The Low, Low Woods by author Carmen Maria Machado, Illustrations by DaNi
Horror graphic novels are an amazing addition to the genre. Horror is nearly always benefited by having images. The Low, Low Woods has creepy ones for days due to its use of body horror and the presence of a very creepy skinless man who roams the titular woods.
This 6 issue graphic novel series is part of Joe Hill’s Hill House line of comic books. A collection of short runs all dedicated to be spooky, eerie, scary, or disturbing. These books are available through DC Comics.
The Low, Low Woods is about two friends who are lesbians in a small town with a haunted past. The girls, Octavia and El, wake up one evening in a movie theater. They don’t have any memory past the coming attractions but there is evidence that they were not sleeping in the theater seats this whole time. This town has a history of women losing chunks of time, memories missing as they wake up in strange locations.
Although the town mythology makes plenty of mention of a mining fire being caused by opening the gates of hell it doesn’t mention the time gaps, only that the men of the town get ill from the mines.
Octavia (Vee) and El are the best of friends, so much so that they feel a supernatural connection to one another. If one gets hurt, for instance, the other may become acutely aware in that moment.
This friendship gets them through the seriously troubled times that they start to experience when Vee’s girlfriend Jessica opens up into a sort of black hole one night when they’re fooling around. The mystery opens wide from there and it is up to these young women to solve it and heal the town.
The Low, Low Woods deals a lot with themes of rape culture and how every victim of a violation needs to heal in their own way. There is no right way to grieve and heal, what needs to be fixed is the violators. The book is feminist without being overt. It is all too common now, especially in mainstream comic book media, to shove a feminist message down the audience’s throat. Not only is this off putting, but it’s counterproductive and lazy writing as well.
Author Machado tells a story first, teaches a lesson second. She understands that making a point doesn’t happen when you can’t even provide a solid piece of work. No matter what, books need to be entertaining more than preachy.
Like most 6 issue runs, this one can be read quickly and is easy to pick up for an afternoon of spooky with a side of diverse characters. It is available on the DC Infinite app if that is an option for you. Check it out!
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If you like The Low, Low Woods you might also like Sweet Tooth