Archive for Locke & Key

The Lurking Horror


H.P. Lovecraft’s Haunt of Horror #2

More of Lovecraft’s stories and poetry re-imagined in comic format by brilliant horror illustrator Richard Corben. We open with “The Music of Erich Zann,” retold in a fairly straightforward fashion. After that, Lovecraft’s poem “The Canal” gets reinterpreted into a nightmarish saga of a horrible flood, and HPL’s poem “The Lamp” becomes a story about explorers in a defiled Egyptian tomb.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I didn’t start out liking this one as much as I liked the previous issue, but on slower re-reading, there’s more stuff I actually enjoy here. There’s the perfect decayed city architecture that Lovecraft preferred, there’s the creepy textual version of Zann’s music, the transcription of the modern nightmare of post-Katrina New Orleans, the invisible menace freed from the crypt. This is beautiful work, simultaneously subtle and gory. If you love horror, especially Lovecraftian cosmic horror, go get this comic.


Locke and Key #6

In the finale of this series, psychotic Sam Lesser has the upper hand, with Tyler Locke under the gun, his mother and cousin locked in the wine cellar, and sister Kinsey clubbed into unconsciousness. Sam is after a couple of mystical keys — the same keys the spirit in the well wants Bode Locke to find. Bode goes through the magic door that turns him into a ghost so he can find the keys — once he gives the “Anywhere Key” to the spirit, she takes it, walks out a door, and vanishes. Meanwhile, Tyler tries to get away from Sam, falls against the “ghost door” and, as far as Sam can tell, dies. Is there going to be any way to stop Sam before he kills the rest of the family, too?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A good mix of suspense, mundane chase/action sequences, and extremely creepy weirdness. I wish we’d seen a bit more about the family’s ancestral home, the Keyhouse, as it looked like it’d make for a wonderful haunted house. There’s also word that there’s a new series on the way toward the end of the year.


Pigeons from Hell #4

The Blassenville sisters and the sheriff return to the old plantation to do battle against the horror inside. After that, there’s a great deal of chaos.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I’ve been loving this series, but the final chapter just doesn’t measure up. And I gotta put the blame on the artwork. It’s just too dark, too muddy, too confusing. I read the original story, so I should have a pretty good idea about what’s going on here, but I just couldn’t keep track of what was going on.

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The Goon Gives Up?


The Goon #25

A pretty serious issue. The Buzzard reveals some pretty scary stuff to the Goon — the entire town is cursed. No one there can ever be truly happy, sadness and pain will inevitably multiply, more and more powerful monsters will come. The Goon is the only hope for anyone to survive in the town, but if he stays, he’s doomed to sorrow and misery and hardship until the day he dies. If he leaves, he has a shot at happiness and a normal life, but the town will eventually be destroyed by evil forces.

And the Goon decides to leave.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Obviously, I’m not telling you the whole story, but it’s excellent, and you should go read it. Frankie gets to show an uncommonly sensible side for once, and the whole story, all the characterization and dialogue and action, are just wonderful. If you ain’t reading “The Goon,” you’re a stone-cold sucker.


Locke and Key #5

Psycho teen murder-junkie Sam Lesser finally makes it to Lovecraft, Massachusetts, leaving a long, bloody trail of bodies behind him. While he attacks Kinsey and Tyler and locks their mom and cousin in the cellar, Bode Locke is talking to the sinister echo in the well, telling her that he doesn’t trust her and won’t be back… and she actually gets out of the well and grabs him. Sam and the Echo both want one special key, and if Bode can’t find it, his whole family will die.

Verdict: Thumbs up, I think. I still wish I’d been able to read all the previous issues of this, so I’d understand a bit more of what was going on. But the suspense is good, the shocks are good. Sam and the Echo both make excellent antagonists. I am really curious how this is all going to end.

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Ho-Hum Horror

I picked up a couple of horror books that I’ve been thinking of as sure things — that nevertheless just didn’t float my boat this time.


The Goon #24

There are two stories in this one — a spirit tells a hermit called the Buzzard how Lonely Street got to be so cursed and awful. Basically, he was a pioneer who was stranded in the woods with his family, his business partner, and a woman he lusted for. She manipulated him into becoming a cannibal and killing his family for her, then she left him alone to die. The second story is a silly little work about a gate to hell opening up, leading the Goon and Frankie on a short quest to shut it down.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I liked the first story, but the second just bored me.


Locke and Key #4

First, lemme say that’s a really pretty cover. It’s got nice, shiny gold lettering that, unfortunately, doesn’t scan very well.

The psychotic Sam Lesser has escaped from the insane asylum and is killing his way across the country to get to Tyler Locke and the rest of his family in the Keyhouse mansion in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. The best moment comes in a flashback when Sam watches a figure in a painting send him a message. Nice and creepy there, but the rest just didn’t grab my interest.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Granted, at least part of my problem with this one is that I read the first issue, then missed the next two. Still, I can’t really recommend it. Maybe it’ll be better when they collect the whole thing into a trade paperback.

Sorry, y’all, nothing real goofy-fun this time.

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Houses of Horror

Let’s go ahead and hit the past few weeks’ worth of horror comics, with some stories about haunted mansions, haunted asylums, and haunted cabins…


Locke and Key #1

The guy who wrote this is named Joe Hill — not familiar? It’s Stephen King’s son. So I guess this is pedigreed horror.

The plot here spotlights Tyler Locke, eldest son of the Locke family. After a couple of unbalanced teens make a deranged attack on the family, Tyler and the other surviving Lockes move to Lovecraft, Massachusetts, to live in the family’s ancestral mansion, known for unspecified reasons as Keyhouse. There, Tyler tries to deal with the family trauma, piled on top of his own teen angst, while the lunatic killer makes deals with unsavory powers to escape the madhouse, and Tyler’s little brother Bode finds a key that unlocks a very dangerous door.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Definitely a good introduction. Good characters, good dialogue, lots of tension. The story is definitely rated M for Mature — this ain’t exactly the Groovie Ghoolies for pre-teens, ya know? Keyhouse is very interesting — I’ve got some suspicions about where the plot is about to go, but we’ll see, won’t we? I’m certainly looking forward to the rest of this comic — the first issue sold out awfully fast, and I hope I don’t miss any of the rest of the series.


B.P.R.D.: 1946 #3

It’s still 1946, and we’re still focused on the first major adventure of Professor Bruttenholm and the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Last issue, we discovered a vampire in a barn and learned that Varvara, the adorable little girl who heads up the USSR’s occult research division, is actually a powerful demon. In this issue, the Americans and Russians visit an abandoned insane asylum, where over a hundred maniacs were injected with vampire blood to turn them into monsters. Of course, the half-vampires attack under cover of darkness, several people lose their lives, and Bruttenholm and Varvara meet up with a full-blood vampire who has his own dire plans.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely spooky, especially those scenes in the dark with half-vampires creeping up behind unsuspecting soldiers. Lone criticism: Things are a bit too chaotic, and it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on sometimes. Still, Varvara is such a horrible, horrible little girl, and Baron Konig is nicely creepy, too.


Evil Dead #3

This series continues its re-creation of Sam Raimi’s horror classic, as Ash and his friends are slowly whittled away by the demonic forces inhabiting the cabin. Ash tries to hold on to his own humanity as everyone else gets possessed and turned into Deadites, but it’s becoming more and more clear that his friends are beyond hope, and the only way for him to get out alive is to give in and start killing everyone…

Verdict: Thumbs up. I started out irritated that the series is so perfectly re-creating the movie, but I kept getting so into the groovy horror — it’s been years since I saw the movie, and it really does feel good to get re-acquainted with the story and the characters. And John Bolton’s paintings in this are fantastic. Can paintings of gory, horrific demon-possessed zombies be described as beautiful? I’m gonna go out on a (severed) limb here and say that they can, and they are.

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