Ho Ho Ho. Coming for Christmas, Locke & Key: A Small World by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez…
Joe Hill: So I had written a couple stand-alone "Locke & Key" stories that had never been collected until the book. They were only released as individual comics. Both of those stories, "Open the Moon" and "Grindhouse," took place in the past. "Locke & Key" is the story of a haunted New England mansion full of enchanted keys that open different doors and activate different supernatural powers. The stories that I told, over the six books of "Locke & Key," take place in the present day. But there's 250 years of history there. The Locke family has looked after Keyhouse and its many enchanted keys, almost since the beginning of the nation. I always wanted to go back and tell some of those stories. And that's what I'm doing in "Small World." "Small World" is a return to the beginning of the 20th century and some of the stories that I've already told, set in that era.
Who is the character on the front?
Joe Hill: She did not appear in any of the modern-day tales. She does appear in "Open the Moon" and in "Grindhouse." There are two boys and two girls living in the Locke house who are the children of Chamberlain Locke. And if I remember correctly and the one on the cover is Mary … both the cover and the title were sort of a shout-out to a novel by Tabitha King called "Small World." [King is Hill's mother.]
And there's a new key on the cover. Can you tell us what that key unlocks?
Joe Hill: I don't know if we're going to call it the Small World Key or the Doll House Key. But it is a key which brings to life an incredible doll house.
What story did you want to tell in "Small World" the you didn't get to tell in "Locke & Key?"
Joe Hill: The penultimate book in the original "Locke & Key" series, "Clockworks," hints at all the other dramas that have taken place in Keyhouse. There's a lot of blood soaked in those old floorboards. I'm a frustrated historical writer. I love to think about what it was like to be alive in other eras, but historicals are threatening: There are so many ways to screw them up. Exploring the American past in the context of "Locke & Key" feels much more doable.