All pictures in the following article are from The Crawling City or related material and owned by the artist, Paroro. They are reproduced here with the artist’s permission.
– Welcome everyone, and welcome to my first interviewees, the artist and writer of my new favorite web comic, The Crawling City, a tale of one cute anime girl and her tentacle monster room-mate. Please introduce yourself for the readers.
Paroro: I’m Paroro, the artist! Chilean, fan of all things cute and dark. I’m a freelance artist, trying to make my life into adulthood while still drawing cute things.
Merryweather: I’m a writer and sales consultant from North Europe. Currently planning on moving to Japan in January for a job.
– How did you guys meet?
Paroro: We’ve been acquaintances for a long time. It’s one of those cases where I don’t remember exactly when we started talking. We had tried to start a project before but the planets didn’t line up until now haha.
– What’s your inspiration for your art? Why did you start drawing/writing?
Merryweather: I like to write about cute friendships. I like Lucky Star and dank memes. When I was young I wanted to be a pirate. But my mother laughed when I said I wanted to move to Somalia. So I decided that whatever dreams I have, if I can’t live them, I’ll force people to draw them.
Paroro: I started [drawing] back when I was like 10 years old, and I guess I never really stopped doing so. I try to get find inspiration wherever I can, in music, other artists, daily life, people, games, etc. But in a way, today I’m in a situation where I just can’t wait for inspiration, I force myself to draw inspired or not!
– So you must be busy. What other projects have you worked on until now?
Paroro: Not many worth mentioning, I’m the typical case where I’ve participated in projects that died along the way, or that never made it. My only other personal project is Amissio which is another comic I started back in 2012 but then I went on an indefinite hiatus, haha.
Merryweather: Have a large amount on my tapastic page.
– How has your style developed?
Paroro: It’s hard to say, I believe that over the years, the style comes naturally, it’s easier to find a common “thing” in someone’s gallery when you can see their art develop over time, rather than seeing a fresh one with only a few drawings. There’s always a long time of development behind someone’s style.
Merryweather: I’m becoming better at brevity.
– Well done. I waffle like a cat on a hot plate. What activity, outside of your art, do you think helps add something to your art?
Paroro: Hmm, hard to say, since I dedicate most of my time to art, or, when I have free time, I play video games or hang out with friends. My girlfriend is an artist too, so we comment things related to art all the time! I’d say, interacting with people related to art, art-friends or the community it helps a lot, the feedback does help a lot.
– And you?
Merryweather: I’m the most ambitiously lazy man on earth and a huge part of my success in sales is finding ways to be lazy and still succeed. That helps in making Manga.
– Well, I’m half way there then. I’m brilliant at being lazy. Let’s get to the meat of it then: Who’s idea was The Crawling City, or did you develop it together?
Merryweather: Paroro has been drawing Aria for years I just wrote a random slice of life story for her.
Paroro: I’d say it was a thing we developed together, he had the base idea, I had the character and the art style. It was a mix. In a certain way, I can say Aria is my character while Gug is his, put together in this whole story with interesting results haha.
– Definitely. I saw the character on her own and I thought she was cute, but it was the combination of them in the comic that instantly had me hooked. What did you want to achieve or say with this comic?
Merryweather: To show the beauty of friendship in a happy sunny world.
– Sunny? I must have missed that issue….
Paroro: Personally, I’m glad I’m finally using my character in a more concrete story. I’ve never been too ambitious, I think, I’m happy with the attention this is receiving and I’m curious as to what may come in the future. I believe Merry had the idea and the urge to do something like this for a long time and I’m sure he’s happy it’s going well.
– Talk us through the character design: Gug is both cute and terrifying, Aria is cute in appearance, almost reluctantly sexy, but she has a darker personality, which is kind of ironic when your partner is from a dimension of unspeakable hells.
Merryweather: Paroro designed Aria a long time ago. We needed a new tentacle monster other than Paroro’s previous character, Merfie, who wasn’t forceful enough and didn’t have enough chemistry with Aria.
– If you were a character in the comic, who would you be? What would your chances of survival be?
Paroro: Haha it’s a funny question. It’s hard for me to choose one, I believe I probably have a little bit of both of them. Since Aria has been a character that’s been there for a long time before TCC, once in a while someone asks if she’s a female version of me or something (or even in some cases, some people have mistaken me for a girl on the internet thinking that she’s my anime personification hehe).
Merryweather: A random dude with zero survivability.
Paroro: If I were another character in that universe, I’d say some survival chances are low, haha. Unless I was another monster myself hehehe.
– Which do you think is more important, character or plot?
Merryweather: In long term stories it’s plot, but in short term, character.
– As a writer, I often struggle with knowing what format of storytelling suits each idea. Why did you choose the 4koma layout for this?
Paroro: I believe it’s a comfortable format. I’m personally afraid of super deep complicated plots, and it’s easy to screw it up in the long run. I think 4komas are good for showing short ideas, making small jokes, and let people get familiarized with the characters in random situations, while still showing a little bit of “plot” or so, showing what is going on in that twisted world of them.
Merryweather: The Internet has made infinite entertainment just a click away and has lowered our attention spans to only pay attention to that which requires little effort to enjoy, and can entertain us immediately.
– I agree. I could talk for hours about how most popular entertainment is shrinking our minds and our attention spans, but I’d probably lose most people’s attention. That said, there are ways to make simple entertainment deeper for those who crave a little more. Do you hide details and jokes in the background of your pictures, or clues to future events?
Paroro: Yes! We love doing that, and discussing that kind of thing with Merry. Sometimes he hints at me ideas to include in the backgrounds so people will notice, sometimes I add things myself, slight details, things for people to notice or discuss later.
– Speaking of attention spans, we’re probably about to hit the limit. So, what does the future hold for The Crawling City?
Merryweather: Cheap 2 minute Japanese animation with Japanese voices.
– That’d I’d like to see! I have a voice if you need one.
Paroro: We hope to keep this running for a long time! It’s been doing great so far, better than I actually expected, and I’m just very happy to be creating something like this. I was a bit bored of just being a freelance artist who is just doing commissions but not participating in any interesting projects.
– Definitely. You have to enjoy what you do. Can you give us any previews of upcoming stories?
Paroro: Expect clowns, more creepy people, maybe a little fan service, and of course more cereal!
– Is there anything else you would like to shamelessly plug now?
Paroro: I’ll take the chance to say that, thanks to this and the support we’ve been getting, I may be able to also break the hiatus on a previous comic I was working on a while ago (Amissio) which also features Aria and more of my characters, but in another universe/timeline : ), let’s hope this keeps doing great!
– Ok. That’s all. Thanks guys, and I hope to be reading more of The Crawling City for years to come.
Merryweather: Thanks for the interview but you should get a job at the corporation and not work on your independent blog. The monopoly is good and allows us all to flourish. Business is good. The Corporation is good. Have a nice day.
The Crawling City is written by R. Merryweather and drawn by Paroro. Check out the links below to see more of their works and join their following on social media. You can even help turn their work into its own animation through the power of Ensoku-Manga. All issues of The Crawling City are also available there.
Paroro’s Patreon (Support them and help fund future issues and get exclusive artwork and gifts in return)
Have you read The Crawling City yet? What did you think? Do you have any questions for its creators? Leave them here and I’ll pass them on.