In Ansel’s dreams, there are towers made of glass, metal birds that soar through the air and carriages that move under their own power. While he’s plagued by these nightly visions and mocked and derided by his fellow villagers for the strange way in which he dresses, Ansel longs to embark on his quest, the rite of passage that all of his people must make when they reach their eighteenth year. Ansel longs to find the Folklords and seek answers about, and passage to, the mysterious realm that haunts him, but his quest and the knowledge he desperately needs are forbidden by the guardians of his land, the Librarians. When the time for his quest finally arrives, ignoring the possible punishments he faces, Ansel and his “friend” Archer go in search of the Folklords and this first volume of Matt Kindt and Matt Smith’s new series follows its hero’s first tentative steps into a much larger, terrifying reality.
Combining multiverse theory, multiple narratives and a convention shattering “fantasy” adventure, Folklords is an imaginative and viciously clever tale that rips up the meta rulebook and idly toys with, before tossing aside, a number of well-worn and over-used genre stereotypes and tropes. Kindt and Smith’s, whose sublime art literally screams Dungeons& Dragons at every stage of the story, use their deliciously in the know narrative to criticise censorship and authoritarianism and celebrate a number of the truisms that are inherent to humanity. That is, that we, as a species, thirst for knowledge, want to know who we are and what our place in the universe is and that the right to then be who we are, free from persecution and tyranny in all of its forms, is our most basic, and overwhelming, desire. Some books open doors to a different worlds and possibilities, Folklords kicks those doors down, quaffs a horn of ale, draws its sword and charges through their shattered remnants. Let Kindt and Smith tell thee of the days of high adventure… Tim Cundle