Curl Up With Emily Carroll’s Eerie Masterpiece “Through the Woods”
If you’re looking for subtly crafted and hauntingly beautiful frights this Halloween, look no further than Through the Woods, the new book from comics Master of Horror Emily Carroll. Over the years, Carroll has built a reputation around her webcomics, which offer up a mixture of imaginative and beautiful illustration while simultaneously being deliciously scary. Carroll’s work is well suited for the internet, as she utilizes click-through comics to build suspense and encourage reader exploration. However Through the Woods, which is available in print and digital formats, fully makes use of its own medium, delivering stunning and sprawling images across its pages without losing any of the spine-tingling tension that Carroll so deftly manipulates.
Through the Woods is a collection of five short, scary stories ranging from monsters to hauntings to the fear of unknown presences lurking outside your window. Carroll’s style is unmistakably her own, but her use of color palettes, storytelling, and format are so flexible and engrossing that each story stands alone as a tour-de-force of fright. An aspect that I thoroughly appreciate is that Carroll doesn’t rely on gore or cliched jump-scares, but instead entices readers with an almost melodic use of prose and subdued visual hints that only stretch the time from the start of the story to its conclusion, which is often left chillingly open-ended.
Carroll’s works are always tinged with a kind of nostalgia, rarely taking place in the modern day, and even then there is always a pervasive feeling of being a step out of pace with the mundane and familiar, always hinting at a darkness waiting just beyond your field of vision. Most of all, Carroll’s works, printed or online, are best read at night in the dark, as her carefully crafted horror will wind around your brain and linger there for many nights to come.