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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.Israel
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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. Israel
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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.

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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, Israel
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NYCC Update

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.Israel
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Key Notes

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.) Congratulations, fellas. Israel
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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."
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Season’s Greetings

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. Finished a portfolio piece I'm hoping to unveil around mid January. 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. Israel
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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.) Some highlights:

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.)   Israel
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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. Other happenings: • 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. Israel
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