Written by: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by: Cliff Chiang and Matthew Wilson
Paperback: 144 pages
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel
In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.
Collects Paper Girls #1-5.
I will pretty much pick up anything that Brian K Vaughan puts out. I think he is an amazing writer and many of his comics are on my shelves. I picked up this first trade volume after watching Stranger Things on Netflix (awesome show by the way, so much love). Perhaps I was still feeling the 80’s nostalgia and reliving my oh so wicked childhood (also in the 80’s). It seemed like I would love it.
It’s early morning November 1st, 1988 and Mac, Erin, Tiffany, and KJ are starting their routes. Life can be rough for a bunch of twelve year old girls with paper routes. They have post Halloween revelers, teenage boys, and a cop to make things difficult for them. But if that were not enough, something weird is going on in the neighborhood. Weird, weird stuff and they might be the only ones who can stop it.
Things I liked: Erin, Mac, Tiffany, and KJ are great characters. They each have their own personality and voice. They are all full of moxie and self-determination, plus you have two young ladies of color. Basically they are bad ass. They help each other. Tease each other, as friends do. Like Stranger Things the comic reminds me a bit like Goonies or Stand By Me except with young ladies. Whoo hoo, Girl Power. Erin, the primary protagonist is a great character. By the end I was invested a bit which is always a good thing.
It has the girl power and female bonding that I was expecting, but more crassness, violence and travel through space and time. Seriously, there is a lot going on. Huge beasts that look like Pterodactyls, time traveling kids that are slightly mutated and augmented, other creatures that make your life flash in front of you, weird alien languages, and so much more. It’s not PC at times, but that makes it a little more realistic to the time period.
Shout out for the Monster Squad poster in Erin’s bedroom. Shiny gold star for that. Man I love that movie. The story itself is also a bit reminiscent.
Chiang’s art is great. It fits the story, the mood, and the 80’s nostalgia perfectly. The girls look like teenagers and the clothes that they are wearing are appropriate to the time period. It is nice to see that each of them have their own distinct style. In fact, I think I rocked some of them when I was a kid. Matt Wilson coloring is sublime as well. I see the blues and pastels of Wicked + Divine, the vibrant colors for certain panels (looking at you flashback).
Finally, Language and BKV are becoming a thing. In Saga, those from Wreath speak Blue and in We Stand On Guard, which I read recently, French panels without any translation are quite frequent. I love it.
Things I didn’t like so much: My expectations were very high. Not just because its BKV, but because everyone was talking about it. Everyone loves it, raved about it, and recommended it. For me I loved the first half, but the latter half lost me until the very end. It is a confusing volume. I am still not sure what the hell is really going on, so it feels very much like a setup story which is both good and bad.
Something was missing for me, though I cannot quite place it. I am not quite hooked yet, and yet curious to see how it is all going to unfold.
Buy or Borrow: Buy. If you are a big BKV fan, I would give it a shot.
Part of: Series
Also Recommended: For more bad ass ladies give The Lumberjanes a go or perhaps the Rat Queens or Bitch Planet. For more Brian K Vaughan try Saga, Y: The Last Man or Ex Machina.
3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks