Crossovers are nothing new in comics, whether it’s a meeting between characters you don’t normally see together or even a collision of two different publishers’ universes — but there’s something unusual about the forthcoming Hell & Gone, a crossover between IDW Publishing’s Locke & Key series and The Sandman, the legendary DC Vertigo title that made Neil Gaiman’s name in comics back in the early ’90s.
These two worlds meeting is an intriguing prospect — and, at a digital New York Comic Con panel, Locke & Key creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez teased a little of what we can expect from the crossover.
Despite coming out two decades apart, and from two different publishers, the two books do have a lot in common — and not just because both are being adapted by Netflix. The second season of Locke & Key is currently filming, while an 11-episode Sandman series is in development with Wonder Woman writer Allan Heinberg, Batman Begins writer David S. Goyer, and Gaiman himself as showrunners.
For now, at least, this crossover is strictly comics-based. The more important connection here is that The Sandman and Locke & Key are both excellent fantasy comics that work by taking a recognizable version of our world and then laying a mythology just beneath its surface.
In the case of Sandman, that’s the world of dreams — and of Dream, gothy embodiment of all things oneiric, who tries to keep the dreamworld, and his godlike siblings, in check. Meanwhile, Locke & Key’s fantastical elements all stem from the discovery of whispering iron, a metal from another dimension that grants otherworldly properties to anything forged from it.
Namely, keys. Keys created, lost, and later discovered by assorted generations of the Locke family that give their user command over the shadows, turn them into an animal, or let them (literally) get inside someone’s head.
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