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Locke & Key

Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

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Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all...

168 pages, Hardcover

First published September 29, 2008

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About the author

Joe Hill

529 books25.1k followers
Joe Hill's debut, Heart-Shaped Box, won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. His second, Horns, was made into a film freakfest starring Daniel Radcliffe. His other novels include NOS4A2, and his #1 New York Times Best-Seller, The Fireman... which was also the winner of a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Horror Novel.

He writes short stories too. Some of them were gathered together in his prize-winning collection, 20th Century Ghosts.

He won the Eisner Award for Best Writer for his long running comic book series, Locke & Key, co-created with illustrator and art wizard Gabriel Rodriguez.

He lives in New Hampshire with a corgi named McMurtry after a certain beloved writer of cowboy tales. His next book, Strange Weather, a collection of novellas, storms into bookstores in October of 2017.

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5 stars
43,134 (45%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,240 reviews
Profile Image for Anne.
3,922 reviews69.3k followers
September 17, 2022
This is Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome To Lovecraft.
Thanks to some idiotic editing going on behind the scenes, the names of graphic novels are being changed to their subtitle only, removing the actual comic title and volume number from the name. So good luck trying to find comics on Goodreads in the future. I suggest you let them know what you think of the change by contacting them via the Contact Us page.

I'm re-reading the books because we just watched the Netflix show and it made me think about how much I loved this story. This is still one of my all-time favorite graphic novels and if you haven't read it yet, I honestly can't recommend it enough.


I was gifted the beautiful hardback set of these a while back and just finished re-reading the first book...again. Can't believe how much I'd forgotten!


The gist is that the violent murder of their father by two teens sends the three children and their mother to their dad's ancestral home.


Layer by layer the story of why their father was killed, what happened to them during the time the killers were in their house, and how the family is coping, starts coming together to paint a heart-wrenching tale. Then add a layer of mystery to the house itself, with its strange and magical keys that keep popping up, and you've got something amazing to read.
Because there's a secret history to everything their father had long ago forgotten about the house, and the youngest child, Bode, is starting to discover it all over again.


And fuck! It's creepy as hell!


Locke & Key easily makes my Top 10 favorite graphic novel series. It's just one of the better-written stories, horror or otherwise, out there.
Highly recommended!

Older reviews -
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
797 reviews3,632 followers
March 27, 2023
Dimensional demonic possession

Risks should never be underestimated
Because dealing with devils won´t play out well. And this complex and frightening setting isn´t just limited to one timeline, it expands to even longer periods to demonstrate the

Eternity of terror
Because compared to the short human lives, evil entities have much more free time to exercise possessing, manipulating, mesmerizing, haunting, and destroying the minds and souls of their weak, fleshy, and so over the top mortal victims. The psychological terror and drama of all of this for both victims and their friends and family is an essential part of what makes this so frightening. It´s a bit as if

The soul of a loved one has been perverted and destroyed
And what´s left is nothing one wishes to have close contact with anymore. One of the coolest uses of the funny old concept of „Is there still a piece of your old personality in there?“ combined with Lovecraftian horror style and well used Chekhovs and MacGuffins. I still don´t fully understand the difference between the two, but that doesn´t stop me from incompetently driveling about their importance.

Unrelated fun fact:
You might have heard about Joe Hills' father, Stephen King. Poor Joe kind of had no chance, no alternative to not becoming addicted to horror and writing it under such influences. Not to speak of his and his siblings' influence on Kings writing, who was often so annoyed by them when they were small that he integrated elements of „having antagonistic feelings against my own kids“ in his works, see for instance Shining.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11k followers
April 23, 2012
You can color me SOLD on this series.


Here's another intelligent, strongly written story with which to pummel the perceptions of the elitist book snobbers, who sneer and snide at the graphic novel medium.

To them, I politely say, "BITE ME"...because this is great stuff.

I was excited to read this because it was written by Joe Hill, the talented offspring of a certain literary King who shall remain nameless Stephen. While I thought Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box was a promising first work, I really fell enamored with him after reading his second, and much stronger, novel Horns. That effort definitively showed that Hill has story-telling chops, and I’ve been a Joe Hill enthusiast ever since.

So, I expected to enjoy this.

What I didn’t count on, was how wonderfully in step Gabriel Rodriquez’s art would be with Hill’s words, and how gracefully the two would play off each other, enhancing the already impressive quality of their individual efforts. This was dance.

Locke and Key is horror done by two artists who knew exactly what they wanted to accomplish...and did so. This is terror created through atmosphere, suspense and narrative, without simply resorting to the shock value of extreme, over-the-top gore, something that really spotlights lazy, ineffective writing when used in lesser works (Crossed, volume 2: Family values anyone). Oh, there’s plenty of blood and guts here, and some deeply disturbing “adult-orientated” sequences, but these scenes are used as impact accessories to the story, not the central attraction.

This graphic novel is creepy and unsettling in the way the best horror is. The story uses common, relatable life experiences (e.g., childhood fears, family dynamics, teenage awkwardness) as the canvas, upon which Hill and Rodriquez then layer some serious darkness, some well timed plot twists, and two exceptionally done villains, one human and one...other.

Okay..here’s a quick summary and some of the excellent artwork.


In an act of brutal, seemingly random, violence, two teens murder Mr. Locke and shatter the lives of his wife and their three children, Ty, Kinsey and Bode.


In the aftermath, the four travel to the town of Lovecraft, Massachusetts, to live at Key House, the families ancestral home. Each is broken in their own way, one by suffocating guilt, one by post traumatic shock, one by heartache and loneliness, and one by the loss of dad.

Unfortunately, the pain is not over.

Upon moving into Key House, things immediately take a turn for the weird. Turns out the Locke’s new home is neither ordinary ...


nor is it vacant.


To make matters much, much worse, it also turns out that the murder of Mr. Locke was not random at all, and the family will find itself beset by nightmares both human and not human while they try and exorcise their grief and reassemble some semblance of a life.


What makes this such a terrific story is not just the bounty of scary moments, some of which can really shake you. No, what sets this apart and is that Hill and Rodriguez tell a complete tale, and the calm, “ordinary” moments are as important, and as interesting, as the horror.


One of my favorite of these moments is when Bode, testing out one of the houses many unusual attributes, secretly visits his sister as she relives the day their father died.


It is sad and moving, but ends comically in a perfect older sister, younger brother moment. It's perfect.

These quiet moments of reflection are necessary to heighten the emotional investment of the reader, and make the more aggressive events much scarier.

So, add this series to the ever growing pile of recent graphic novels that have really raised the bar. Series like Preacher, The Walking Dead, Criminal, Sleeper, Incognito, Sandman, Gotham Central...and now Locke & Key.

Buy it...read it...love it.

Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,911 followers
July 30, 2015
I think most of my friends on Goodreads have either shelved this book to read or have read it. I had to jump on that bandwagon but I was a bit scared.

You see most of them have loved it. Except Erica But she is a hater rebel. Usually books that everyone else loves and fangirl/boys over tend to leave me dry.

I actually liked this one!

It starts off all violent and shit. This guy is killed by a teenage nut job and the nut job is going for his family also, but they get away from him and he ends up in juvenile prison.

The family moves across the country to the Lovecraft mansion. They maybe should have stayed at the Hotel 6. This place is kinda wonky.
You have lots of rooms that need certain keys. Including one that makes you into a ghost.

Then you have this hag/bitch in the well.

That hag/bitch turns out to be something way freaky. I only requested two of these volumes from the library and I think that's probably going to make me mad at myself.
Because there is lots of this:

And I tend to like that.
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 90 books232k followers
December 30, 2014
When I first started reading Locke & Key a couple years ago, I kinda shrugged and thought to myself, "Yeah. Okay. That's pretty good...."

But the story got its hooks into me pretty quickly after that. Unique concept. Great art. Great storytelling. Great characters.

I read a blurb somewhere that said something along the lines of, "Locke & Key is this generation's Sandman." I don't know if I'd go that far... but if someone wanted to take that stance around me, I don't think I'd waste much energy arguing against it either. The truth is, this series does have a similar mythic feel to it, though its vibe is more Lovecraftian than folkloric.

Simply said: great series. And as an added bonus, it stands entirely on its own. You don't need to know anything about Marvel continuity or folklore to help you understand the story. (Which might give it a leg up on Sandman in some ways.)

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,563 reviews863 followers
June 13, 2022
A superb piece of work - a supernatural conspiracy thriller / horror series, based around a family legacy house called Lovecraft and the secrets and pasts within it. A family tragedy sees the Locke family return to their family legacy, Lovecraft, only to see peril follow them their. It's all about the Lockes and the keys... enterprising stuff! 8 out of 12.

2016 read; 2012 read
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,129 reviews3,552 followers
July 3, 2015
Fuck! ... That was an admiring “Fuck” not a “Fuck you” Fuck.

Creative Team:

Writer and Co-Creator: Joe Hill

Illustrator and Co-Creator: Gabriel Rodriguez

Coloring: Jay Fotos

Lettering: Robbie Robbins


Welcome to Keyhouse, kid.

Was it weird to grow up in a house with a name?

You have no idea.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this comic book series, but...

...oh, boy! I never thought that it was THAT GOOD!!!

This first volume was really awesome!

The creative team, Hill & Rodriguez, definitely they worked as a team, since the graphic sequences are beautiful synchronized between texts and drawings.

Nothing is made by chance. Everything is carefully done. Writer and Artist aren’t in a competition of who’s bigger name in the title. Both are working in full communication to present a great story.

In a prose novel is quite easy to “hide” stuff from the readers, if there isn’t written down, it doesn’t exist in their minds, but in a comic book, where it’s a visual format, you need to be crafty to “hide” things, and this creative team in the first chapter, they played with our expectations and each time that you think that you know what happened, a new piece of info is shown, telling you that it’s better to enjoy the ride and avoid to make assumptions.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that you can guess here and there, future things in the tale, if you read carefully. Delicious reading.

Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son) while he was already done prose work, this Project is his first venture in comic books, and certainly he did a masterful job.

Gabriel Rodriguez’s art style reminds me like a merge between Frank Quitely’s and Humberto Ramos’. But don’t take me wrong, Rodriguez indeed has his own style and he did a superb task presenting a scary story, showing hard-to-cope scenes with elegance.


Lots. Doors. To other worlds. Doors to other possibilities.

You may think that the premise isn’t that original. True, it’s about a mysterious haunted house with magic doors. Something like Narnia or Moving Castle meets Amityville, but the KEY word here is...


Many stories may sound alike, many premises can born from similar ambiances, BUT the narrative element that they helped them to come out as distinctive tales are the characters and its developing.

And you can be sure that this comic book has great characters with excellent development and wonderful interaction between each other. You can feel them as real people, and even when you think that you already figure it out some character, they always surprised and they become deeper and deeper, harder to know the turns that the story will take. Each chapter, while develops the general story, is beautiful managed to know deeper inside of certain character, a different one on each chapter. As I said before, nothing is made by chance, all it’s part of a well thought plan.

A carefully crafted story where you aren’t getting into it at its beginning, and definitely not its ending neither!

Profile Image for Chad.
7,734 reviews869 followers
May 13, 2020

Going back and doing a reread of what I consider one of the best horror comics of all time. Joe Hill is Stephen King's son and Joe has definitely picked up some of his father's best traits. The story starts off tragically. Gabriel Rodriguez's art is so expressive. I felt myself getting all verklempt watching these kids deal with the awful aftermath of that day at the cottage.

So the family packs up and moves in with their uncle back at the family estate in Lovecraft, MA. As they are dealing with their loss while exploring this strange house, Bode comes across a key that allows him to open a door that allows only his spirit to go through. While ghosting around, he hears a voice in the wellhouse that slowly worms its way into getting Bode to do what it wants. Meanwhile, the boy who killed their father is slowly making his way across country to find the keys that have eluded him. And by the end of the book, everything is set up for the rest of the series.

Review of Season 1 of the Netflix TV show
Season 1 covers the first 3 volumes of the comics. The casting is spot on. The episodes were so-so though, especially the first half. It's obvious that some things were changed for budgetary reasons. The back half of the show does pick up. The show keeps with the major beats of the comics although the end of the first season does differ. Both Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez make cameos in the last episode as paramedics.

If you remember, Gabriel drew himself in as a paramedic at the beginning of Alpha & Omega.

All in all, it was a decent first season and I'll tune in for Season 2.
January 20, 2018
I could, as seems customary in cases like this one (where twenty thousand million people—and a half—loved a book but two—and one quarter—didn't), put one of those silly "unpopular opinion" warnings at the top of this review. But I won't. Ha. "Why," you ask? Because:

1/ Love a book? Hate a book? Doesn't matter. It's your opinion, you're entitled to it. No need to apologize for not agreeing with the masses. Your opinion is what makes you YOU, so bloody shrimping own it. And stuff.
2/ People who feel offended by those who dare criticize a book they love can kiss my pincers.
3/ I don't give a flying fish what others think of my opinion.
4/ I'm in a great mood today.

Soooooo, Locke & Key. I first tried reading this volume three years ago. I'd purchased the Kindle version but reading comics and graphic novels on a tablet/computer/whatever is not for me. What can I say, I'm one of those decrepit, ancient ones who prefer good old paper over digitalized stuff. Anyway, the paperback version was a total rip off 20€ at the time, so I decided to wait until the price went down and stuff. And now I wish I hadn't bothered here we are.

Okay, let's cut the crap and get this over with:

I didn't like the art.
Frankly, I thought most of the characters looked downright grotesque.

There's the Medusa wannabe who looks like a guy:

The teenager who looks like a 40-year-old gorilla:

The P.E. teacher who has Picasso-worthy hands and looks like a man:

The guy with the rabbit teeth who looks like he might or might not be related to the P.E. teacher of the Picasso-worthy hands:

And let's not forget this delicious-looking lady who's so bloody sexy I'm considering locking her up in my harem:

Long story short: the characters are both ugh and ew. Also, their faces are too pointy and angular. Damn, chins that sharp should be outlawed or something. I mean, I'm pretty sure they're more serrated and deadlier than my murderous babies' pincers and stuff. Oh, before I forget: can someone tell me what the shrimp is up with the shades on the characters' faces?

Please someone, anyone, get the poor boys a bucket of under eye concealer or something!

I could go on and on about this lovely bunch, tell you about the super contagious Snarly Mouth Virus (SMV™) they're all obviously suffering from, or about That Weird Semi Round Thing They Have on their Jagged Little Chins (TWSRTTHotJLG™), but things to do, homicidal shrimps to unleash and all that crap, so I won't. Lucky you and stuff. One last thing I want to mention, though: there's quite a lot of violence in this volume. And lots of blood, too. This could have been most delightfully gruesome, had it not looked like someone kept inadvertently dropping cans of tomato sauce all over the panels. Kind of takes the horror out of the horror story and stuff. And makes the whole thing feel like a ridiculous B movie. But hey, it's not all bad. I mean, the art sort of reminded me of a Gorillaz album, which in turn reminded me of my glorious youth, so yay and stuff.

I didn't give a shrimping fish about any of the characters.
Even lowly barnacles have more charisma that this unlikable bunch here. And my infamous herd of ironing boards is way more emotional than them, too. But what's really depressing here is that I didn't even lust over the villains. And that's quite suicide-inducing, if you ask me.

I couldn't have cared less about the plot.
It was meh and it was sloooow and it was boring and it was all over the place and it was confusing as fish. Only not in Gloriously Befuddling Glen Cook Way (GBGCW™). And I guess the story might have been appropriately terrifying/sinister/macabre/whatever if the art hadn't been so OTT as mentioned ↑↑. But it was, so it wasn't. Oh, and by the way, naming your supposedly creepy New England town Lovecraft isn't particularly clever. It's nothing more than pretentious high-school level name-dropping.

» And the moral of this This Graphic Novel is One of the Most Popular and Highest Rated on Goodreads This is it That Proves it The Fluffy Siberian Bunnies Have Hacked the Site This is the End Crappy Non Review (TGNiOofMPaHRoGTisTPiTFSBHHtSTisECNR™) is: go ahead Locke & Key maniacs, unleash all hell on me because I had the despicable audacity not to fangirl about your precious! I am not afraid and stuff! Also, my murderous crustaceans are ready for you!

[April 2015]

Note to self: stop trying to read comics on your Kindle Fire. The screen is too small and the panels seem to have a life of their own (oh look! They zoom in and out all by themselves! It's magic!). Ugh. I guess I'll just have to wait for this to go on sale. Because there's no way I'm spending 20€ on a graphic novel. Nope nope nope.

Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
841 reviews3,774 followers
February 15, 2021

Please don’t tell me that I didn’t get it, it’s no use. I already feel as if I didn’t read the same book as all the friends I trust who loved it.

► I know that many readers loved the art, but it threw me off completely. First because in my opinion none of the characters look like their ages (Sam and Tyler, teenagers ??!!) and that increased my general confusion in the beginning. Secondly I thought that all the shapes were too ‘abrupt’, with weird shades on the faces, for example, and it wasn't a pleasure for me to look at the drawings. Now, on that aspect it’s really a matter of taste.

My interest is running away...

► As far as I'm concerned, the plot was slow, predictable in some parts (Sam's storyline, the Everywhere Key) and sometimes all over the place, with characters I still don’t know/care about. Even though the concept is interesting and brings together several aspects that seem right up my alley (a magical school, parallel worlds...) I was bored and my overall feeling is one of MEH, but I am aware that my opinion of the art definitely influenced my enjoyment and my involvement.

Sigh. Keep in mind that I'm in a tiny minority, though. I'll probably go on with the series to see if my reading experience gets better.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,645 reviews5,108 followers
November 13, 2015
oooooo.... an eerie old mansion on a woody estate, strange mysteries and dangerous secrets, a tangled and forgotten past, a san francisco family of three - father slain - seeking a new life on an island named Lovecraft off the coast of massachusetts, in a place called The Keyhouse. a beautiful girl who lives at the bottom of a well, an insane killer on the hunt for magical keys, doors that open into odd places, walk through one door and change your gender, walk through another door and turn into a ghost... who knows what else? the mysteries multiply. awesome!

the art is excellent: a muted kind of vivid, smooth and professional, with a sometimes whimsical but basically grounded approach to illustrating the characters. and the writing is even better. characterization and narrative feel carefully honed, sketched with smaller strokes, intimate details parsed out slowly, the mysteries unfolding at an even pace, flashbacks that adroitly serve to both increase suspense and to render each character completely understandable, the narrative by turns sinister and endearing and magical - and always compelling both the quick turn of the page and the more contemplative search for hidden meaning in past pages.

i really enjoyed this one a lot. i wish i had read it on Halloween. or on a rainy day in a creaky mansion on an island off of massachusetts. heaven!
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
July 7, 2021
Great and engaging horror story by Joe Hill with great art to complement by Gabriel Rodriquez. I have not historically really been a horror fan, but this hooked me by focusing on the devastated Locke family that has to recover (and doesn't handle well, in each their own screwed-up ways) the murder of their father. We get to know and care about each of the characters, which I think for me must be the key to the best horror stories. Since we come to care about the people, and find them relatable small town folks, we suspend belief about their sometimes improbably suspenseful actions, and we keep turning the pages. And there's great dialogue, not just gore, though if you are looking for that, this story will not disappoint you.

The series is a tribute to H. P. Lovecraft, obviously, from the subtitle. Of course the family moves into a perfect horror site, a dark and stormy gothic mansion named KeyHouse [too on-the-nose, these names?] with lots of secret rooms, each with a separate key and identity. Ghosts figure in this dark fantasy in interesting ways, of course, and the story thus works on different levels as most great stories do, delving into family and local history. As I said, I think the art is gorgeous, though there is a lot of use of red, as one might expect. . . :) The impressive beginning to an important series.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,450 reviews7,564 followers
February 3, 2015
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

I’m giving this 4 Stars because it’s the first in the series and I need some rating wiggle room Fuck that, this gets all the stars.

Locke & Key is proof that there is indeed a graphic novel out there for everyone. Being from a small town without a lot of a lot of exposure to the world of comic books and being a *gasp* GIRL on top of that . . .

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I never bothered with the genre until I birthed a tiny little nerd and then I started dabbling in illustrated stories in order to prove that “I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom.”

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It’s been a little hit or miss when it comes to my enjoyment of comics (same with novels - shocker), but I found a winner this time. Added bonus that FIVE different library locations somehow pulled their individual volumes simultaneously and they were all waiting on the hold shelf last night. The Gods smile upon me!!!!!

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What begins as a tragic story of a family who moves across the country to an old family home mansion after a violent act tears apart their lives, quickly morphs into something a little more sinister . . .

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I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed this first volume. It’s gory, it’s dark, it has an angsty MC who has an actual reason to be an angsty teen . . .

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It has Bode. Oh how I adore little Bode . . .

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It has some creepy bitch who lives in a well . . .

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And the artwork? Goodgodamighty, just look at this artwork!!!

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What more can you ask for? Oh yeah, that’s right. This is a graphic novel so you can ask for MOREMOREMOREMORE volumes. I can’t wait to unlock some more of the story : )

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Profile Image for Virginie Roy.
Author 2 books598 followers
March 9, 2020
I knew Joe Hill because I read NOS4A2 and Horns, but discovered Locke and Key with the Netflix series. As I read in the reviews of the TV series, the graphic novels are darker and the plot is a bit different. For me, it was almost like reading another story, so it entertained me even if I just finished the show. I really like the universe Joe Hill created and I'm glad I can now read about it!
Profile Image for Nat K.
416 reviews155 followers
October 26, 2020

”If he does turn up, he better hope the cops get him. The next homicidal maniac who comes our way is going to be find another homicidal maniac waiting for him.”

A couple of admissions. I’ve not read a graphic novel in full before. I’ve only ever flicked through a couple at the bookstore and library. I’m not a fan of horror. This book is both. So, two firsts.

Lovecraft, Massachusetts. The Rendell family have made the move back to the ancestral home “Keyhouse” in attempt to start life anew, after the shocking, violent murder of their husband/father, Rendell Locke. The family have escaped one horror, to find themselves embarking on another, as “Keyhouse” is filled with mysterious rooms and a mysterious inhabitant or two.

While reading this, I couldn’t help but ponder why it seems that most graphic novels tend to veer toward darker themes. Very dark. Why is that? Maus (Klaus Spiegelmann), Batman: Dark Knight (Frank Miller), Sin City (Frank Miller) come to mind. Dark, dark and dark. I think the world has enough darkness in it, without adding more.

I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the graphic novel as an art form. But I found this one to be excessively violent, and I just don’t see the point.

The storyline which features the daughter, Kinsey, has some merit. Her feelings of isolation and guilt at her father’s death are well portrayed. Her wish to fit in at her new school, for people to stop staring at her because they know of her father’s gruesome death. Done with some insight into the teen mind.

But the rest of the story did not resonate with me at all.

Yes, Joe Hill can write. The talent for that particular art is definitely in his genes. I read his book “Heart Shaped Box” when it came out, and remember thinking at the time, it was pretty good for a first book. This particular storyline is just too harsh for me. It oozes malevolence and nastiness.

Regarding the graphics, the colour (or lack thereof) is muted. Monochrome. Which adds to the tone of an already depressing storyline. Splodges of red dominate (too much blood). Gabriel Rodriguez’s images are sharp and help tell Joe Hills’s story well. Again, obviously a talented guy, but the content…

While I appreciate the work that has gone into this graphic novel, it is not for me. Not my cup of tea at all. I won’t be continuing with the series.

ARTWORK: Gabriel Rodriguez

Trigger Warning! Excessive violence, bloody graphics, weapons, disturbing themes.

*** Shout out to Dawn & Ron who I buddy read this with. Make sure you have a look at their
thoughts about this book too. ***
Profile Image for Ginger.
754 reviews376 followers
July 11, 2019
I'm new in the graphic novel game so I'm not sure how to rate this series to others. But, I will say this one was amazing.

Welcome to Lovecraft is the first graphic novel in the series Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez. They did a fantastic job on the collaboration with the storyline and graphics. Really well done!

Here's a look at some of the images in the book...

I can't wait to find out what's up with this house, these magic keys and who's at the bottom of the well that was locked away. Fun and creepy stuff! 5 STARS!
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews615 followers
June 16, 2015
After months of putting this aside, I finally decided to read this. The premise was very gripping, and the execution was adequate. It's not the best graphic novel I've ever read, but it does have the type of plot that would keep you reading till the end. I can't wait to read the second volume and find out what happens next.

-Fantastic plot
-Likable Characters
They all had their own problems, and each one resulted positively in terms of enjoyment. I enjoyed the graphic novel more because of that because it added a feeling of psychological thriller to it.
-Decent Artwork
It could've been done better, but I've seen way worse. I'm not that fond of it, but it's something I can bear with.

-While the plot was fantastic, at times it was all over the place
-Contrary to my usual preference, I didn't like the shifting of timelines here. It was a bit confusing. Maybe it's because of the graphic novel format, but I didn't enjoy the shifting that much.

4/5 stars.I heard that the series improves even more, so I'll be reading the next volumes real soon. While I was not blown away, I can still consider this a very good graphic novel. Highly recommended for horror and psycho-thriller fans.
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,419 followers
February 3, 2015

Re-reading this for the third time as I get ready to tackle the final two volumes in the series: Clockworks and Alpha & Omega. I love everything about the world and its rules Joe Hill has conjured here, and the characters he has lovingly crafted to live in its pages. Locke & Key has become one of my favorite series ever and I can't wait to see how it's going to end.

2012 Review:
This is my second go around with Joe Hill's phenomenal foray into graphic novel territory (to prepare for Volumes 3 and 4). Welcome to Lovecraft is a stunning debut, and I enjoyed it even more this time, so much so that I've bumped it from four to five stars. Yes, it really is that good.

The premise is a fantastic one and you will be totally swept up in the awesome imagination it shows and the mystery and adventure it promises. The character development in just a few short pages is outstanding -- Hill deftly explores the wonderment of childhood, the searing pain of grief and the love of family.

Little Bode Locke is as sweet and precocious as they come. His boyish, unchecked curiosity is what reignites the mystery of Key House, the sprawling family mansion where the Locke family relocates after the brutal slaying of its patriarch. Left to grieve are big brother Ty, middle sister Kinsey, their mom, and of course Bode.

Each member of the family struggles to come to terms with the gargantuan loss -- Mom is drinking too much, Ty is crushed with guilt and contemplating suicide, Kinsey is withdrawn and tormented by the bloody memories of that fateful day. With his family so distracted, Bode is left to roam the grounds of Key House, and to become entangled in a very old mystery, like the fly unwittingly ensnared by the spider's web.

Key House is what it promises -- a house with many doors and with many keys to unlock them. I won't tell you what's behind the doors because that would ruin the surprise. I will say that it is so goddamn fantastic you are not going to be able to put this story down until you have finished it. Then you are going to want to run out and immediately get your hands on the rest of the series ... at least what Hill has written so far (and thank goodness he isn't done yet!)

This is storytelling at its finest. Can I use the word superlative? Yes? Alright, superlative.

Original review December 2008
It's becoming clear to me that Joe Hill's real strength as a writer lies in the short story (and now graphic novel) format. There is obviously something about the concise, contained prose on a smaller canvas (rather than the sprawling novel) that brings out the best in his storytelling talents. I was not a fan of Hill's debut novel Heart-Shaped Box; however, his short story collection 20th Century Ghosts has amazing depth and texture, and he scores big again with Locke and Key, the first in a graphic novel series that shows real imagination. Calling the town Lovecraft is a nice touch. Let's not ignore the fantastic artistic contribution made by Gabriel Rodriquez. Their collaboration guarantees a memorable reading experience.
Profile Image for Lyndsey.
126 reviews3,150 followers
February 24, 2011
This book was (I imagine) what it might be like to down a spoonful of sugar that was, unbeknownst to you, laced with Meth.

What is IN this shi-at, Mary?!

The sugary spoonful sounds like a great idea in your head. "A house full of strange locks and doors with many keys that perform different astonishing feats. One door that can force your consciousness out of your body, while your body appears to be dead. A special key that can open any door and take you anywhere." Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, you get some disturbing surprises along with it. A lot of disturbing surprises.

In fact, I almost think that this book was actually a spoonful of Meth laced with a dash of sugar.

Meth is my favorite thing!

I absolutely loved the little boy, Bode. As well as the storyline involving the creepy woman who lives in a locked-up well and calls herself an "echo". And the ripping-your-concious-out-of-your-body-for-fun door. 

But EVERYTHING else, I didn't care for. And there's a lot going on. A little too much going on in fact.

I didn't appreciate the non-linear storytelling in this instance. Or the POV of the killer. Or even the art for the most part (except for Bode, his sister Kinsey, and the "Echo", which were really well done).

I probably would not recommend this to non-graphic novel readers. Not until you are more experienced in the genre, at least.

It had a bit of adventure and a lot of fantasy. No romance and a lot of creepiness. There were definitely some very intriguing and awe-inspiring concepts but overall it was just a little too twisted.

Too much Meth and not enough sugar.

Like a crazy heat-seeking murdering alien maniac singing "These are a few of my Favorite Things."

Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews896 followers
October 1, 2019
This was surprisingly good!

I often find myself having trouble with the pacing of graphic novels (they tend to feel a little rushed) but this one had a good mixture of character development and plot.
Profile Image for Andy Marr.
Author 2 books716 followers
May 11, 2023
A very decent story, but I don't care much for the illustrations. Everyone just looks a little... skeewiff. Especially the women.
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,496 reviews962 followers
May 25, 2014

This will be a rushed review, because :
1) I was too engrossed in the story to take notes,
2) I want to start on the second album as soon as possible.

The first thing I feel you need to know about the comic is that it is definitely a horror story, not for the faint of heart. Yes, the protagonists are very young, namely the three children of the Locke family, but I hesitate to call it Young Adult material, given the physical and psychological torments they are put through right from the start. There’s also the explicit gore, the dialogue liberally laced with four letter words, the twisted look into the head of a psychopat that put the comic in the recommended for an adult audience bracket, at least for me.

Having got the warning out of the way, let me say that Welcome to Lovecraft is one of the best written and best drawn comics I have read lately (and that includes The Sandman and Saga). I already knew about Joe Hill, and I have a couple of his books bought and waiting for the right mood to give them a chance, but even so I was pleasantly surprised by how well he handles the comic medium, how he mixes flashbacks and different points of view to transform the story of a horrible crime into a tale of supernatural forces battling for possession of mysterious artefacts hidden in a gothic mansion that pays homage to Edgar Alan Poe, Psycho the movie and Lovecraft. That’s actually the name of the mansion, on an island in Maine, but I’m also getting ahead of the story.

The events start in California, where a couple of juvenile delinquents attack the Locke family leaving the father dead and the three children struggling to come to terms with the tragedy. Tyler is the eldest, seventeen or eighteen I believe, going trough the awkward phase were he rejects parental authority to the point where he feels guilty of pointing the killers at his father. Kinsey is twelve, a modern girl with a punk haircut and piercings, tough on the outside, but vulnerable and insecure inside. Bode is the youngest and most adventurous member of the family, at six still too young to understand all the implications of the events the family is going through. The mother herself emerges scarred and depressed from the ordeal, taking refuge in drink and moving the whole family to the East coast, to the mansion where most of the following events will take place.

This mansion is a wonderful place to explore for young Bode and for the readers of the comic, thanks to the artwork of Gabriel Rodriguez. Bode finds the first of the magical keys with power to alter reality. He also meets a face-changer entity captive at the bottom of a well on the estate, possibly the mastermind of evil that is attacking the Locke family indirectly through mind controlled agents.

Better stop here before I give the whole plot away. There is a lot of room for development in the next volumes, and I plan to read them as soon as I can get them in my hands. Luckily, the series is finished and I don’t have to wait years before the finish line, like I do with Saga.
Profile Image for Rodrigo.
1,058 reviews411 followers
September 5, 2021
Me han gustado mucho los dibujos, aunque había algunos personajes cuyas caras parecian copias, y las chicas tienen caras como muy rudas casi parecen chicos también. Es más violento de lo que pensaba, pero bien.
Me ha sorprendido lo diferente que es de la serie, se parecen como el agua al aceite, jajaja.
Seguiré con la serie.
La historia es totalmente diferente, me gusta más este arco que el que le dieron a la serie.
Profile Image for Justin (Look Alive Books).
278 reviews2,260 followers
July 9, 2016
Hey, hey, hey... this was a great little ghost story. You've got a big creepy house with interesting rooms to explore. You've got a family trying to rebuild their lives and start over. You've got keys to rooms where magical stuff happens. You've got keys that take you anywhere. You've got a psycho murderer with a rough past. You've got a scary something at the bottom of a well. Yeah, so if this kinda stuff is your jam then you will probably like this book, I mean comic book, I mean graphic novel.

Joe Hill is very, very good at creating imaginative, expansive worlds and stories unlike anything else you've read. He takes horror stereotypes, puts them in a blender, and then uses them to create something very different and original. I'm excited to keep reading through these.

Hey, you also get the added bonus of saying you read an entire book in one day until someone reminds you it's a graphic novel.
Profile Image for Jenny Lawson.
Author 9 books17.2k followers
August 31, 2020
My only complaint is that I don't have access to the next volume yet.
Profile Image for Dennis.
659 reviews269 followers
July 4, 2022
Great comic.

The main characters are three kids that lost their father when he was shot by some burglars.

After that tragedy the family moves to an old mansion, the Keyhouse.

Little do they know that the burglars were looking for a key that opens a door to another world. And that door, of course, is in the Keyhouse.

Ghosts, crazies, a spooky house. It's creepy, it's intense, and it has some good characters to boot.

I'm not exactly a fan of the art. I think for the most part this looks pretty ugly. Rodríguez does a good job, though, in showing sorrow and uncertainty in the characters' faces. And some spooky scenes were done very well.


But Joe Hill's writing is the star of this one.


Recommended by Mouthful Of Books
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews869 followers
September 26, 2015
A chili cheeseburger with avocado, tomatoes and jalapenos, there's plenty to sink your teeth into in Joe Hill's Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft. It's a psychological horror story (not that the blood and gore isn't there in spades), but I feel like the characters are driven by guilt and tormented by what's missing from their lives. I enjoyed it. Not sure I will continue the series, even though the story became more compelling as it came to an end (of part 1). I do like my cheeseburgers, but I'm not sure I can survive a whole series on a diet of red meat! Fair warning: I'm going to begin my next couple of reviews with more comparisons to food. Maybe it will be fun or insightful or just plain silly, but I'm going with it!
Profile Image for Kerri.
980 reviews351 followers
October 7, 2021
I think it says a lot about my enjoyment of this series that as soon as I finished it I went straight back to the beginning. It's fun to spot details that didn't feel as significant the first time around. I'm also noticing more details in the design of the house and keys. A great start to a brilliant story!

I've been meaning to read this for years, since I have loved the five books by Joe Hill that I have read over the years, and have been intrigued by this series, especially because I was incredibly drawn to the key aspect of it. As a general rule I prefer to read the story before I watch the film or show, but last year Netflix released the first season of Locke and Key, so I watched that first since it was there, and I really enjoyed it. Especially, as I had expected, the wonderful house and those keys. When I saw the other day that the second season will be released soon, I thought I'd use the time to read the series.

It's quite different to the show in many ways, which I've found myself enjoying because I have been surprised by certain things. I like both. The comics are darker and more violent, which I am enjoying. I've read the first three volumes, and I'm struggling to remember what happened in each volume -- not in a negative way, just that it's so seamless and well done that I went to mention something I especially enjoyed that wasn't in the show, before recalling that it happened in the third one, not the first!

It took me a couple of pages to get used to characters as they were drawn, since I'm used to picturing them as their actors, but at some point that stopped being an issue and I can easily picture both now. I love the art and the detailing of the keys and locks.

🗝️Trailer for season 2 of the show:🗝️
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,470 reviews9,634 followers
July 7, 2015

The graphics in the book are phenomenal! I liked the story line as well. I love the character of Bode, he just tries to do the right thing. Poor little guy, all of this violence going on around him!

I'm looking forward to reading these books and finding out what is the meaning to all of these doors. Where did they come from?

You also have bad guys in the book you have to deal with, but hopefully they will get out of the freaking way so I can find out about these doors. :)

Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,487 reviews12.8k followers
May 26, 2014
I read this puppy when it first came out a few years ago and really wanted to like it, and didn’t. So, now the series is done, I thought I’d go back and give it another shot - maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind, or maybe I was just plain wrong, and this time I’d love it? Nope - still terrible, unfortunately.

Three kids - an older boy, his slightly younger sister, and their youngest sibling, a boy called Bode (and the only one whose name I could remember, purely for being such an odd name!) - have their father taken from them when one of his students comes to his summer home and murders him. The kids and their mum move from west coast to east coast back to the father’s childhood home - a massive, forbidding Lovecraftian mansion in the fictional Massachusetts town of Lovecraft (the thinking seems to be: it’s a “horror” comic so let’s remind readers of it by heavily referencing horror writer, HP Lovecraft).

The Lovecraftian mansion set in Lovecraft is of course haunted with all manner of ghosts and special keys unlock special doors that can warp space and time, even the temporal planes - when Bode walks through one door, his body is left behind and he becomes a ghost. And while the kids get over the trauma of their recent loss, their dad’s murderer is on the loose - and he’s coming to finish the job!

It’s definitely cool that Joe Hill is following in his dad’s footsteps and writing his own haunted house story but I have to say he’s certainly not as great a writer as Stephen King was when he was a younger man and Locke & Key isn’t a patch on The Shining. For one, Hill focuses far too much on the kids’ difficulty in getting over their dad’s death which is realistic but not at all compelling to read - I get it, they’re saaaaaaaad! - while failing to make them stand out as characters.

The older brother is pure emo, the sister is a flatliner - she literally at one point joins a track team and says that she’s running because she’s got a lot to run away from - what cheesy writing! - and Bode is your average Disney kid. Cute as a bug, always being clumsy but in a way that advances the story like he’s fooling around and then - oh, is that a special key that fell out of that jug I knocked off that shelf? How convenient!

And how on earth can this family afford so much? They have a summer home, separate from their regular home, AND a giant mansion on the other side of the country! Their mum doesn’t work, their dad was a school administrator, and the uncle is a failed artist. Where the hell is the money coming from!?

The story is completely static. The kids mope about - do we like them yet now that we’ve seen them sob for the millionth time? not even a bit! - while Bode pokes about the mansion and stumbles across the magic doorways and the ghost in the well. Basically the story is, the family moves to the mansion and then spends the whole book waiting for the killer to show up - very boring!

I do appreciate the supernatural element and that the keys and doors thing is original, but the book really needs things like a plot and characters you care about in order for it to matter. Bode becomes a ghost, then the older brother - so what? I hate both of these clods!

Gabriel Rodriguez’s art is fine but I don’t think it’s suited to the horror genre, mostly because it’s too cartoonish. The characters are a little too anime-esque for Hill’s over-emotional, horror-leaning script and I can’t say I found the villains in the story very menacing in their depiction. The layouts and drawings themselves are fine and definitely suit mainstream comics, but for a comic that’s supposed to creep you out, it’s not a good fit.

I’ve tried reading one other Joe Hill book, Heart Shaped Box, which I couldn’t get past page 50 because it was so badly written, so I guess his work just isn’t for me.

Locke & Key wants to be a horror comic that mixes the old and new to create something exciting and fresh, but instead it’s a very tedious book with completely flat characters, a slow and uninvolving plot, and some supernatural elements that don’t liven up the paper-thin story in the least.
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