Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW, 2008)
Isn’t it funny how one post can really derail you? I’ve been working on a review of another comic that I read this month for forever and I just can’t seem to find the right words to describe how it made me feel. I’ve decided to just let the post sit and if I can finally make a decision about my opinion, then maybe I’ll eventually get around to posting about it. For now, though, let’s just move on to the other comics I’ve read this month.
I’m familiar with both Joe Hill and his collaborator on the Locke & Key series, Gabriel Rodriguez, but honestly I’ve never fallen in love with anything either of them have worked on. I started reading Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, but never finished it. Not because I didn’t like it, but because the first section just wore me down. After I read Locke & Key, I did pick up Heart-Shaped Box and I finally finished it. I’ll try to post a review for that one once Graphic Novel February is over.
As for Gabriel Rodriguez: Apparently I lied! I’ve never read a comic that Gabriel Rodriguez illustrated. I went through my archives and I couldn’t find anything. I looked at his website and I haven’t read anything he’s worked on. I have no idea who I thought he was. At least it all makes sense. I didn’t really recognize his art. I apologize, Gabriel Rodriguez, for thinking I had read one of your comics in the past and didn’t enjoy it.
I think you saw this coming, but I really liked Locke & Key. It’s so scary! I am not the biggest fan of real horror movies, but I do like horror novels and I also like lighter horror. I’m a not-so-secret fan of Supernatural, which basically started out as a way to make hour-long horror movies every week. It’s not structured that way anymore, but the spirit of it is still there. I was obsessed with ghost stories as a kid.
I am much more of a fan of the ghost brand of horror than the slasher brand, and Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft has both. The patriarch of the Locke family, a school counselor, is murdered by one of his students, who is looking for the key. The family then moves to the old Locke family house on the island Lovecraft. That’s when things start to get even weirder. Bodie, the youngest Locke boy, finds a door that when you walk through it, it turns you into a ghost. All you have to do to get back in your body is think about it. There’s also a mysterious voice in a well on the property.
Welcome to Lovecraft gave me nightmares. I knew that I couldn’t read it before bed, because there were just some things that were too creepy. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. Sure, I don’t really want nightmares, but the story affected me enough that I was dreaming about it.
This is the first in a series, so it’s important that the author and illustrator really try to get you familiar with the characters in as few panels as possible to keep the story moving along. Rodriguez and Hill do that well. I felt like I understood the character’s motivations from the beginning. More than that, though, I was rooting for them. There’s still a lot I don’t know or understand about Lovecraft, which makes me desperately want to keep reading. My library hold can’t come in fast enough!
If you’re squeamish about violence, there are definitely going to be pages and panels that you’ll have a hard time with, but if you’re at all familiar with Joe Hill, or even his father Stephen King, you know that their stories are violent. But the stories are good and I can’t wait to see where Locke & Key will go.