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JOE HILL TO OVERSEE NEW LINE OF DC HORROR COMICS

I’ve noticed that DC Comics has been dabbling more and more with the horror genre as of late, with books like The Batman Who Laughs, Martian Manhunter, and the upcoming Gotham City Monsters. That’s on the super hero side though. With the demise of Vertigo, I thought we’d lose a chunk of our wonderfully weird horror titles, such as recent books like Imaginary Fiends and Hex Wives. It seems they just found new homes and under a great mentor as EW has exclusively reported on a new line of horror titles overseen by Joe Hill to be published under DC Black Label.

Hill House Comics, a pop-up imprint, will initially include five limited series:

Basketful Of Heads

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  • Basketful of Heads, written by Hill and illustrated by Leomacs with covers 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 Dollhouse Family

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  • The Dollhouse Family, written by Mike Carey and illustrated by Peter Gross with covers 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...

The Low Low Woods

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  • The Low, Low Woods, written by Carmen Maria Machado and illustrated by Dani with a cover 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.

Daphne Byrne

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  • Daphne Byrne, written by Laura Marks and illustrated by Kelley Jones with covers by Piotr Jablonski

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.

Plunge

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  • Plunge, written by Hill, with a TBA artist with covers 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…

Each one will feature two-page installments of a back-up feature called Sea Dogs, written by Hill.  This story features werewolves terrorizing a crew of sailors at sea.

“Anyone who’s paying attention knows we’re in the middle of a new golden age of horror: films like Get Out, Hereditary, It Follows and plain old It have raised the bar higher and higher,” says Hill. “Meanwhile, ongoing shows like AMC’s The Terror and Netflix’s Stranger Things have shattered preconceived notions about what’s possible in episodic terror TV. There’s great stuff happening in comics, of course—in a field of unbounded creativity and wacko visionaries, there’s always great stuff happening—but greedy me wants more.

“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! 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.”

“Bringing horror to the forefront of our publishing plan has been a huge initiative for DC and a passion project of mine, but it was always about finding the right time and voice to mastermind it—and there is no one better than Joe Hill,” says DC executive editor Mark Doyle. “Joe is a modern master; his ability to blend visceral, high-concept horror with heartfelt characters is what has grabbed the attention (and throats!) of millions of readers. His vision and taste are unparalleled; you can see it in the incredible talent he’s assembled here, and the stories they’re crafting are bringing the next generation of horror to DC.”

“Joe Hill’s vision for this new line is incredibly exciting,” says DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras. “Bringing in new and well-known creative voices with different backgrounds to tell their thrilling and terrifying tales, mixed with the energy around the horror genre at large—it all makes it a great time to be a fan of DC.”

“We’re so happy to welcome Joe Hill to DC, and to partner with him on this new specialty line of creator-owned horror books,” says DC Publisher Dan DiDio. “Horror has been such an integral part of DC’s history and it’s a tradition we want to see revitalized. As a lifetime fan of horror, I know fans are going to be so excited when these books hit shelves. I can’t wait.”

Fans attending San Diego Comic Con will get an early look at Hill House Comics in a panel hosted by Hill and Doyle, joined by other special guests.  This will be held on Friday, July 19th at 4:15 PM in room 6DE.

This is a pretty awesome announcement and it’s no surprise that it’s right up my alley here at Horror DNA. I do find the timing curious as these books would have fit perfectly under the Vertigo umbrella. In any case, I’m glad they exist and that they’ve found a home. Hill’s work in both prose and comics has been pretty solid so I’m definitely up for whatever he has coming downt he line.

Basketful of Heads will be the first book to debut, with the first issue coming out on October 30th, 2019. The other titles will follow.

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About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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