Audible is taking one of the best comics in recent years has turned it into a dramatic audio presentation: Locke and Key. The production is a stunning adaptation and it proves that Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s horrifying graphic novel series is just as terrifying off the pages. Best of all? It’ll be a free download starting this week.
For a while now, there’s been discussion about the series being turned into a television series or a film trilogy. That doesn’t seem to be the case now: in an interview at MTV with Hill, he indicated that the rights have since reverted back to IDW Comics.
The next best thing? An audiobook drama featuring over fifty different performers, including Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is The New Black), and Haley Joel Osment (Sixth Sense, A.I.)
I’ve been listening to the series for a couple of weeks now while I’ve been driving, and I’ve been impressed at how well the comic series has adapted to a non-visual medium. There’s some minor changes here and there: characters describing what they’re seeing, in places where the visuals really mattered in the comics, but it works well, because of the fantastic voice actors for Tyler, Kinsey and Bodie Locke. (Brennan Lee Mulligan, Jaime Alyse Andrews and Betsy Kenny, respectively.)
In the story, the Locke family relocates to their ancestral home of Lovecraft, Massachusetts, following the death of the family’s patriarch at the hands of a deranged teenager. Once they arrive home, however, they find that a series of events have been put into motion that will haunt their family. You see, their family home in Lovecraft has secrets: keys, forged long ago have special properties unlock powers for good or evil.
I’ve long been a fan of the comics: they’re some of the best that you can buy. Hill has infused them with a strong dose of meta-genre knowledge, dropping in small hints and recursive references to his love of science fiction, fantasy, horror and comic books.
When I first heard about how the books were being adapted, I was dubious: part of the appeal of the comics was their visual nature and really deliberate artwork (see Rufus’s imagined Squadron Strange, or the time when Bode turns into a Sparrow), and working from a really visual story seemed like it might be a bit of a stretch. My fears were unfounded: the story adapts well, thanks in no small part to the fantastic audio cast.
The cast list is long: over fifty people, and includes some well-known names, including Rodriguez, Hill and his father, Stephen King. The main group of voice actors, however, absolutely carry the show and bring Lovecraft and its inhabitants to life.
Locke & Key will be released on October 5th, and will be free for the first month.