In some circles, author Joe Hill is known for his horror novels like NOS4A2, The Fireman, Heart-Shaped Box, and others, but he’s also known for co-creating the fantastic horror comic series Locke & Key for IDW. He’ll soon be returning to the medium with a “pop-up line” for DC Comics.
The announcement comes just a couple of days after DC announced that it was rebranding its comic lines along age groups, effectively shuttering well-known comic brands like Vertigo. While it seems as though its adult-oriented comics will live under the company’s DC Black Label line, the company is open to straying from that structure for specific creators in instances like this.
Hill will oversee Hill House Comics, which will publish five miniseries, two of which he’s set to write: Basketful of Heads (written by Hill and illustrated by Leomacs), The Dollhouse Family, (written by Mike Carey and illustrated by Peter Gross), The Low, Low Woods, (written by Carmen Maria Machado and illustrated by Dani), Daphne Byrne (written by Laura Marks and illustrated by Kelley Jones), and Plunge (written by Hill with an illustrator to be announced later). Hill will also contribute a regular feature called Sea Dogs, which will be included in each book. The first installment of Basketful of Heads will be released on October 31st, with the others to follow.
For fans of Hill’s work, this is excellent news, especially considering that he’s been away from comics for a little while. His best-known story (co-created with artist Gabriel Rodríguez), Locke & Key, ran from 2008 through 2013. It followed the Locke family as they relocated to their family’s ancestral home in Lovecraft, Maine, following a tragedy. There, the family’s children discover that the house sits atop a portal to another dimension, with keys scattered around the house that grant their users special powers. The story is an excellent example of what can be done with the medium. Hill and Rodríguez experiment with comic genres and art styles over the course of the series.
Hill’s new line of comics feels as though it’s going to do some similar things. EW says that Basketful of Heads will follow a young woman and her boyfriend who discover that the mansion they’re watching is loaded with Viking artifacts. When they experience a break-in, she discovers that an axe has particular powers. Hill also notes that his other comic, Plunge, is his “chance to riff on one of the greatest horror films of all time, John Carpenter’s The Thing,” which is about a research vessel in the Arctic that reappears after vanishing 40 years ago.
The comics won’t be the only thing we see from Hill this fall: he’s got a collection of short stories called Full Throttle coming out in October as well. Presumably, there be some interest in adaptations down the line for this imprint: AMC just released an adaptation of Joe Hill’s novel NOS4A2, and Netflix is currently filming an adaptation of Locke & Key.