Things get dark in the Hildaverse
Published on: 10 October 2019
Luke Pearson, creator of the captivating Hilda graphic novels, talks to us about his fantastic heroine, what he's got planned next and the latest book in the series. We also get a sneak peek at some pages...
We are huge HILDA fans and absolutely loved the new Netflix series. What's it like seeing your characters on the screen? Will there be another series for Netflix?
I'm glad you liked it! It's a bit surreal. If I'm honest, most of the time they don't really seem like my own characters any more. It's like they were always there, just characters that exist, like characters in any series. But then I'll remember, oh yeah, I came up with that! I remember pulling that character out of pretty much nowhere and now here they are, acting like they always belonged on tv.
There will be another series! It's being animated now and it's due on Netflix next year (2020).
Can you tell us what happens in Hilda and the Mountain King?
The previous book ended on a cliffhanger, with (SPOILERS!) Hilda waking up in the body of a troll. This story picks up immediately after that. Hilda is trying to find a way to change herself back and get home, while her Mum tries to get back inside the troll mountain and rescue her.
That's how it starts. Then other stuff happens.
The Hilda series has been running for quite a while now in graphic novel form. What first inspired you to write it?
To start with I was trying make something that I wished already existed. To make a comic that captured a certain feeling and approached elements of folkore and fantasy in a specific way. As the series has gone on, the inspiration has come more from thinking about where I could take this world and these characters. How can I make it richer? What would be particularly fun or interesting, in light of what I've done previously?
We love the fact that Hilda's world is rooted in the Icelandic Huldufolk mythology – tell us about what fascinates you about it?
The thing that got me, is the idea of these mysterious, folkloric creatures living side by side with present day humans, and the idea of that being a pretty normal thing and not all that fantastical. Elves, trolls, giants etc. are usually depicted in an ancient, forgotten past. And if they show up in the modern world, it's likely to be a big deal – creatures that are discovered or unleashed and don't fit in. But then in Iceland, there are these stories of roads being diverted to avoid elf settlements in the present day.
I remember being in Norway and seeing a boulder and feeling like, "yeah, I can believe that's a troll." So that's the sort of thing I wanted to tap into with Hilda.
Graphic novels are fantastic for kids. What do children tell you they love about your books?
It's usually Hilda herself. They like that she's adventurous and not scared of things and that she makes friends with weird creatures. They often seem to latch onto something relatable (they like to draw like Hilda, or they're in brownies or scouts etc.) and enjoy the fantasy stuff on top of that.
What will Hilda do next?
In the comics, I'm not quite sure. If all goes to plan, the animated series will continue the story beyond where the books leave her so people will hopefully find out that way. I don't plan to begin working on another Hilda comic imminently. But that said, I do feel the pull of certain stories I'd like to tell and directions I'd like a new book to take, so who knows.
You didn't think we'd leave you without more did you?