INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – “’Little Guardians’ is village kids fighting demons badly,” said artist Lee Cherolis. He and writer Ed Cho have been teaming up on the independently published novel since 2009. Ed Cho wrote out the entire concept for the book, and, together, they’ve been filling in the pages.
Once a week since 2011, Cherolis has posted a new page of the comic to the Little Guardians website, and they have a growing fan following waiting to read it. The internet, especially through social media, has opened up an entirely new platform for independent comic creators: Web comics. “Being more accessible to the readers, what’s that’s really done is now, you’re not so much building that one project, your flagship property, you’re building yourselves up,” said Cherolis. “You become a presence online. They become a fan of you, so they’ll follow you from project to project.”
Cherolis and Cho met nearly a decade ago through an online meet-up group, the Indy Web Comics Group, became friends, and started to collaborate on projects. For Little Guardians, Cho will write out the script as if it were a play, meet with Cherolis, and the two will discuss layout and details. Cherolis will make some rough sketches, and then flesh out the entire page throughout the week.
Over the years, they’ve learned to trust each other.
“I think, earlier on, there was more back and forth on the pages,” said Cho. “’Should we face them like this?’ And I might say, ‘Uh, should a hand look like that?’ And now I really just let him do the art part.”
“And I’ve had to learn that his word choices are very deliberate, and to respect the script because work went into that,” said Cherolis. “I can’t just come in and say I think that he should say this instead, just, like, a completely different sentence. He put a lot of thought and work into plotting out, and he says this because it’s going to come back up later and there’s a very specific story reason for that.”
Little Guardians is the story of a baby girl born into the title of a mystical Guardian, but, during her delivery, the doctor felt that tradition stated a boy must be the Guardian, and swapped out the baby girl.
“So we fast-forward twelve years later, and this little boy is trying to be the Guardian, and he almost causes more harm than good,” said Cho. “Meanwhile, the little girl is working at this item shop, and her spirit animal finds her and sets her down her own path to her own destiny.”
It is written so that it can appeal to all ages, and both Cho and Cherolis feel that the best part about their work is when fans young and old tell them about their experience reading the comics.
“That’s the thing about being connected on the internet,” Cherolis said. “Parents, literally, taking a picture of their kid reading our book, and then sending it to me on Facebook and I’m just, like, that just made my day.”
And, for artists that are wanting to start their own web comic, Cherolis encourages other them to go for it, though he suggests starting out with a small project.
“Try out your different story ideas. It’s kind of really tempting to go, like, this is my baby. This my magnum opus, and put a bunch of work into something that will fizzle out once you’re like, ‘oh I don’t enjoy doing this at all,’ like ten pages in.”
He said he’s often asked about bringing meet-up groups like Indy Web Comics to other areas. “Someone will say, ‘oh you should bring that to my town,’ or ‘I wish there was something like that here,’ and I always say, there is! Just, start it!”
For more information on “Little Guardians,” click here.