Joe Hill (born June 4, 1972) is a relatively new writer of horror novels and a weirdness-filled comic book series.
There's one thing many people like to point out about Joe Hill, which is that his full name is Joseph Hillstrom King (yes, he was named after the labor activist and songwriter if you were wondering). Horror novelist called King? Well, yes—Stephen King is his dad. Fully knowing that comparisons to his father's works would be inevitable and fearing that he would be judged on the name alone, rather than the quality of his writingnote , Hill decided to keep his full name secret for his first publications, to the point of never meeting his agent or publisher in person (which, given that he looks a lot like his old man, makes a lot of sense).
After winning several awards for for his short story collection 20th Century Ghosts, and receiving critical acclaim for his first novel, Heart-Shaped Box, the secret about his full name slowly started to creep out, but Hill felt that he had already created enough of a name for himself, and allowed it to happen. He has since embraced his connection to his father; the two have collaborated on a few short stories, and Hill's novels NOS4A2 and The Fireman include several references to his father's work.
As a child, Joe appeared in the Framing Story to the 1987 horror-comedy anthology movie Creepshow, playing a boy whose father—played by Tom Atkins—won't let him read comic books. Joe's real father wrote the film, and also starred in one of the segments. Years later, when Creepshow was adapted into a TV series, Joe—by now an established author in his own right—contributed a few stories.
Since 2015 he's also become known for his efforts to solve the Lady of the Dunes, a 1974 murder in Cape Cod. This was spurred by his spotting an extra in Jaws wearing what appeared to be the same bandanna as the victim, which could provide the key to identifying her.note
His main works are:
- 20th Century Ghosts: A collection of 14 short stories.
- Heart-Shaped Box: A novel, in which an aging rock star buys a ghost on eBay.
- Horns: A novel, in which a man wakes up to find he has horns on his head.
- NOS4A2: A novel about a woman who must rescue her son from a "very bad man" who takes children to Christmasland. Followed by the comic book companion series Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland.
- Locke & Key: A graphic novel series.
- The Fireman: A post-apocalyptic novel about a deadly spore that infects most of the world's population.
- Strange Weather: A collection of four novellas (titled Snapshot, Rain, Loaded, and Aloft).
- Full Throttle: Stories: Another collection of short stories, including two collaborations with his father, "Throttle" and "In the Tall Grass", the latter of which was adapted into a film.
- Up The Chimney Down: A future novel that Hill has mentioned in several interviews since 2019 as being in the works. No other details are available yet.
- Dying Is Easy: A graphic novel in which a disgraced cop-turned-comedian must clear his name.
Adaptations of his works include:
- Horns: A film starring Daniel Radcliffe.
- NOS4A2: Television series starring Zachary Quinto that ran from for two seasons.
- Locke & Key: A streaming series on Netflix.
- Creepshow: A horror anthology series that has adapted a few Joe Hill short stories; "By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain", "Twittering from the Circus of the Dead" and "Mums".
- The Black Phone: A film based off a short story from 20th Century Ghosts starring Ethan Hawke.
- The Cape: A comicbook series based off a short story from 20th Century Ghosts.