I’ve been eyeing Locke & Key for months now on the IDW app on my iPad. The cover art looks interesting and the blurbs sound like something I would like but I’ve mostly just stuck to reading the new Dungeons & Dragons comic available every month. The town where the main characters of the comic lived is named Lovecraft though and I could only stand not reading this comic for so long. Over the weekend I found myself buying Volume 1, which contains the first six issues of this comic and was originally released in paper form back in 2008.
I went into the reading with zero preconceptions about what kind of book I was reading. All I really knew was that there was a tenuous Lovecraft connection and that’s basically what pulled me in. All six issues are well put together, the characters are three dimensional and the story draws you in from the first page. The art in these books is amazing, if a bit more gory than I had expected and compliments the writing superbly. Speaking of the writing, this is where this volume really shines. The story of the Locke family is interesting and believable even while completely unbelievable things are happening all around them. I keep wanting to call each issue an episode because it feels more like watching a television show or a movie than reading a comic book. I was so entranced that I read the entire volume in one setting and overall I was very pleased with the experience and the ending of the arc in the sixth issue.
This book was not what I expected when I bought it. I was expecting weird fiction of the Lovecraftian genre with great old ones pulling strings behind the scenes and ancient creatures from other planets wreaking havoc on poor unsuspected townsfolk. What I got was something much different, and in its own way something much more profound. The story told in Locke & Key Volume 1 is about the remaining members of the Locke family after the father is killed by a psychopath at the beginning of the first issue. The remaining members of the Locke family, three children and the mother, move to Lovecraft, MA with the dead father’s brother in the ancestral Locke home of Keyhouse.
Keyhouse is itself a character in these six issues, being a strange and magical building whose doors can do different magical things depending upon the key used upon them. Several keys are mentioned but only a couple are seen and used in this first story arc. Without giving too much away this first arc revolves around the Locke family moving to their new home and adjusting to life in a new town while dealing with the spectre of their father’s death and his psychotic killer still looming over their heads.
Locke & Key Volume 1 is a good book and I would recommend it to any fan of horror and weird fiction. It isn’t exactly in my normal taste but is excellently done and is very much worth the read. If you get a chance you should check this book out, I don’t think you will regret it.
As a side note, I found out as I was preparing to do this review that the author of this comic, Joe Hill, who has also written novels and short stories, is the pen name for Joseph Hillstrom King, the son of famed author Stephen King. There was also a pilot shot for FOX this past summer which ended up not getting picked up. Perhaps another network will grab it or else FOX will change their minds. Here’s hoping.