Why Should I Be Excited About Locke & Key?

by Nick Devonald on January 15, 2020

Why Should I Be Excited About Locke & Key?

So many reasons. Before getting into the reasons why you should be excited though I should probably tell you a little about Locke & Key. It's an upcoming adaptation of Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez's incredibly successful comic series. It follows the Locke family who, after their father Rendell is killed, move to Lovecraft (or Matheson in the Netflix series) and their family’s ancestral home, Keyhouse. This house is filled with magical keys which each have different, incredible powers. Then there’s the lady in the wellhouse, who wants the keys for some nefarious purpose.

Let’s learn a little about the creators.

Firstly we’ll start with Joe Hill. A maestro of the horror genre, he’s wrote novels, short stories, and comics. I am a huge fan of his work, his novel “Horns” is a particular favourite of mine. Then there’s his short stories, Loaded (part of “Strange Weather”), which has to have the single most haunting conclusion to anything I’ve ever read. It gives me chills even now thinking about it. An incredible read.

Currently he’s also in charge of Hill House Comics, an imprint of DC which is in the midst of delivering some terrifying miniseries which are definitely worth checking out. He is also the son of another master of horror you may have heard of, Stephen King. And before you worry this is an example of someone riding their parent’s coattails rest assured Joe Hill’s career was firmly established before it was revealed he was Stephen Kings son.

Then we have Gabriel Rodriguez. Such an incredible artist he’s won several awards for his work in the industry. His work on Locke & Key earned him a nomination for Best Pencillier/Inker for the 2011 Eisner Awards. There’s no doubt in my mind that with a lesser artist Locke & Key wouldn’t be half the success it is. The phrase “show don’t tell” could have been coined to describe Rodriguez’s work on Locke & Key.

Without further ado here’s my list of reasons you should be excited about Netflix’s Locke & Key:


First and foremost, the graphic novel series it’s based on, is absolutely incredible. A regular feature on "best graphic novels of all time", every comic book fan needs to read this. Don’t just take my word for it, a quick google search will confirm everything I say.

It would also be at the top of my list to recommend to non-comic readers as well. It’s a perfect example of what this medium offers over other storytelling forms. There are things you can achieve with a comic that wouldn’t have the same impact on TV or in a book. Just take a look at the second and third pages of the first graphic novel.

The reader can see the danger, while “Mrs. Locke” is totally oblivious. What a great way to build tension. This is such a great example of what two masters at the height of their game can achieve.

Unlike some other comics, say a Marvel or DC superhero, where there are hundreds of issues this series is only 6 graphic novels, or 37 issues, long. I guarantee if you pick up the first one you will hungrily devour it and then grab the rest shortly after.

Before an eagle eyed reader points it out I should probably mention there are a number of Golden Age one-shots as well. The latest, Dog Days, only came out in November. Click here to see our review and why we gave it a 10/10. And a new series, World War Key, has been teased for release later in the year. But for the main series it’s just the six graphic novels.

And if you haven’t yet had the pleasure since the whole story has been released you’ll be able to binge your way through it in preparation for the series release on February 7th.


Still not convinced? Watch the trailer below.

How good does that look? I rest my case. Oh, still not convinced? Ok, read on for more reasons.


Netflix have a good history of comic book adaptations. Umbrella Academy was incredible and a second season of that should be released later on this year. Then there’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Raising Dion, Happy, the list goes on. And with all the different streaming services popping up left right and centre it’s the Netflix Originals which differentiate it from all the others. It’s in Netflix’s best interests to make sure this is a success and they’ve worked hard to ensure it is.

One of the ways they’ve done this is with the casting. I can’t go into specifics yet, keep an eye out for my review when it drops at the start of next month, but needless to say the casting is great. One of the key parts of a good TV series is the casting. There are added pressures when you’re doing an adaptation. Get the casting wrong and you alienate the fans straight away. Rest assured they’ve done a really good job and certain characters in particular really stand out as perfectly cast.

Photo Credit: Netflix/Christos Kalohoridis


But I’ve already read all the comics. Why should I be excited to see it?

OK first off, you’ve read the comics but aren’t excited for more Locke & Key? What is wrong with you? Anyway, that aside, there’s plenty of reasons to be excited. If you’ve read the comics you’ll understand the challenges facing the creators of this series. Rather than doing a straightforward word for word, panel by panel adaptation they’ve done a remix on it. I like to think of it like a sliding doors version of Locke & Key. (That’s not quite accurate, but it’s quite a good analogy and I’ll go into more detail in my review once the embargo lifts). Things happen differently, the order that the keys are discovered changes, there are new keys. There is plenty there to keep fans of the comics guessing and to surprise them. Netflix have done a fantastic job of keeping it true to the comics while new and original to keep fans interested.

And of course there are certain things which can't be translated exactly as they are. The head key is the perfect example of this. One of my favourite keys and highlights of the graphic novels, I won't go into spoilers but even with the best CGI in the world there's no way it would translate onto the screen the same way. I won't describe what they've done (although the trailer gives you a pretty big clue) but it's really well done and works as well on the screen as off it.

There are little easter eggs to get fans excited. I can’t go into any more details than that for spoilers but it’s safe to say fans of the comics will find plenty here to love.


The villain in this series is one of the best villains I’ve ever come across. Without going into details Dodge is one of the standout parts of the series, whether the graphic novels or the TV series. Clever and manipulative Dodge stands apart from most villains. Relentless and sinister we don’t learn about their motivations until later but rest assured coming from Joe Hill this won’t be your standard villain and is just as layered and complex as any of the heroes.

Photo Credit: Netflix/Christos Kalohoridis