Crossover events are one of the signature joys of reading comic books. Seeing characters who you never thought would interact suddenly collide can be an unexpected delight, especially when the heroes in question come from different publishers. The latest entry in a long tradition that includes the Justice League fighting the Avengers and Batman meeting Fortnite is Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell and Gone, which kicks off this month and brings together two of the most beloved dark fantasy comics of the last few decades.
Written and illustrated by the Locke & Key creative team of writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez, with the blessing of The Sandman co-creator Neil Gaiman, Hell and Gone is set in 1927, during the opening sequence of The Sandman in which Morpheus, the King of Dreams, is held captive by the human sorcerer Roderick Burgess. Mary Locke, an ancestor of the Locke children who populate the main Locke & Key story, reaches out to Burgess to see if his occult society can help her save her brother’s soul from hell.
Entertainment Weekly caught up with Hill and Rodriguez to discuss how this crossover came together.
Check out that interview HERE and watch an exclusive trailer for the new comic. Stay tuned for Locke & Key season 2, set to debut later this year on Netflix.
Netflix has announced that it will renew Season 3 of Locke & Key ahead of its Season 2 premiere.
Production on the drama’s sophomore season is slated to wrap in December, with eyes on a 2021 premiere date. Season 3 production will get underway in the new year, as well.
“[EPs] Carlton [Cuse] and Meredith [Averill] have built an incredible world in Locke & Key, and we’re excited to have the Lockes return for more in the third season,” said Brian Wright, vice president of overall deals at Netflix, while Cuse added, “We have some incredible adventures in store for the Locke family in Season 3 and could not be more excited to continue telling our story with our great partners at Netflix.”
Based on Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez’s comics of the same name, the show follows the three Locke siblings, who, along with their mother, move into their ancestral home after their father is murdered under strange circumstances. There, they discover magical keys that may be connected to their father’s death… and also awaken a mysterious demon who will stop at nothing to steal the keys.
The cast includes Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones, Jackson Robert Scott, Darby Stanchfield and Sherri Saum, while Brendan Hines (The Tick) has joined Season 2 as Josh Bennett, a charismatic history teacher at Matheson Academy who harbors a secret agenda.
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.
Even though conventions are being held virtually this year, it doesn’t mean that fans have to miss out on engaging panels! This week, IDW welcomes you to enjoy New York Comic Con x MCM Comic Con Metaverse from the comfort of your own home with a wildly insightful Locke & Key creator panel.
Unlock what’s next in the world of Locke & Key, now a hit Netflix original series! Join New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill (Full Throttle, NOS4A2, Dying is Easy) and legendary artist Gabriel Rodríguez in conversation with series editor Chris Ryall, as they welcome you back to Keyhouse. Be the first to hear more about the next wave of comics and graphic novels in the Locke & Key franchise!
Joe Hill (writer, Locke & Key) Gabriel Rodríguez (artist, Locke & Key) Chris Ryall (editor, Locke & Key)
The panel Goes Live: Thursday, October 8, at 4:20pm EST (1:20pm PST). Head to YouTube.com/NYCC.
Following the smashing first season success of the Netflix Original Series Locke & Key produced by IDW Entertainment, new fans are flocking to join the already massive following for Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez’s beloved horror/fantasy tale. To satisfy demand in the interim before Locke & Key’s second season debut, IDW Publishing is thrilled to announce the next wave of published offerings in the Locke & Key franchise. There’s no better time for fans to experience the full breadth of the comic series that The A.V. Club calls “a modern masterpiece!”
“I always wanted to have my own series character, like Philip Marlowe, Jack Reacher, or Sherlock Holmes. I just somehow never imagined my series character would be… a house. But that house is a home — my creative home,” says Hill. “I’ve spent some of the happiest hours of my life knocking around Keyhouse’s closets, cabinets, and odd corners, hanging there with my artistic compadres, Gabriel Rodríguez, Chris Ryall, and Jay Fotos. We’ve never stopped having fun and I couldn’t be more excited about the stories we’ve got ahead of us. We’re going to do our very best to unlock some good things in 2020.”
“Locks work both ways, so of course the ending of the first Locke & Key epic would lead to new journeys altogether. It’s natural that Joe, Jay, Chris, and I would be eager to explore Keyhouse’s other thrilling and impossible tales,” says Rodríguez. “It’s incredibly rewarding to see the saga of Chamberlin Locke unfold and reach a bombastic ending in the upcoming arcs …In Pale Battalions Go… and Hell and Gone, the latter of which will give us the chance to pay tribute to one of the mythologies that inspired us all to devote our lives to comics — DC’s The Sandman Universe. And even that is only the beginning… so brace yourselves!”
“It’s impressive how Joe and Gabriel keep finding new ways to expand the scope and breadth of Locke & Key, so for that reason alone, I’m happy to be working with them again,” says Chris Ryall, editor of the series. “But really, what I remain most excited about is just the chance to continue working alongside some of the most talented and special people I’ve ever had the good fortune to work with. The great comics to come are just a bonus after that.”
August through October will see the release of the three-part miniseries, Locke & Key: …In Pale Battalions Go…, serving as a lead-in to Hell & Gone, Locke & Key’s hotly anticipated crossover with DC’s The Sandman Universe slated for late fall. Set in the spring of 1915, the story follows John Locke, a patriot too young to enlist in the greatest war of all. He intends to use the impossible, reality-bending keys to turn the tide on the grimmest battlefield of the 20th century… a hellscape whose darkness might even strike fear into an army of shadows.
In October, the Locke & Key – The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone #0 comic book officially kicks off the crossover fans have been waiting for with a special reintroduction of storylines and characters who populate the fall’s landmark event series. In the reprinted tale “Open the Moon” (originally presented in 2011’s Locke & Key: Guide to the Known Keys), Chamberlin Locke, patriarch of the Locke family, wields the Moon Key to reveal new secrets lurking in Keyhouse… and unlocks a strange new world leading directly into the events of the Hell & Gone series. Also, the #0 issue peels back the curtain on Dream of The Endless with a classic tale reprinted from The Sandman.
Locke & Key: Keyhouse Compendium, scheduled for release in October, collects the original, sprawling tale of magic and family, in one massive 900-page hardcover edition complete with a dust jacket featuring all-new front- and back-cover artwork by series co-creator Gabriel Rodríguez. Marking the first time that the core Locke & Key six-volume series has all been collected into a single tome, the Keyhouse Compendium — much like the doors of Keyhouse itself — transforms all who open its pages. Witness the triumphs and tragedies of Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode Locke from their very first steps on the ancestral grounds of Massachusetts to the climactic final battle with the supernatural entity Dodge.
In November and January, the most talked-about crossover of 2020 will hit stores: Locke & Key – The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone, a monumental two-part story that sees the destiny of the Locke family intertwine with the mythos of DC’s The Sandman Universe. In November, IDW will publish Locke & Key – The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone #1, followed by DC’s The Sandman Universe – Locke & Key: Hell & Gone #1 in January. “If you think you can unlock the gates of Hell and just invite yourself in, you must be dreaming,” the tagline promises, for a tale crafted by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez, and overseen by Sandman writer and co-creator Neil Gaiman.
Finally, IDW welcomes the Locke & Key series into the company’s comprehensive in-house Spanish Language publishing initiative with the release of Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Bienvenidos a Lovecraft in February 2021. Collecting the six-issue “Welcome to Lovecraft” storyline that introduced the Locke kids and their nemesis Dodge, Bienvenidos a Lovecraft expands the accessibility of Hill and Rodríguez’s storytelling to Spanish-speaking communities throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
Comic books are built on crossovers. Seeing characters from different fictional worlds or even different publishers come face-to-face on the page is one of the most unique and exhilarating experiences the medium can offer. Usually, such crossovers involve superheroes (different Marvel heroes coming together to form the Avengers, say, or their even bigger encounters with DC Comics rivals), but this fall, it’s time for two popular dark fantasy comics to get acquainted when Locke & Key meets The Sandman in a new crossover comic from IDW and DC Comics.
Originally created by writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodríguez and recently adapted into a Netflix series, Locke & Key is the story of the Locke family, whose ancestral Massachusetts home of Keyhouse contains a wide variety of magical keys: One that opens up people’s minds, one that turns you into a ghost, and many more. The Sandman was originally created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg, and has its own Netflix adaptation on the way (in the meantime, the first few volumes of the comic were recently adapted into audiobook format by Audible). The Sandman is mostly the story of Morpheus, King of The Dreaming, as his life intersects with various mortals, monsters, and myths. But it does feature at least one very important key: The Key to Hell, which the devil Lucifer gives to Morpheus after abandoning his post as ruler of demons and the damned. This key will apparently form the connection between The Dreaming and Keyhouse.
The crossover comic will be titled Locke & Key / The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone, and will kick off in October with a #0 issue that reprints key stories from both universes (in case you’re only familiar with one, or just need a refresher). The series proper will kick off with issue #1 in November, beginning an all-new story that connects the Locke Family of Keyhouse to the realm of The Dreaming by way of Lucifer’s Key to Hell. The series will be written by Hill and illustrated by Rodríguez.
Check out two different covers for issue #1. The first, by Rodríguez, features The Sandman characters Cain, Abel, Death, Fiddler’s Green, and the Corinthian in what looks like ’20s period costumes, while a mysterious blonde woman in the front wears Morpheus’ helm and holds one of the Keyhouse keys (the Anywhere Key, by the looks of it). The second, by The Sandman: Overture artist J.H. Williams III, again features that helm (given the ruby necklace and cloak, it appears to be actually Morpheus wearing it this time, but that’s just a guess) and one of the Locke keys. |
The new Locke & Key story. “In Pale Battalions Go” is a two-parter that will set up the Locke & Key/Sandman Universe crossover. It’s also a key storyline in World War Key 0: The Golden Age, another upcoming project.
Joe Hill shared, “I was a little anxious about returning to Keyhouse for a real, no-bullshit, ongoing storyline. Then I got going and the story took off. The first issue was the easiest, most frictionless writing I’ve done all year (I haven’t started the second issue yet, so no idea how I’ll do with the dismount). I guess I’m more comfortable writing tales set in this world than I am doing any other kind of make-believe, and maybe that’s no surprise. I’ve lived in Lovecraft, Massachusetts for almost 15 years now. I know the territory.”
The key featured in the promotion image is none other than the key to Hell, made famous by Neil Gaiman and Mike Dringenberg’s 1990 Sandman story arc “Season of Mists.”
Launching with the “Welcome to Lovecraft” arc in 2008, Hill and Rodriguez’s Locke & Key followed the Locke siblings, as well as their mother — who return to their ancestral home of Keyhouse following the murder of their father. The comic book has since been adapted into a Netflix series, which dropped its 10-episode first season earlier this month.
Meanwhile, published under DC Comics‘ Black Label — previously DC Vertigo — the Sandman Universe was launched in 2018 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Gaiman’s original Sandman comic book series for Vertigo Comics (which is also headed for a Netflix adaptation).
This past weekend, season 1 of Locke & Key premiered exclusively on Netflix. But the story of the Locke family and their house full of magical keys did not begin life as a TV show; a few years ago, it was still just a comic series by writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez.
Originally published in six volumes from 2008-2013, Locke & Key was a magically engaging comic series that invoked classic fantasy stories like Sandman and The Chronicles of Narnia while still coming up with fresh ideas. It has often made a great recommendation for people interested in comics.
The TV show version of Locke & Key very much represents the characters and themes of the comic series, but also changes up some details in the adaptation process. Entertainment Weekly caught up with Hill and Rodriguez to discuss the show, its relation to the comic, and the origins of Keyhouse. Read the interview HERE.
Ahead of its series debut tomorrow, Netflix has released the first 10 minutes of the long-awaited series adaptation of Locke & Key, giving us a preview of the first episode titled “Welcome to Matheson” which was written by original author Joe Hill along with Aron Eli Coleite. The video also features our first look at the series’ opening title sequence.
In Locke & Key, after their father is murdered under mysterious circumstances, the three Locke siblings and their mother move into their ancestral home, Keyhouse, which they discover is full of magical keys that may be connected to their father’s death. As the Locke children explore the different keys and their unique powers, a mysterious demon awakens — and will stop at nothing to steal them. From Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) and Meredith Averill (The Haunting of Hill House), the series is a coming-of-age mystery about love, loss, and the unshakable bonds that define family.
The series will star Connor Jessup (American Crime) as Tyler Locke, Emilia Jones (Utopia) as Kinsey Locke, Jackson Robert Scott (It) as Bode Locke, Sherri Saum (How to Get Away with Murder) as Ellie Whedon, Darby Stanchfield (Scandal) as Nina Locke, Griffin Gluck as Gabe, Laysla De Oliveira as Dodge, Petrice Jones as Scot, Thomas Mitchell Barnet as Sam Lesser, Steven Williams as Joe Ridgeway, Kevin Alves as Javi and Asha Bromfield as Zadie.
The IDW Publishing Locke & Key comic book franchise, co-created by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, has garnered both awards and acclaim during its ten-year run. It has been translated into dozens of languages across the globe and has sold millions of copies worldwide.
Meredith Averill (The Good Wife) will co-showrun the series with Carlton Cuse. Cuse and series co-creator Joe Hill (the son of Stephen King) co-write the first episode with Aron Eli Coleite. Lindsey Springer for Cuse’s production company Genre Arts will executive produce alongside David Alpert and Rick Jacobs of Circle of Confusion. Andy and Barbara Muschietti (IT, Mama) will executive produce alongside Ted Adams and David Ozer from IDW Entertainment.