Monday, March 1, 2010

Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

I am so far behind the curve with this series, it’s not even funny. Here’s the thing. I’m an enthusiastic consumer of horror novels, but I’m not a big fan of horror comics. It seems strange, but something about the graphic element of a comic book makes everything too… visceral for me. So horror comics often get the short end of the stick when it comes to my reading.

However, I really wish that I had looked at Locke and Key sooner, because it is fantastic.

The Locke children are attempting to recover from the horrific murder of their father; their mom and uncle have moved them across the country to the Keyhouse, in Lovecraft, MA. Bode, the youngest, discovers some amazing secrets about the Keyhouse, and makes friends with a mysterious being living down the well. The being seems friendly, but it has secrets, and has more to do with the Locke family’s troubles than they know.

This book grabs you right from the start and doesn’t stop. Although there is some blood and gore, the book really trades on suspense and fear of the unknown. The Keyhouse is full of mystery, and Hill does a great job of building the suspense. I also really like how he manages to make the Locke kids feel real. Bode in particular seems like a real little kid, and his actions move the book forward. Each has a different way of dealing with the changes in their lives, and each feels authentic.

Art in comics is sometimes just a matter of taste, and Gabriel Rodreguez’s art doesn’t really suit me. It works fine for the story (although I wish he was a little more judicious with his shadowing) I just didn’t care for it. Jay Foto’s colors really work for the story, as they have just the right amount of grey to make everything atmospheric, but not too dark.

I am eagerly awaiting the next volume in this series, and hope that if if they do make a Locke and Key movie, they don’t totally screw it up.

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