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DC Teams with Joe Hill for Pop-Up Horror Line of Comics, Hill House

Locke & Key co-creator and horror novelist Joe Hill is teaming with DC for Hill House Comics, described as a "pop-up line" of horror comics.

“I’ve always been a comic book writer first,” Hill told Entertainment Weekly. “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.”

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Hill House Comics will launch with five limited series: Basketful of Heads by Hill and artist Leomacs; The Dollhouse Family by writer Mike Carey and artist Peter Gross; The Low, Low Woods, written by Carmen Maria Machado and illustrated by Dani; Daphne Byrne by writer Laura Marks and artist Kelley Jones; and Plunge, written by Hill and an artist to be named at a later date.

Also, each limited series will include a two-page backup titled Sea Dogs, which will be written by Hill. Some of the previous Vertigo creators collaborating at Hill House include Jones on Swamp Thing and Carey and Gross on Lucifer.

“I’ve drawn a lot of horror in my career, and I think the key to getting it right is to find the humanity in it,” Leomacs added. “Horror works when the readers are scared for the characters and for themselves. The artist, I think, needs to find that face, that pose, that set up that conveys the horror in a way that touches a nerve. This story will keep you on your toes. My job is to make sure that the readers feel on their skin what the heroine feels. That’s both the challenge and the fun part of it.”

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Basketful of Heads sees a young woman come into possession of a magical ax when she and her boyfriend find Viking artifacts at a New England mansion they're house-sitting. When a group of people break into the mansion during a storm, her boyfriend disappears. “In the fight that follows,” Hill said, “she reaches for the ax, and we learn the ax has this supernatural power. It can lop off a head in a single stroke, but then the head keeps talking. So you get a grindhouse Rashomon, as the heads stack up and each of them tells their own version of what they’ve done and why they had to do it.”

The Dollhouse Family explores Alice, who was gifted a dollhouse filled with a magical family of dolls. Alice finds some unexpected results when she returns to the dollhouse after years away. The Low, Low Woods features a Pennsylvania mining town afflicted by a mysterious plague that eats memories. Daphne Byrne finds the titular character in the 1800s New York, where she discovers a strange, insidious entity within her body. Finally, Hill describes Plunge as “my chance to riff on one of the greatest horror films of all time, John Carpenter’s The Thing.”

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