Tag Archives: Comics & Graphic Novels

Welcome to Lovecraft

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphlius reviews Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, & al., introduction by Robert Crais, book 1 of the Locke & Key series.

Hill Rodriguez Locke and Key Welcome to Lovecraft

This volume collects the first six numbers of the horror comic Locke & Key, which came to me highly recommended, and lived up to its reputation. The writing is truly scary, and the art is gorgeous. The writer and artist have each done excellent work in developing the central characters, and the plot involves both supernatural horror and more “pedestrian” terror. Psycho-cinematic devices like flashbacks and imagined alternatives come across clearly. 

The story has some similarities to Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, but with a more complex backstory that can clearly support a longer narrative of evolving conflict. Rodriguez’s art reminds me a little of Rick Geary, but definitely has its own style: bold lines and dramatic perspective help to keep the reader following the action. And the colors by Jay Fotos manage to hit just the right notes, no small consideration in a horror comic.

Although this book is the first of several collections from a continuing title, it does contain a full plot arc, and it makes for an excellent read in its own right. I’m happy to pass along the recommendation that brought me to Welcome to Lovecraft.

A Study in Emerald

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews A Study in Emerald [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone, Dave Stewart, & al.

Gaiman Albuquerque Scavone Stewart A Study in Emerald

This graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s short story was pretty disappointing to me. The text is very faithful to the original, with only a few omissions to smooth the reading experience, and these are compensated in every case by the illustrations.

On its own terms, the art is passable, but I didn’t find it compelling. It was markedly inferior to my own visual imaginings when I read the text-only version. More importantly, it collapsed important ambiguities in the original telling, and sometimes in ways that were unhelpful to the cleverly disorienting effects of the tale. An important instance is the portrait of Queen Victoria on the coins in the panels at the bottom of the final page of part 2, “The Room.”

Reading this version is probably better than not reading the story at all. But the text-only version provides a superior experience, especially for those with the relevant background in Holmesiana and Yog-Sothothery. And that version is freely available online.