Thursday, July 31, 2014

Through the Woods

Through the Woods: Stories by Emily Carroll, 208 pages

Carroll’s illustrations are outstanding. Her characters resemble those of fellow Sheridan alum, Vera Brosgol (whom I adore), but Carroll’s backgrounds and settings are much bleaker and downright unsettling. Carroll doesn’t strictly follow the traditional comic panel structure in most of her stories - possibly because some stories were first published online with significantly different formatting. I originally read His Face All Red on Carroll’s website and instead of flipping between pages, the reader scrolls down (quite appropriate for a story featuring deep and mysterious holes). The story still works as a page-flipper and I personally love the ambiguity of the ending and all her endings in general (though I know not everyone will).

I found that Carroll’s stories work best when the horror was implied rather than explicit. Sure, the monster in The Nesting Place was scary, but an unseen horror like that in The Neighbor's House would have been scarier (in my opinion).  I know that many readers won't find the stories here particularly scary, but as somebody who doesn't read much horror I enjoyed them a lot; Carroll's illustrations alone are worth checking out.

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