Comic books shelves are saturated with super hero books. However, as we have already explored through comics such as Fables, there are still alternatives for those looking to read something that doesn’t involve tights. Joe Hill’s Locke & Key is an entirely original work that toes the line between suspense, horror, and fantasy. That probably sounds similar to a Stephen King book… because Joe Hill is his son.
The series starts off with the vicious murder of Rendell Locke and never slows down. Rendell’s family goes to live at the house he grew up in known as “Keyhouse” in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. Keyhouse has rightfully earned its title; the house is filled with keys that each have a specific purpose. For instance, there is a key that kills you and turns you into a ghost, one that morphs you into an animal, and another that opens people’s heads so you can see what’s inside (as pictured below). But what would a good thriller be without a little suspense and continuous heart-break? There is something in the house working against the kids and killing anyone that stands in its path.
Gabriel Rodriguez’s artwork is fantastic. He makes the dark corners seem scarier than you ever thought possible from a comic book, and the happy times are even more painful because you know that things can’t end well. Combined with Joe Hill’s talents, this is easily one of the best non-hero comic books on the market, if not ever.
– The books are written as a series of 6-comic story arcs. The last arc is about to begin starting in September (there are already 5 that have been completed)
– it won the 2011 Eisner for Best Writer, and was nominated for Best Single Issue, Best Continuing Series, and Best Penciller
– they tried to make a TV show out of it, but the pilot never got picked up. If you want a quick look at the series from an awful Warner Brothers perspective, check out the trailer here: