Joe Hill (second child of Stephen King) writes the sort of horror I enjoy, the kind that uses the scary and macabre to tell a story instead of just attempting to manipulate certain reactions and emotions for the hell of it. Too much horror wants nothing more than to scare or disturb people for a moment, which isn’t really that hard to do. There are versions of that cheap sort of manipulation in every genre and medium, but the better storytellers transcend that and use the tropes of their genre or medium as a palette to paint a larger, more engaging picture.
In Locke & Key Hill does exactly that, teaming up with artist Gabriel Rodriguez to create a truly fantastic series of comics. The story follows the Locke family, who after a grisly tragedy retreat to an ancestral home in New England. The three children of the family begin finding keys around the house, each unlocking its own remarkable power.
At first the magical keys are as fun as they sound, but it soon becomes clear that there are much darker things at play within Keyhouse, and that the Locke children will be tasked with stopping an evil presence from obtaining the Omega Key while also trying to put their lives back together and prepare for adulthood in the wake of ongoing trauma.
That’s as much as I can say without spoiling anything, but you should definitely check this title out. They’re all in trade paperbacks now so you won’t even have to worry about having to wait a long time for a new issue to see what happens next.
Random warning: don’t let the fact that minors are the focal point of the story fool you. These are very dark, violent books intended for mature readers.
And for those who want to check out Joe Hill but aren’t willing to give graphic novels a try, 20th Century Ghosts is a collection of his short stories that would be an excellent introduction.