Emily Carroll is an artist who writes horror comics.
Her style is highly variable, shifting to fit the mood of the scene and makes use of vibrant colors as much as it does creepy monochrome. In certain stories, animated gif panels serve as Jump Scares. The comics are variously labeled as fairy tales, romance, or ghost stories, but nearly all of them involve elements of the macabre and terrifying. Bad dreams are a recurring motif, particularly things not staying inside them, and she's written comics about her own strange nightmares.
Most of the stories on her website are standalones, usually taking place in 18th to 19th century rural settings. Four take place in the modern Canadian town of Keeping.note One of her stories, Some Other Animal's Meat, was adapted to television in the horror anthology series Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities as "The Outside".
Things she has made/worked on include:
- The Hare's Bride
- His Face All Red
- Through the Woods
- The YAWHG (co-creator)
- Gone Home (did some art for)
- Speak: The Graphic Novel (illustrator)
- Beneath the Dead Oak Tree
- When I Arrived at the Castle
- "This Witch's Work" from The Witching Hour (co-creator)
- Baba Yaga's Assistant (illustrator)
- A Guest In The House
Tropes present in her works:
- Don't Go in the Woods: Terrible things frequently happen in and around forests, usually because of something that lives there.
- Interface Screw: Combined with Odd-Shaped Panel, below, her works often need to be navigated differently from traditional webcomics— and sometimes strange things happen when panels are moused over.
- Odd-Shaped Panel: Often combined with the Infinite Canvas to have the story partially or wholly stretch down, across, or down and across a large page.
- Red Is Violent: Red is often used to highlight danger and violence in her comics.
Anu-Anulan & Yir's Daughter
- Happy Ending: This is the only one so far that has an unalloyed happy ending, with the goddess and Yorenn living happily together.
- Rule of Three: Three times, Anu-Anulan appears to Yir's daughter in disguise and convinces her to part with a braid of her hair.
The Prince and the SeaThe prince of a forest kingdom and a mermaid from an underwater land fall in love. Written as a poem.
- Diabolus ex Machina: Just as the prince comes up with a plan to be with the mermaid, his uncle sneaks up and drowns him in the pool.
- Dude, She's Like in a Coma: It ends with a view of the maid lovingly caressing the prince's bloated, rotting face.
- Evil Uncle: The prince's uncle kills him to take the throne.
- Innocent Inaccurate: When the maid finds the prince facedown in the pool, she's very touched that he gave up his precious air for her and takes his body down into the depths.
- Literal-Minded: The maid about the prince swearing on his heart and bones.
- Nightmare Face: Our first look at the prince after the encounter with his uncle.
- The Promise: The prince vows to find some way for he and the maid to be together, on his heart and bones. The maid rips open his body to see those parts, still versing delightedly at his "sacrifice", when she brings his drowned body into the water.
- Red Herring: The prince is unsettled by the thought of a vast, dark ocean kingdom beneath his forest, you always have to be careful about mermaids, and there's something unsettling about the emphasis on his determination to find any way to unite the two lands. He's actually killed by his treacherous uncle, who has nothing to do with the ocean kingdom.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Alas, romance is difficult when one person needs to breathe air and the other has to live in water.
Margot's RoomThe tale of a woman who lost her daughter, and then her husband.
- Driving Question: What happened in Margot's room? The woman was forced to kill her husband, who had turned into a werewolf.
- Outliving One's Offspring: The woman's marital troubles began with the death of her daughter, Margot.
Out of Skin
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The woman quickly realizes that the only person who could have buried the girls near her house is a friendly merchant that visits her in the woods.
- Bloody Horror:
- The tree has blood for sap.
- The girls make the woman's soup look like blood.
- Body Horror: The pile of dead bodies the woman finds out in the woods, and what their ghosts do to her own house.
- Body of Bodies: The tree that grows from the girls' mass grave has bark like skin, its "leaves" are really hands, and it has red blood for sap.
- Enemy Rising Behind: When the merchant leaves the woman's house, all the flesh peels off and follows to envelop him.
- Genius Loci: Eventually, the dead girls completely immerse themselves in the fabric of the house's structure and all the houseware and furniture.
- Invisible to Normals: Apparently, the man with the cart can't see anything unusual about the woman's house.
- Jump Scare:
- Fourth page, fifth panel. Watch the chair.
- On the sixth page, the merchant flashes between his normal-looking self and the evil soul the woman now knows he is.
- Must Be Invited: Subverted. The woman refuses the undead girls' demand to be let into her house, but they get in anyhow.
- Nightmare Face: When the woman imagines the women from the nearby towns, one of the townswoman's faces shifts from healthy and smiling to having an undead appearance — shadowed, ghostly eyes and a mouth full of corpse-like teeth.
- Serial Killer: The merchant has killed at least half a dozen girls.
- Unfinished Business: The girls. They seem to know that their murderer visits the old woman and lurk in her house to wait for his next appearance.
The Hole the Fox Did MakeA girl named Regan dreams about her unknown father and develops a fascination with the creek near her home.
- Big Eater: Regan often asks for seconds or thirds.
- Ghostly Goals: The Whispering Woman whom Regan encounters at the dream party turns out to be the ghost of the girl her mother drowned when they were both in high school. They were fighting over the boy who became Regan's father. Not surprisingly, the Whispering Woman wants Regan.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: What Regan's mother did to the other girl the fox claimed to love.
- The 'Verse: Regan later appears (chronologically before this comic) in The Groom.
- Properly Paranoid: Regan's mother sternly warns her away from the creek with the implication that it's dangerous. It's actually very shallow, but Regan is still drowned.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Regan ends up suffering for what her mother did in high school. The ghost of her mother's victim lures her to the creek and drowns her.
- Teacher/Student Romance: The yearbook page of Regan's mother's high school years suggests that Regan's father was her mother's teacher. It doesn't seem to have worked out, however.
When the Darkness PressesA young woman looks after a house for the summer and finds herself having recurring nightmares.
- Foreshadowing: The comic is done in the style of an early/mid-2000s webcomic, with advertising on the side and top of the panels; the top advertisement is for a hand moisturizer called Aloe-glo, which is just one letter off from the moisturizer that features prominently in the sequel Some Other Animal's Meat.
- Painting the Medium: The faux-advertisements occasionally change as the story progresses.
- The 'Verse: The family that owns the house, the Dolans, play a major role in the backstory of The Groom, and the young woman's friend is the main character of Some Other Animal's Meat.
All Along the WallA bored girl at a party requests a ghost story from one of the guests. A prequel to "The Nesting Place" from her book Through the Woods.
- Title Drop: The last line of Rebecca's story is the comic's title.
The GroomTwo girls discover a diorama behind a house.
- Creepy Doll: The diorama is made up of these. The pipe-cleaner groom the girls make for it is even creepier.
- Prequel: To The Hole the Fox Did Make, though both are separate stories that can be read independently.
- Murder-Suicide: It's strongly implied that Mr Dolan killed his wife and daughter, and then himself. Also counts as Pater Familicide.
- Sequel: To When the Darkness Presses.
- The 'Verse: Takes place after When the Darkness Presses and before The Hole the Fox Did Make.
Some Other Animal's MeatA woman feels disconnected from her body.
- Body Horror: A psychological horror example. Nothing actually seems to happen to Stacey, but her disconnect from her body leads to some horrifying imagery.
- Fully Absorbed Finale: This comic shows that the protagonist of When the Darkness Presses gets out of the house alive and well, though her coping method as described by her is less than reassuring.
- Psychological Horror: Unlike most of Caroll's comics, the horror mostly seems to stem from Stacey's issues with her body.
- Sequel: To When the Darkness Presses.
- Title Drop: On page 4, the main character wonders, "What if my meat is some other animal's meat".
- Through the Eyes of Madness: Much of the horror can be taken as a representation of the protagonist's mental state, but given that ghosts explicitly exist in other comics set in the universe...
- The 'Verse: The main character and her friend previously appeared in When the Darkness Presses, which sets this comic in the same universe as The Hole the Fox Did Make and The Groom.
- Bait-and-Switch: Don't be fooled by the soft pink color of Room 21.
- Body Horror:
- In Room 21, the dead body has bright red snakes coming out of the gut, looking like bloody intestines.
- In Room 1002, the mirrors show the character's face as a twisted, dripping fleshy thing.
- Don't Look Back: Someone is behind you in Room 504. You are told not to turn around, to act like you forgot what you came in for, and leave the room, keeping your eyes on the floor.
- Mirror Monster: In Room 1002, the mirrors show the character's face as a twisted, dripping fleshy thing.
- Nothing Is Scarier:
- Who or what is behind you in Room 504 is not revealed. All you catch is a partial glimpse, and all you are told is not to look.
- Room 223 is a more subdued example. There isn't anything to suggest that something supernatural or threatening is currently going on in the room, but the narrator's insistence that you "leave it be" and that there's "nothing to see" is rather suspicious.
- Splash of Color: A variant in Room 504. Most of the comic is in a limited palette: white, soft pinks and purples, and some black shading. When the POV character starts to look behind them, the narrator screams "DON'T TURN". For that panel, the colors become much more intense and mixed with red, conveying a sense of danger and the narrator's panic.
A Pretty PlaceOur protagonist visits "their lady", who lives in "a pretty place". Much like The Worthington, you are free to choose which room to visit.
- Body Horror: The mass on the stairs seems to be fleshy and has a visible eye.
- Covered in Gunge: The protagonist bathes in a thick fluid that somewhat resembles blood. They love it.
- Dead All Along: It's implied that the protagonist's lady is the corpse under the floor in the study.
- Dead Guy on Display: A skeleton, covered in a veil, jewels, and a Pimped-Out Dress is seated at the head of the dining table in an ornate glass box.
- Eye Motifs: Eyes are everywhere, in the mansion and on the webpages.
- Fan Disservice: The sight of the protagonist bathing is not a pretty one.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Human body parts are spread on the table in the kitchen, and the protagonist has no problem calling it "food".
- Nothing Is Scarier: The black room north of the staircase is pitch black, and something inside is saying that you were told not to come.
- Skull for a Head: The protagonist seems to have a skull for a head, judging by panels seen in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Despite the mountains of squick and body horror, the protagonist barely raises an eyebrow at any of it.
- White Void Room: The music room is a white void. This distresses and confuses the protagonist."My beloved would never let a room go so hollow."
- Yandere: The protagonist has shades of this, obsessing over their lady and attacking a figure they perceive as a rival.