Folklore is the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community passed down orally (and oftentimes now digitally) through the generations. The Brothers Grimm are one such source of folk tales. And now, BOOM! Studios tackles this familiar material with their release Folklords #1, which asks, what if a boy in the fairytale world dreamt of our world?
Ansel is a boy preparing for the day he goes through a rite of passage before becoming an adult: He’s preparing to go on a quest. But not just any quest. It’s a quest to find the mysterious Folklords and get an answer to the dreams he has of our world. And he has to do it without getting caught by the Guild of Librarians, the local authority, who are exercising absolute control over everyone.
The world Matt Kindt has created in Folklords #1 is incredibly detailed. He started out by creating a world that people may recognize in folktales: golden geese, giant killers, gnomes, etc., and making quests a rite of passage that everyone must undertake. He complicates everything with the introduction of the Guild of Librarians who restrict the freedom of these people and make them spy on one another as their quests. The librarians look down on the pursuit of knowledge — verification of knowledge in particular. This is a society that says, “Be content with what you have.”
I really like Matt Smith’s art. It’s a cartoonish style that makes trolls, dwarves, and elves look normal, and yet he is still able to make the Librarians look sinister and life in our world appear fantastic. I particularly enjoy how different everyone looks. Chris O’Halloran’s colors are varied and bright, using different shades depending on the time of day. But my favorite panel is on the last page featuring Ansel running off toward the horizon. The sky in that panel is a pretty mixture of blues and purples.
Folklords #1 is the opposite of what you would expect to happen in most fantasy tales. Usually, in stories like the Chronicles of Narnia, Wizard of Oz, and Harry Potter, people leave our world for the world of magic. Characters seek an escape or a solution to a problem that endangers their everyday lives. In this story, the characters seek answers in our world.