Hello and welcome to Webcomic Wednesday! Each week I take a look at a webcomic and let you know what I think about it. This week I’ve been on a bit of a horror-story kick, so I’m looking at Emily Carroll’s short comic from 2010 His Face All Red.
I’m a huge fan of horror in any form, and while much of the genre finds itself occupied with gore and violence, the horrors that stick out the most to me play with fear as opposed to shock. Emily Carroll’s His Face All Red not only manages to create feelings of fear and mystery but also rewards the reader’s intelligence in a way that creates a satisfying tale in the short time it occupies.
It’s hard to talk about His Face All Red without spoiling any key plot points and any of the twists, but it follows an unnamed protagonist who is tasked, with the help of his brother, to kill a beast living in the forest beside his town. The story takes twists and turns that are fantastic, and Carroll’s handling of the tale is masterful thanks to her ability to show rather than tell.
Through her art and implied dialogue we learn important character beats without it being outright stated to us, and in the incredibly short form it works to the story’s benefit. The eschewing of any actual violence also lets the imagination do the work, which creates an uncomfortably gothic tale. The art, which at first feels like it won’t service the tale, allows the more horrifying parts to stand out due to its “nice” style, and in the end complements the story well.
His Face All Red is a short one, but it’s a fantastic story. So few stories are able to portray character beats and horror in such little space. You can find it here, and more of Carroll’s work on her site.