Monday, March 19, 2007
Joe Hill has become a phenomenon almost overnight. Heart-Shaped Box is already a resounding success and rightfully so. It's one of the best debuts I've ever read.
Honestly, I think Joe is and is going to be the biggest impact on the genre in years. Possibly ever. With Stephen King, the cult grew gradually. Barker also comes to mind, but I think Joe is the better writer and I think he'll be more popular both with critics and readers.
It's funny, the very first book review I ever write for Horror Drive-In was for the Subterranean chapbook, Voluntary Committal. The title was "Who the Hell is Joe Hill?" I was astonished that this marvelous talent had come out of nowhere. Dork that I am, I thought that Little Joe Hill could use some help with publicity from Big Mark Sieber. I ordered the collection, 20th Century Ghosts and when I realized that Voluntary Committal was in that volume, I gave my chapbook away as a contest to help Joe get some attention. That same chap is now going on ebay for many times what I paid for it. What a dunce I am.
This review was posted here on February 11th, 2006.
Now I wish I had gotten one of the Sub Press limiteds of Heart-Shaped Box. Yes, to sell later on. I'm not greedy, but I am a working class father with a mortgage and lots of bills. But who could have predicted just how big Joe was going to be?
Am I bitter? Hell NO. I am thrilled for Joe, who I know to be a wonderful human being as well as one of the best writers in the genre. The word 'savior' is being used about him, but I don't think that Horror needs a Messiah. It never hurts, however, that someone as good as he comes along and gets the recognition and acclaim that he deserves. With luck, the success will lead to other deserving writers getting nice contracts.