Oct. 5, 2013
Hope everyone is enjoying an early start to fall. We hope to have “Mouse Guard”’s Rand’s Shield out the door in the next two weeks and when it ships, it’ll have a cool bonus: writer/artist David Petersen has offered to sign tags on any orders placed by Oct. 15.
A few other odds and ends at the studio this week:
* Our new painted Poyo prototype from “CHEW” is below, both in its own glory and with a few other mini-busts to show scale. It’s amazingly sculpted and painted by Jamie Macfarlane. We’re shooting for an early spring 2014 release. Plain and simple, Poyo is bad ass.
* David did a great blog post about our next few pieces and our process working together. He’ll have golden SDCC Black Axes for sale at NYCC if you catch up with he and Julia there. (Both awesome people. Tell ‘em we said so.)
* Really happy to announce Jetpack Comics, Zimmie’s and Vault of Midnight are the first three comic shops to start carrying Skelton Crew Studio merch, the only place to find it outside of this site and the occasional con. We love the idea of working with and supporting independent shops.
Sept. 18, 2013
Coming up for air
We had a customer ask two weeks ago, very nicely, if we’ve had no news since December.
The studios has had tons going on, and tons more planned — thanks for the nudge to come up for air and share.
For new releases, we’ve got in the works:
* “Locke & Key” Owl Key, Mending Key, Philosophoscope Key and maybe a too-be-announced Black Friday key. The series wraps in one more issue? Not for us. We’ve got keys planned for all of 2014, the Gender and Timeshift, to name two.
* “Mouse Guard” will see one more piece this winter before 2013 wraps. That line is just getting started.
* “CHEW”’s pink Chogs are about to be retired. The SDCC glow Chogs are all snapped up. We have Tony’s FDA badge planned for this fall. The guys had prototypes out at SDCC if you caught them there.
* “B.P.R.D.”/ “Hellboy”: The next two pieces, the Elf Shot and Agrippa’s Charm, debut next month. Love the feedback we’ve been getting and really digging the Artifact Archive line.
I did an interview with John Scrudder at Behind the Panels last week, and the Giant Key made a cameo in USA Today not too long ago with Joe and Gabe.
I had an absolute blast at Boston Con — amazing time, hope to go again next year. I’ll be at Coast City Con in Portland in November for those in greater Northern New England this fall.
Take care, and as always, thanks.
Dec. 21, 2012
Maine studio announces new Hellboy replica line
LITCHFIELD, Maine — The Apocalypse is here, get your gear.
Mike Mignola and Skelton Crew Studio LLC are excited to announce an exclusive license agreement to create the Artifact Archive Collection, limited edition prop replicas spanning the “Hellboy” and “B.P.R.D.” universe.
“I’m approaching these as pieces that would have been in the pouches of Hellboy’s belt or picked up in B.P.R.D. members’ travels,” said Israel Skelton, the owner of Skelton Crew Studio. “The possibilities are almost endless and so awesome.”
Upcoming replicas include the Elf Shot from “Hellboy: The Wild Hunt,” Bishop Zrinyi’s Button from “Hellboy: In the Chapel of Moloch” and the Bog Roosh’s Nail from “Hellboy: The Third Wish.” The first release is planned for winter 2013.
“I’m a huge fan of Mike’s and I’ve wanted to build these pieces for myself for a while,” said Skelton. “He is a legend in the industry and a chance to work with Mike and on this property is such an honor.”
Mignola has been crafting the Hellboy universe for almost 20 years. Mignola and “Hellboy,” published by Dark Horse, have been recognized by prestigious Eisner, Harvey and Eagle awards.
His latest work, “Hellboy in Hell,” debuted earlier this month.
“I’m very excited about this,” Mignola said.
Skelton Crew Studio, a sculpting house in rural Maine, has built a name for quality, detailed collectibles since 2009. It’s already the exclusive home to 1:1 replicas for the Eisner-winning comics “Locke & Key,” published by IDW Publishing, “Mouse Guard,” published by Archaia Entertainment and “CHEW,” published by Image.
The studio has been featured on G4, and in Wizard and MTV Geek online, and last Christmas made The Onion’s A.V. Club’s pop culture gift guide. Its latest release is a Black Axe pewter replica from “Mouse Guard.”
Check the studio’s website, www.skeltoncrewstudio.com, for prototype shots and more release details on the Artifact Archive Collection in coming months.
“This year has been amazing and I couldn’t wrap 2012 in a better way,” said Skelton. “The world can’t end now — we have too much work to do.”
From left to right: Prototypes for the Bog Roosh’s Nail, Bishop Zrinyi’s Button and the Elf Shot.
Dec. 17, 2012
Well, what haven’t we been up to the last few months?
The studio has been on screech with a bunch of prototype pics to show for it below:
* Work is coming (clucking?) along on the vinyl Chog from “CHEW.” Aiming for a winter 2013 release for it, in both a limited edition raspberry and yellow and a paint-it-yourself white.
* “Locke & Key” is keeping us busy with four keys in the works: The Undertree, Owl, Music Box and a key that appears in the Omega arc that I can’t tell you about. Yet.
* The studio released The Black Axe from “Mouse Guard” today. Up next in that series: Rand’s Shield.
It’s been busy and it’s about to get busier — more news and more prototypes coming at the end of the week.
Take care, and as always, thanks to those who've supported the studio.
Sept. 28, 2012
Skelton Crew joins the Guard
The Black Axe will rise.
Archaia Entertainment and Skelton Crew Studio are excited to announce an exclusive license agreement for the studio to create a line of prop replicas based on the Eisner Award-winning Mouse Guard, written and drawn by David Petersen.
“David is such a huge talent and I’ve been a fan of Mouse Guard for years,” said Israel Skelton, owner of Skelton Crew Studio. “Taking the reins to build a mouse-sized armory? Honestly, it’s hard to get much cooler.”
The studio plans to release pewter collectibles of swords, shields, and other armament from the Mouse Guard universe. Its first release, the Black Axe, is slated for Christmas 2012.
“I’m thrilled about getting these into the hands of my fans,” said Petersen. “Israel has done amazing work bringing the Locke & Key keys to the real world, and I love working with him on the intricacies of all of the mouse weapons and arms so that he can work his magic with them. He’s a true craftsman who cares about the details as much as my fans do.”
“Fans of Mouse Guard really love the setting of David’s world and its depth and fantasy realism, and we believe this is a great opportunity to offer them something that makes that world come alive,” said Archaia CCO Mark Smylie. “Israel and his Skelton Crew Studio do extraordinary work, so we are very excited they are going to create these wonderful Mouse Guard artifacts.”
Mouse Guard is a comic book series, essentially, about mice with swords. An elite group of warriors are charged with protecting their fellow mice from the elements, predators, and other dangers that threaten their existence. Thus far, the series has been collected into two hardcover collections (Mouse Guard Vol. 1: Fall 1152 and Mouse Guard Vol. 2: Winter 1152); an oversized edition (Mouse Guard Vol. 1: Fall 1152 Black and White Edition); an anthology collection (Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 1); and a roleplaying game, both in hardcover (for pen and paper) and a deluxe box set. This holiday season, Archaia will release the Mouse Guard Vol. 2: Winter 1152 Black and White Edition and in 2013, Mouse Guard Vol. 3: The Black Axe and Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 2.
Skelton Crew Studio, a sculpting house out of Maine, is already the exclusive home of replicas based on IDW’s popular Locke & Key series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. In July, it announced another exclusive license agreement to create replicas from the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning CHEW by John Layman and Rob Guillory, published by Image.
“I can’t believe my good fortune in 2012 and I’m really excited about the future for all three properties,” Skelton said.
The latest release from Skelton Crew Studio is a Legacy Edition Echo Key from Locke & Key, coming later this month.
The Mouse Guard Black Axe replica will be available in December 2012 through www.skeltoncrewstudio.com. Other replicas will roll out in 2013 and beyond.
July 9, 2012
Something to CHEW on: Replicas from Skelton Crew Studio coming
There will be Chogs.
The creators of the Eisner and Harvey-winning comic CHEW and Skelton Crew Studio have reached an exclusive license agreement for the studio to create a line of prop replicas based on the series.
"We're positively thrilled about this deal. The Skelton Crew Studio's commitment to quality is obvious, and we've been looking for the best way to get CHEW-related stuff into the hands of fans, readers and collections – and this is it,” said John Layman, writer of the New York Times best selling series. “This is going to be a great partnership and one of the absolute CHEW highlights of an already monumental year for the book."
CHEW is drawn by Rob Guillory, the 2010 Harvey Award winner for Best New Talent.
"I've been a fan of Skelton Crew Studio's work for a while, and I couldn't imagine CHEW being in better hands,” said Guillory. “And personally, I cannot wait to have their CHEW merch on my shelves! The fans are going to LOVE what we have in store."
Skelton Crew Studio, a small sculpting house out of Maine, is already the exclusive home of replicas based on IDW’s popular “Locke & Key” by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez.
“CHEW is such a great book and these guys are amazingly creative, so I’m pretty amped,” said Israel Skelton, owner of Skelton Crew Studio. “Can I resist saying it? It’s a comic I’m really anxious to get my teeth into.”
Skelton has plans to tackle Chogs, badges and, of course, fan-favorite Poyo. The studio will roll out the first CHEW replicas in late 2012. Check out www.skeltoncrewstudio.com and www.chewcomic.blogspot.com in the coming months for updates.
The latest trade paperback from CHEW, published by Image Comics, “Major League Chew,” hit shelves in May. The latest issue, the spin-off one-shot CHEW: SECRET AGENT POYO goes on sale Wednesday, July 11.
The latest release from Skelton Crew Studio is a limited edition Omega Key from "Locke & Key," this year's 2012 San Diego Comic Con International exclusive.
Layman, Guillory and Skelton will all be attending SDCC this week.
March 31, 2012
A is for April
Hope everyone’s spring is off to an awesome start. Our winter just flew by. Too many projects, but in a good way.
* A life-size TARDIS dominated January. It’s installed at Hill House
, complete with lights, sound and working phone (but sorry, I can’t divulge the number.) Many thanks to Al Landry, Corey Vintinner and Mike St. Germain for helping make it happen.
* The Angel Key has been waiting in the wings — pun fully intended — so we could release it with the Animal Key as what we hope is a nice surprise. Sales for both open at 12 a.m. EST April 1. The first 400 pre-orders for the Angel will have tags signed by the amazingly talented Gabriel Rodriguez
. (Talented and
the nicest Chilean we know.) Both keys ship in May.
* We wanted to give a shout-out to British sculptor Jamie Macfarlane
. He did an amazing job on the Animal and we can't wait to see more of his work.
* What’s down the ‘pike? Well, we hope fans go nuts when they scope out our next couple keys. We’ll say no more.
* Making plans already for SDCC. Hope to meet a lot of you there. I do plan an exclusive, one that I hope is music to your ears.
OK. Enough. Clearly, there’s too much near-April giddiness at Skelton Crew headquarters. Have a key you need to see? As always, drop us a line.
December 30, 2011
What a year it’s been, personally and professionally, from the debut of nine new “Locke & Key” keys to the arrival of Skelton Crew Jr. This month saw mentions of the studio on The Onion’s A.V. Club
, The Mary Sue
- what a way to end 2011.
Here’s to starting 2012 with a bang.
* The Moon Key is going to debut just after midnight EST on Jan. 1, signed by the one and only Joe Hill. We’re doing this release a little different. Instead of a two week pre-order window for his autograph, the first 400 keys will be signed by Joe. They’ll ship in late January.
* The Angel Key, signed by Gabriel Rodriguez, will come out in February and we’ll release it the same way - the first 400 have his autograph.
We’re hoping to hit you with many more keys in 2012, and the line-up isn’t confirmed yet, so if you’ve got a key that MUST be made, drop us a line. We’re definitely listening.
Thanks again for all the support and kind words. From us to you, have an amazing New Year.
November 3, 2011
Back in Black
Man, it feels good to be back in the key business.
The last three months I’ve been behind the scenes sculpting and working on cool projects I can’t talk about yet. To answer one question I’ve heard a few times this week – Why’d you pull the Animal and Undertree Keys off the site? – let’s just say I’m squirreling them away for later this winter. (Pun intended.) Undertree and Animal will go back up when they’re ready to ship.
- The Whispering Iron and Legacy Edition Omega Key, the key to Black Door, go live today. I’m excited about both but have to admit to a soft spot for the Omega. I’d been planning to release it timed to the last arc, but couldn’t resist. Hope people dig it as much as I do.
- Stay tuned for cool signing news on the next two keys.
- You know what? Don’t stay tuned at all: Best-selling writer Joe Hill is autographing one key, obscenely-talented Gabriel Rodriguez is autographing the other. Really psyched the guys are willing to take the time out of their crazy, award-winning schedules. But what keys are they signing? Well, I guess you will have to wait for that.
- I have plans for December. Big plans. Deluxe plans. More later.
Hope everyone’s well and hope you had a great Halloween. If you notice some of the e-mail now is being answered by Kathryn, that’s my wife. Skelton Crew Jr. is almost ready to start answering phones and if the studio keeps growing like this, he’ll have to.
September 14, 2011
And Now For Something Slightly Different
Hope everyone’s sliding smoothly into fall. I wanted to share a little news and a pic.
- The Whispering Iron
will debut online at the end of the month, alongside the long-awaited Undertree Key. The Whispering Iron is featured in the back of Clockworks 1 on the last page and, as a sculptor, too cool to ignore. This was the issue I’ve been waiting for — to finally see the Black Door in all its creepiness. As always, Joe and Gabe knocked it out of the park.
- A prototype of the Chain Key is below. It’s a little under three feet long and a few pounds. I’d love to hear if there’s any interest in a piece this large. On that note, still pricing out the Giant Key. Trying to get the cost somewhere under “astronomical” is proving to be a challenge.
- I’ll have word next month on a cool signing timed around Halloween with the pre-order key, for now, under wraps. October should also see the Animal Key, followed by the Angel Key in November.
- If you’re curious for a little more Skelton Crew back story, Jill “Nerdy Bird” Pantozzi had a nice piece in Newsarama
last week. Larry Fire’s the Fire Wire
also did a write-up – thanks to both for the kind words.
I’m hearing the same MTV rumors
about the TV series that you are. Man, wouldn’t that be amazing? That surely would end my 20 year MTV hiatus.
July 23, 2011
San Diego Goodness
Couldn’t make it to Comic Con?
As it turns out, I couldn’t either. Instead of catching my flight I was in the ER with my first kidney stone yesterday. Pretty awful, but I did get a get-well-soon call from Walt Simonson, a great consolation prize. And speaking of that, two consolation prizes for those of you who also are not in sunny San Diego this weekend:
- The Giant Key prototype is below. (Seen here
on G4 today with Blair Butler.) It took a crazy amount of work and, like the Ghost Door, wouldn’t have been possible without Mike “Germazing” St. Germain and Peter “Laser Eye” Gill. We’re still working up the final numbers on cost, hope to have details in late August. It’ll definitely be on a made-to-order basis. (Shipping alone from Maine to California was $160.)
- Starting Monday, we’re going to try something new, a sort of post-order window: Orders placed for the new comic con exclusive IDW Key before Aug. 8 will receive a tag signed by two of the busiest – and nicest – guys in comics, IDW CEO Ted Adams and IDW Chief Creative Officer Chris Ryall.
Meanwhile, in other key business, the Undertree Key will be coming in late August, followed by the Animal Key in September. Really appreciated all the support and have a great rest of the summer. Here's looking forward to NYCC, where, fittingly, the Mending Key might be the con exclusive. I'll throw up a prototype when it's finished.
And, of course, huge congrats to Joe for taking home the Eisner for Best Writer and to IDW who raked in five Eisners overall. Well deserved. Wish I could have been there to toast you.
June 1, 2011
Studio Locke Down
Sorry it’s been so long between updates. We’ve been crazy busy trying to get sculpts done for San Diego. I’ll be at SDCC and bringing with me a limited edition con exclusive, the IDW Key. I’ve wanted to tackle it since seeing the key in the comic included with IDW: The First 10 Years. I’ve also got two versions of the Hercules Key, the Undertree Key and the Animal Key in different stages of production, all due out within the next couple of months. (The Hercules Key, formerly known as the Beast Key, won the fan choice vote back in February.)
Because a lot of fans asked, I’m also releasing a Legacy Edition Head Key this month, plated in antique rose gold. Legacy edition runs aren’t limited or numbered and going forward, some keys will get limited edition variants and legacy runs, some won’t.
I hope to run into a bunch of you at SDCC – I’ll be the one with the shaved head and the black t-shirt, I swear, you won’t miss me . . . I’ll also have a few goodies at the IDW booth in addition to the con exclusive key, so please stop by and check them out.
Thanks, too, to everyone who’s offered well wishes and sleep advice for the baby. We were able to hit the snooze alarm this morning, twice, for the first time since he was born – that has to be a good sign.
March 2, 2011
1 of 1
We’ve had our hands full over here at the studio – turns out, it doesn’t matter how many warnings you get about the impending sleepless nights, it’s not quite real until it’s here. Although our little rock star is keeping us up all night, he's pretty darn amazing.
We will start taking orders for the Shadow Key in a few weeks, and it really looks great. I think people are going to dig this one, and it may be my new favorite key. That may soon be trumped, though, by the Beast Key, which won the Fan Choice vote. Gabe’s design on this key rocks, and it’s currently underway and tentatively set for April. I appreciated all the votes, and the interest in a life-size Giant Key. More to come on the latter.
Thanks for all the well wishes for the baby. Feedback is always welcome, as is any tip on convincing a two-week-old that he ought to hit the hay before midnight.
February 6, 2011
Updates, News & Fan Choice
Hope everyone had a great holiday, up to and including Groundhog Day and Super Bowl Sunday. Many thanks to those who pre-ordered the Anywhere Key. We received the signed tags from Gabe last week – the man has a very cool autograph, if we do say – and those keys started shipping Friday in the order that pre-orders were placed. We hope to see the last keys off on Wednesday.
That’s the update, which leads to a bit of news:
We’ll be marking keys temporarily sold out and taking a little bit of downtime over the next few weeks as we welcome Skelton Crew junior. As soon as everyone is settled (and sleeping) we’ll open sales back up with the kick-off of the new Legacy Edition Shadow Key. That’s still tentatively set for the end of the month; we’ll drop a quick note when it’s ready.
That’s the news, which leads to opinions, but not ours.
We want to hear from you.
I’d like to make the next key a fan choice between the Beast Key and the Mending Key.
(Beast is the sword-like key on the cover of February, Mending opens the healing medicine cabinet.) Honestly, I can’t wait to tackle both of them, and I’m sure I will, but I’d love to hear what you’d like, so please, drop me an e-mail by Feb. 14. Majority wins.
I’m also interested in gauging interest in a very limited, made to order life-size Giant Key. You could probably guess that it wouldn’t be inexpensive, but it would be pretty cool.
Have a great few weeks. I think mine will be a happy blur.
November 25, 2010
Because you asked for it.
Man, I ate too much.
I know it may have felt like a long delay to some but I’m happy to say that we plan to open the pre-order window for the Anywhere Key in the next 10 days. It’ll stay open for two weeks, with Locke & Key’s own amazing Gabriel Rodriguez autographing all of the pre-order tags. With transit time to Chile and back, we can’t guarantee a Christmas delivery, but we’ll get them out the door as soon as possible.
Speaking of transit time, please check out our FAQ page for information about international shipping and whether Gabe can sign any other keys while he’s at it. (OK, maybe we’ll just head off the latter right here: He’s a busy guy, so unfortunately, no.) And for a full reveal of how truly nerdy I am, check out this kind piece by the Bangor Daily News’ Emily Burnham. Yes, I really did try making Wolverine’s claws out of blueberry rakes as a kid.
But, that’s not all.
On this Black Friday eve, we also wanted to let you know some news we’ve been sitting on for a bit:
The Ghost Key is back. Sort of.
In December we’ll also debut the new Legacy Edition Ghost Key, an updated sculpt with hollowed eyes and that same antique silver finish. Ever since we secured the license this summer, a lot of fans have contacted us disappointed that they haven’t been able to find the sold out San Diego Comic Con exclusive Ghost Key. We hope this new version satisfies them without stepping on the toes of those fortunate 500. It’s in a long velvet bag and won’t be numbered, further setting it apart from the SDCC key. Pre-orders for it start the same day as the Anywhere. We’ll drop a very quick note the day before they go live online.
I know today I’m thankful for friends, family and everyone who’s been so supportive. Now, to fall asleep watching the Bond marathon on Syfy.
October 12, 2010
Thanks for a great show
We had a great time at NYCC this weekend, and thanks to all who stopped by Artist’s Alley (or who worked extra hard to find us.) I’ve posted a few pictures below: Signing at the IDW booth with the talented Gabriel Rodriguez, all the way up from Chile, quick shots with G4's Blair Butler and MTV Splash Page’s Jill “Nerdybird” Pantozzi (both amazing ladies) and my pal Dan using a Head Key to unlock legos at The Art of the Brick booth. I also had fun talking props with the guys from Cultural Compulsive Disorder
Those who stopped by got a sneak peek at the Anywhere Key, which I’ve now posted in the Shop section of the website. It’s coming next month. They also got a preview of one of my new favorites, the Shadow Key, which should debut near Christmas – photos of it soon.
We’re getting lots of questions about more Ghost Keys (understandable, because we just saw one go for $145 on eBay) and don’t have any plans future plans for it right now, but I’m happy to keep you all posted. Speaking of keys selling out ... we had a great key weekend and we’re down to about 60 Head Keys. Thanks again to everyone who’s ordered. Really hope everyone digs them as much as I dig building them.
I got my own sneak peek of upcoming keys courtesy of Gabe and Joe. Two words: Friggin' awesome.
‘Til next month,
September 29, 2010
Sorry for the late news, but I wanted to share that there won’t be a New York Comic Con exclusive next week. It was going to be the much-anticipated Anywhere Key. Unfortunately, it took longer than expected to hammer out all the fine details of this key, and to do it right, it’s taken a little more time. We’re hoping now to debut it in early November online and I’ll drop another note when details have firmed up.
To lessen any letdown, does it help to know a certain amazing Chilean artist will be autographing some of the tags? More details to come on that, too.
I’ll still be at NYCC next week in Artist’s Alley with any remaining Head and Echo Keys (though I will be surprised if either of them last the whole show.) I’ll also have some of my other gallery pieces on display, hopefully a sample of the Anywhere and maybe the prototype of the fifth key, debuting around Christmas, which could come in handy in dark places ...
Please swing by, say hi and give me your ideas on what “Locke & Key” goodness Skelton Crew Studio ought to be working on in 2011.
Thanks again to everyone who’s dropped a line and ordered. Glad to hear you like them. I can’t wait to continue to add to your – and my – collection.
September 2, 2010
I want to start by saying a huge thanks to everyone who dropped a kind word after our license news earlier this month. I've had a chance to catch up on a bunch of blogs and comic site write-ups and it's much appreciated. Speaking of kind words ...
• Skelton Crew Studio and the new keys were on G4's “Attack of the Show’s” Fresh Ink segment
tonight with Blair Butler. Very cool, and thanks, Blair.
• Have you had a chance to check out the "Locke & Key" Legacy Edition yet? It’s only a buck, so run don't walk. It’s a reprint of “L&K” #1 with several pages of Joe Hill catching the reader up on what they’ve missed in the months since, all the while standing in front of the Ghost Door in his office. (Great pics by Maine’s own Shane Leonard, by the way.) My own shout-outs to Mike “Germazing” St. Germain and Peter “Laser Eye” Gill for helping me bring that piece to life.
• Pre-orders are going great, thanks to everyone who's gotten an order in already. The window to place an order and have Joe autograph the key tag closes at midnight tonight (Sept. 2.) As soon as we get the tags back from Joe, we'll bag, tag and ship. We're shooting to have the keys out the door mid-September.
I’ve gotten the Echo Key back from the caster and I think fans are really going to like it (new pics are under Shop.) See you at BangPop! if you're there Sept. 19 and NYCC Oct. 8-10. Hope to announce the NYCC exclusive key in three weeks.
Oh, and yeah - FOX just picked up this phenomenal book for a TV series
. How *!^$!@! cool is that? It couldn’t happen to a nicer group of guys (Joe, Gabe, Jay, Chris and the whole team at IDW.)
August, 11 2010
New Lockesmith Duties
I've been sitting on this for a bit, really excited to unveil this with IDW today. The announcement that went out this morning:
Award-Winning Series Locke & Key Opens New Doors
Three new books in stores this week
Official keys coming in fall 2010
San Diego, CA (August 11, 2010) – IDW Publishing, a premier publisher of graphic novels and books, is proud to announce the impressive growth of one of the company’s showcase titles, Locke & Key. Created and written by best-selling author Joe Hill
with art by acclaimed artist Gabriel Rodriguez
, the Locke & Key brand expands this week in two exciting arenas, on paper and off!
First, the fourth installment of the fan-favorite series launches in comics stores throughout North America with Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom #1, while comic shops and bookstores worldwide debut the graphic novel, Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows, the third hardcover collection in the series. For fans new to the series or curious about the story so far, the series’ debut issue, Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft #1, is being re-released in a “Legacy Edition” that carries a cover price of only $1. This 40-page, value-priced jumping-on point features the full 32-page inaugural story by Hill and Rodriguez, as well as an 8-page back-up illustrated “cheat sheet” that summarizes the series so far. Even better, this cheat sheet is hosted by Joe Hill himself, who appears in the comic and takes readers along on the journey with him.
“I’m happy to see that August 11th is now an unofficial Official Locke & Key Day in comics shops,” said IDW’s Chief Creative Officer and Locke & Key editor Chris Ryall
. “Not only is the new Keys to the Kingdom series great for new and old readers, but the ‘Joe Hill’ appearance at the end of the one-dollar Legacy Edition brings back the lost art of the fumetti. Joe’s appearance there might give readers nightmares for years to come. Top all of that off with even more fun Locke & Key news with the replica keys that you can read about directly under this quote.”
As Ryall alluded to, the Locke & Key brand jumps off the printed page with Skelton Crew Studio, which has been granted the exclusive license for replica Locke & Key keys. Skelton Crew Studio (www.SkeltonCrewStudio.com), which previously designed the sold-out Ghost Key, will debut the Head Key in September through the Skelton Crew Studio Web site. Pre-orders for the Head Key start today, August 11, and all orders placed before September 2 will receive a little something extra: a Joe Hill autographed key tag. Then the new Echo Key will debut at the BangPop!
Convention before also being available through the Skelton Crew Web site.
"Every arc in LOCKE & KEY has been out to do something different and fresh from what came before,” said Hill. “And KEYS TO THE KINGDOM is no exception. Gabe and I wanted to create another good jumping on point for new readers, and loved the idea of doing a series of standalone stories that play with some of the possibilities offered by all the impossible keys laying around Keyhouse. The keys have always been the most fun thing about the story... which makes it ridiculously cool that Israel Skelton is going to forge a series of them for real.”
"I’m really pumped," said studio founder Israel Skelton, who also created the actual Ghost Door that resides in Hill’s home and appears in the Legacy Edition. "Joe is an amazing storyteller and Gabe consistently delivers awesome art. First and foremost, I’m a Locke & Key fan. I would have built these keys for myself anyway, so I’m really excited to be able to offer them to people who love the book as much as I do."
Concluded Hill: “All that said, I think there'll be plenty of rewards for longtime readers in KEYS TO THE KINGDOM as well, and by the time we wrap up the arc, it'll be clear we're moving into the final act. After KEYS concludes, there'll be only twelve issues left - twelve issues to clear up some mysteries, answer some questions, and kill a whole†bunch of people. So, y'know, that should be fun."
Hope all is well and that you don't receive more than five family Christmas newsletters. I kinda feel they are the modern-day equivalent of the fruit cake. So if you get one from me stating that "Michael had a awesome time at quilting camp," it's just because I'm trying to go green this holiday season and recycle wherever I can.
I've had a hectic fall, more sketches and concepts than new pieces, but I see that changing over the winter.
A few highlights:
Had another great time at BangPop!
in September and met all kinds of wonderful folks.
Finally, a few photos of the Ghost Door from "Locke & Key" made for Joe. A piece like this, I always regret not building two. I'd love to put one up in my study ... but I've got to build a study first.
Sincerely, this year has been great and I've enjoyed meeting so many awesome people. Take care, and happy 2010.
The year of the Tiger? We'll see, but really, I hope all that crap is behind him.
. . . . .
Stay classy, San Diego
Wow, what a crazy July.
I wrapped up a large commission, then headed off to this year's Comic Con, which kicked tail. Met some really great people, watched my key be scoffed up by the masses and accidentally met Bela Lugosi Jr. (Also spotted the Honky Tonk Man in gym shorts and loafers, cradling his championship belt.)
The Con exclusive Ghost Key from Joe Hill's comic "Locke & Key" sold really well at the IDW booth. Joe had some long lines, both to sign the key tag and his other works. It was great to be a part of that.
Joe revealed during his Con panel a project I couldn't talk about before that kept me busy from January to June: building a life-sized Ghost Door from his comic. It was a surprise birthday gift for him from his wife. Hopefully, photos to come on Joe's site. I'll let him show it off first.
Jill Pantozzi covered his panel for Comic Book Resources, which includes a nice shout-out - thanks, Joe & Jill - and a sweet recap of the "Lost" panel, with teases.
I've finished rough prototypes of the Anywhere Key, with graphics help from Mike St. Germain, and the Head Key. Check out a photo below, or come check it out in person next month. I'll be at BangPop! again. The convention will be bigger and better than last year: Sept. 19-20 at the Bangor Civic Center.
If you're inclined, the Sun Journal
, my local newspaper, did a Q&A write-up on me in advance of the Con where I share a little about how I got my start making props and my two biggest fears. (Thank you, Peter Benchley.)
Joe Hill and I and the Ghost Key exclusive at the IDW booth Saturday.
Joe attempting to unlock my head with the prototype of the Head Key.
(Wonder what he'd find? Probably not rainbows and unicorns.)
Jill Pantozzi from the blog "Has Boobs, Reads Comics," a very cool girl.
After five days at the SDCC, everyone starts to look a little ragged.
Three of about a dozen Deadpools at the show.
And that's right: I think at least one's a girl.
Art Baltazar and Franco from DC's "Tiny Titans" comic, the morning after their big Eisner win. You couldn't meet two nicer guys or sharper dressers.
Rough prototypes of the Head Key and Anywhere Key,
from the comic "Locke & Key."
Eye toward summer
Man, it’s been one busy spring.
Sorry this latest update has taken so long, but it’s been with good reason. Really happy to report that IDW Publishing has picked up The Ghost Key sculpt for a 2009 San Diego Comic Con exclusive. (The Ghost Key, of course, is from Eisner-nominated writer Joe Hill’s "Locke & Key" comic with rock-your-pants-off art by Gabriel Rodriguez.) The keys will be limited to 500 and, rumor has it, tied in with a signing by Joe. I’ll post more details next month if I have them.
• I’m working on an Anywhere Key, also featured in "Locke & Key," for my portfolio. You can check out a very rough prototype on Joe’s site.
• Chris O’Connor at Tektonten Papercraft has made a papercraft model of Dr. Strange’s Eye of Agamatto based on my sculpt. Really amazing work and available for a free download if you want to put your paper-folding skills to the test.
Thanks again for stopping by. For those who’ve e-mailed the last two months, really appreciate the kind words and sorry that I can’t hook you up with any Ghost keys outside the Con.
I’ll be out in San Diego as well. Love to see you there.
Finally got the web site up! Thanks for stopping by.
Some of my projects in the works:
• Finishing a velvet-lined box to display both of The Phantom's Good Mark and Death Mark rings.
• A wall mount display case for Conan's Atlantean Sword. I can't wait to finish this - it will have a very Marvel Comics feel to it.
Check back for updates on the gallery section and for possible convention-related news.
Coming to a con near you this summer? You'll have to wait and see.