Something worthy of your attention, and five reasons I love it.
1. Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode Locke are good kids having a very bad summer. After their father is murdered during a home invasion they move across the country to Lovecraft, Massachusetts and into the family’s ancestral home, a mansion called Keyhouse. It seems like a fresh start for the family at first, but soon the youngest kid, Bode, finds a key that allows him to turn into a ghost. The kids discover other keys which unlock equally strange powers. They are not the only ones looking for the keys, and soon they are locked in a battle for their lives and so much more.
2. Gabriel Rodriguez’s art style is bold, distinctive, and perfectly fits the tone of the story. The look of Locke and Key is an essential part of what brings this world and these characters to life.
3. Locke and Key is scary, but the scares arise from our love of the characters and our fear for their safety. These are not jump-out-at-you scares or gross-out scares. Every one of these scares is earned.
4. Some of the keys in Keyhouse: The Ghost Key, The Anywhere Key, The Head Key, The Shadow Key, The Giant Key. At its heart, Locke and Key is an adventure story. Finding the keys, what they do, and how the kids use them keeps the adventure fresh, and writer Joe Hill is a master at introducing and using each key in a surprising way.
5. Locke and Key accomplishes a rare feat. It is not a book for kids – it is violent, scary, and doesn’t shy away from adult themes – but it manages to perfectly capture the childlike sense of wonder. Through seven year-old Bode we remember the epic adventures our imaginations took us on as children, though his adventures are more real than ours ever were. Through teenage Kinsey we remember how every little struggle felt life-and-death important in high school, though for her they actually are. And through the slightly older Tyler we remember the push and pull between adulthood and childhood at the end of high school. If you only comic books you have read involve superheroes, Locke and Key is an eye-opening look at the potential of the medium.
Where to begin: Volume 1: Welcome to the Keyhouse is probably available at your local comic book shop. Or you can buy the beautiful digital version for $4.99 over at Comixology and read it on your iPad/Andriod/Whatever-your-fancy-device-is. Welcome to the Keyhouse collects issues 1-6. That’s less than a buck an issue for a story that will stay will you for a good long time.
Learn more about Locke and Key at IDW’s website here.