I like to consider myself pretty on top of things where notable comic book releases are concerned, and while I was aware Emily Carroll was working on illustrating a new book, the release of it has come around very quickly! So I'm sharing some images and details of it now (where otherwise it would have placed on August's 'With pound in hand' feature), because it looks rather good, especially if you're looking for comics for older children. Written by Marika McCoola, Baba Yaga's Assistant is a 136-page hardback about Masha, a young girl who deliberately ventures into the very eerie, supposedly haunted woods in pursuit of adventure, only to meet one of the most fearsome witches of all: Baba Yaga! This sounds like perfect subject matter for queen-of-scares Carroll to bring to life, and as you can see from the pages below, although more traditionally formatted than Carroll's own book, Through The Woods, she's still eliciting that creepy vibe; the pooling black on the last image is especially evocative. So while this may be aimed at younger audiences, a new Emily Carroll book is simply too good to pass up -and hey, maybe this will be at just the right scare level for a frighty-cat like me! Baba Yaga is also one of my favourite folk-loric characters, thanks to Hellboy and Tin Can Forest's gorgeous Baba Yaga and the Wolf, to name a few, so I'm extra keen to get my hands on a copy of this. Here's a little more on the plot from publishers Candlewick:
'Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, that magic is fickle, that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure. She may be clever enough to enter Baba Yaga’s house-on-chicken-legs, but within its walls, deceit is the rule. To earn her place, Masha must pass a series of tests, outfox a territorial bear, and make dinner for her host. No easy task, with children on the menu! Spooky and poignant, Marika McCoola’s stunning debut—with richly layered art by acclaimed graphic artist Emily Carroll—is a storytelling feat and a visual feast.'