Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Read now: Emily Carroll's The Hole the Fox Did Make

A new Emily Carroll comic has become an event. Few artists (and I use the term in the creative sense, not to refer to purely illustrative) can command the clout that Carroll has built up when she publishes a  new story on her website; people quite literally flock to read her work, such is the reputation she's amassed. Her one tweet  about the comic's releases is currently sat at an impressive 173 re-tweets (it was only posted only 5 hours ago), and that's without mentioning the people who will no doubt share it via Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, blogs and websites over the next week. In addition to the unquestionable quality of the art itself, I think one of the reasons people appreciate what Caroll does with her web-comics, is that she presents them whole- they're not serialised where you have to return each week for installments, but they're not a one page short or stand-alone strip either; they're lengthy (but not intimidatingly so) and immensely fulfilling narratives, which can be read in one satisfying go.

Her newest such comic is The Hole the Fox Did Make (you can read it at the link), is a ghost/mystery tale ,about a young girl who begins to have strange dreams in which she attends a never ending ball where no-one speaks to her apart from the mysterious lady with the terrible eyes, who whispers to her about the creek near where she lives. It's brilliant, and awful and sad and horrific, as one has come to expect of Carroll, and as ever she interweaves layers of meaning and revelations into the story- the sudden change in format and colour in the third act here is incredibly effective. This comic, perhaps more so than some of her others, reminded me of another superb comics artist, Julia Gfrörer. Their approach and subject matter may be different, but the manner in which they combine the transcendent and spiritual or dream-like with elements of folk and fairytale, all the while remaining very much grounded in  the bodily real, human issues and traits -abuse, love, power, jealousy, misogyny, relationships, is very similar. It's a pleasure to be a comics reader where they're both producing excellent work.

(This has got me really excited for Through the Woods, Carroll's first print book, which will be out next month, and looks nothing short of amazing.)