Monday, May 2, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll


Title: Through the Woods
Author: Emily Carroll
Illustrator: Emily Carroll
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderberry Books
Pages: Paperback; 208
Recommended Age Group: 16+
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Source: Library

Discover a terrifying world in the woods in this collection of five hauntingly beautiful graphic stories that includes the online webcomic sensation “His Face All Red,” in print for the first time.

Journey through the woods in this sinister, compellingly spooky collection that features four brand-new stories and one phenomenally popular tale in print for the first time. These are fairy tales gone seriously wrong, where you can travel to “Our Neighbor’s House”—though coming back might be a problem. Or find yourself a young bride in a house that holds a terrible secret in “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold.” You might try to figure out what is haunting “My Friend Janna,” or discover that your brother’s fiancĂ©e may not be what she seems in “The Nesting Place.” And of course you must revisit the horror of “His Face All Red,” the breakout webcomic hit that has been gorgeously translated to the printed page.

Already revered for her work online, award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll’s stunning visual style and impeccable pacing is on grand display in this entrancing anthology, her print debut.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I do believe I've found my favorite graphic novel of the year, so far. I'm sure you all know that I love fairy tales. If you've been following me for any length of time, that should be evident. What you might not know though, is that my favorite fairy tales (especially as a child) were the creepy ones. The unsettling ones. The ones that dealt with all the things that lurked in the dark.

Which is why Emily Carroll's Through The Woods has my heart, forever and always. These five stories aren't so much terrifying, as they are wholly unsettling. They creep in under your skin, and send shivers up your spine. It's beautiful how simplistic, and how short, all of these are. And yet, they manage to push across more atmosphere and depth than a lot of what I've read lately.

A lot of that has to do with the art. Oh, that sumptuous art. I had to include an example below, because it's just too good not to share. Again, it's simplistic. Yet, it's also not. The color palettes aren't varied too much, there's no stark definition, but each panel goes perfectly with the story that it's telling. One of my favorite panels was in "A Lady's Cold Hands". Our narrator talks of how cold and unfeeling her new husband is, and there's this panel where it slowly zooms in on him devouring bloody meat with his teeth. Are they really sharp? Is it your imagination? I leave that up to you.

This was brilliant! Gorgeous, gripping, and compulsively readable. I'm buying this in physical format as soon as possible, because I feel like it deserves to be shared.


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