Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill
Locke & Key #1
Release Date: September 29, 2008
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Star Rating: 4
Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them.... and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all... Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box) creates an all-new story of dark fantasy and wonder, with astounding artwork from Gabriel Rodriguez.
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 shit 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!