Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books) is a collection of short, folk-tale flavoured horror stories told as a graphic novel.
The sentence that best encapsulates the collection comes from “His Face All Red”: “[it] came from the woods (most strange things do)” including but not limited to ghosts, parasites, dead brothers, mysterious strangers, and murderous husbands. Carroll’s stories allude to and invert classic fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard and The Velvet Ribbon, while her illustrations set an eerie atmosphere in greys, blues and reds. “The Nesting Place” twists together the best parts of the wicked-stepmother tale with a fresh take on the monster-in-the-woods/monster-within duality to stand out for me as Carroll’s creepiest story.
Folktale and horror enthusiasts will enjoy the strange things that come from Carroll’s mind, and might think twice next time they venture into the woods.
This review first appeared as “Strange Things Come From the Woods” in Geist 94.