RHC 2019: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Read Harder Challenge 2019

This post is part of a series in which I describe the twenty-four books I read in 2019 for Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge

Task: Read a comic by an LGBTQIA creator.

I’d stepped away from comics for a few years – no reason, it just sort of happened. Then last year I read My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, and it made me remember everything I love about comics storytelling. I’ve missed a lot of incredible work, and now I’m having an absolutely wonderful time catching up.

Which brings me to this book. This book! It’s been a while since I read a horror comic (Harrow County!), and this was a delicious reentry point.

Through the Woods consists of five stories, framed by an introduction and a conclusion (which might be my favorite part). The stories are all gothic fairy tales – every bit as bloody and unsettling as a fairy tale should be – with strong echoes of Angela Carter, Edgar Allan Poe, and a splash of Edward Gorey. There’s no specified time period or place in any of them, though “The Nesting Place” feels the most connected with reality, with cars, cities, and boarding schools being part of its setting. That one is also the goriest, while the horror in the others is more atmospheric than jump scare. 

And the art. THE ART. I read this in print, and the book had beautifully glossy black pages full of nightmarish visual delights. There’s lots of black, lots of red, and lots of terrifyingly long shadows.

If you want to see what I’m talking about, one of the pieces in this collection was originally published as a web comic, and you can still read it online for free. Her whole site is worth checking out, though be advised it’s slightly NSFW. 

This is short, because I’m not sure what I can really say beyond jumping up and down, clapping my hands, and cheering. Good stuff. 

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