AUTUMN OF INDIE: Love Letter to Hildafolk

There’s an outcry at the moment for more kid-friendly comics, as the big two don’t seem to want to cater to a new younger audience. But beneath the alpha studio dominance, there are plenty of comics that cater to kiddies and still appeal to us big kids – and one of those is Luke Pearson’s beautifully drawn Hilda books.

I can’t help but gush over Hilda; she’s just one of my most favourite characters. Hilda is a little girl who lives in the middle of nowhere in the lush Scandinavian countryside with her mother surrounded by mountains, fields, lakes and lots of fluffy things. She’s bright, inquisitive and so enthusiastic, with blue hair and skinny legs making her an instantly recognisable character.

The Hilda books have an eclectic mix of creatures including the Wood Man (guess what he’s made of) who likes to lie down in front of their fire because he’s ‘Too aware of his own house to be comfortable’ and Hilda’s friend Twig, a gorgeous Deerfox who is glued to her side throughout both books. Then there are elves, trolls and giants – plus my favourite: THE WOFFS! These are fluffy flying balls of cute with big eyes and tails. I want my own…or for someone to make me one (it is nearly Christmas *hint*).

The first mini comic, Hildafolk, was published by Nobrow back in 2010 as part of an initiative called  17×23, designed to get creators published in small more economical formats and encouraging them to develop new ideas and create new books.  This was followed by Hilda and the Midnight Giant, a full length hardback comic in 2011, and going forward it looks like there will be a third book too.

Both Hilda books have an incredibly whimsical and magical feel to them. The rustic setting means the backgrounds are just so rich, even in the tiny panels, with the first book a wash of muted greens, browns and blues which gives it a really retro 70s feel. The second book has a similar colour hue but brighter and with a bit more depth, especially in the night-time scenes.

Luke Pearson’s artistic style in these books makes me think of Tove Jansson’s artwork (the creator of the Moomins), as they share lots of similarities in terms of the rural settings and character design. Characters are made up of exaggerated features and both artists have a love for mythical creatures and folklore – polishing the overall fantastical atmosphere in Hilda’s world.

Here are some previews:

          

The books are full of humour and are an absolute delight to read. If you have kiddies, they’ll love the settings and all the diverse creatures and people – making great bedtime stories. For us adults? Well, you get to enjoy a gorgeous book full of rich scenery and characters that’ll make your heart melt.

Both books get a 5/5 on the Geek Syndicate scale

Reporter: Sara Westrop

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