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The worlds of 'Sandman' and 'Locke & Key' unite in first look at IDW's 'Hell & Gone' crossover

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Apr 12, 2021, 2:50 PM EDT (Updated)

The supernatural saga of the Locke family is about to enter its second season later this year in Netflix's live-action adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez paranormal comic book series at IDW Publications, Locke & Key.

But before fans step back into the grand mansion of Keyhouse, a new crossover series being released by IDW blends Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg's The Sandman into the fantasy horror world of Locke & Key starting on April 14 — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive preview of Locke & Key/The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone's premiere issue. 

Credit: IDW

Written by New York Times bestselling novelist Joe Hill and accented with detailed illustrations by acclaimed artist Gabriel Rodríguez, this new blending of realms is not exactly kid-friendly and IDW is quick to point out that it's intended strictly for mature readers.

Hell & Gone #1's plotline follows a desperate Mary Locke, whose sibling Jack just might be a decade dead, but still sends regular letters home from Hell. Mary's quest to rescue her brother from The Pit will require her to outsmart the most wicked man in all of England, Roderick Burgess, then puzzle her way through the labyrinthine House of Mystery, and confront the eye-less nightmare known as The Corinthian in a crumbling Kingdom of Dreams.

Credit: IDW

Rodríguez explains that this crossover project began as a joke discussion with Joe Hill that became a dream, ultimately lending them the key to open the creative passageways to a story that means so much.

"The Sandman books created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg, along with several other Vertigo Comics of the '90s, have been inspiration for several generations of creators and are the reason why the Locke & Key books exist," Rodríguez tells SYFY WIRE. "We realized that an idea for a L&K story would be AMAZING to be told combined with the Sandman Universe Mythos. And surprisingly we unlocked the gates of The Dreaming when we got the approval from IDW Publishing, DC Comics, and Neil Gaiman himself to try to make this happen. So here we are now, working probably in the most ambitious piece of fiction we have tried in comics so far."

Credit: IDW

"On one hand we're trying our best to exploit both of the rich storytelling traditions of the seminal books," Rodríguez adds. "Then there's of the amazing visual toys that you get to play with in terms of characters, locations and artifacts when you combine these two worlds. When you get the chance to study again and stand on the shoulders of the legions of genius artists that fleshed out the pages of Sandman, it's like going to a school of magic to learn the most amazing spells. I've tried hard to be as respectful as possible to the original designs of the Sandman Universe elements to pay tribute to all its creators, and to give the story the scale and scope we think it deserves, merging them as seamlessly as possible with the Locke's mythology.

"To add only one foreign element to the mix, I've been studying the works of Gustave Doré and his depictions of Heaven and Hell, as we have envisioned "Hell & Gone" to be our own insane comics version of the Divine Comedy or Paradise Lost. But above all, we hope readers will get this book as a celebration of these books and characters and will enjoy the best possible story." 

Credit: IDW

IDW's Locke & Key/The Sandman Universe: Hell & Gone #1 will be available on April 14 with multiple cover variants by Gabriel Rodríguez, JH Williams III (BatwomanThe Sandman: Overture), and Kelley Jones (BatmanThe Sandman). 

Now enjoy our exclusive early look at the debut issue, with both inked and colored interior pages, in the full gallery below.