The Nice House on the Lake -- a new 12-issue, creator-owned horror series written by James Tynion IV (Batman, Something is Killing the Children) and illustrated by Álvaro Martínez Bueno (Detective Comics, Justice League Dark) is coming to the DC Black Label this June.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, The Nice House on the Lake follows "a group of mostly 30-somethings invited to a sylvan lake house by a friend named Walter. Some have known him since childhood, some from college, some from a party a few months ago. He's a little odd, but after a year that everyone has had... people are ready for an escape." The comic does not mention the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by name, though THR notes that it "feels very current with its temperature checks and social media connectivity." However, the group soon discovers that Walter is "not who they thought he was," and that "the world has fallen into terrifying chaos and that they may never be able to leave."
"Sometimes it helps to look at yourself from the least flattering angle, especially when you are dealing with horror," Tynion said. "Horror is a genre that is all about taking about societal fears and personal fears. And this is me taking apart those fears in this book."
He continued, "There is a moment in all of our lives, I think, when we start to move away from interconnected friend groups and evolving into more individual states. You still have friends and you still see your friends, but they are not such a huge part of your life as they are in your 20s. There is a loss when you enter your 30s there that you know you will never get back even though you long for it... wanting to [go] back and recreating the perfect moment in your life but needing to grow up and make your own way, that tension is the heart of the book."
"When James came to me with Nice House, I instantly knew this was a book for our times, exploring the alienation we all sometimes feel from our closest friends," explained senior editor Chris Conroy. "As the editor charged with sourcing new content for DC's creator-owned projects, I would never have let James take it to another publisher." Conroy says that DC "greenlit this story before the entire world slipped into a global pandemic that put everyone on Earth into isolation and replicated that feeling of alienation worldwide, and now we have the visceral, haunting horror story that will hopefully help everyone process what we've all just gone through."
Greenlighting something like The Nice House on the Lake is a rare move for DC these days, as the publisher has largely moved away from creator-owned publishing in recent years. Notably, while Tynion has penned titles like Batman and Detective Comics, he is also well-known for his creator-owned horror books like Something is Killing the Children and The Woods. This new book reunites Tynion with artist Bueno, whom he collaborated with on Justice League Dark. DC describes the 12-part Nice House series as "Season 1," with multiple seasons possible depending on how the comic is received.