Little Girls is a study in contrasts. Sarah DeLaine and Nicholas Aflleje’s original graphic novel pits two grade-school friends, Sam and Lielet, against an ancient evil stalking the wilderness of Ethiopia. The narrative simmers with tension as the girls naively sing, play, and clash with school bullies while an ominous force pulls them deeper into a folklore nightmare that becomes more surreal—and perilous—with each passing night. DeLaine and colorist Ashley Lanni-Hoye construct a world of suburban safety before segueing to the shadow-drenched East African plains. The ensuing journey tears down the illusion of childhood safety as ancient supernatural forces encroach.
Aflleje and DeLaine walk through their inspiration for Little Girls OGN TP and their unique approach for crafting subtle horror—available April 30.
Image Comics: This is your first major work in comics; what makes Little Girls perfect for this medium?
Nicholas Aflleje: Every bit of Little Girls is tangled up in the idea of comics in some way. It's basically a friend's blood oath from us to comics in general. It consists of things we wanted more of from the medium, as well as things we already adored about it.
Image Comics: Little Girls revolves around African folklore, primarily the cryptid Kerit. What drew you to this creature and mythology?
Nicholas Aflleje: There was a news article about a farmer whose livestock had been repeatedly preyed upon by some unknown creature that was only eating their brains. The reporter believed that it was the work of some sick animal trying to fix a nutrient deficiency. The farmer insisted that it was instead something called a Nandi Bear, and he was worried that the thing was becoming more clever after each attack. The way the article dropped that piece of information like it was just some obligatory addendum had me hooked almost instantly.
Image Comics: Sarah, you use off-panel reactions and repeating panels through the graphic novel. Can you talk about your approach to building suspense?
Sarah DeLaine: Honestly, a lot of that came down to the awesome script that Nicholas wrote. Before we even began the project, we talked a lot about the nuts and bolts of creating comics. One of the reasons we both appreciated titles like Jeff Smith's Bone was for its pacing, that it wasn't afraid to let some moments really breathe. With a graphic novel, you have the space to embrace all that expansiveness. Suspense is found in the quiet moments, not in the action.
Read the rest of the interview at ImageComics.com!