Interview: Matt Kindt on BOOM! Studios’ Folklords

Folklords #1 Matt Smith cover

Folklords #1 Matt Smith cover


Matt Kindt is the popular writer/artist of Mind MGMT and Dept. H,  and writer of X-O Manowar, Black Badge, and much more. Now he invites you to explore a new world of fantasy in Folklords from BOOM! Studios. Kindt gives Westfield’s Roger Ash the inside scoop on this upcoming series.

Folklords #1 Duncan Fegredo cover

Folklords #1 Duncan Fegredo cover


Westfield: What is the genesis of Folklords?

Matt Kindt: It was one of those situations where the title came first. That’s happened to me a few times in my career. I’ve had editors suggest a title. Dept. H was another one. I had the title for a couple years and was in search of a book to put it on. I’d forgotten the title idea and then a friend of mine reminded me of it when I was asking for title help. So that worked out. Divinity for Valiant was another title where the editor had a title in need of a story. I really sometimes like those prompts. The idea can sometimes just hit you like lightning if you have a title. Other books, like Super Spy – end up being called that because it was the working title for so long that it just became familiar. I never intended for it to be called that.

I’d been trying to come up with an idea specifically for Matt Smith – because I really wanted to work with him. I’d come up with a few different pitches and they weren’t really the kind of thing he was interested in drawing so I kind of stopped thinking about it. The paranoid part of me thought Matt just wasn’t interested in working with me…! But that wasn’t the case. I think he just wanted something more fun – something with some crazier things to draw and more fun characters. Something less grounded. So in a way this idea grew from the title and into what I thought Matt might like drawing. The main character, Ansel, in a way is the most grounded – he’s wearing a suit and tie. He’s the sort of grounded part of the story that I always start with before I ask the big “what if?” question – like…we have this kid…and then what if…? He’s living in a world populated by every kind of folk tale idea and characters.

Ansel and friends. Designs by Matt Smith

Ansel and friends. Designs by Matt Smith


Westfield: What can you tell us about Ansel?

Kindt: He’s a mystery – to himself and to us as readers. He has these kind of crazy visions of another world and begins dressing to match his fantasy world. But his fantasy world? Looks a lot like ours. He wears a suit and tie inspired by his visions. He begins “inventing” things that he’s seen in his fantasy world – lighters and walkie-talkies. But these visions kind of torture him – it’s why he’s gone on a quest to find the Folklords – who he thinks hold the answers to his problems.

The “quest” that he goes on was always kind of a cliché with these kinds of fantasy stories. It’s in every one you’ve ever read. I was working with another friend of mine, Brian Hurtt, on a collaboration story and he said he didn’t want to do a “quest” story. It made me laugh…we were working on a kind of Conan sword and sorcery tale and it got me to thinking of stories that aren’t quests. When I started writing this book – I thought it would be funny – a joke between me and him – if I made every character…when they turn eighteen – they have to go on a mandatory quest. So every character in the book is either going on a quest, planning a quest, or they’ve already gone on their mandatory test. It’s like graduating from high school. It’s just something you do. Sometimes instead of avoiding cliché, I think it’s fun to just run headlong into it and really overdo it. In a lot of ways, that’s what this series is about. We’ve seen the quests, and I think movies like Shrek and the Disney films have already picked apart a lot of the traditional folktales and done a meta-version of them. So the fun was trying to do a story that sort of threads that needle – it’s true to the tradition of folk tales but also aware of itself but not in a way that takes it less seriously.

Hanz, Greta, and more. Designs by Matt Smith

Hanz, Greta, and more. Designs by Matt Smith


Westfield: Who are some of the other characters readers will meet?

Kindt: There’s a big barbarian woman named Ugly, who is full of surprises…Hanz and Greta, a serial-killing duo who live in the woods and may have spent way too much time eating some old witches’ poisoned candy…it’s made them…very strange. There’s Demure, who’s anything but – and Ansel’s companion who’s completed her quest already and now has a kind of secret agenda. And the Librarians. Oh boy. The Librarians are a kind of mysterious warrior class that holds all knowledge in the world and closely monitors all quests. And they’re constantly demanding absolute silence. They’re…intimidating.

Librarian design by Matt Smith

Librarian design by Matt Smith


Westfield: What can you tell us about your collaboration with artist Matt Smith?

Kindt: Matt is one of those guys that are really an “artist’s artist.” Everyone that’s drawing in comics – they know and love him. And what gives him that artist’s artist status is the fact that he isn’t super flash and “look at me.” His talent lies in storytelling – in conveying the action and the character and panel flow. He’s not an illustrator – he’s what I call a “cartoonist” who really uses the medium of comic books in all the best ways. His pacing…his camera angles. He’s this generation’s Alex Toth and Jeff Smith rolled into one. Economy of line and impeccable storytelling.

Troll design by Matt Smith

Troll design by Matt Smith


Westfield: How much work went into developing a new fantasy world?

Kindt: A lot – I know that Matt Smith has spent a lot of time on the look of all of these characters – and there is still more to come. This first arc – we just start to branch out from Ansel’s hometown. We’re introduced to the troll that guards the bridge and the Librarians with their amazing armor and weapons. But there is an entire rogue’s gallery of misfits that Ansel is going to run into. The idea is to have the inside covers of the comic show a map of the known world. Every great fantasy book has a great series of maps in it. But the twist with this book is – every issue – as Ansel ventures further into the unknown – the map will expand with him. And this world is a big place – so the map is just going to grow and grow as the series progresses.

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