Thad wrote:Locke and Key...I'm still deciding how I feel about it. It's well-written and -drawn and I like the characters and the setting, but man it's just so violent and cruel.
Well...sometimes. Actually when people aren't getting shot or raped or hatcheted or bricked or stabbed or impaled through the eye with a tire iron it manages to be a surprisingly uplifting story about a family coping with tragedy, with peers and teachers who support them when you might expect genre conventions to make them loners and outcasts.
The thing with Kinsey's hair bugs me though. You can't cut off dreadlocks and then grow hair down past your shoulders in three months. That just feels like a glaring continuity error and it bugs me every time I see her until she cuts her hair again.
So...yeah, pretty mixed feelings about this one. It's certainly a horror book, and it does a pretty good job of being horrifying -- and truthfully, the psychological elements are a lot more disquieting than the graphic violence that accompanies them. It just feels like it's too much sometimes.
But I guess I've got plenty of time to form a more concrete opinion, seeing as the bundle's got all six volumes.
FOLLOWING UP, now that I've finished it:
It's pretty fucking great. The subsequent volumes are never quite as squicky as that first one, largely because Sam is mostly sidelined after those early issues in favor of a more conventional horror villain.
It doesn't stop being violent -- oh Lord it does not; I think the last book I read with this high a bodycount was X-Statix -- and it never stops ripping out your heart. But it's a damn good horror series with a beautifully-crafted mythology, and makes for a relatable high-school coming-of-age story besides.
It feels like it's all over pretty quickly in only 37 issues; I'd like to spend more time in this world (and apparently there were a couple of special issues that weren't in the bundle, including a Depression-era gangster story). I think the TV series would have been a good way to explore more of the corners of the world (and there's an issue made up largely of single-panel allusions to adventures they have over the course of a month; there are clearly a lot of adventures the Lockes have that we don't see on the page), though on the other hand it could have adapted the entire series in only a season, and padding it out with more material would have run the risk of dragging it out too long; that it occurs as Tyler is in his last year of high school and on the cusp of manhood is pretty essential to the story and the vibe.
(I also don't see how it could have worked on Fox without the gore being toned way down. It could have probably gotten away with minimal changes on basic cable.)
Moot point, I guess. I never saw the pilot but I hear it was pretty good, but the network passed and it didn't happen. Still, if another TV adaptation were to happen, I'd think yeah, that's a good medium to adapt it to.
Course, speculation about TV adaptations isn't intended to say it's anything less than a spectacular comic, and certainly not to trivialize artist Gabriel Rodriguez's role in just why
it's so goddamn good. Rodriguez is a big, big part of what makes Joe Hill's scripts work; this is a series that's all about balancing supernatural horror with human drama. Rodriguez doesn't just excel at the big fights or the big monsters, he also nails the quiet human moments. His character designs and facial expressions are what really carry the weight of the story, from pathos to humor to just plain old good guys and bad guys (and his ability to turn a face from one to the other is enough to give you sympathy for the devil -- the question of "How much of this is Dodge and how much is the demon, and is the real Dodge still in there somewhere?" isn't addressed directly until the very end, but there are enough moments where he seems like an all right guy that you can't help wondering.
It's not a perfect series -- that first volume was pretty hard to get through, and some of the implications aren't explored with the depth and sensitivity I think they deserve (like the keys that allow people to change their race or sex
) -- but I'd definitely list it as one of the best I've read in years.