Category Archives: Graphic Novel

Locke and Key, the Graphic Novel


Locke & Key Vol 1

Joe Hill's Eisener Award Nominated Series

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:

For a look at the wonderful graphic novel boutique, Star Clipper, visit them at:

Until next time…


© 2011


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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Books, Graphic Novel, Review


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The Hills are Alive with…Zombies?

October 31st, 2010 was a historical television moment. For the first time, a television series was brought to the small screen based on those loveable, flesh-eaters we refer to as zombies.  Enter the new AMC series, “The Walking Dead”. This six episode season, based on a graphic novel by Robert Kirkman, follows a small group of survivors outside Atlanta, Georgia as they attempt to find some hope after the world has been overtaken by the ever-hungry living dead. Their survival depends on not only out lasting the foot-dragging zombies but also holding on to their humanity as the world they know is turned upside-down. This is not your average horror movie, (though the makeup team pushes the envelope to get the feel of the graphic novel) but a character-driven story line that brings philosophical questions to the audience. How would you act if you woke up one morning and the world as you know it had been transformed into Chez Zombie and you are the main dish?


AMC brings zombies to your livingroom.

What is our fascination with the zombie lore? These mindless, representations of our more basic selves seem to be present throughout history in folklore and fantasy. It took a vision of George Romero in his 1969 movie “Night of the Living Dead” to bring the modern mythology to life as we now know it. His movie showed the base of how we now view the living dead; the continuously hungry, slow-moving lesser part of the used-to-be-human race. Could this be an analogy of our fears of what we could become if all of our morals and conscious were removed?

In most modern mythology, the world ends with an infectious virus that causes death and then reanimation. Only a small group survives and fight against all hope of having what is seen as the essence of humanity. The setting is a place where the dead, or not so dead, walk the earth without a belief in anything except for their need to satisfy their craving for food, in this case, living flesh. In most of these stories, the only way to kill the undead is trauma to the brain. Most prefer the single shot from a Dirty Harry sized weapon. This begs the question:  does everyone become a crack shot once the world ends?

The renewed craze in everything zombie has also had a few positive impacts on the real world. Organizations like the Zombie Squad have been popping up chapters across the country. They combine the fun and appeal of the zombie apocalypse with disaster preparation. The organization uses the fictitious (or is it?) end-of-the-world scenario as a springboard to educate communities on the importance of preparation for natural disasters. Their idea is that if one is prepared for an attack of killer zombies then they will be prepared for anything that might come along. I feel a little safer with the Zombie Squad patrolling my neighborhood, how about you?

Though vampires are all the rage these days, zombies bring more social reflection than the recent sparkling blood-sucker box office hits. It questions our society, the need to survive, and what makes us human. Part of our desire to connect with this unlikely foe is our need to belong to something larger, a need to feel emotionally connected to world around us.  If you are worried on how to survive, maybe some research is needed. One recommendation is to watch Zombieland (2009) for helpful hints and 32 rules, such as #4:  Doubletap. You won’t be disappointed.


Catch AMC’s “The Walking Dead” Sundays at 10 p.m.

Whether you are a fan of the genre or just a passing observer, this dramatic adaptation of The Walking Dead is something to check out. The story draws you in, the cast makes you want to root for the living, and the effects feel like a big screen movie. Catch the first season Sunday nights at 10 pm on AMC network.

Until next time…

What are your favorite zombie movie moments? Over the next few weeks, I will delve into some of the zombie movies and mythology. Why? Because nothing can be as much fun as a mindless, undead eating machine.


© 2010



Posted by on November 17, 2010 in Graphic Novel, Television, zombies


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