Through the Woods is a collection of horror comics by Emily Carroll.
The stories include:
- "Our Neighbor's House": A father goes hunting, but before he leaves he tells his three daughters to go to their neighbor's house if he doesn't return after three days. After three days, strange things begin happening...
- "A Lady's Hands Are Cold": A woman enters into an arranged marriage with a wealthy man, but his fine manor holds a secret, one which may be very dangerous if discovered.
- "My Friend Janna": Two close friends have spent years pretending that they can talk to the spirits of the dead. But one of them actually can see a ghost.
- "The Nesting Place": Bell, who has been sullen and depressed since her mother's death, goes to stay with her brother Clarence and his fiancee Rebecca during a school break. But something seems slightly off about both Rebecca and the woods near the house...
- "His Face All Red": When a monster starts killing the village's livestock, a pair of brothers go into the woods to hunt it. Only the younger brother returns... until a week later, when he sees the older brother he murdered walk out of the woods as though nothing had happened.
- "In Conclusion": A story very much in the spirit of Little Red Riding Hood. A young girl confidently sets off through the woods to see her mother. She reaches her mother's house without any problems or meeting anyone, but perhaps the wolf was closer than she ever realized.
Has nothing to do with the horror game Through the Woods.
- All Take and No Give: Strongly implied of the husband in "A Lady's Hands are Cold". When the body of the husband's first wife is put back together, she claims that the estate was originally hers, and she willingly gave everything to her husband, who regardless went ahead with marrying and then murdering her to have it all for himself. Only her extremely violent and unreasonable behavior (she thinks the second wife intends to replace and "usurp" her) casts any doubts on the reliability of her story.
- Arranged Marriage: The main character of "A Lady's Hands Are Cold" enters one.
- The Bluebeard: "A Lady's Hands are Cold" draws on this legend. After an Arranged Marriage, Wife #2 finds pieces of Wife #1 hidden all over the house, then reassembles her. Wife #1 is not as grateful as one might expect.
- Body Horror: "The Nesting Place" is full of it. While it's not quite certain if it's literally as bad as the art suggests or if what we see on the page is a way to convey the horror that Bell feels (as we see it through her eyes), the implication is that reality is at least fairly close to the artwork.
- Body Snatcher: The monster of "The Nesting Place" is this... and looking for new hosts for its children as well.
- Chekhov's Gag: Done for very dark/ironic comedy. When Clarence first picks up Bell, he talks about going swimming in the ponds and creeks in the area. When Bell protests about getting leeches doing that, Clarence jokes about how a leech is just a friend you haven't met yet. Clarence's fiancee Rebecca, whom he wants Bell to be friends with, is actually a parasite living inside a skin suit pretending to be human. And as the last page of the story reveals, another of these parasites has taken over Clarence's body.
- Don't Go in the Woods: In keeping with traditional tales and horror stories, going into the woods is a bad idea. Bell is explicitly warned against the woods near the house of Clarence and Rebecca.
- Evil Only Has to Win Once: The final story 'In Conclusion' features a version of Red Riding Hood (implied to be a semi-autobiographical of Carroll herself as a child.) The girl passes through the woods without incident to her mother's house, and as she's settling down to sleep she remarks that she knew the wolf wouldn't find her."Oh, but you must travel through those woods again and again..." said a shadow at the window. "...and you must be lucky to avoid the wolf every time...But the wolf...the wolf only needs enough luck to find you ONCE. "
- Face Stealer: In "The Nesting Place", the monster kills people and then inhabits their bodies, pretending to be them.
- Ghostly Goals: The girl who has been married to the wealthy man in "A Lady's Hands are Cold" hears a ghostly voice singing every night about giving everything to her love only to be murdered by him, and how she will never know peace until she is whole again. So she would seem to be the benign version, simply looking to have her body reassembled and perhaps buried properly or possibly vengeful against her killer, since her song mentions being unavenged. When the second wife collects the piece of the first wife's body and puts them together, it turns out the first wife is still violently obsessed with the man she loved, and attacks the second wife for "replacing" her.
- The Grim Reaper: One of the interpretations of who the man in the wide-brimmed hat is in "Our Neighbor's House". It's likely that the region was hit by such a hard snowstorm that many died of hypothermia, including the three sisters and their father. Death came to collect Mary and Hannah and is waiting at the neighbor's house when Beth arrives, as the neighbor has died too.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Janna and Yvonne of "My Friend Janna". Yvonne says Janna is like a sister to her or more, since she doesn't get along with her own sisters as well as she does with her friend.
- Love Martyr: The murdered wife of "A Lady's Hands are Cold" was one. She willingly gave everything she had to her lover, who murdered her after marrying her in order to take her wealth for himself. Tragically deconstructed, because once the second wife finds the pieces of her body hidden throughout the manor and puts the first wife's body back together, the first wife is still a Love Martyr to the husband, and tries to kill the second wife so she can have him all over again.
- Monster Is a Mommy: In "The Nesting Place", where "Rebecca" is actually a mass of worms inside Rebecca's stolen skin and wants Bell's skin for her children, so they can leave their spawning pool. Bell seizes on this and saves herself by horrifying the monster with stories of the dangers its children would face in the city.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: As a girl, Bell's mother would tell her stories of such monsters. Bell never believed them.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In "A Lady's Hands are Cold", the protagonist, a young woman in an Arranged Marriage, finds pieces of the murdered first wife concealed all over the house. Wife #2 reassembles Wife #1, which appears to be what the corpse wants. Unfortunately, now that she's reassembled, Wife #1's first goal is to kill Wife #2.
- Only Sane Woman: The middle sister of "Our Neighbor's House". The older sister is in denial about their father when he fails to return and refuses to leave their house, only to subsequently fall under the spell of the man with the wide hat and the big smile. The poor little sister is just a kid an doesn't know what's going on.
- Phony Psychic: Yvonne and Janna from "My Friend Janna" have played at being able to talk to the dead for years. (Janna is the person who acts like a psychic, Yvonne makes sound effects and voices from an unseen location.) It started as a joke when they were kids and was a fun game, but they found they couldn't stop people from coming to them even if they tried. Yvonne, however, can actually see what might be a ghost (or might be... something else) apparently haunting Janna that nobody else can.
- Sanity Slippage: Janna is undergoing one in "My Friend Janna", complete with a Diary Full of Crazy.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: "Our Neighbor's House". After both of her sisters have disappeared with the man with the wide brimmed hat and toothy smile, the middle sister flees the house without any food and despite the fact that the snow is much worse than it was several days prior. After an exhausting, dangerous trek, she makes it to the neighbor's house... and finds the man waiting for her there.
- Talking the Monster to Death: In "The Nesting Place", Bell saves herself from the monster by convincing it that its plan to use Bell as a host and move to the city, where there would be many more hosts available, would end terribly for its children.
- That's No Moon!: As the girl in "In Conclusion" settles down to sleep with the moon watching over her, she muses that she knew the wolf wouldn't find her. The following page reveals the "moon" to be one of the wolf's eyes.
- They Would Cut You Up: In "The Nesting Place", Bell tells the monster that its children would be at danger of this if they went to live in the city.
- The Worm That Walks: In "The Nesting Place", the monster is a mass of red worms wearing Rebecca's skin.