Oh look – another comic I got years ago that I finally have the chance to review.
Little Guardians is a webcomic, but I got the first book version back when I attended SPACE. I can’t remember what year I got this book, but I got this before Scout Comics picked up Little Guardians for their line-up. I read through this first edition once or twice before, so I gave it a re-read recently, and now we can talk about it.
So first off – this is one of those rare indie comics that’s geared for young readers. Like, middle-school grade and upwards. Most indie comics tend towards an older audience. (Looking at you, send-ups to superheroes and horror comics). So it’s refreshing to see an indie comic that young readers can get into.
Lee Cherolis and Ed Cho did a great job working in the fantasy genre, especially since the writer, Lee, had not written fantasy before. When you read it, though, you can see some of the Japanese RPG inspiration he used to jump-start the process.
Little Guardians is the story of two children switched at birth. Why? Because the title of Guardian is passed from father to son. And the village doctor thought it would be disaster if the Guardian discovered he had a girl. So he and his assistant switched the girl-baby with the son of the local shopkeeper.
I thought there would be a lot more “you can’t do it because you’re a GIRL” in this story. But the only ones who perpetrate that are the shopkeeper and his eldest boy. In a twist, the story is more about nature vs. nurture: can someone become a guardian, even if they have no inherent tendency to do it well? Can someone overcome their upbringing to become stronger than they thought possible?
The book I got covers the prologue and the first chapter, and it sets up the plot and introduces the characters. The book also introduces a young woman who has the powers of a Guardian, but no village to protect. And she can see right away that the shopkeeper’s daughter was not meant to be in the item shop.
This book also features some sketches of the spirits the Guardians have to face. The spirits of this world are generally nasty and mean to do harm, like spawn villains in a video game.
Yep. This comic draws deep from the video game well in its writing tropes. But unlike Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Little Guardians makes sense with these rules. The video game aesthetics are not superimposed on the world like a magnet on a fridge – easily placed but easily removed. In Little Guardians, everything has a purpose.
Also, the characters can be charming and funny as heck. And you can tell this book started as a webcomic because the art improves page after page. It’s great to see.
If you’d like to read this comic, check out their website. The book is available through Scout Comics, as well, with brand new cover art. I recommend you get this for the young video game enthusiast in your life. It’s good!
That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!
You. Are. Awesome.