You should know who Joe Hill is. Seriously. Hill is one half of the team that brought us Locke and Key (my bid for the horror comic of the century, seriously difficult to top), he brought us the delightfully twisted Heart-Shaped Box, and the exquisitely crafted collection of chilling tales 20th Century Ghosts. He is the son of horror legend Stephen King. Hill’s latest novel NOS4A2 is both a homage to his father’s legacy of chills and definitive statement that Hill is more than capable of standing not in father’s shadow but shoulder to shoulder.
Locke and Key, Vol 5: Clockworks
Joe Hill (writer) and Gabriel Rodriguez (art)
Stop. No seriously. Stop. Have you been reading Locke and Key? If you’ve answered no you have two options. Option 1: Start reading Locke and Key. Seriously, this is an awesome comic that is so consistent in its greatness that it boggles the mind. Option 2: Leave. Yes, get out. Come back later if you want but know that I will pity you for having not read any Locke and Key. Obviously, I’d prefer you take Option 1. It’d really be better for both of us, but if you aren’t a person who likes horror, or the supernatural, or are just a general curmudgeon who enjoys being contrary you can probably stop reading and go do something else. I should also point out that if you haven’t read any Locke and Key that this review will most definitely contain spoilers for the earlier volumes. You’ve been warned.
Locke and Key: Crown of Shadows (Volume 3)
Locke and Key: Keys to the Kingdom (Volume 4)
Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
While on vacation a couple of a weeks ago I stepped into a bookshop in Portsmouth, NH and while trying my very hardest to keep my hands jammed deep into my pockets and away from the shelves none-the-less noted the hardcover editions of volumes 3 and 4 of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriquez’s Locke & Key (signed by Hill) sitting on a display. My will was weak and in a near haze I found myself forking over a portion of my cash to the bookseller. My regret was minimal however as the third and fourth volumes of Locke and Key, Crown of Shadows and Keys to the Kingdom, are just as solid as the first two and I would say (surprising as it was) even better than I expected.
Locke and Key Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
Words by Joe Hill
Art by Gabriel Rodriguez
As we move into the last week of October I’m be spending the remainder of my time exploring some Lovecraft and Lovecraft influenced fiction. While not quite Lovecraftian in tone and theme Hill & Rodriguez’s series Locke and Key, the first arc of which is collected in this trade, name their island setting Lovecraft in honor of the New England author. The novel begins with an almost idyllic summer afternoon spent with typical teenage griping but veers sharply into darker territory as the father of Bodie, Ty, and Kinsey Locke is murdered by a deranged student. What appears at first to be a simple act by a deranged entity is slowly revealed to be something of dark portent and more supernatural bent.
Following the death of their father the remaining Locke family, the children and their mother, move in with their Uncle to the ominously named Keyhouse. There the graphic novel takes a rather poignant look at how each of the children is coping not only with the grief of their father’s death, but with the lingering fear left by the harrowing events that saw him dead. Each deals with it in a different way Ty’s quiet and somewhat dangerous stoicism and Kinsey’s desire to fade into part of the crowd but perhaps the most poignant and disturbing is that the youngest child Bodie.