Writer/creator Joe Hill dropped by the CBR Yacht at Comic-Con International in San Diego 2012 to discuss his newest projects including developments on the conclusion of fan-favorite series “Locke & Key” from IDW Publishing. Hill kicked things off by talking about his decision to end the saga of the Locke family.
“When Gabe [Rodriguez] and I got into this, I don’t think we knew how many issues it would go,” said Hill. “At one point, I imagine it would only have gone 18 issues. There’s a lot of story there and there’s a lot of characters and I also think we wanted to explore the ramifications of the more powerful keys and that took time. Stories derive their power from having conclusion, from offering closure and I think it’s a cheat to just string people along endlessly. I also think it’s disaster, whether it’s a TV show or a comic, you see the thing wind up becoming a wreck when you just keep piling on more mystery and readers just never get their answers. One of the things we did with ‘Clockworks’ is we answered all the questions we had set up. How did Dodge become evil? What’s behind the black door? Where did the keys come from? We offered answers to those that we thought were reasonable elegant and would tie things neatly together. Now there’s nothing to do except kill everyone’s favorite characters and be done with it.”
Hill also shared his opinion on the perpetual nature of comics, noting that for him, two of the most satisfying comics of all time are “Y: The Last Man” and “Sandman” due to the completion of the story with a satisfying conclusion. The writer also spoke about his love of “Batman: Year One” and Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing” run, saying Moore’s final issue has “the feeling of the door closing.”
While “Locke & Key” is ending, Hill and Rodriguez hope to continue working together in comics with a number of one-shot entries in the “Locke & Key” universe. The writer likes the idea of revisiting the world to tell the occasional standalone story — but first, the “Locke & Key” co-creators are headed to the world of superheroes. “When Gabe and I wrap up ‘Locke & Key,’ I promised Gabe we were going to go do a cape comic,” said Hill. “The editors on that have been extremely patient because we’ve been talking about it for well over a year. … We’re going to do that and then we’re going to do another creator-owned thing.”
Hill’s new novel “NOS 482,” spanning the early ’80s to the modern day about a bad man with a bad car, comes out in 2013, along with a tie-in comic series titled “Rafe,” which is planned to run five issues. The film adaptation for Hill’s novel “Horns” has begun production and will start filming this fall. While the protagonist was first going to be played by Shia LeBouf, the lead actor has since been replaced — but Hill was no able to talk about who has been cast at the time of the interview.
The writer discussed his excitement at having his work adapted into other forms of media, specifically referencing the “Locke & Key” pilot that ended up hitting the cutting room floor. In fact, the writer said “Locke & Key” continues to be the project that is the most fun and always works to help him get excited about writing again.
As for CCI 2012, Hill wrapped up by saying he was hoping to get his hands on Darwyn Cooke’s “Parker: The Score” and spoke about the current push for creator-owned comics.
“You see a lot more horror and a lot more crime, whether it’s ‘Walking Dead’ or ‘Fatale.’ That’s not a big shift. That’s comics returning to its roots,” said Hill. “There’s always been Superman, but back in the day, back in the ’40s and ’50s, the comics everyone really loved were the crime comics and horror comics. Superheroes were definitely a distant third. I think more publishers are beginning to act like publishers in mainstream publishing where there’s not this expectation that if you come up with a great idea, you’re going to give all your rights away to it. My book publisher, they don’t ask if they’re going to have the movie rights. It’s not even a possibility. I think the comic book companies are going to come around to a more modern point of view, which is if there is a movie or TV show, they’ll benefit by selling books, but this idea that they’re going to be able to hold on endlessly to movie rights or whatever, it’s just not true. Comic book creators, they can go to Kickstarter, they can go to Image, there are a lot of publishers now who are saying, ‘Run wild and we’re glad to support it.'”