In spite of the comics industry slowing down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Locke & Key writer Joe Hill promises fans that the planned crossover between his creator-owned book and the venerated DC/Vertigo title Sandman is still on its way. The comments come as part of an interview ahead of the new season fo NOS4A2, which debuts soon. Like that series, Locke & Key has been optioned for TV -- this time at Netflix -- and agianst all odds, it will have a comics crossover with its Netflix "roommate," Sandman. The comic was announced not long ago, and of course with the pandemic disrupting the global economy and basically ever piece of the entertainment industry, it's been hard to guess what prestige projects will and will not be impacted.
The project, originally announced for October 2020, will apparently see a lead-in from an unrelated (or quasi-related?) Locke & Key series. It's currently expected to debut in December 2020 or a little later.
"There's a new Locke & Key story coming out called Locke & Key: In Pale Battalions Go, about World War One," Hill told Den of Geek. "I think the first issue of that comes out in August. There's three issues in all, and it sets off the Locke & Key/Sandman crossover, which is called Hell and Gone."
Hill added that while he enjoys the collaborative nature that the TV series demands, when it comes to the comics, he's excited to just be working closely with Gabriel Rodriguez, the series' artist and co-creator.
"It's funny about Locke & Key, because it's been so exciting to develop the TV show and work with Carlton Cuse and Meredith Averill," says Hill. "They're amazing writers and they've got an amazing team of writers. About the comic though, I'm very jealous. I haven't really let anyone fool around in the Locke & Key space. It's just me and Gabe. It will just be me and Gabe on the Sandman crossover."
The official cover art for the crossover features none other than the key to Hell as seen in the pages of Sandman and one of the summoning circles from the series, the same type previously used to summon Dream at the very beginning of his comic series. Coupled with the cover art came a cryptic teaser from IDW that reads: "If you think you can unlock the gates of hell and just invite yourself in, you must be dreaming."
If you think you can unlock the gates of hell and just invite yourself in, you must be dreaming. Coming October 2020: @joe_hill and @GR_comics will debut LOCKE & KEY: HELL & GONE - A SANDMAN UNIVERSE Crossover Event, courtesy of @IDWPublishing and @DCComics. pic.twitter.com/b9I9e3Sa0h— IDW Publishing (@IDWPublishing) February 22, 2020
This seems to suggest that the key, as previously possessed by Lucifer in Sandman and which set up the spin-off series surrounding the character, is perhaps made up of the "whispering iron" from the Locke & Key universe. At the very least this is perhaps a duplicate key made of that material with the same powers, which someone seems to have used to open up a portal that they shouldn't have. It's difficult to tell if the version of Keyhouse seen on the cover is a modern one, or one from a bygone era, so we have no idea what characters will be included from either of the series in this event.