Joe Hill Interview in Your Music Magazine Aug 08

Wipe your feet on the mat and come on in - Keyhouse is waiting.

Joe Hill Interview in Your Music Magazine Aug 08

Postby itayk_YMM on Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:49 am

Hello out there in Joe Hill land!

I recently ran an interview with Joe in Your Music Magazine. The interview was done at SDCC 2008 and I have to say, it was the highlight of my entire weekend. Anyways, here's the interview...enjoy!

The full color pages can be viewed at
or for faster connections at

Author of one of the hottest comic titles released this year, Locke & Key, Joe Hill is well on his way to making a huge name for himself, not only as a New York Times Best-Selling author, but as one of the most imaginative and creative new writers to embrace the comic genre. And did I mention he’s the spawn of Stephen King? Choosing not to go by his famous literary last name, Joe Hill has successfully broken into literature without the help of his father’s illustrious career, but through his own unique and modern writing style which seems to touch at the very core of human nature. His first sold-out comic series, Locke & Key tells the story of a family thrown into a supernatural web of mysterious locked doors, hidden keys and ghostly apparitions as a haunting family secret is set free to seek revenge. I had the amazing opportunity to chat with Joe for a little while about his jump into the comic world…

What inspired you to start writing for comics?

You know, my very first professional fiction submission was a comic book. In the 80's, they had the Marvel tryout book, which was like half a Spiderman story. And if you were an artist, you were invited to draw the rest, and if you were a scripter, you were invited to write the rest. So I was 12 and I wrote my version of the ending, which got a formal rejection - I don't know why, 'cause I thought it was brilliant. I have something of a comic book imagination; maybe its because so many of my favorite writers work in comics - you know, Alan Moore is one of my favorites. I quote him in the beginning of Heart Shaped Box. Neil Gaiman - I was just crazy for Sandman in high school. One of my very very favorites is Brian K. Vaughn. I think he's the best writer of our generation, you know, it's unbelievable. So I've always had a desire to work in comics. It's something I'd always really wanted to do.

Where did the idea for Locke & Key come from? How did the series come about?

Well, I had put together this book of short stories, and I couldn't sell it in America. I did wind up selling it to a small press in England - this is my first book, 20th Century Ghosts. A lot of people think it's my second book, because it came out second in America, but, you know, it was actually my first box - it came out almost a year ahead of Heart Shaped Box. Around the same time I sold the collection, I also was invited to do a script for Marvel Comics. A talent scout there had spotted me.

That was when you wrote for Spiderman right?

Yeah,'s not a very good one - my Spiderman story was not very good, but writing it got the hooks in me and really made me want to do more. I just thought it was so exciting to think in terms of panels and reveals, you know. And I liked the flow of a comic... So I worked up some pitches for different ideas and I sent them in and they were all turned down. But, one of those was Locke & Key...and it wouldn't really go away. Every couple of months i'd think of a new key or something new I wanted to do with the characters and I had a very clear picture in my head of Bode, who's the youngest of the family’s three kids. I wanted to write about him... And then, Heart Shaped Box came out and did pretty well. The guys at IDW Comics got in touch with me and they said 'you know, we'd really like to take a couple of your short stories and adapt them into comics' and I said 'wait a second. I've got something else for you.' And that's how we wound up doing Locke & Key.

Do you listen to music when you write?

Someone once asked me, 'Did you do a lot of research for Heart Shaped Box?' and I said 'Yeah, I started researching at 14 when I bought Led Zeppelin 3... And I've been researching ever since!' What happens is certain stories get collections of songs around them. And then it's all I listen to when I work on the story - you could probably imagine what kind of music I was listening to when I was writing Heart Shaped Box.

Did you expect Locke & Key to become such a popular series?

No, I didn't expect it. I thought it would be more like the short stories - because Heart Shaped Box came out and did very very well. It was like all my daydreams all at once. You know, before Heart Shaped Box, I had written four novels I was unable to sell and for me it was like every wish coming true all at once. It was awesome...kind of bewildering. I thought, in the immediate aftermath, I need to do something low key and under the radar - something that no one will read. Just something that 9 or 10 people will read, you know, just doing it for me and a few other people as a way to re-center not be an asshole. What I didn't expect was that people really liked the comic and got attached to those characters. So what I guess I'm saying is that I was hoping for a no-pressure experience, but I didn't get it, because now it's important not to screw it up, so...I'll do my best with it. I hope I can pull it off...what If I screw it up though? I don't know...we'll see.

Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:08 pm

Re: Joe Hill Interview in Your Music Magazine Aug 08

Postby Nerak on Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:59 am

cool, thanks!

Joe, we have faith in you!
Posts: 502
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:33 am
Location: In my chair

Re: Joe Hill Interview in Your Music Magazine Aug 08

Postby This_Girl on Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:09 pm

Hey thanks for this :0)
I like Joe's reply to 'Did you do a lot of research for Heart Shaped Box?'
Posts: 1168
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 1:23 am
Location: South Florida

Re: Joe Hill Interview in Your Music Magazine Aug 08

Postby Betsy_Boo on Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:23 pm

Wow! Thanks Itayk! I really enjoyed reading that!

And Joe...please don't put all that pressure on yourself. L&K is great and I don't think you could screw it up unless you tried really, really hard. The thing is we love the characters as much as you do and I think as long as you are true to the characters it will come out wonderfully. Try to stay in that low stress mode and forget about us. We love it and if you keep writing what you want to write, we'll still love it. I have a couple of friends who write and I tell them don't let your readers "constipate" the process. (Sorry...but that's the best word I can think of.) You have a great talent and terrific instincts. Trust yourself.
"We'll always have Paris."

Posts: 4725
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 1:20 pm
Location: North Carolina

Postby Patrick on Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:51 am

Nice little interview. Joe, you're earning every bit of success you achieve. Glad you're having fun at the same time.
"Open your mind to the endless possibilities of the human soul."
- Joe Hill, Heart Shaped Box

"And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"
- Maurice Sendak, Where The Wild Things Are
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:47 pm
Location: Monterey Bay Area

Return to Locke & Key

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest