Cover Image: The Low, Low Woods (Hill House Comics)

The Low, Low Woods (Hill House Comics)

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Member Reviews

When I finished reading this, I said aloud to myself "this book is so good".  This is a great horror story, as well as a story about a beautiful friendship.  The artwork is absolutely stunning and suits the story perfectly. Can't recommend this one enough!
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This is the first of this series of ever looked at. I was into it straight from the beginning and never got bored. The artwork is very different and I loved every bit of it. I will definitely pickup anything else from this series.
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Wow, wow, wow!!!!

"It isn't that no one believed us, it's worse than that. They knew. The lesson was not 'don't do what they did', it was 'don't get caught'".

Two friends wake up in a movie theater with no memory of the movie whatsoever. They find this curious and try to dive a bit deeper to see if they can figure out what happened. Without giving anything away, this is a story all about how you handle the consequences of something being taken from you without your knowledge. Is it better to forget that you forgot or is it better to remember everything you lost? What I love most about this story is that neither option is right nor wrong. Even if you're being forced to forget what happened, you're not forced to remember and I think that's a really powerful thing to keep in mind.

Incredible story and incredible art. I highly, highly recommend.
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*Trigger warning for CSA and SA talked about towards the end of the story.*

I finished this in one sitting. Unable to put it down, I must have made around twenty bookmarks.

This comic has a little something in it for every horror fan. Lesbians? Check. Cosmic horror? Check. Town witch? Check. Horrifying monsters? Double check.

The author and writer truly went all out with this series and my reader soul is forever indebted to them. Truly remarkable, moving, relatable...
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“It took me a long time to learn that every town didn’t have it’s own witch. Growing up, you just knew... My mom always said to me El, if you really fuck shit up ten ways from Sunday—there’s always one person’s door you can knock on.”

This story is f*cked up. I mean I knew it would be because we’re talking master body horror writer Carmen Maria Machado here but dang. Low Low Woods follows a pair of best friends, El and Vee—both queer WOC—who are navigating life through a whole ton of freaky uncertainty. The story starts when they wake up in a theater with no memory of falling asleep during the movie. Doesn’t sound too weird right? Except El is certain that something happened to them. Something real bad. Vee wants to believe they just fell asleep, she wants to believe they’re safe, but maybe she’s not ready for the kind of hurt that the truth would bring.
“Forgetting is easy. We do it as automatically as breathing. Remembering—well, that’s another matter entirely.”

This book is about pain. It’s about being strong enough to remember, and strong enough to forget. The story is truly devastating, but somehow these girls survive. Their friendship survives.

I love these main characters. The chapters alternate perspectives and it’s really neat to see the contrast in how they think about their home town of Shudder-To-Think, Pennsylvania. They’re both kinda punks and fiercely loyal friends. And they’re smart af which creates tension as they wrestle with knowing and not knowing. Vee and El’s relationship is the heart of Low Low Woods. They keep each other strong. They’ll make it through the pain if they can hang on to each other. They fight, they make up, they’re family.

“Shudder-to-Think, Pennsylvania has an extremely unhealthy relationship with its dead.”

If you know and love Carmen’s writing then definitely check this out. The art style for the comic is sort of mangled (?) and lacks fine details. I’ve seen it before—I think it must be popular with apocalyptic comics. I love the weird supernatural shit going on. I love the town witch.
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Very intriguing and horrifying comic. The beginning captures you right away. It took me awhile to get used to the illustration style but I got there.
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A horrifying tale of two friends and a deeply terrifying town and its monsters. There are some incredible pages of art that really bring the story to life.
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Link to review: http://bewarethescarylibrarian.blogspot.com/2020/09/new-arrival-low-low-woods.html
When I first heard about Hill House Comics, the DC horror comics imprint spearheaded by Joe Hill, I was excited. Like kid-on-Christmas excited. I have very fond memories of Locke & Key, Hill’s first foray into comics and where I discovered he was more than just Stephen King’s son. Hill has time and again proved himself superior to his father when it comes to weaving the fantastical into his fiction. However, I discovered that he would not be writing the comics, but my disappointment was short-lived upon discovering that the writers are some of the most well-known in speculative fiction, providing their own unique tales within a graphic novel format. Such a tale is Carmen Maria Machado’s rural horror The Low, Low Woods.

The story focuses on the small town of Shudder-To-Think, Pennsylvania, a town like many mining towns where the mines make money at the cost of human lives. People die in the mines, people get sick in the mines, but the town also has skinless men, monstrous hybrids, and periodic amnesia among its female population. Best friends El and Vee try to find out the secret that has been haunting the town all while trying to escape the fate that has befallen all the women in Shudder-To-Think.

Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and OtherParties, has a lot of moving parts in this story. Everything from bizarre body horror to the deep friendship between Vee and El. This friendship is not only by the town’s secrets but also by another force that has pulled apart the tapestry of friendships: making plans after high school. Machado’s ear for dialogue fleshes out so many of the characters in this piece, just as DaNi's artwork seeks to twist that shape into disturbing contortions. Think Jock’s artwork in Wytches and you’ll have an idea of the realistic yet at times surreal artwork in these pages.

For those that have read Machado’s previous works and expecting some horror mined from a woman’s experience, Machado doesn’t disappoint here. When the mystery is revealed, it becomes apparent that the evil in this town is not just supernatural and it will take more than putting a wooden stake through a ribcage to end it. Machado’s work explores the notion of traumatic memories, whether it is best to remember and potentially grow stronger from experiencing them, or is it better to discard these memories and move forward? Fighting and defeating the monster is often the definitive end of stories of supernatural evil, will all that’s left is to stand in the sunshine of a new day. If anything, the ending lets the reader know that the fight, and the subsequent healing, is just beginning.
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There's something in the woods, and this pairing of Carmen Maria Machado's characters and story, with Hill House Comics, is gripping, horrifying, and unforgettable. The gritty truths about their home will haunt El and Octavia...if they make it through the night. Although this is a creepfest, we're not getting out of a Machado story without an unsettling look at human nature. More good work from Hill House Comics.
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Shudder-to-Think, PA is an old coal-mining town where the men get lung-sick and the women get memory-sick. This is an exploration of environmental horror and sexual violence. The opening begins with best friends, Octavia and El having woken up at a movie theater. Octavia believes they fell asleep, but El knows that something is wrong and that there is something sinister going on. El wants to fight to remember. Octavia wants to keep the memory hidden so that she can leave the dark, creepy town with inside-out men, animal hybrids, and a burning secret. The story had begins with a good hook of the two friends where the reader enters the world wanting to also know what's going on. Carmen Maria Machado is a master story-teller of this Pennsylvania gothic weaving together Silvia Moreno-Garcia's "Mexican Gothic" and Alice in Wonderland  maybe even Plato's Allegory of the Cave....I liked that we were able to tell who the narrator was through the differences in narrative font and had insight into the connection between both young women. The illustrations were gorgeous, but a bit difficult in a graphic novel/comic setting as I was really looking for all the creepy details. A very creepy, suspenseful, goose-bump-inducing read!
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A beautiful and dark story by one of my favorite authors, this spectacularly illustrated graphic novel looks at the power of memory, consent, and female friendship. Set in Shudder-to-Think, PA - a mining town that still burns underground with the flames of some terrible accident decades later- best friends El and Octavia find themselves the latest victims of the town's mysterious illness that fades away memories of women and girls. Addressing difficult topics like systemic abuse, ways your memories can be used against you, and the trauma of remembering, this is a stand-out graphic novel. It also has plenty of horrific details with skinless men, strange woodland creatures, and other supernatural elements. Recommended.
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Eli and Octavia live in Shudder to Think, Pennsylvania. A former mining town, the ground has been on fire for decades. Most people moved away. Some stayed. Along with the rabbits with human eyes, the deer with human heads, and the skinless men that come out of the smouldering holes in the ground. When Eli and Octavia go to a movie and wake up with their memories gone they go searching for answers. The town is full of secrets. Some people know more than they let on. Others have forgotten. Too many have forgotten. Every issue opens up the town more than the fires below do and answers questions the reader didn't even know they had.
This series was intense. Full on trigger warning for it. As engrossing and amazing as the story is, bad things happen and happened to characters you will love. The comic plays with relationships, connections, bonds, unspoken attachments and more. There are the aforementioned secrets but also revelations, explanations, and stories that were percolating, waiting for the right moment to surface. 
I was immersed in the town. Eli and Octavia's families, the school, where they hang out, all of it becoming reality thanks to numerous bike rides. I am neither LBGT nor a POC like the main characters and that didn't matter once. This is a universal story of friendship, love, mystery, pain, and any more would spoil the story. I wanted them to be safe, I wanted them to find happiness. I want them to get an ounce of confidence and get out of that town. But then I look out my window and it's easy to stay in a small place where the driving employer left long ago and all that's left are families that don't know any where else. 
I'm also convinced this town also looks the other way instead of confronting the truth over what's going on.
If you want graphic horror, skip this comic. This is a psychological build. Sure the odd monsters in the town are scary and cause some tense moments. But the humans who are exploiting the town secret for their own benefit are worse than any creature that could be dreamed of. 
Highly recommended. I don't think I've read anything from the Hill House label that wasn't worth buying and re-reading.
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ARC from Netgalley.
This is my first exposure to the Hill House Comics... and I'm very impressed.
Two friends, El and Vee (Eldora and Octavia) live in Shudder-To-Think, Pennsylvania, an old mining town that still burns underground. The story begins with them waking up in a movie theater not remembering the movie or the last two hours. A creepy theater employee offers no help, but seems to be laughing at a private joke.
The two girls have lives to live, relationships to be in, and their own hang ups, but their friendship is strong. Can they survive rabbits with human eyes, deer/woman hybrids that abduct girls in the woods, skinless men that seems to crawl out of nowhere, AND women who have sinkholes as part of their anatomy? Maybe they should ask the witch...
My words can not do justice for the story, which could easily be an episode of Creepshow or Black Mirror or Twilight Zone. The author is obviously talented and I will be researching more into other things they have written.
Phenomenal starting exposure for Hill House Comics to me.
Recommend.
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I once read a short story by this author and didn't care for it.  I was excited to check out this new line of comics due to Joe Hill being attached to it. This was such a slow burn story that it was almost unenjoyable. The feminist politics of it also made for a blah read. Once I found out what was going on I was like "really??? That's it?" Average read for me.
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Finally got around to finishing Carmen Maria Machado's first graphic novel set in a mysterious PA suburb with a lot more under the surface ... maybe a little Twin Peaks-y, maybe a few other things. Didn't quite hit with me as much as Machado's short stories, but still a worthwhile and creepy read.
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Whoa. This book was SO GOOD. I really want everyone to read it. The illustrations are enthralling and Machado's take on memory and trauma is intensely powerful. I read it in one go, sat stunned, and then immediately reread it. Human connection, wonderful characters, haunting and creepy... I really couldn't get enough.
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So, okay, wow. That was disturbing and kinda surreal, but oh my so good! This is a slow burn mainly psychological horror; there are scary skinless men and creepy beasties, but the main horror is from the psychological aspects of what's going on in Shudder-to-Think, PA. I'm not going to try to describe it, it's much better if you go in not knowing what's happening, and let it wash over you. The gist of it is the right to remember or forget past trauma if you choose to, what effects that trauma can have on a person, both mental and physical, and what might happen if suppressed memories took a physical manifestation. There's some potent social commentary here too, about how destructive the effects on a community that turns a blind eye toward things that have "always been this way" can be, and that acceptance and silence are not the way to deal with trauma. This is a powerful story here, with themes of female friendship, misogyny, and personal choice, with a cast of strong female/queer/diverse characters. The open ending is a bit maddening, because I want to know what Vee chose to do, but it's kinda perfect too. 

#TheLowLowWoodsHillHouseComics #NetGalley
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First I could not find the creative team in the review copy of the book.  I wish that publishers included the entire creative team on review copies because I like to include everyone in my review.  I did an internet search so hopefully, I have the names correct.

Low Low Woods begins with two kids waking up in a movie theater with no memory.  They begin to search for their memories, but the more they search the more they uncover dark truths about the town.  

I love the art and colors.  They give the story a super creepy feel.  Using dark red to show how dangerous things are really helped sell the creepy aspect.  I really enjoyed reading it.

4 stars.

Creative Team:
Written by Joe Hill and Carmen Maria Machado
Art by Dan McDaid nad Dani Strips
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain and John Kalisz
Published by DC
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I need to check out more from this author! The artwork in this book is amazing and fits with the story. The story itself sticks with you.
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I loved this. It had the absolutely messed up energy of a Joe Hill project while retaining the gorgeous angry gay power of Carmen Maria Machado. I loved El and Vee, I loved the art, I loved how scary and gross and sad it was. It fits neatly into the landscape of modern horror comics while centering the experiences of queer teen girls of color.
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