We may have seen the last of Vertigo, but that doesn’t mean DC is done with horror. On Wednesday, Entertainment Weekly reported that DC is launching a new “pop-up line” of horror comics, headed by none other than Joe Hill himself.
The NOS4A2 author told EW he’s stoked to be returning to the world of comics, where he’s most known for Locke & Key, with artist Gabriel Rodríguez:
“I’ve always been a comic book writer first. When I started writing comics, I felt almost instantly that I had discovered my element. It was the version of writing I liked best. I felt, when I worked in comics, that my strengths were amplified, and the stuff I struggled with as a writer almost completely vanished. Working on Locke & Key was one of the most satisfying creative experiences of my life. But it’s tremendously exciting to get back into it: scripting again, working with artists, working with other writers. Working in comics is the closest you can get as a storyteller to feeling like what it must be like to be in the Rolling Stones.”
He also followed up the announcement with a celebratory tweet, writing:
I’m so excited to get back to comics. Creatively, it’s my happiest of happy places.
— Joe Hill (@joe_hill) June 26, 2019
According to EW, Hill House will kick off with five limited series, two of which Hill will be writing himself—Basketful of Heads, illustrated by Leomacs, and Plunge, illustrated by an as-yet unannounced artist. Basketful of Heads is a Rashomon-esque home-invasion slasher story involving a supernatural axe that leaves its severed heads talking, while Plunge is Hill’s self-described “riff” on John Carpenter’s The Thing, set during the rescue mission for a missing research vessel that resurfaces in the Arctic. Hill elaborated:
“There’s oil on board with unusual properties. At the center of this ring island, sunk in shallow waters, is what appears to be the ruins of a prehistoric civilization. Most upsetting of all is when the men who were on the research vessel emerge from the island’s caves. Their eyes have all been eaten away, they haven’t aged a day, and they’re capable of performing unfathomable mathematical feats. There’s something terribly wrong with them. And then the storm closes in.”
Other series in the pop-up include The Dollhouse Family, in which writer Mike Carey and artist Peter Gross explore the story of a woman reunited with the magical doll family of her childhood; Daphne Byrne, a story from writer Laura Marks and artist Kelley Jones that revolves around a girl in 19th century New York who finds a “strange, insidious entity” inside of her; and The Low, Low Woods, illustrated by Dani and written by award-winning author Carmen Maria Machado (Her Body and Other Parties) in her comics debut.
On Twitter, Machado described The Low, Low Woods as a “Pennsylvania gothic horror mystery starring two queer dirtbag teenage girls.”
It's a Pennsylvania gothic horror mystery starring two queer dirtbag teenage girls and I'm having the time of my life.
— Carmen Maria Machado (@carmenmmachado) June 26, 2019
EW added that it will be set in a “mining town afflicted by a mysterious plague that eats memories.”
Joe Hill is also writing a back-up feature, appearing in each of the five comic series, called Sea Dogs—and its description is best left up to the writer himself.
“The naval fleet is run by this 90-gun ship, and there’s just nothing Americans could throw at it to destroy it,” Hill told EW, about the American Revolution-set series. “So they hit on this desperate plan: Allow three American werewolves to be impressed on board, and then eat the ship from the inside out.”
Basketful of Heads issue 1 will arrive October 30. Read more about the line (and check out the covers) over at EW, and tell us in the comments what stories you’re excited for.