecraft, the first volume of Locke & Key is an astonishingly good piece of work on so many different levels. In just six issues a vivid world ripe with possibility is introduced to us. It never feels contrived or forced, and there's a genuine feeling of magic as you stumble across the book's many secrets.

After the grisly death of their father the Locke children, Tyler, Kinsey and Bode, relocate with their mother from the sunny west coast to Lovecraft, Massachusetts. There they find themselves living in Keyhouse, an eerie mansion that has a door that lets people leave their bodies when opened with a certain key and a well house that nobody must go near.

They don’t get to enjoy their new surroundings for too long though. The social misfit that killed their father escapes from the juvenile detention centre he was being held in. He doesn’t necessarily want revenge on the already traumatised family for his incarceration, but he does want a black key.
What makes this a particularly impressive read is that it is the first comics work writer Joe Hill has produced. He is the son of Stephen King (he wisely took a pen name to avoid daunting comparisons) and has clearly picked up his dad's knack for success.
Aiding and abetting Hill is artist Gabriel Rodriguez, whose quirky and innovative artwork is a perfect fit for the series. He captures moments of tenderness just as well as moments of maniacal bloodletting (and there are plenty of both). It's surprising, given how good he is, that we haven't seen him drawing the Avengers latest clash with the X Men or contributing to DC's Watchmen prequels. The guy doesn’t draw a single bad panel throughout the whole volume.
Unlike most comics Locke & Key has not been published monthly since its first issue, instead finding itself separated into various miniseries. There will be thirty-six issues in total, spread across six volumes. There are currently five trades available, with the sixth series due to begin later in the year.

This approach has given each volume its own self-contained plot arc while also allowing it to contribute to the larger story that has unfolded across the first thirty issues (and will conclude in the last six). It's a nice approach that has benefited the title, the gaps in production leaving fans eager for answers and allowing intrigue to build regarding series’ mythos.
While volume one is very much an opening act that sets the scene for the tale to come it can still be enjoyed in its own right. As a mysterious person who lives in a well points out in issue six "You can’t understand because you’re reading the last chapter of something, without having read the first chapters."

There are answers here. You’ll just have to read more to fully comprehend them all. Considering the quality of the work that’s no bad thing.
Critical information:
Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
ISBN: thing.


  1. One of my favourite books of recent times. Can't wait for the final arc to kick off soon.

  2. I completely agree. A tremendous idea perfectly executed. Everything about the title is so well judged.