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This is out on Wednesday:

I wrote the first draft of this story – it’s a standalone titled “Beyond Repair” – as part of HEAD GAMES, but when I hit the last page, I realized I was going to have to put it aside for a while. Because when you get to the last page, it’s pretty clear that we’ve reached the halfway point of the overarching story, and I didn’t think it had been properly prepared for way back in HEAD GAMES. So this one has been waiting for about a year and a half. Oh, and also, it’s the first and only time I’ve ever had to make a chart to write a story.

I just wanted to thank Chris Ryall, Robbie Robbins, Jay Fotos, Ted Adams and all the IDW crew for their hard work on CROWN OF SHADOWS… and I want to especially thank Gabriel Rodriguez, who turned in some of his best work ever, while battling through a series of personal setbacks that would’ve kicked the legs out from under most people (including his whole fucking country falling down around his ears). I can’t imagine a more fun collaboration.

Thanks as well to everyone who’s been reading these stories. At the time of this writing, I’m about midway through the fourth storyline, KEYS TO THE KINGDOM, and for the first time I have more of LOCKE & KEY behind me than I have ahead of me. I hope you stick around for the end. I’m gonna try real hard not to screw it up.

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127 Responses to Halfway

  1. Martin says:

    Happy to saw I got COS 6 yesterday. And yes, it was worth the date.

  2. Greg Miller says:

    Joe, I hope you’re having a good summer so far! Looking forward to your next update when you have a chance. And I absolutely loved “The Devil on the Staircase.” When I saw you in Pittsburgh you hadn’t yet incorporated it into your readings, so it was brand-new for me when I bought “Stories.” A real treat. Take care, hope to hear from you soon. Greg

  3. nils says:

    got stories
    today from amazon
    loved the stars are falling
    loved the devil on the staircase
    but to be honest i wanted more of this
    whole staircase thing in the story, and the bird

  4. nils says:

    ng did not really grabbed me
    but it was cool

  5. Jeffrey says:

    Joe, Gabe and the rest of the L&K crew,

    Just finished reading CoS #6. Guess I should mention a “Spoiler Alert” here for anyone who hasn’t read it yet…

    Thank you all for this beautiful yet heartbreaking story. The concept of the “fix-all” (well, almost all) cabinet was so simple, but stunningly profound. How many of us, at some point or another, would have wanted that ouselves? For something as simple as a broken dish…or as complex as a broken heart. As I read, I imagined her wanting to cram herself into the cabinet (or perhaps I was merely projecting myself onto her, that’s what I would want to do), but I never saw it coming when she went for Rendell’s ashes. But it was perfect. And utterly sad. It’s possible my personal struggles of late made me more susceptible to the emotions of the story, but it struck me on a personal level like nothing has in quite a while. Thank you guys so much. Keep up the amazing work.

  6. Betsy Boo says:

    Beautifully said Jeffrey. This is exactly what I love about Joe’s imagination…creating something: an image, an idea…etc., that speaks directly to our hearts.

  7. NewEnglandGothic says:

    …and it was just amazing from what in Rendell’s ashes was actually “mended” at the end. It was a head-scratcher that was for sure.

  8. Grasshopper says:

    Same here to Jeffrey, that was beautfully put.

  9. Jeffrey says:

    Betsy Boo, Grasshopper
    Thank you for your compliments. BB, I know I’ve read some of your comments on the (now-defunct, I’m assuming) Horns message board, and considering how eloquent and wonderful your conversation with Brian was concerning the book, I take your compliment quite to heart. I whole-heartedly agree with you on what makes Joe’s abilities as a writer so unique. To me, HSB and Horns are both love stories with a supernatural/thriller twist, not vice versa.

    That was a very interesting sidenote. Definitely going to have to mull over that one for awhile. Thanks!

    I have a somewhat off-topic question. I understand and respect Joe’s feelings and decision to do away with the message boards, but now that they are gone, how is everyone keeping in touch? Thanks again, all.

  10. Betsy Boo says:

    Jeffrey…you are so kind!

    (Joe…close your ears.) I miss the MB really bad. Some of us exchanged email addresses before it went down, but honestly, it’s not the same. I’m going to go over and see if I can find you on the MB. Maybe we can still send PMs.

  11. Betsy Boo says:

    BTW…what was your user name on the MB, Jeffrey?

  12. Jeffrey says:

    BB, I must admit I was but a fly on the wall!

    I attempted to post once after I had finished reading Horns. Having written quite a lengthy message, I stepped away from the computer for a moment with all intent to come back quickly and post it.Of course, I got swept up in whatever I was doing and somehow had lost the entire message by the time I returned to the computer.

    Needless to say, I was a bit peeved at myself and the moment had passed.

  13. grasking says:

    I miss the MB too.

  14. Betsy Boo says:

    Jeff…sorry you never got to post that. I know I would’ve loved to hear your thoughts about HORNS.

    Hey g…doesn’t it drive you crazy when you see something you wanna share with the MB and then you suddenly remember it’s gone?
    Oh well, maybe someday it will come back.

  15. Melissa says:

    Can I whine, too? Miss you guys :(

  16. NewEnglandGothic says:

    I suppose the best thing that has come out of having a message board here was it was a way you guys could meet each other and share the love for the writer/hobby. The best thing you guys could probably do in the meantime, now that it is closed(hopefully temporarily) is to stay in touch on Facebook, since everyone knows each other so well. It’s something, I usually do when a board shuts down(ProBoards does this a lot) and I get attached to the people.

  17. phil17larry33 says:

    To watch it all come crashing down, Jesus. So sad to SEE it happen like that. Joe Hill you can write like a MF!!! The art is as good as the writing so here’s to you Gabriel. So sad and painful to read and see. Horrible ,moving ,passionate,creative,awful.

  18. Betsy Boo says:

    I think at some point I will do Facebook so keep your eyes peeled. (Ooooh, what a nasty sounding phrase!)
    BTW, I just got a Nook for my birthday!! I’m sooooo excited!

  19. Melissa says:

    I’ve been telling Betsy that for months (to get on FB) Some of us are connected on there – so that’s been good!

  20. Jeffrey says:

    Joe, I don’t want it to end!

    Just like I didn’t want HSB or HORNS to end. But all things must, as they say. I feel like I’m writing a eulogy for a comic that is only halfway through its life, but I wanted to say that I hope that you continue to write comics. Granted, I will read ANYTHING you write, so I’m sticking with you regardless of what genre or media you tackle. As for Gabriel, his artwork has gained him another fan, and I will continue to follow his work wherever he may go after L&K.

    Thanks again for the ride so far. It’s been wild and I know the best is yet to come!

    p.s., Just wanted to mention I’m really enjoying what your dad is doing with the origin story for American Vampire, as well. Scott and Rafael really have a gem on their hands there.

  21. Vicki says:

    Horns spoiler included here.
    This may sound bizarre, but I never got the impression that the story stopped-only the telling of it did.
    In both stories I read, I could imagine a continuing story played out behind the book’s last page.
    With HSB, I pictured them going back to a stronger marriage and forming an unbreakable bond after dealing w/ the ghost.
    In Horns, I pictured a continuation w/ Iggy and Merrin living in the fire that consumed his earthly remains.
    Both endings impressed me, but it was harder to arrive at the positive conclusion in Horns.
    It took me longer to see it, but I did notice it.
    At first, I couldn’t stop the image of my daughter’s dad burning from popping into my head unbidden. Fortunately I succeeded at pushing it out, so I could get a more accurate impression of the ending.

  22. Vicki says:

    You’re in my top three favorite writers. I have to put you all on the same level of accomplishment though, b/c every one of you writes w/ the same expertise; w/ the exception of Robin Cook, whom I can’t compare you to b/c he’s been established for 30 years. It wouldn’t be fair to make a comparison, so I placed you three in the same level of expertise but in different categories.
    Robin Cook is the best medical thriller writer. Thomas Cook is the best mystery writer and Joe Hill is the best Dark fantasy and Horror writer.
    I’ll probably have to read other comics writers but, right now, my only interest is w/ Locke & Keye.
    The artwork is amazing. It adds to the story in a way that other comics I’ve seen haven’t achieved yet.
    That Gabriel has totally mad skilz in the studio.

  23. Grasshopper says:

    I think ‘twitter’ is a progressive outlet, esp. to get a name out there.
    Once thought I’d join but really, I can see it now.
    I’d get -2 followers and the whole system would be on the next list of outdated, uncool activities known to mankind.
    Actually, I simply chide myself to say that. Truth is, I’m rerouting myself back into the art studio. Need to.
    I was spending increased sessions online, Now I’m down to 45 mins a day, and some days none at all.
    After my eyesight came back from what I now know to be MS, my
    appreciation to just SEE is 10 fold.
    If the last thing I got to spend time with were a piece of art I made
    then somebody might cherish at it later ( I hope).
    If the last thing I created were words online..then that would be it,
    gone in a click and washed away like yesterdays tide.
    So back to the desk I go, to fix a blackbear with a really bad lip!

  24. M&M+1 says:

    any plans on putting together a huge OMNIBUS that has every issue of L&Key once the series comes to a conclusion.

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