The truncated version of this review is already on Goodreads if you would rather the tldr version. I had more to say about ‘Locke & Key’ than I did there but didn’t want to post the full essay on GR. So here it is. I started reading ‘Locke & Key’, a comic book series, 6 issues in 6 volumes plus a 2 issue finale, not expecting for a second, the scope and depth of the story that was being told.
I never knew I could be so deeply moved reading a comic series. Besides those 3 panel ‘Flash Gordon; things you get in the weekend papers and ‘Archie’ comics back in the day, the only other comic I have read is 2 volumes of ‘The Umbrella Academy’ by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, which I liked well enough. I suppose I was unfamiliar with the medium as far as telling a compelling story with so few words. I was surprised with how fast I was able to read the comics, the words are sparse, that is why, but I think the first time I did, I wasn’t taking it all in. There is more than those 3-5 bubbles of speech. There is the pictures, the action, the expressions, so many storytelling tools. The full effect when maximised is extremely compelling.
‘Locke & Key’ is about the Locke family. The Lockes have moved into their ancestral home, Keyhouse in Lovecraft, Massachusetts, after the father in the family is murdered where they used to live in California. Keyhouse is full of magical keys which open up a whole new realm of possibility for them. Someone else wants the keys however, and will stop at nothing to get them.
In the midst of the fantastical story of the magic keys and fighting evil, is a very human story of grief, love, friendship and bravery.
The story was such a fucking journey. It spans a bit over a year and the children have visibly grown older, but they have experienced so much and learned and grown so much as well. They have not only come through their grief over losing their father, but also the countless adventures and misadventures they have with the keys and all the new people they meet in Lovecraft. Besides the characters being as compelling as they were, some very serious issues are discussed, like homophobia, alcohol abuse and racism.
I have to say, during the reading, I wasn’t feeling ‘Welcome To Lovecraft’ too much, but the following volumes were absolutely incredible. As a complete story, it is amazing. At the core of this magical tale were human beings, who were struggling and fighting, and just trying to be okay. There were funny moments, horrifying moments and moments of absolute fucking melancholy.
The art is amazing. I think it matched the darkness of the story really well. The colours are somewhat muted so it has a dark look to it and the illustration is ‘hard’ rather than delicate and pretty. The facial expressions are extremely strong and the detail is breath-taking. The shadows in volume three were my particular favourite illustrations.
This was one of the most creative, most twisted, darkest things I have ever read in my life. I loved it. It was amazing.
-S‘Locke & Key’ Comic Book By Joe Hill And Gabriel Rodriguez Review The truncated version of this review is already on Goodreads if you would rather the tldr version…