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How Joe Hill Is Reinventing Horror...With Pictures

Nothin' wrong with picture books!

Joe Hill’s new book is a collection of four novels because he’s trying to catch up to his dad, Stephen King. The stories sound haunting, whimsical, and has a lovely visual dimension as well: illustrations! Hill’s writing a proper throwback horror novel, complete with pen and ink illustrations in the vein of H. P. Lovecraft or the Strand Magazine’s Sherlock Holmes tales.

 

Hill sat down with Entertainment Weekly to walk fans through some of these new illustrations, and how they relate to each novel. His collaborators include his Locke & Key partner Gabriel Rodriguez, which for comic fans is joyous. It’s great to see a novelist like Hill embrace some of the forgotten aspects of his literary tradition.

 

As much as people like to get up on their high horse about books with pictures in them, it’s nice to compare your image of something in the book to the illustrator’s. If it’s not overwhelming, it can really enhance the experience, especially with a visual genre like horror. It’s exciting to see Hill apply his lessons from his comic career to prose. Here’s to hoping others follow his lead.

 

Check out a few of the illustrations with Hill’s comments here, but visit Entertainment Weekly for the full scoop.


 

Illustration

Image Via Entertainment Weekly

 

'Snapshot' is the story of a 13-year-old boy who finds himself in a desperate struggle with a man known as The Phoenician, who has a camera that can steal memories. The idea of having my entire life stripped away from me, one beloved recollection at a time, is, to me, far more terrifying than the fear of death.

 

Illustration

Image Via Entertainment Weekly

 

“Aloft” is the story of a young man who, on his first skydiving trip, winds up landing on an impossibly solid cloud. He swiftly finds himself a castaway in the sky, ten-thousand feet above the earth. If that isn’t weird enough for you, there’s also a unicorn. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I’d write a story with a unicorn in it. Although… come to think of it… there might’ve been a unicorn in “Wraith,” too. Or at the very least there were a couple of murderous narwhal.

 

Illustration

 Image Via Entertainment Weekly

 

I turned to Renae de Liz and Ray Dillon — illustrators of the first rank — to depict a world suffering from a very extreme form of climate change. In 'Rain,' the climate has changed so that thunderclouds now rain nails instead of water. Fortunately, society-crippling storms only exist in fiction, right?

 

Sounds like Hill's giving King a run for his money. Pick up Strange Weather here!

 

Feature Image Via Liam Morrow