Portal stories are nothing new. You’ve seen them all before, half-a-hundred times. The Chronicles of Narnia. Harry Potter. Coraline. Someone from our world discovers an opening, a crack in reality which leads to someplace else. Somewhere filled with magic, with fantastic adventures and danger to match.
Folklords is that type of story. Only it isn’t.
Created by Matt Kindt and Matt Smith (not that Matt Smith) and distributed by BOOM! Studios, Folklords takes the traditional portal story narrative and turns it on its head.
The tale follows Ansel, a kid on the cusp of adulthood, haunted by dreams of another world.
The familiar trajectory gives us a character drowning in the mundanity of ordinary life, maybe at the mercy of a corrupted family, who finds solace in a hidden magical world. Folklords does the opposite.
Ansel lives in a world filled with elves, and trolls, and quests. But he’s haunted by visions of a different world, one with high-rises, business suits, and familiar technology, at least to the reader.
His eighteenth birthday requires he embark on a quest and, despite the protestations of the Librarians–a hooded totalitarian governmental structure bent on the control of knowledge–Ansel leaves home to search for the truth about this other world.
Folklords leans on familiar fairy tale stories and tropes, but bends them. Here, blind goblins and candy-cottage serial killers are the norm, but slacks, suit coats, and hand-held lighters are an unusual form of magic.
Ansel must navigate the various trials inherent in his fantasy world in search of a truth intentionally buried.
Kindt and Smith previously worked together on Planet of the Apes: When Worlds Collide, but this is a different beast. Where Apes is a well-known IP, Folklords is creator-owned.
For a long time, Image has been the home of creator-owned books, the save haven of artists who want to get their work out into the world. But there’s room for more than one publisher willing to take a risk on new stories and, if Folklords is any indicator, BOOM! might just be giving them a run for their money.
Issue one massively outsold expectations, selling more than 20,000 units. Which is massively impressive for a creator-owned book and only good for creators and readers, alike.
Issue #3 (of 5) of Folklords is set to drop on January 22, and things get real weird. You can preview a few pages above.
If you’re into portal stories and you want to see something a little different, you still have a chance to jump in on one of the most talked about creator-owned comics on the shelf, right now.