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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 21 November 2013
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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on 21 January 2014
I confess I'd been avoiding Joe Hill's work, purely based on the fact that he's Stephen King's son. Unfair perhaps, but I figured there are so many books out there I want to read that it was daft wasting time on an author whose reputation is so closely linked to one of the greats.

Damn, do I wish I'd picked this up sooner!

Both the story and the artwork are incredible. I don't think I've been this excited about a graphic novel since I first discovered Gaiman's Sandman, and that's saying something. Of course, a lot of the praise goes to Rodriquez for the fantastic artwork - there are plenty of panels with no text that tell the story in a hundred subtle ways.

I don't really want to go too much into the story itself - I think it's best to discover it for yourself. We'll just say that the main characters move to "Key house" after a somewhat traumatic event. The house is well named, and with the discovery of each new key comes a little bit more of the story.

I've already picked up volumes 2-5 and gone through them incredibly quickly. Looking forward to the final volume in Feb now!

Oh, and in case you're wondering about how they display on the kindle app. I've been reading them on a 10.1 Samsung Galaxy Note and they look great. The only comment would be that the double page spreads sometimes require you to flip back and forth between a couple of pages, but there aren't too many of them so it's not really an issue.
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on 23 April 2011
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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on 14 July 2013
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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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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on 27 January 2013
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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on 21 February 2015
Locke & key is one of those fantastic comics that features a family's harrowing journey after the death of their father and returning to his family home. Then the mystery of the keys inside the house and powers they have start to become apparent and wait till you meet dodge.
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on 7 February 2014
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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on 21 July 2013
Years ago horror comics were everywhere one of the most popular genres in the field,though they were mostly vampires and ghouls that sort of thing. This is not that type of comic, this is so, so much better. The art work is vivid and bright, characters are full rounded people and the mystery of the house and what is inside is intriguing. Other writers could learn from reading this. No spoilers in this review you have to enter with the family and discover the secrets of the key house alongside them. I for one am looking forward to completing the journey with them, l only hope the series continues in the same vein. One of the best graphic novels around.
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on 1 March 2015
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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