DC Comics is launching a new horror comics line curated by author Joe Hill in October. It’s called Hill House Comics and it follows in the footsteps of other “pop-up” lines at DC such as Gerard Way’s Young Animal.
Hill, who is best known for horror novels such as NOS4A2 and his comic book series Locke & Key, will write two of the five books in the new line, which will be published under DC’s Black Label imprint. Joining Hill are both comic book veterans as well as a few newcomers.
Here’s the lineup: Basketful of Heads, written by Hill with art by Leomacs; The Dollhouse Family, written by Mike Carey with art by Peter Gross; The Low, Low Woods, written by Carmen Maria Machado and with art by Dani; Daphne Byrne, written by Laura Marks with art by Kelley Jones; and Plunge, written by Hill and drawn by a mystery artist yet to be revealed. The books will also have a two-page back-up series, Sea Dogs, which will also be written by Hill.
If you grew up reading Vertigo Comics, DC’s legendary, adult-oriented imprint which will close next January, you’ll notice a few familiar names, including Carey and Gross, who previously collaborated on Lucifer. Jones, besides being one of the defining Batman artists of the ’90s, also worked on The Sandman with Neil Gaiman.
But most exciting is the inclusion of Machado, who is one of the most awe-inspiring writers working today. Her short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, a mix of horror and dark fantasy tales told through the hypnotic perspectives of Machado’s protagonists, is one of the best works of fiction released in the last decade. Her upcoming memoir, In the Dream House, which is about a relationship gone terribly wrong, is also receiving amazing reviews at the moment. Machado’s comic book debut with The Low, Low Woods, “a gruesome coming-of-age body-horror mystery series,” basically makes Hill House Comics the comic book event of the year.
“At Hill House Comics we aim to shock the senses and soak the page in red, with new, hooky horror from seasoned old hands and young masters of the field, all set free to share their most disturbing nightmares…for your pleasure!” Hill said in a press release. “The books are backed by DC’s second-to-none comic book craftsmanship, and we’re working with the very best editors on parole from Arkham Asylum to craft unputdownable tales of menace and madness. I can’t wait to share some fresh scares with comic book readers everywhere. It’s going to be fun.”
The first series to launch will be Basketful of Heads on Oct. 30. The rest of the line will follow after that.
Hill House Comics will get its first spotlight at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, with a panel hosted by Hill and DC executive editor Mark Doyle, with other special guests. The panel will be held Friday, July 19, at 4:15 p.m. in room 6DE.
Below, you’ll find a summary for each book:
BASKETFUL OF HEADS
Written by: Joe HillArt by: LeomacsCovers by: Reiko Murakami
The rain lashes the grassy dunes of Brody Island, and seagulls scream above the bay. A slender figure in a raincoat carries a large wicker basket, which looks like it might be full of melons…covered by a bloodstained scrap of the American flag.
This is the story of June Branch, a young woman trapped with four cunning criminals who have snatched her boyfriend for deranged reasons of their own. Now she must fight for her life with the help of an impossible 8th-century Viking axe that can pass through a man’s neck in a single swipe—and leave the severed head still conscious and capable of supernatural speech.
Each disembodied head has a malevolent story of its own to tell, and it isn’t long before June finds herself in a desperate struggle to hack through their lies and manipulations…racing to save the man she loves before time runs out.
THE LOW, LOW WOODS
Written by: Carmen Maria MachadoArt by: DaniCover by: J.A.W. Cooper
A mysterious plague is afflicting the small mining town of Shudder to Think, Pennsylvania. It strikes seemingly at random, eating away at the memories of those suffering from it. From tales of rabbits with human eyes, to deer women who come to the windows of hungry girls at night, this town is one of those places where strange things are always happening. But no one ever seems to question why…
THE LOW, LOW WOODS is a gruesome coming-of-age body-horror mystery series about two teenage women trying to uncover the truth about the mysterious memory-devouring illness affecting them and the people of the small mining town they call home—and the more they discover, the more disturbing the truth becomes.
THE DOLLHOUSE FAMILY
Written by: Mike CareyArt by: Peter GrossCovers by: Jessica Dalva
On Alice’s sixth birthday, her dying great-aunt sends her the birthday gift she didn’t know she always wanted: a big, beautiful 19th-century dollhouse, complete with a family of antique dolls. In hardly any time at all, the dollhouse isn’t just Alice’s favorite toy…it’s her whole world.
Soon young Alice learns she can enter the house, to visit a new group of friends, straight out of a heartwarming children’s novel: the Dollhouse family. As the years pass, Alice finds herself visiting their world more frequently, slowly losing track of where reality ends and make-believe begins. What starts as play concludes in an eruption of madness and violence.
Childhood ends—but that little house casts a long shadow over Alice’s adult life. When the world becomes too much for her to bear, Alice finds herself returning to the dollhouse and the little folk within. The house can offer her a shelter from all her sorrows…but only if she gives it what it wants, and god help her if she tries to walk away again…
Written by: Laura MarksArt by: Kelley JonesCovers by: Piotr Jabłoński
In the gaslit splendor of late 19th-century New York, rage builds inside 14-year-old Daphne. The sudden death of her father has left her alone with her irresponsible, grief-stricken mother—who becomes easy prey for a group of occultists promising to contact her dead husband.
While fighting to disentangle her mother from these charlatans, Daphne begins to sense a strange, insidious presence in her own body…an entity with unspeakable appetites. And as she learns to wield this brutal, terrifying power, she wages a revenge-fueled crusade against the secret underworld that destroyed her life.
Written by: Joe HillArt by: TBDCovers by: Jeremy Wilson
In 1983 the Derleth disappeared, wiped out in a storm on the edge of the Arctic circle—the world’s most advanced research vessel in the hunt for oil, lost in the aftermath of a tsunami.
Almost 40 years later, the Derleth begins to transmit its distress signal once again, calling in to Alaska’s remote Attu Station from the most forlorn place on earth, a desolate ring island in the icy faraway. A US salvage team made up of experts, scientists, and mercenaries helicopter in just ahead of a storm—and the Russian competition—to find the abandoned wreck hung up on the island shores of the atoll. As a wintry blizzard clamps down, anomalies begin to surface: first the samples of an oil with unlikely properties, and then the sonar readings of a sunken prehistoric civilization just offshore. Still, nothing could prepare the salvage team for the reappearance of the Derleth’s crew from the island cave, no older than they were four decades ago, every one of them struck blind by an inexplicable infection…and yet capable of seeing in new ways, possessed of extraordinary powers and stripped of all but their last vestiges of humanity…
SEA DOGS (backup story)
Written by: Joe HillArt by: TBD
The Revolution is screwed.
In 1779 the pathetic American navy is a pile of smoldering wrecks choking the Penobscot River. Imperial Britain has amassed the mightiest fleet the world has ever known, led by the HMS Havoc, a 90-gun second rate that has sunk a forest of French, Spanish and American frigates, sketching a trail of devastation that stretches all the way from St. Kitts to Machias, Maine. The faltering Continental Congress can’t hope to match England’s sea power, and they’re just desperate enough to make a deal with the devil…or even three.
Spymaster Benjamin Tallmadge proposes allowing three lycanthropes to be pressed into British service aboard the Havoc. Three patriotic werewolves might be all it takes to butcher the ship from the inside out and paint the decks red. It’s true, their powers are infernal, their minds are mad and their loyalty can in no way be trusted. And yet what else can a desperate nation do…but let slip the dogs of war?