I picked up the first volume of Hinterkind on a whim, purely because I liked the concept. Humanity has almost been wiped out by a plague called The Blight; streets are deserted, while plants have been left to grow unfettered. Wildlife has spread into the empty cities, but so has something else. Mythical creatures - cyclopes and goblins, fawns and sidhe - have left their darkened corners, proving they are more than fiction, more than a tale told at night-time.
Hinterkind takes two teenagers and throws them out of their comfort zone (a village in what used to be Central Park) and into this world of the mythic. Unaware of what's happened to the world, they're our eyes and ears and they and we explore writer Ian Edgington's creation. It's a harsh world, where humans are now an endangered species, and along the way we meet various species, such as a troll who lives under a bridge (where else?) as well as a foul-mouthed punk-rock fairy. It's incredibly entertaining and, naturally, raises the topic of racial persecution and prejudice, but in a way that's never preaching but certainly thought-provoking. For all the strangeness, it's still what humans are capable of doing to each other that shocks and frightens the most.
Perhaps inevitably, it's been compared in a good light to Vertigo's Fables, which I absolutely adore. It's a fair comparison, what with creatures from fairy-tales kicking around, but Hinterkind is a different beast altogether. I'm a huge fan of the 'mythic monsters in our world' style of tale (more so than I am of elves and the like in fantasy novels, for some strange reason), but Hinterkind takes that a step further with its post-apocalyptic vision and unknown threats looming over the horizon.
Edginton's script is accompanied by beautiful art from Francesco Trifogli, who is equally adept at panoramic cityscapes and facial expressions, giving away a character's mood with a kink of the lips or a narrowing of an eye. This is enhanced by sublime colouring from Cris Peter (that troll I mentioned? It's pink, and suitably so), a palette that changes to suit the location, giving the eye that first impression of the atmosphere the scene intends to evoke. Add to this the lettering from Dezi Sienty, whose scratching-style on the penultimate page captures the menace of those speaking, and it's easy to see why Hinterkind has attracted so much praise.