Locke and Key is an independent comic book written by Joe Hill with artwork provided by Gabriel Rodriguez and published by IDW comics. The series began life in 2008 and has gone from strength to strength- but today I’m focusing on the first collection of 6issues ‘Welcome to Lovecraft.’
Locke and Key is broken down into 3 acts with each act consisting of two 6 issue tales- meaning ‘Welcome to Lovecraft’ is the opening act of the larger story but is also the perfect tale by itself to get you engaged in this wonderful world. At its heart the tale is one of horror and magic but the character work and the depth of story telling are a thing of wonder- and its rare that a comic books manages to be so engaging and all out engrossing but this title really nails it.
The premise of the book is simple- there’s a dimension to another dimension under the lands of Keyhouse that allows other demons through however when they do come through the dissipate into lumps of Iron that the first owner used to craft into keys to lock the doors and demons away in the grounds. ‘Welcome to Lovecraft’ sees a family relocating to Keyhouse after the death of their father where they come into contact with not only the spirits in the house but the larger evil that is trying to set free a former user of the keys to grant them access to the world.
Along the way we get to see the family interact with ghosts and dimensional doors, get themselves in life and death situations and genuinely experience some very nervy moments for our trio of young protagonists. All of this and we learn of the existence of multiple keys that have access to differing things and can unlock differing demons along the way building to the bigger tales to come- this is the perfect first story arc.
Not only is the premise good, but the writing is superb- the pacing is crucial here as everything plays out brilliantly, at no point does anything seem rushed or forced as the story moves along at slow pace before picking up speed and really delivering in the final few issues. The dialog is superb between the characters and really helps establish each of the unique traits for the characters and the danger that they realise is present along with the small childish delight we would all get from realising we can go invisible or ‘ghostly’.
The artwork drawn by Rodriquez is also superb and really helps to add a level of creepy to the demons and spirits we see in this world, as does the amazing use of colour for the light and dark comparisons. Add to that the unique look of the keys and the astral forms and this book is just as amazing looking as the story it helps to tell.
If you need a new book to sink your teeth into and have never read Locke and Key this is the way forward, and trust me you’ll never look aback again.