Through the Woods

through the woods cover trade paperback tpb
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 9/10

Fun, creepy classic horror stories

Only that it ends so quickly

Graphic Novel Info

Graphic Novel Title: Through the Woods

Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderry Books

Writer: Emily Carroll

Artist: Emily Carroll

Release Date: 2014

through the woods worms in face emily carroll

So…I’ll come back later

The woods are scary at night but even in the day they hold secrets.  A father’s disappearance during a snowstorm leads to an unexpected nightly visitor, and three sisters struggling for survival.  Wed to a man she doesn’t know, a woman hears strange whispering her home that hide a deadly secret.  A brother’s jealousy leads to horror.  Friends attempts to speak for the dead lead to an actual encounter.  A young girl finds her taken to her brother’s country home and meeting his new fiancée who really, really wants to get to the city.  The woods hide horrors, and you might not make it through them alive.

Written and illustrated by Emily Carroll, Through the Woods is a graphic horror novel.  The book was released in 2014 and includes an adaptation of a story from Carroll’s website in addition to new material.  The graphic novel received positive reviews and awards including an Eisner.

I came upon Through the Woods while searching for horror comics (I was not familiar with Carroll’s webcomics).  I love anthologies and I love classic ghost stories…and Through the Woods provides both with style.

through the woods a ladys hands are cold emily carroll

It’s always awkward when you meet your husband’s ex

The story is presented in classic anthology style and dives into many classical genres of the horror story from gothic to psychological.  There is a rather slim wrap around story which entails the dangers of the woods and those who pass through them.  “Our Neighbor’s House” is a story of childhood fear and features a family slowly disappearing…leaving only one behind.  “A Lady’s Hands are Cold” is a mash-up of the story of Bluebeard, Rebecca, Jane Eyre, and something more modern like Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark where a young bride finds herself stuck in a mansion haunted by spirits of the past.  “His Face All Red” is a bit more obtuse and the story of a brother’s betrayal and an almost Telltale Heart type revenge on him (it was an adaptation of Carroll’s webcomic that helped initially gain her attention).  “My Friend Janna” is a story of the dangers of playing with the unknown as a curse haunts two girls.  “The Nesting Place” wraps up the book with a tale that is probably closest to straight horror.  There is something living inside Bell’s brother’s fiancée and only see can see it, and she has to use her wits to try to escape it.

through the woods ending wolf emily carroll

The wolf is always lurking…

All of these stories are wrapped in a fantastic art style by Emily Carroll that is both expressive and easy to follow.  Sometimes it feels like artists writing and telling their own stories get caught up in it and don’t seem to see the bigger picture, but Carroll demonstrates a real eye for horror and how to tell it.

Through the Woods is a quick read and I would instantly pick up another collection of stories from Carroll if she put them out.  It is a good read for younger readers of horror in that it isn’t foul and it doesn’t have questionable imagery…but in a way that just makes it all the more horrific.  The characters in the story are generally young, innocent, and in peril, and that is often what horror is often centered around.  If you want a fun and different read for a Halloween season or any time of year, check out Through the Woods.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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