Friday, September 6, 2013

Comic Review: Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft

    I’ve been hearing about this book for years, and it’s circled around my head as one of those, ‘yeah, I’ll get to it’ titles.  Well, thanks to the graphic novel discussion group I belong to, my hand was forced and I’m glad of it.  This is the first volume of at least five, and though I have every intention of doing so, I have yet to read further.  Welcome to Lovecraft sets up a lot, hints at a lot, and reveals some interesting, but mysterious ‘facts.’  By the end of the volume, I was darned curious about a lot.  One question that plagues my mind is whether or not I read too much into the dark haired woman in the well.  With the Lovecraft reference, I ascribed a Nyarlathotep-type background to her, a bringer of chaos, and one of the only Old Ones to purposefully turn its gaze upon humans, to our lasting horror.  She (it?) fits that mold in this first volume, but again, I think I may be reading too much, or too much of the wrong thing, into it.  Time will tell.  Whatever the case, Hill has set up a great many dominos and shaken the table.  I need to read on, to find out how everything falls.

    One thing is a touch off-putting for this reader; the art.  Now, obviously, art is very subjective.  What I like, and what the next Dork likes will never be exactly the same (talk to my co-Dork Brad about the art in Hawkeye and then talk to me…Or don’t).  And it’s not that Gabriel Rodriguez’s work isn’t technically well done.  (Though it’s not my cup of tea, with the big eyes and kind of cartoony look).  It’s more that the art doesn’t feel quite right with the writing.  Maybe it’s intentional, but things look too nice or happy or…well, cartoon-like.  The subject feels more like something that should be in black & white, or in some old Eerie or Tales from the Crypt style of art.  That said, there are some panels I absolutely love.  The look on young Bode’s face when he’s ‘dead.’  Priceless.  And that shot where the woman in the well climbs out…I actually had a cinematic ‘jump’ when I looked at that panel, something that’s never happened to me in a comic before.  It was startling, and shows that I was engaged with the book.

    Personal artistic taste aside, the book is excellent.  I add my voice to all those others that have probably already told you to read Locke & Key.  And someday in the near future I’ll be listening to my own inner voice and I’ll read the next few volumes.  If you like Neil Gaiman or Clive Barker, especially their more ‘urban fantasy’ work, you should get right on Locke & Key.

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft
Author: Joe Hill
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
Publisher: IDW
ISBN: 978-160010237-0


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