- The Woman in the Woods, & Other North American Stories
- Iron Circus Comics
- Edited by
- Kel McDonald
- Kate Ashwin
- Alina Pete
- Writers- various
- Illustrations- various
- Cover art by Alina Pete
- Release date, April 5th, 2022
It’s never easy to put together a review of an anthology book. Personally, I have a tough time not breaking it down and reviewing each individual story and the creators behind it. In the interest of not posting a review longer than any one of the stories in the book, I’m just going to try to break down the overall tone. See, this is me growing and maturing (judging by the snort I heard behind me, my wife was reading that sentence as I typed it).
This book of North American folklore stories, re-imagined to fit into the modern world, has some great selling points. In the area of inclusion, it’s absolutely noteworthy that the stories themselves are told by Native American writers & artists. It’s an approach that brings a great sense of authenticity as these are legends that have been passed down over the generations. It isn’t just someone researching a certain mythology and adapting it into a story. In many cases it’s a writer creating their story around the tales they heard when they were growing up. That kind of tradition carries weight when you consider that many of these legends have their roots set long before they might have been written down.
The other thing that really sets this collection apart is that the source material isn’t something that’s as widely known. I’ve been a fan of legends & fantasy since I was a kid cracking open his first book on Greek Mythology and Aesop’s Fables. That’s all very familiar. In that same line of thought, with the heavy reliance on European-focused fantasy it’s been fantastic seeing the trend shifting. And that’s me talking as a German/Irish guy. More and more I’m seeing books & comics that are moving into less well-known realms of lore, and it’s been great getting introduced to traditional stories that are far removed from Camelot.
In the case of Iron Circus Comics, their line of Cautionary Fables & Fairytales books aimed at the middle school age range are ahead of the curve. The Woman in the Woods is their fifth entry, and truth be told I’ve already got my next dive into the series (The Night Marchers) lined up and ready to go. The blend of old stories looked at from a modern perspective works for me. In the case of title entry for this collection, The Woman in the Woods blends old and new world ideas beautifully. Mercedes Acosta constructs a well-told piece of work that works in different themes and sums itself up in the short span of time required for an anthology story.
If you’re a parent forever looking for a broader range of reading that will get your kids interested, or if you’re just a reader trying to find something that may be a little less familiar, take a look at Iron Circus and its line of Cautionary Fables. In the case of The Woman in the Woods, it was a great dip into Native American/First Nation fantasy that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
Final Score: 10/13