It was a quaint little shop among the rest of the artsy shops up and down a five block section of town. My wife and I were enjoying some post-wedding time off and disappearing from the grind of everyday life as we explored the window dressings lining the street. As we approached one particular boutique, we both reached for the door to explore what was inside. The window displays showed comics and graphic novels of all designs piquing the curiosity within. I will admit, I haven’t been a huge fan of comics or graphic novels, as they are known of late. Superheroes were never my cup of kryptonite tea. However, after watching the initial season of The Walking Dead, we wanted to see what they had. What we discovered was not our daddy’s comic book store.
The shop was laid out in a classy way, reminiscent of the specialty book store that it turned out to be. The staff was helpful in not only showing us where the collection we were searching for was located but also with recommending other series and authors that might interest us. This is when I discovered something that has been dragging me back into the city for the past few months, a series called Locke & Key.
Locke & Key is a monthly graphic novel which brings a psychological twist to the normal genre of graphic novels. Authored by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, it follows the Locke family as they work through the tragedy of their father’s murder and moved back to his family’s home, in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. The Locke family estate, Key House, holds many secrets that are slowly revealed through the finding of keys scattered through the New England mansion. Each key has mystical attributes that push the storyline along with new developments.
What makes Locke & Key such a great read is that the story is so character-driven that you can’t help but be drawn to each panel. The Locke children bring a life of their own to the story. Tyler is the oldest of the children who has his own baggage to carry from the events that drove them to seek the sanctuary of Key House. Kinsey seems to present a maternal feel for the youngest Locke as she struggles with her identity. Though, of all the children, Bode steals the show. His curiosity is the driving factor of the story’s progression. The innocents he brings to the developing drama, encourages you to turn the page. Joe Hill brings the character development from his novels into the shorts of the graphic realm.
I, for one, am a person that has always enjoyed the novels; the long story which brings not only the plot but characters to life in ways that only a good book seems to build. I have been known to refer to comics as literature with training wheels for those that are too unimaginative to read a “real” book. I will admit, here in public, for all to read, that I was most certainly incorrect. The story that Joe Hill and the artwork of Gabriel Rodriguez produce in Locke & Key has the suspense and page turning appeal of any of the novels that I have read. The plot grows, the artwork is fantastic and the characters are people you want to cheer for as they struggle through the discovery of their world.
When you are in your local book store searching for something new, give the graphic novel section a browse. If you can bring yourself to jumping into that world as I did, then please, give Locke & Key a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Visit the author at: http://joehillfiction.com
For a look at the wonderful graphic novel boutique, Star Clipper, visit them at: http://www.starclipper.com
Until next time…