Just days after announcing the closure of the DC Vertigo imprint, DC is signaling that it hasn’t moved away from creator-owned comic book material. The publisher has announced a new pop-up imprint, Hill House Comics, curated by horror writer Joe Hill.
The line of five original miniseries — each one targeted to readers 17 and older — will feature two titles written by the Fireman and Heart-Shaped Box author himself, with all five titles including a secondary strip, “Sea Dogs,” also written by Hill. Other titles will be written by The Girl With All The Gifts author Mike Carey, playwright and The Good Fight screenwriter Laura Marks, and critically acclaimed short story writer and essayist Carmen Maria Machado. Artists for the line include Sandman veteran Kelley Jones, as well as The Unwritten’s Peter Gross.
In a statement about the new line, Hill said, “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. 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.”
“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,” DC executive editor Mark Doyle added. “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.”
Hill House Comics launches Oct. 30 with the first issue of Basketful of Heads by Hill and Leomacs, followed by The Low, Low Woods, The Dollhouse Family, Daphne Byrne and Plunge. DC’s official descriptions for each series are below; more information about the imprint will be revealed at a panel at San Diego Comic Con with both Hill and Doyle in attendance, July 19 at 4:15 p.m. in Room 6DE.
The official descriptions of each of the Hill House Comics titles is as follows:
Basketful of Heads by Joe Hill and Leomacs; 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 eighth-century Viking ax 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 by Carmen Maria Machado and Dani; covers by J.A.W. Cooper
A mysterious plague is afflicting the small mining town of Shudder to Think, Pa. 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 by Mike Carey and Peter Gross; 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….
Daphne Byrne by Laura Marks and Kelley Jones; covers by Piotr Jablo?ski
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 by Joe Hill and Artist TBD; cover 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 U.S. 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….