Underrated: Folklords

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Folklords.

I had been meaning to read Folklords when it first came out for two reasons; the cover looked really interesting, and it was written by Matt Kindt, but I was never able to find the first issue in shops. By the time the third issue hit the shelves, I knew that it would be easier to just wait until the trade hit the shelves, which is exactly what I did. Of course, the pandemic kinda delayed that plan a little (maybe – it certainly feels like everything has been delayed because of the months-that-felt-like-years).

Folklords was originally published by Boom Studios from November until March 2020, with Kindt being joined by artist Matt Smith, colourist Chris O’Halloran and letterer Jim Campbell. The follows Ansel on his quest for the eponymous Folklords. He’s an outsider in his village because of his visions of a world with buildings as tall as mountains, flying ships and horseless carriages. His visions have inspired him to recreate the objects he’s seen such as fire lighters and a time telling device worn on his wrist, and his questing outfit is inspired by the clothing he sees the residents of these magical places wear.

Yup, Ansel is having visions of our world.

On it’s surface, this is a story about discovering who you are, which is literally the motivation for the young people in the village to undertake their quests around their 18th birthday. Writing that shortly after watching Frozen 2 again has now firmly put Show Yourself into my internal record player, but that’s not the end of the world (for me, anyway). But I digress; just because the surface level of the story is about finding who you are (and it’s a good tale, too), doesn’t mean that Kindt hasn’t peppered the five issues in the Folklords collection with more subtle questions and answers around the suppression of information and the willingness to give in to personal bias.

Folklords is a book that’s easy to read and, pardon the cliche, hard to put down.

The imagery is gorgeous, colourful and very fitting for the fantasy world that has been created in this book. Smith and O’Halloran also inject more than a little physical comedy into the proceedings, complimenting Kindt’s more humorous moments within the script.

Despite this being a relatively recent release, I wanted to feature it this week because with the series coming out so close to the day North America shut down, I figured that a lot of people had missed talking about the series in their shops or hadn’t seen the covers on the shelf, making it easy to overlook. Folklords is a fun story with a lot of depth – and it’s certainly an underrated gem of a book that you need on your shelf.

Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.