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Preview: Locke & Key: Keyhouse Compendium

Locke & Key: Keyhouse Compendium

(W) Joe Hill (A/CA) Gabriel Rodriguez
In Shops: Jul 21, 2021
SRP: $125.00

The stories that inspired the Netflix series! All six volumes of the critically acclaimed Locke & Key series are now available in one massive compendium featuring an all-new Introduction by series co-creator, Joe Hill.

Named a “modern masterpiece” by The A.V. Club, Locke & Key tells a sprawling tale of magic and family, legacy and grief, good and evil. Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times-bestselling author Joe Hill (The Fireman, Heart-Shaped Box, NOS4A2) has created a gripping story of dark fantasy and wonder-with astounding artwork from Gabriel Rodriguez-that, like the doors of Keyhouse, will transform all who open it.

Locke & Key: Keyhouse Compendium

DC’s Hill House Returns with Refrigerator Full of Heads

DC’s Hill House is the comic imprint launched by Joe Hill. Its horror theme kept the line focused on its initial launches. A new series, Refrigerator Full of Heads has been announced from writer Rio Youers and artist Tom Fowler. It’s the first in a new wave of Hill House titles from DC and continues the world of Basketful of Heads one of the initial launch titles.

Refrigerator Full of Heads launches on October 19th and will bring readers back to bloody Brody Island. At the bottom of the bay, the mysterious axe that unleashed violent pandemonium during the hurricane of ’83 has been waiting… but nothing that powerful stays buried.

With a new sheriff, new visitors, and a dangerous Great White Shark spotted off the coast, the pieces are all in place for terror to rise again when vacationing couple Calvin Beringer and Arlene Fields stumble onto the wrong side of Brody’s unsavory elements.

Refrigerator Full of Heads is an off-the-wall delight, with moments that could only happen in the panels of a Hill House comic. Readers will not want to miss where this story goes! Issue one of six will be available in comic book shops on October 19 featuring a cover by Sam Wolfe Connelly and a variant cover by Reiko Murakami.

Refrigerator Full of Heads

The Conjuring prequel comic will usher in the new ‘DC Horror’ label

The Conjuring: The Lover

With The Conjuring having its feet firmly planted in its own universe, it’s only natural comics got the opportunity to flesh out the franchise’s particular brand of terror. DC Comics has answered the call to do so with the launch of a new imprint called ‘DC Horror,’ which will premiere with a prequel comic to the latest entry in The Conjuring franchise subtitled The Devil Made Me Do It.

The series, titled The Conjuring: The Lover, will run for five issues and will set up the events that lead into The Devil Made Me Do It. It’s co-written by the film’s screenwriter David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and author Rex Ogle (Death of Wolverine: Life After Logan), with art by Garry Brown (Babyteeth) and colors by Chris Sotomayor.

The story follows Jessica, a college freshman, returning to campus after winter break, that’s dealing with the anxieties of mounting schoolwork and grades, a sexual encounter with a guy she’s now regretting, and the odd feeling she’s being watched by something.

The idea shares some elements with that of The Exorcism of Emily Rose movie, in which the titular character starts manifesting “possession” symptoms while in college, throwing every single aspect of her life into disarray. In a sense, it’s fitting that the story echoes that of the aforementioned movie given its basis on real events, something it shares with The Devil Made Me Do It.

The Conjuring: The Lover

The third entry in The Conjuring series is based on the first legal case in American history to have a defendant claim innocence due to demonic possession at the time of the crime. The Exorcism of Emily Rose, on the other hand, is also based on the true story of Annaliese Michel, who underwent 67 exorcism rites in a year, which eventually led to her death. The cause of death was attributed to malnutrition. Her parents and the priest that conducted the exorcism were convicted of negligent homicide in the case.

How much of this case actually inspired (or not) The Conjuring: The Lover remains to be seen, but the premise promises a story worthy of the name that graces its cover. Additionally, The Lover will feature short back-up stories written by some of horror comics most popular creators, including Scott Snyder, Juan Ferreyra, Che Grayson, and Denys Cowan. These stories will focus on the haunted objects that resided in Lorraine and Ed Warren’s infamous artifact room (which is where they kept the Annabelle doll).

It bears mentioning that this new horror imprint might be riding on the shoulders of Joe Hill’s own recent horror imprint, Hill House Comics, which was headlined by Hill’s own Basketful of Heads comic, illustrated by Leomacs. The series that were published as part of the imprint received mostly universal praise and felt as if they belonged in the same habitat as DC’s classic House of Mystery comics.

The Conjuring: The Lover

DC editor-in-chief Marie Javins seems to be aware of this connection. In a statement she released on the new horror imprint, Javins said that “DC has always been the home of great horror comics and characters. DC Horror continues this tradition with new frightening tales from both well-known and new storytellers that will keep fans spooked and entertained.”

With The Conjuring possessing a well-established horror universe and DC recognizing the weight horror carries within its company’s history, it looks like this year is shaping up to be a good one for both veteran and emerging horror fans. The potential behind the new imprint for pulling in new readers, especially in the wake of Hill House’s success, seems to lean favorably towards success.

One thing’s for sure, if this move inspires other publishers to invest in their own horror imprints, they’ll be able to say ‘DC made me do it.’

The Conjuring: The Lover arrives in comic book stores and on participating digital platforms the same day as the U.S. release of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It—Tuesday, June 1, 2021, with issue #2 available on July 6, 2021.

Review: Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #1

Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #1

Nicholas Cage is one of those actors whose films have given him iconic status. In each role, he has not only proven his talent but has made each character incredibly indelible. I remember the first time I saw him, it was in Moonstruck, as the brother of her fiancee whom she falls in love with. Every film after that would just add to his legend.

Cage has touched every film genre and is such a chameleon, that people often identify with certain roles. He can play someone meek, like his character in The Rock. Then there is devil may care character he played in Drive Angry where his character came back from hell to save his daughter. In a rare crossover between two of comics most imaginative universes, Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #1 begins Mary Locke’s adventure to do anything to save her brother’s soul.

The comic features a prelude in how Jack got lost in Hell, but we’re taken to 1927 Wych Cross, England, where Mary has just been summoned from study abroad in the United States. A strange rich royal, Roderick Burgess, has summoned her back home to recreate one of her late father’s inventions. His offers her a way to get back her brother Jack. We soon find out he has Dream captured in his basement and leads Mary to take on some extraordinary measures and finesse her way through the House of Mystery. By the issue’s end, Mary might have found the back door to Hell, but what is on the other side she might not be ready for.

Overall, Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #1 is an excellent debut issue, which highlights why everyone loves both franchises. The story by Joe Hill and Neil Gaiman is both dour and fascinating. The art by Gabriel Rodriguez, Jay Fotos, and Shawn Lee is astounding. Altogether, the debut issue is an exhilarating trip “down the rabbit hole”. It’s one that enchants and frights.

Story: Joe Hill, Neil Gaiman Art: Gabriel Rodriguez, Jay Fotos, and Shawn Lee
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #1

Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #1

(W) Joe Hill, Neil Gaiman (A/CA) Gabriel Rodriguez
In Shops: Apr 14, 2021
SRP: $6.99

If you think you can unlock the gates of Hell and just invite yourself in, you must be Dreaming!

The epic crossover between two of the most beloved fantasy universes in comics begins here. John “Jack” Locke is ten years dead, but that hasn’t stopped him from posting the occasional letter home… from Hell. Now Mary Locke will do anything to save her brother’s soul, including cut a deal with Roderick Burgess-the most evil man in England-to search for answers in the House of Mystery and risk the walking nightmare known as the Corinthian to find help in a disintegrating Kingdom of Dreams!

Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #1

Get a Look at the Anticipated Locke & Key/The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone #1 Before its April 14 Release

New York Times bestselling novelist Joe Hill and superstar artist Gabriel Rodríguez have crafted a tale of mystery and terror, bringing together two of comics’ greatest fantasy franchises — their award-winning series Locke & Key published by IDW and DC’s blockbuster The Sandman, created by Neil GaimanSam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg — in Locke & Key / The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone #1, slated for release on April 14th.

Hell & Gone #1 follows a desperate Mary Locke, whose brother Jack may be 10 years dead but still sends letters home from Hell. Her quest to rescue him from The Pit will require her to outsmart Roderick Burgess (the most wicked man in England), puzzle her way through the House of Mystery, and risk the walking nightmare known as The Corinthian in a disintegrating Kingdom of Dreams!

Locke & Key / The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone #1 will be available with multiple cover variants for retailers and fans to enjoy, including Cover A by Gabriel Rodríguez, Cover B by JH Williams III, Cover C by Kelley Jones, and two Retailer Incentive editions featuring art by Rodríguez and Williams, respectively.

Locke & Key / The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone #1

Preview: Locke & Key: In Pale Battalions Go #3 (of 3)

Locke & Key: In Pale Battalions Go #3 (of 3)

(W) Joe Hill (A/CA) Gabriel Rodriguez
In Shops: Dec 16, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Jonathan Locke uses the power of the Anywhere Key to flee the slaughter in Ypres and return to Keyhouse. But now the door is open between Flanders Fields and Lovecraft, Massachusetts… and the sinister Oberlutenant Eric Murnau has led a small band through to claim the magical keys for Germany!

Locke & Key: In Pale Battalions Go #3 (of 3)

Preview: Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #0

Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #0

(W) Joe Hill (A/CA) Gabriel Rodriguez
In Shops: Dec 09, 2020
SRP: $3.99

If you think you can unlock the gates of Hell and just invite yourself in, you must be Dreaming!

The Sandman Universe crossover begins here, with this specially priced re-introduction of the storylines and characters who populate next month’s landmark event series.

First, in the Eisner-winning Locke & Key tale, “Open the Moon,” meet Chamberlin Locke, patriarch of the Locke family, whose Moon Key began to unlock the events of this event series.

Next, journey with the Lord of Dreams to Lucifer’s domain in the chapter of Sandman’s epic “Season of Mists” storyline that sees the Key to Hell change hands in a most momentous way.

And join IDW and DC Comics next month for Locke & Key: Hell & Gone #1 by L&K co-creators Hill and Rodriguez!

Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #0

The Creepshow Animated Special is a fun Halloween watch covered in gore

Outside of manga, animated horror films or specials are few and far in between, which is why Shudder’s announcement that Creepshow series was going to give animation a shot for Halloween was so surprising. And yet, perhaps this shouldn’t have surprised us that much. The Stephen King, George Romero, and Bernie Wrightson creation did come into being as an homage to the EC horror comics that inspired them in the first place. Given the overlap between comics and animation, the visual language they share, it was quite simply the next logical step.

Thankfully, the Creepshow Animated Special delivers in this form, presenting a pair of violent and clever stories that adapt stories written by Stephen King and Joe Hill. Each story runs for about 20 minutes and wastes no time getting to the bloody bits, taking care of not leaving the plot and character development out to dry. They transition well into the show’s pastiche-driven interests.

Creepshow Animated Special
Shudder

A word on the animation, though. The special is presented in a motion comic style of animation (as previously seen in the Watchmen motion comics that came out almost in conjunction with Zack Snyder’s adaptation of the classic comic). There’s motion on-screen but not to the extent one might be expecting. It’s not the most sophisticated or intricate of styles out there, but director Greg Nicotero squeezes as much as he can out of it to great effect.

The first story comes from the mind of Stephen King and it’s called “Survivor Type,” about a man stranded on an island with the body of a dead woman after their ship sinks. The second one is called “Tweetering from the Circus of the Dead” and is adapted from a Joe Hill story. This one focuses on a teenager that gives a play-by-play Twitter account of the terrifying happenings that take place inside a sadistic circus.

Both stories are twisted enough to make for great visual adaptations. “Survivor Type” is a very bright story where every instance of terror is highly visible and in full color. It feels like an EC tale in that it’s gauche and grisly sense of violence dials up the blood and gore to its highest setting. “Tweetering from the Circus of the Dead” follows along the same lines but plays around with a darker color palette. Still, the carnage is allowed to display the full gamut of colors that comes with dismemberments and bloodletting fans of the exploitation will certainly appreciate.

Creepshow Animated Special
Shudder

All of this would’ve been in vain had the voice actors for each story failed to rise to the occasion. Fortunately, they do. The main character of “Survivor Type” is played by Keifer Sutherland and his performance perfectly captures the man’s egotistical and immoral spirit, imbuing his backstory with the necessary roughness required to make the landing.

Hill’s story is performed by Joey King (The Kissing Booth, Slenderman) and while her part isn’t as fine-tuned as Sutherland’s, she still manages to capture the sounds of a social media obsessed teen. What stands out in King’s segment is how her character’s sarcasm shifts into outright horror and shock as the story progresses. King gets to explore different aspect of her voiceover skills and it helps maintain a good sense of urgency as the character tweets about gory acts and dead things.

The animated approach for this special does achieve another thing that is worthy of note. It more closely resembles the comic book look both the original movie and series managed to capture on-screen. It fits well with the spirit of Creepshow and it is nice to see that connection make it through.

Creepshow Animated Special
Shudder

Speaking comics, Eric Powell (creator of The Goon) designed the creatures that feature in Joe Hill’s segment. This gives the story and even more present comic book feel and further cements the relationship between both mediums. Each creature is a treat to see shamble on-screen and they deserve to be explored closer to appreciate all the details Powell managed to squeeze into them.

The Creepshow Animated Special was a pleasant surprise that made me want to see more of these horror motion comic animations in the future. That might already be in the works as the final images of the special seem to hint at a Christmas offering. Consult with whatever dark forces are available to you to make sure we get more of these stories in the very, very near future.

Preview: Dying is Easy

Dying is Easy

(W) Joe Hill (A/CA) Martin Simmonds
In Shops: Oct 28, 2020
SRP: $19.99

Comedy is hard… but dying is easy! From New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill (Locke & Key, NOS4A2) comes this new graphic novel mystery. Meet Syd “Sh*t-Talk” Homes, a disgraced ex-cop turned bitter stand-up comic turned wanted killer! Syd’s rival Carl Dixon is on the verge of comedy superstardom and he got there the dirty way: by stealing jokes. He’s got a killer act, an ugly past, and more enemies than punch-lines. When he turns up dead, Syd is on the top of the suspect list… he had motive, he was the last man to see Dixon alive, and he had already named his price for taking Dixon out. Syd isn’t guilty of anything but bad jokes but now he’s on the run, and it’ll take all of his investigative chops to nail the real killer, before the cops nail him.

Dying is Easy
Almost American
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