Carmen Maria Machado has never written a comic before The Low, Low Woods, but you wouldn’t know after reading the first issue. The National Book Award finalist has taken to the medium exceptionally well in the new series from DC’s Hill House Comics imprint, partnering with artist Dani, colorist Tamra Bonvillain, and letterer Steve Wands for a surreal supernatural mystery in a city that is perpetually on fire. El and Octavia are two teens living in a small town in the mid-’90s whose lives are derailed when they black out during a movie, waking up to realize that they were active during the time they lost. There’s no shortage of weird shit in Shudder-To-Think, Pennsylvania, but this is on a new level and they’re on a mission to find out exactly what happened.
This exclusive preview of this week’s The Low, Low Woods #2 recounts the best friends’ first meeting in the titular locale before taking them back to the movie theater to look for clues about their blackout. Machado writes evocative narration, but doesn’t rely on it to drive the story the way a lot of prose writers do when they jump to comics. She trusts the art team to set the mood and reinforce emotional connections between characters, and these pages showcase just how well Dani and Bonvillain create an ominous atmosphere. The wildness of Dani’s scratchy inks imbues each panel with energy, and Bonvillain’s coloring adds rich painted textures that bring even more depth the linework. Readers can find out more about Low, Low Woods by reading Caitlin Rosberg’s Comics Panel review going up later this week, but in the meanwhile, here’s a taste of the second chapter.