The stories and illustrations in Emily Carroll’s book, Through the Woods, put me strongly in mind of childhood, despite (or maybe because of) the gruesome nature of the tales within. The stories and illustrations are rich and detailed, yet just spare enough to leave me grasping and hoping and wishing for more–just a little more story, just a little more explanation, just a little more something that’ll make this feel safe and resolved. Enough to make it feel settled and explained and comfortable.
Of course, these are not stories meant to comfort. These are stories to haunt and linger, for reading in the dark and giggling over to hide that shivery feeling. Carroll captures that unnerving feeling of the forest primeval after you’ve fallen off the edge of the map, and her stories and illustrations have a timeless feeling. They’re like reading fairy tales, but the darker, more violent stories that don’t often make the cut into friendlier, brighter children’s anthologies. (more…)
I’m the product of a pair of unapologetic geeks. When I was little, my dad read me Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser as bedtime stories. My mother felt those were too violent for a child of my tender age and read me Pern novels instead. They were both members of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
I was doomed from the beginning.
Neither of my parents are particular fans of horror, so that’s something I came into on my own. Same with my affection for steampunk and assorted other -punks. I attended my first convention as a pre-teen, and I haven’t looked back. My geekiness has mostly been focused on the written word: give me novels, short stories, mythology and folklore. I came late to movies and I’m making an honest effort to catch up while not falling further behind.
There are huge holes in my geek cred: I know next to nothing about anime, I avoid gaming not because I’m against it, but because I know that as soon as I pick up a controller, my life is over, and I’m interested in cosplay, but I’ve never engaged. My first geeky love was ElfQuest, and I’ve since picked up and devoured Sandman, but comics have otherwise never been a part of my life.
It’s not for lack of interest. I’ve got a deep affection for the X-Men and Batman, both due to Saturday morning cartoons. The back catalogs for both are staggering, however, and finding a place to start is confusing at best. With a teetering stack of books to be read looming over me and a constantly growing to watch list, it’s always been easy to backburner comics.
I’m sharing all of this because I don’t want to pretend to be an expert. I also want to make it clear that I’m sharing my personal opinions, and I’m coming from the place of a near complete newcomer. I’ve got no attachment to particular characters, writers, or illustrators. There’s no baggage and limited preconceptions. (more…)