By Luke Pearson
Hilda is the little girl. And this is her folk tale. And pretty much everything you need to know about how good this is is there on that absolutely gorgeously delightful cover above. By the end of it, you’ll have exactly the same smile as Hilda has.
Done by Luke Pearson im a style slightly less angular and decidedly cuter than usual (at least to my eye). And make no mistake about it – this is unashamedly cute; everything has that rounded touch and everything; from her little companion, to the strange little wood-man who keeps wandering into her house, even down to the big, seemingly nasty Troll, exists to charm and delight us. And it does.
Even the prospect of camping out on a windy, rainy night is enjoyed. Or at least it is by Hilda. Personally, many years after cub and scout camps, I still remember the fear, ridiculous now, but still with me, of the noise of rain and wind on that thin canvas, threatening to leak, to blow away.
Fortunately Hilda is made of sterner stuff than I. She’s fearless, an adventurer, yearning to take on the challenge.Â And she does. The wind and rain just provide her with comfort and her attitude towards life’s trials is so sweet:
Hildafolk is 24 pages of sweetness and cuteness as Hilda spends a night under canvas and then heads out into the hills for a day of drawing.
And she finds a fine adventure, meets a scary Rock Troll, discovers the secret of the Wood Man, experiences dangers, excitement and much more besides. And by the end, Hilda finds that there’s a pleasure to be had from adventure, although it might be an unexpected pleasure, where it’s the experience, not the result that matters.
Luke Pearson’s hopefully a major talent for the future. certainly in this slim little volume he does pretty much everything right, creating a really pleasant, warm and safe adventure tale for all-ages. Bright colours and gorgeous cartooning dominates, each page is just a visual treat.
There’s also a playfulness here, in Pearson’s art but also in his words. There’s a couple of great gags inside – one with Hilda’s mum and a facial expression and the other involving a lost giant that made the broad smile across my face even wider.
And of course, seeing as this is a Nobrow Press book/comic, it’s quite beautifully put together, the pages are heavy stock, the colours bright yet with a classy matt finish. Everything in Hildafolk, from artist or publisher screams quality and class.
This is the first of Nobrows 17×23 series I’ve seen so far (it’s so called for the dimensions of the comic). It’s their showcase format, designed to allow artists a small start, to tell their stories in “a manageable and economic format” and possibly “…act as a springboard for more ambitious projects“.
And whilst part of me wants to see what Pearson can do when he decides to tackle something more serious, more in depth, there’s also a big part of me that would love to see the return of little Hilda and her very safe, very cute, very satisfying folk tales.