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Folklords By Kindt & Smith

Matt Kindt, writer
Matt Smith, artist
Chris O’Halloran, colorist
Jim Campbell, letterer
Boom Studios
$17.99

Every year, the kids in the village have to announce a quest they must complete in order to become adults. Slay a dragon. Recover a lost treasure. Confront a villain. You know, the usual.

For Ansel, with his pressed suits and strange inventions, there’s only one quest he can undertake: Find the mysterious Folklords and see if they can explain his visions of a world without magic. All hell breaks loose when this is announced and Ansel finds himself suddenly thrust on a bigger adventure than he expected.

Thus begins Folklords, written by Matt Kindt and illustrated by Matt Smith. The duo’s story takes a moment to comfortably find its stride, but it’s an excellent read once it does. It’s hard to care about Ansel (and his quest) when we first meet him, mainly because he feels a little bland and vanilla. That said, he quickly blossoms as a character once he’s on the road, showcasing a satisfying blend of strength and sensitivity.

There’s a lot to like about Folklords, particularly Kindt’s writing style. A beautiful, recurring element shows how we often season our memories with lies so we can stand the taste of our own past. Smith’s art, too, is exceptional: His bright colors and Mignola-esque shadows are perfect fits for an ominous fairy tale world.

The central mystery –who and what are the eponymous Folklords– is one of the least interesting parts of the story that mercifully takes a back seat for most of the book. Instead, we’re treated to a colorful journey full of interesting characters and exciting adventures, but the story wraps up too quickly to feel totally satisfying. It almost seems like the miniseries needed one more issue to spin out the climax a little more naturally.

Folklords is a solid, fun fantasy adventure that would’ve benefitted if it’d been given a little more time to breathe. The view we receive of Ansel’s world –full of its familiar-yet-strange story elements- barely scratches the surface. That said, the open-ended conclusion hints at a larger story we’ll hopefully get to see in the future.

Mike Thompson is a writer living in Northern California. He spends much of his time running, baking, and desperately scrounging for another cup of coffee. Feel free to follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

July 13, 2020
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