Through the Woods, by Emily Carroll, is an anthology of horror comics that walks the line between whimsical and deeply unsettling. This collection includes the story “His Face All Red” that is hosted on Emily Carroll’s website, plus four new original stories to enjoy. An introduction and a conclusion serve to round out the experience.
Carroll is a master of page layouts and colour. Chaotic panels bring the horror to life while enhancing the reading experience. The colour punches the emotions ever higher, while the use of greyscale serves as a stark, bleak contrast to the vibrancy surrounding it. And finally, the writing conveys a dark fairytale tone, bringing the reader through the ever-twisting tales. The speech bubble shape and placement is especially strong, evoking childlike whimsy that serves to make the horror all the more memorable.
The power of poetry shines throughout one story in particular. The use of song grants the text a rhythm that builds and builds into a truly terrifying reveal. So often, rhyme is confined to the realm of children’s stories, but its use here fits perfectly with the otherworldly tone.
Earlier this year, I reviewed Anne By the Bed, another of Emily Carroll’s horror stories, which you should check out here if you are interested in more of her work! This marks our final Halloween review. I hope you found some new reading to get into a spooky mood! Happy Halloween!