cover image Woods


Mike Freiheit. Birdcage Bottom, $15 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-73315-091-0

Freiheit (Monkey Chef: A Love Story) delivers chills in this brooding if unpolished psychological thriller. After suffering a schizophrenic breakdown triggered by the 2016 presidential election (“How could they elect this rapist? God explained it to me, this is hell!”), Beth moves to an isolated cabin with her husband, Jason, hoping to start fresh. But visions and voices continue to haunt her, and she begins to feel that the woods are urging her back toward the quasi-religious revelation that she experienced “like a lightning bolt through my brain” during her breakdown. She obsessively follows horrific news stories on the radio and rages at locals who bark slurs at her interracial marriage. “There’s another world, and I can get us there!” she tells the increasingly worried and worn-out Jason, but when the two find themselves trapped in the cabin for the winter, there may be no escape. Freiheit’s roughly inked black-and-white art is sometimes crude, but spooky in its evocation of an ominous forest setting, where it usually seems to be night and shifting somethings peer from between trees. In his first horror outing, Freiheit sometimes wobbles, but achieves a claustrophobic sense of threats from both inside and out. Freiheit disconcertingly draws readers into paranoia in this cooped-up cabin fever–dream. (Sept.)