WC12: Joe Hill Exhumes the Future of "Locke & Key"

This weekend at WonderCon, Joe Hill announced perhaps the final entry in the "Locke & Key" series for some time. Entitled "Locke & Key: Omega," the entry will follow the events of "Clockworks" to tie-up the overarching story starring the Locke family and their family estate of Keyhouse. Speaking on-camera with Comic Book Resources Executive Producer Jonah Weiland, Hill, alongside collaborator and "Locke & Key" artist Gabriel Rodriguez, spoke about resolving the lingering story strands in the current "Clockworks" arc. With the "Locke and Key" spotlight panel just wrapping up, read an excerpt of their discussion below and stay tuned to CBR for the full video interview, which will post soon.

"The idea behind 'Clockworks' was explaining everything," said Hill. "Gabe and I both love 'The X-Files' and we both agree that somewhere around season six, it flew off the rails. They had great chemistry and great writers, but the problem is they added too much mystery. It was almost like they would do something because it was cool, like black oil or alien bumblebees but there was never a satisfying way to wrap that stuff up and explain it. Going back to the early days of 'Locke & Key,' Gabe and I realized we would need a bible. Any time we raised a question, we would have to have a hopefully elegant answer for it in place."

Together, Hill and Rodriguez collaboratively produced an 18-page, single-spaced bible containing all the explanations, down to the most minute detail, for everything "Locke & Key." "Even in the second or third issue we meet Dodge for the first time and she's down in that well and she's got that comb," Hill said. "Gabe wanted to know how the comb got down there, so we have this explanation for everything from where the keys come from to how Dodge turned out so evil to how he turned into a she and ended up at the bottom of a well. Most of that is explained in a pretty thorough way in 'Clockworks,' so we have our explanations out of the way and we can wrap things up in an emotionally satisfying way in 'Omega,' which will begin this fall."

Following "Locke & Key: Omega," Hill revealed he would be working on a series of standalone tales focusing on the rest of the Locke family.

"Keyhouse is this big, creepy house that's been there for 250 years, always watched over by the Locke family," he said. "There are other stories to tell. So we've started to explore that. After 'Omega,' there will be a seventh book that will be kind of like 'Sandman: Dream Country.' It will be a collection of standalone stories about other members of the Locke family that casual readers can dip into and enjoy."

Beyond developments in "Locke & Key," Hill is also working with collaborator Jason Ciaramella on a follow-up to "The Cape" to help answer some lingering questions.

"Jason and I worked together very closely on the first issue, which is a straight adaptation of the ['20th Century Ghosts'] short story," said Hill. "Jason's a friend of mine and after we finished it, he immediately turned into an amazing pain in the ass, bugging me with all these questions. 'Well, how come he can fly? What happens next? What about his brother?' Finally, I got so sick of it, I said, 'Well why don't you figure it out?' So Jason wound up scripting another four issues of 'The Cape.' We worked together on it and a lot of 'The Cape' is Jason and Zach Howard and Nelson Daniels. I think Zach's art in 'The Cape' is some of the best stuff this side of John Cassaday's run on 'X-Men.'"

The follow-up series, "The Cape: 1969," features a collaboration between Hill and Ciaramella that focuses on the origin of the Cape and how it works. "We get an origin story about why 'The Cape' has these unnatural powers," said Hill. "I think it's a pretty satisfying one. That origin story was actually in place in the back of my mind while I was working on the short story years before it ever became a comic. I had explained that to Jason and he's done his own thing with it. It'll be pretty interesting to see that come together. I'm very excited about it. I think it'll be pretty dark."

Original "The Cape" artist Zach Howard will collaborate with Nelson Daniels for a smooth art transition to "The Cape: 1969." "Nelson Daniels is going to draw, ink and color. He's already done some amazing stuff on that. Zach Howard has a hand in it. When we see the boys in 'The Cape,' that's Zach drawing it. In the rest of the comic, it's Nelson, which is a great way to tie the two series together."

Even with his work on a follow-up for "The Cape," Hill said despite the possibility of bringing a close to the story of the current generation of the Locke family, it continues to be a creation close to his heart.

"It's been a really special project. There always seems to be another key or another character that I think is worth poking at or exploring," he said. "Gabe and I are like separated-at-birth twins creatively. We are like an old married couple who finishes each other's sentences. I have asked Gabe to draw some outrageous things and he's just about broken his wrist pulling some stuff off for me."

Following the end of "Omega," Hill and Rodriguez plan to collaborate on a superhero book for either Marvel or DC, followed by a new creator-owned series. "I won't say which, but we've got one in line," he said. "We've been talking about it for two years now. Just as a break, almost like a dessert, we're going to jump in and do a cape title for about six issues and then we have another long-running series we want to tackle that will be non-'Locke & Key' -- a new, open ended original that we'd like to hit."

Even so, Hill would like to return to tell more stores in the "Locke & Key" universe. "I think the 'Locke & Key' house is there and the keys are there and the history is there so if we want to jump in and do another six issue arc about the Civil War or World War II, those stories are there to tell," he said. "In fact, I do want to tell a story called 'Locke & Key' battleground that will be set during World War II and we'll also tie up a couple little loose ends that will tie-up the overarching story. We'll also get to tell a really interesting love story."

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