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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill
I had been looking forward to reading this graphic novel for a long time. My first graphic novel was The Kite Runner, and since I read that I've been craving more. But I had to wait until I found a job, because graphic novels can be bloody expensive, and that is certainly true for the Locke & Key series. So, I bought this ASAP, and I absolutely devoured it!

I...
Published 18 months ago by Amber

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2.0 out of 5 stars Not a patch on the Overlook
I read this puppy when it first came out a few years ago and really wanted to like it, and didn’t. So, now the series is done, I thought I’d go back and give it another shot - maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind, or maybe I was just plain wrong, and this time I’d love it? Nope - still terrible, unfortunately.

Three kids - an older boy, his...
Published on 17 Nov. 2009 by Sam Quixote


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill, 21 Nov. 2013
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I had been looking forward to reading this graphic novel for a long time. My first graphic novel was The Kite Runner, and since I read that I've been craving more. But I had to wait until I found a job, because graphic novels can be bloody expensive, and that is certainly true for the Locke & Key series. So, I bought this ASAP, and I absolutely devoured it!

I am a huge fan of horror and blood and gore, and as soon as I started reading this I knew that it would be the book for me. There's a murder in the first couple of pages, and Welcome to Lovecraft only gets darker from there.

At the beginning of the book, Papa Locke is murdered and his family go to live at the Keyhouse, a mansion owned by the family. And from then on, a load of crazy [...] happens. Bode, the youngest child, discovers a key to a door that, if you walk through it, turns you into a ghost. He also discovers a ghostly Echo in the wellhouse in the grounds, who seems to be locked in there. Bode's curiosity mirrored my own as he discovered a small handful of the Keyhouse's mysteries.

While all this exploring is going on, the Locke family is also still dealing with Papa Locke's murder. Mama Locke is currently spiralling into a deep depression, and the children are at a loss of what to do with themselves, without any parental influence in their lives. They lost two parents that day instead of just one.

As if that wasn't enough, Sam, one of Papa Locke's killers, escapes from prison with some paranormal help. And he comes for the Locke family. I really liked how Joe Hill didn't forget about Sam. Often, I find that the villains get little backstory, and so people aren't interested in them and just want the heroes of the stories to save the day. I, however, am really interested in evil characters and their stories and psychology. I love discovering what's going on in their heads! And Joe Hill developed Sam's character really well. We got flashbacks with him in, we saw how he was tied to the Locke family, and we saw what led him down this road. Sam is a very broken character, and one that I can't help but sympathise with, despite the fact that he is insane.

I have another favourite character in this book, but I don't want to go into detail on that due to potential spoilers. I'm always wary of those! Just know that someone turns up towards the end of the book who I am totally captivated by, and I can't wait to find out more about them. Whether they're a hero or a villain, you'll have to read the book to find out. I think Tatum will know the answer to that without reading, though.

This book is really creepy, and not even just because of the paranormal stuff that was going on. I was thoroughly creeped out by some of the things that the characters did, and it really drove the message home that humans can be the most evil things out there. Forget about the ghosts and the demons!

The art was fabulous. The characters aren't painted as conventionally beautiful people. They look like your regular person, someone that could easily live next door to you. I loved the detail that Rodríguez goes into with the landscapes and backgrounds. I particularly enjoyed looking at the drawings that took up the entire page. The attention to detail is fantastic, and Rodríguez is seriously talented. In addition, at the back of the book there is a series of more artistic work from him, that connect to the story but look less realistic than the actual art within the story itself.

I have made the decision to buy this series gradually, since each individual book ranges from £9 to £15. That's a lot to spend, but I think it's worth it as long as I don't go too crazy. Like I said, Locke & Key turned out to be right up my alley, and I cannot wait to discover more about the Keyhouse, the Locke family, certain other characters, the Omega key, various other keys... I never thought I would be so interested in keys!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twisty and dark, 23 April 2011
By 
Michael Finn (Blackburn, Lancashire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The story begins.... hmmm, see that's the thing with this comic - I'm three words into this review and I've already lied to you. I'll try again.
So bad things happen to the Locke family and the survivors move out to a creepy house on an island. Some of the issues focus on one of the kids in particular. They're all traumatised or changed in some way. I think I liked Bode the best. He's the youngest kid.
The opening panel of this book shows a door. There's going to be a lot of doors in this book - it's one of the recurring archetypal symbols. So get used to the doors, and the locks, and the keys, and the reflections.
Sometimes you get a comic where either the art or the script is carried by the other. That isn't the case here. Both are great. Joe Hill tells a twisty dark story with well formed characters, good pacing and plenty of mystery and suspense. And Gabriel Rodriguez is just brilliant. I love his use of perspective on this book. Forget limited focal range - there's often stuff going on in the foreground and the background and degrees in-between. I think his brain is hooked up to one of those swoopy camera boom things, trying to get the angle that is best for the shot. Take the opening panels for instance. We can see the two guys at the door are hiding knives and a gun but the panel from Nina Locke's perspective just shows two goofy guys standing half in the doorway. Nina is looking past them at their truck. Full page panel showing Nina's cottage in the background and the truck in the foreground. In the back of the truck is a blood stained tarp covering two bodies. We can see all that - Nina can't. Genius. Ok some of it is directed by Joe Hill (I've seen his original script) but Rodriguez really does a great job of turning his directions into vibrant visuals. You have to read these slow just to make sure you don't miss any of the little details. That butterfly worried me. I still haven't figured out what the hell it signifies.
Tip for reading this book: Don't read it in one sitting. Like a lot of comic book series it wasn't designed to be read all at once. I'm not saying read it one issue a month like it's initial publication but at least make it one issue per day. It's a good rule for any serialised comic book. Take the conclusion to the first issue. It really creeped me out. I was thinking about what had happened to Bode when he went through the doorway all night - I think I even dreamed about it. Live with the characters for a while, puzzle out the mysteries and prolong the suspense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing first volume in a cult horror graphic-novel series, 1 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Locke and Key: Vol. 1 Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key Volume) (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this dark and at times, graphic, graphic novel (excuse the pun). Written by Stephen King's son, I've heard a lot of buzz surrounding this graphic novel but didn't really understand the hype until I read it myself. Locke & Key volume 1 follows several storylines that are all connected and at times, jumps from the present tense to the past, but the basic story is about the Locke family and an old New England mansion named the Keyhouse.

The artwork in this book was incredible, but it is at times very graphic and gory so if you're at all sensitive to that then this may not be the book for you. The characters were likeable (and hateable - for the 'baddies') and the storyline was original and unique. I was gripped from the first page and something about this story just kept me reading. I'm super excited to carry on with the series and can see Locke & Key becoming one of my all-time favourite graphic novel series.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this. Definitely buy this. Then brace yourself. Then read it., 5 May 2011
By 
southcoastreviewer (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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Okay, that may be a *little* sensationalist. I bought a special edition paperback first chapter of Locke and Key after a friend recommended it to me - my usual reads are Y: The Last Man Vol. 1: Unmanned, The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 1 and more recently Shade, the Changing Man: The American Scream v. 1. Locke and Key didn't disappoint. The artwork is crisp, good-looking and suited to the storyline. The characters have actual depth, and the storyline is genuinely intriguing, unlike a lot of the dross that seems to be floating around at the moment. If you're a fan of horror fiction in any format, get this.

Put it this way - I liked it so much I bought the hardcover edition, then wishlisted volumes 2, 3 and 4 in hardcover for my next payday.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Arresting House, 31 Mar. 2012
By 
Quicksilver (UK) - See all my reviews
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I've been wary of picking up any of Joe Hill's stuff. I felt that had he not been Stephen King's son, I would probably have never heard of him. But I kept hearing good things about his 'Locke and Key' series, so I decided it was time to put prejudice aside and take the plunge. I'm glad I did. The hardback is beauty in book form. Gorgeous to hold, with a macabre yet inviting cover, behind which lurk and pages and pages of vibrant and evocative illustrations. The writing is great too; the words and pictures marry perfectly making for a compelling read.

This is an unforced and effortless read of the sort that hides the talent of those behind it. (i.e. The writing is so good, it's made to looks easy). Like all good horror tales, the book's premise is a simple one. The house that takes centre stage contains any number of mysterious doors that have peculiar powers. One turns you into a ghost, another can take you anywhere. Oh yes and there is a mysterious girl who lives down a well, who probably isn't as nice as she first seems. Each of these doors has a key that opens on them, and herein lies the beauty of the series. As long as the writers can keep thinking of interesting things to do with a doorway, they can produce key after key which open a portals to story after macabre story.

Having waxed so lyrical, I do have a couple of reservations. The story does feel a little light. There's a lot of pages for what amounts to not that much exploration of the themes and ideas suggested. There is a violent back-story to the family that live in the house, and some of the panels were over-gory for my tastes. This book is far creepier when it goes for psychological thrills rather than visceral spills. But these are small complaints. I thoroughly enjoyed 'Welcome to Lovecraft'; it reminded me in places of my all time favourite series The Unwritten and at times matches it for storytelling brilliance. High praise indeed. This is a fine starting block for what promises to be an excellent series. I look forward to reading volume two.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not a patch on the Overlook, 17 Nov. 2009
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I read this puppy when it first came out a few years ago and really wanted to like it, and didn’t. So, now the series is done, I thought I’d go back and give it another shot - maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind, or maybe I was just plain wrong, and this time I’d love it? Nope - still terrible, unfortunately.

Three kids - an older boy, his slightly younger sister, and their youngest sibling, a boy called Bode (and the only one whose name I could remember, purely for being such an odd name!) - have their father taken from them when one of his students comes to his summer home and murders him. The kids and their mum move from west coast to east coast back to the father’s childhood home - a massive, forbidding Lovecraftian mansion in the fictional Massachusetts town of Lovecraft (the thinking seems to be: it’s a “horror” comic so let’s remind readers of it by heavily referencing horror writer, HP Lovecraft).

The Lovecraftian mansion set in Lovecraft is of course haunted with all manner of ghosts and special keys unlock special doors that can warp space and time, even the temporal planes - when Bode walks through one door, his body is left behind and he becomes a ghost. And while the kids get over the trauma of their recent loss, their dad’s murderer is on the loose - and he’s coming to finish the job!

It’s definitely cool that Joe Hill is following in his dad’s footsteps and writing his own haunted house story but I have to say he’s certainly not as great a writer as Stephen King was when he was a younger man and Locke & Key isn’t a patch on The Shining. For one, Hill focuses far too much on the kids’ difficulty in getting over their dad’s death which is realistic but not at all compelling to read - I get it, they’re saaaaaaaad! - while failing to make them stand out as characters.

The older brother is pure emo, the sister is a flatliner - she literally at one point joins a track team and says that she’s running because she’s got a lot to run away from - what cheesy writing! - and Bode is your average Disney kid. Cute as a bug, always being clumsy but in a way that advances the story like he’s fooling around and then - oh, is that a special key that fell out of that jug I knocked off that shelf? How convenient!

And how on earth can this family afford so much? They have a summer home, separate from their regular home, AND a giant mansion on the other side of the country! Their mum doesn’t work, their dad was a school administrator, and the uncle is a failed artist. Where the hell is the money coming from!?

The story is completely static. The kids mope about - do we like them yet now that we’ve seen them sob for the millionth time? not even a bit! - while Bode pokes about the mansion and stumbles across the magic doorways and the ghost in the well. Basically the story is, the family moves to the mansion and then spends the whole book waiting for the killer to show up - very boring!

I do appreciate the supernatural element and that the keys and doors thing is original, but the book really needs things like a plot and characters you care about in order for it to matter. Bode becomes a ghost, then the older brother - so what? I hate both of these clods!

Gabriel Rodriguez’s art is fine but I don’t think it’s suited to the horror genre, mostly because it’s too cartoonish. The characters are a little too anime-esque for Hill’s over-emotional, horror-leaning script and I can’t say I found the villains in the story very menacing in their depiction. The layouts and drawings themselves are fine and definitely suit mainstream comics, but for a comic that’s supposed to creep you out, it’s not a good fit.

I’ve tried reading one other Joe Hill book, Heart Shaped Box, which I couldn’t get past page 50 because it was so badly written, so I guess his work just isn’t for me.

Locke & Key wants to be a horror comic that mixes the old and new to create something exciting and fresh, but instead it’s a very tedious book with completely flat characters, a slow and uninvolving plot, and some supernatural elements that don’t liven up the paper-thin story in the least.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovecraftian Graphic novel that leaves you wanting more, 11 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Locke and Key: Vol. 1 Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key Volume) (Kindle Edition)
I saw this cover from half way across the shop and made a bee-line towards it. A flashing neon sign saying buy me would have been less likely to draw me in. A creepy looking house with an interesting looking key what wasn’t to love? Having Welcome To Lovecraft in the title makes it pretty clear what kind of story lies inside.

For me the mark of a good Lovecraftian tale has always been the way that normal horrors are blended with paranormal ones. For large parts of this story it was easy to forget that there was any supernatural elements involved. I got lost in the story and characters. So much so that I barely even noticed how long I was just staring at some of the stunning artwork. There is one page in particular where the young Bode draws his school holiday. It is perfectly rendered. Every aspect is how I have seen similar things from my kids. The obvious differences being the lack of horrific murders and out of body experiences. Even if you don’t want to read this book I’d recommend looking at that page. The rest of the artwork was also enthralling. After I finished reading this book I went back through it ignoring the words and just looking at the pictures.

This story was dripping with pain and anguish. The deeper story was only hinted at but I just have to find out more.

I have to buy the second part of this story. It has really tickled my fancy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Locke & Key (1), 14 July 2013
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Tyler, Bode and Kinsey's father is a school counsellor and one day two former pupils stage a home invasion in which their father is killed. Their mother kills one of the boys and the other goes to jail. They move to Lovecraft where the father's family mansion is.

Here at the mansion they begin to repar themselves. Kinsey dabbles with her identity, Tyler comes to terms with letting his family down in their time of need, their mother struggles with alcohol and little Bode discovers that if he leave the house by a certain door his soul leaves his body while it drops dead to the floor. From there he just has to think of a person or place and he can be transported instantly. Not only does little Bode find this development interesting but he discovers that his Echo lives down a well in the old waterhouse. But the Echo wants him to do something for her.

Just in case Bode doesn't comply, the Echo orchestrates the release of Sam, one of their father's killers. She needs someone, Bode or Sam, to bring her the key for the house, a key which will unlock all the doors and free her from the well.

This book has it all; great story, great artwork, great dialogue, great characters and spooks and violence galore. I have not been this excited about a new series for a while and I can't wait to get my paws on the rest of the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing story superb artwork, 7 Feb. 2014
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This comic came highly recommended but I have to say I was disappointed. I found the experience to be distinctly underwhelming and over very fast. The majority of characters were not particularly interesting or engaging and as for the horror aspects I just did not feel them. The main ghost who lives down the well was neither scary or original. The serial killer was just a pathetic lunatic. However the saving grace is the artwork which is superb. I can’t really recommend it unless you can get it very cheap.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect in every way, 27 Jan. 2013
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I picked this up as I loved Joe Hill's Heart Shaped Box and I've recently been getting back into graphic novels so it seemed like the next move. I wasn't too sure though as I knew that it was his first comic and to be honest I though Horns was just okay and I didn't like 20th Century Ghosts.

I'm glad I got it anyway as it's probably one of the best comics I've read. I thought the storyline was fantastic and I could not put it down. I'm now eagerly waiting on the second instalment arriving in the post to see where it goes next.

I absolutely loved the art work in this book and thought it really added to the story. I was quite surprised as I could have seen this been drawn in a really dark or grainy way but it wasn't.

The backstory/flashbacks were handled really well and I loved what we have seen so far on the history of Keyhouse and can't wait to find out more.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone and its a definite five stars for me.
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