The 'Locke & Key' Movie Is Dead -- But The Audio Book Lives On [Exclusive]
Back before San Diego Comic-Con, MTV broke the news that beloved comic book series "Locke & Key" would be coming back... Sort of. Audible will be releasing the graphic novels as audio books, starting on Monday, October 5.
And not only that, they have an all-star cast including "Orphan Black" star Tatiana Maslany, "Orange Is The New Black" star Kate Mulgrew, and Haley Joel Osment, who once again will be seeing (or hearing, I guess) dead people.
The book is available for pre-order now -- and is free until November 4 -- but we're not done with the crazy news for fans of Keyhouse yet. Not only do we have an exclusive clip from the audio book below, in advance of its release; but we can also reveal that at New York Comic-Con from October 8-11 fans will actually get to visit a key scene from the book IRL.
If you're not freaking out yet, that scene is one of the most iconic in the series: when Bode meets Dodge for the first time in the wellhouse. In the book -- which remember, is a comic book ostensibly unable to do any jump scares like in a movie -- this moment is f--king terrifying.
At New York Comic-Con, Audible has matched artwork by series co-creator Gabriel Rodriguez with binaural audio to create a 360 degree, immersive VR experience. It'll also be available on your computer and mobile device through YouTube 360, but, you know... In person. Horrifying.
Also in advance of the release, we hopped on the phone with "Locke & Key" creator Joe Hill to talk about the evolution of the book from comic to audio book, what's next for the property (not a movie, but...), and way more.
MTV News: Always good to talk to you Joe... Just curious to start, how did Audible approach you about this?
Joe Hill: Well they didn’t really approach me so much. Audible has been trying to do for audio books and audio plays what Netflix has done with their own sort of home baked TV shows. And so they’ve been looking for interesting projects that they can expand into serialized performances, large scale performances that can hopefully build some compulsive listening in the same way that people feel sort of compulsive about watching the new season of "Orange is the New Black" when it comes out.
You know, taking their Saturday and Sunday to watch thirteen episodes in one weekend. So they liked "Locke and Key," what they had seen of it, and they approached IDW... And IDW publishing is always game for a new experiment, and said sure let’s have at it. Let’s see what you can do.
MTV: You and I have certainly discussed quite a bit over the years how with comics, it’s hard to do scares. It’s hard to do horror, but through Gabriel Rodriguez's art you really got around that. You had those jump scares, those turns... But now you’re adding another layer when you’re going from comics to audio -- so how did you get around that?
Hill: You almost stole my line! The thing is about horror in comic books is that comic books can’t be scary. And the argument about why they can’t be scary is actually a pretty good one. Humans, especially when it comes to the sort of flight or fight response, humans are really attuned to sound more than anything they see. All of the great horror films tend to achieve their most heightened effects through the use of sound, not through the use of image.
That’s true whether you’re talking about the scene in "Jaws" which preys right on peoples nerve endings, or even just the screech of the raptors in "Jurassic Park." That produces a primal response in us that -- it wires us to feel alarmed, to feel afraid. And comic books don’t have that. Comic books have sound effects printed on the page, but reading "splort" on the page somehow doesn’t have quite the same visceral impact of hearing an ax sinking in to bone and flesh. So in that way, it’s possible to do with the audio play -- to try for effects and responses that it’s difficult to get from a comic book.
With that said, I don’t agree with the idea that comic books can’t be scary. It’s harder, but it’s certainly not impossible. You have control of the reader’s eye. You can control what they see, when. And it’s possible to really jar the reader by showing them by leading their eye to something they didn’t expect and kind of wish they could unsee.
MTV: Well let’s talk about one moment in particular. One of the most iconic moments in "Locke and Key" is Dodge coming out of the well -- which is something that is very visual, and is very terrifying. So how do you play that in an audio play?
Hill: I don’t know I haven’t gotten to that part yet. I listened to the first three chapters! [laughs] I know that some things play tremendously, tremendously well -- like Tatiana Maslanay doing the voice, and providing an emotional characterization for that character, for Dodge. That brings the character to life in a way static dialogue on a page or even a drawing can’t quite do. There’s a warmth there, and there’s also a sort of sinister undertone that can be captured in the inflections of an actor’s performance... In a way you just can’t replicate on the page. So you have this kind of almost, you know comics are flat sound is three dimensional. It has depth to it.
So all those elements are there. You know you do have a sense of motion, of things coming towards you or moving away and that can heighten an emotional response. That can provoke an emotional response. The feeling that Sam is getting closer, or that Dodge is getting closer.
MTV: I know you didn't write this other than the source material... So how involved in the process have you been, then?
Hill: I’ve done some cheerleading from the side. I would say that this is kind of like this is kind of like the card game the Cryptozoic made, in the sense that I had some suggestions and ideas -- and you hope that they’ll do something exciting with it.
I've never really done an audio play. If I was going to write a script for something I’d probably start with a play,'cause I actually think that an audio play is a whole different degree of difficulty. I don’t know how that’s done.
I’ve listened to some good ones... I remember there was a really great one done out of "The Mist" in the late eighties or early nineties that I thought was pretty impressive. And there was some good stuff done with "Neverwhere," which is a Neil Gaiman novel where they had a huge cast and pulled together something really great.
My feeling about the audio play is sort of twofold... You hope that people will respond to it and be excited by it, and if that points them back to the comic that’s great. For people who do enjoy the comic, I’ve listened to enough to know that it’s a pretty faithful adaptation -- and I think that it gives them a new way to explore that world, to explore the characters.
MTV: You’ve been really open to collaboration on "Locke and Key." You mentioned the card game, there was the TV pilot, and of course there’s the potential movie trilogy...
Hill: Yeah, I don’t think that the movie trilogy is going to happen. The rights with Universal... I believe they have slipped all the way back to IDW, and I think the plan now is to take another pass at doing the TV thing. IDW has started... Apparently they have enough financing and enough clout, so they can do some of their own TV shows. So now the conversation is about trying to develop it as a TV show in house. And they have a couple things going along those lines. I know they’re working on a "Dirk Gently" TV show. So maybe the third time’s the charm?
MTV: Fingers crossed... But you always have the comics, right? You and Gabe have talked about revisiting the world for more stories, is that still on the docket?
Hill: I really miss writing for comics. I just read the fourth arc of "Saga," and coming away from it it just reminded me all over again how much I love the format, and how much fun a great comic book can be. I’ve never gone a book year in terms of the novels, and I’m taking a little time to see if I can line up some work so that I can have a few years where there are back-to-back books.
There’s going to be "The Fireman" in late spring, and I think that I’ve got another book here ready to go for spring the year following -- and then the year after that there’s an unfinished novel called "Gunpowder," the first part of which was published in 2008 as a small press thing. And I kind of promised myself that I’d finish "Gunpowder." If I wait much longer I’ll forget what happens in it. So I guess the answer on that is... Mmm, yeah, I’m kind of taking a little time off from comics. With that said there’s a really good chance that I’ll write the pilot for "Locke and Key" for IDW.
The audio book will be available on October 5th, and you can pre-order now from Audible.