Unlocking Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome To Lovecraft.

Where Do I Start Reading Locke & Key? [Guide + Reading Order]

After a horrific death in the family, the Locke family move to Lovecraft, Massachusetts, and into the grand old Keyhouse mansion. But the family will soon find out that Keyhouse is not just any old mansion, but one with special doors that can transform those who go through them, as long as you have the right key. But as they’ll soon find out, not all the doors are wonderful and that there is a force inside the house that’s pulling all the strings to open the most terrible door of all.

That’s the basis of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s Locke & Key. This series, published by IDW Publishing, reinvents the haunted house concept to create a saga that’s full of suspense, mystery, and character-driven moments.

If you’re curious to check out the comics thanks to the Netflix series then you’ve come to the right place. This guide will point you in the right direction so you can begin reading this fantastically eerie comic book series.

Quicklink: How Do I Start Reading Comics? The Simple Guide For New Readers

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft #1 page 1 art by Gabriel Rodriguez and Jay Fotos.
Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft #1 page 1 art by Gabriel Rodriguez and Jay Fotos.

Where Do I Start Reading?

Similar to Hellboy and The Umbrella Academy, Locke & Key is broken up into multiple miniseries. Each has its own #1 issue, which can be confusing as to which one you need to read first.

The Locke & Key saga starts with the Welcome to Lovecraft miniseries. So the best place to start the comic book series with Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft #1 (of 5).

Check out the next session to find out the recommended reading order for Locke & Key.

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft cover by Gabriel Rodríguez and Jay Fotos.
Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft cover by Gabriel Rodríguez and Jay Fotos.

Locke & Key Reading Order

If you want to read all of Locke & Key then you’ll want to read the following trade paperbacks (also available in hardcover) in order.

Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
Collects: Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft #1-6

Locke & Key Volume 2: Head Games
Collects: Locke & Key: Head Games #1-6

Note: Volume 1 and 2 are also collected together in Locke & Key Master Edition Volume 1.

Locke & Key Volume 3: Crown of Shadows
Collects: Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows #1-6

Locke & Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom
Collects: Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom #1-6

Note: Volume 3 and 4 are also collected together in Locke & Key Master Edition Volume 2.

Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks
Collects: Locke & Key: Clockworks #1-6

Locke & Key Volume 6: Alpha & Omega
Collects: Locke & Key: Omega #1-5, and Alpha #1-2

Note: If you are reading the contents of Alpha & Omega in single issues, read the Omega issues first then Alpha. Volume 5 and 6 are also collected together in Locke & Key Master Edition Volume 3.

All six volumes will be released in a single edition known as the Locke & Key: Keyhouse Compendium in October 2020.

Locke & Key: The Guide To Known Keys cover by Gabriel Rodriguez.
Locke & Key: The Guide To Known Keys cover by Gabriel Rodriguez.

One-Shots – ‘The Golden Age’

There is also a batch of one-shot stories set in the past that don’t revolve around the main story. Each story, referred to as The Golden Age, explores a different key. These are:

  • Locke & Key: Guide to the Known Keys
  • Locke & Key: Grindhouse
  • Locke & Key: Small World
  • Locke & Key: Dog Days

Most of these stories are collected in a release called Locke & Key: Heaven & Earth.

There is also the two-part story called Locke & Key: …In Pale Battalions Go… Set in 1915, this explores Chamberlin Locke’s oldest son in World War I. These issues will be released in August and September 2020.

Sandman Crossover

In the past, DC Comics and IDW Publishing have done stories that crossover their popular comics. In the past they have done Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but this time around they are doing it with The Sandman and Locke & Key. This three part story (issues #0 to #2) will called Locke & Key – The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone.

Issue #0 reprints the short story Open the Moon” (originally printed in Locke & Key: Guide to the Known Keys) and material from The Sandman: Season of Mists as a way to contextualise the crossover.

Written by Joe Hill and art by Gabriel Rodríguez, the story will kick off in earnest in February 2021 with issue #1 and conclude in issue #2.

In preparation for this crossover, DC Comics is also reprinting The Sandman #23 for a dollar.

Where Can I Buy Locke & Key Comics?

Locke & Key can be found at all good comic book stores, select book stores, online stores, eBay, and digitally on Comixology.

Have Your Say!

Will you be reading the Lock & Key comics? Sound off in the comments below or via Facebook or Twitter.

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Comments (9)

  • I can’t wait to get into a store and actually see these for myself. The Netflix series has me so excited to find out more….the keys are whispering. As I search for the comics online I see the volumes but I was wondering if the there were individual comics for purchase within each volume or do you just purchase the volume as one comic? I know it shouldn’t be this complicated but I’m kinda new to the comic world and want to make sure I’m getting the whole story.

    • Hey Charlotte, great question. Most comics, including Locke & Key, come out in individual issues first. These are 20-30 page traditional comic book first. It will come out monthly (or close to it) and after it has finished it will then be collected all together in a single book known as a trade paperback collection (sometimes called a graphic novel). To use Locke & Key as an example, the first story arc Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft was released as a 6 individual comics first then these were all collected together a few months after its conclusion in one book.

      If you’re looking to purchase Locke and Key, I highly recommend the collected editions. They are easier to come by, there’s more bang for your buck, and an overall cheaper option (the individual issues are long out of print and jumped in price thanks to the Netflix series).

      I hope this helps. Feel free to ask any other questions you’ve got. I’m happy to answer them.

  • I love the locke and key series! I tried reading it before reading this guide and it was REALLY confusing so thank you for making this because it really helped. My favorite is clockworks because it showed what happened in the past.


    • Hi Nicole, it so awesome to hear that you want to read the comics after seeing the Netflix series. The Netflix series roughly adapts Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft so you could jump in with Volume 2. But it is worth noting that the Netflix series made a few changes to the story, which means that jumping into Volume 2 would be confusing as the show won’t line up with the comic 100%. I recommend reading Volume 1 first.

  • This is very helpful.
    I hate trying to figure out what order to read stuff in, this post makes that very simple.
    As for the one shots, at what point would you suggest reading those? Is it better to wait until I have read the main story or would reading them before or between the different main story books be easier?


    • Hey Mark, I’m glad you’ve found the guide helpful. The spin-offs read better if you’ve read the main story first.

  • Hey, I’m a mom and we just started watching Locke & Key on Netflix. Well….needless to say, my kiddos are hooked and my 11 year old (avid reader) wants to read the graphic novels. Are they age appropriate for 11-14?

    • Hi Christina, the Netflix series is made to be a bit more PG than the graphic novels. Some of the violence and horror elements are probably not appropriate for a 11 or 14 year old. I am happy to recommend some similar graphic novels that would be more appropriate to their age group if you would like.