Paper Girls Vol. 1 is the trade paperback, encompassing 6 issues of the comic.
When the first issue was released in July 2015, it was released to much fanfare. Brian K Vaughan has written a gripping mystery with real laugh out loud moments and sometime shocking dialogue and Cliff Chiang, the artist famous for Wonder Woman is in charge of the excellent artwork. So, did it live up to the hype?
I should admit something first, I only learned of this hype when I was researching the background of the comic, but I have to admit, I read the whole book in a single sitting. I laughed out loud and I was delighted with the artwork.
Paper Girls is a is set the morning after Halloween in 1988, the four principal 12 year old newspaper delivery girls, who chase after a mysterious person who steals one of their walkie talkies into a house and find a machine, not too dissimilar from the teleportation machine in The Fly.. just a bit well.. you’ll see..
When the first issue was released many described this as a Stand by Me meets War of the Worlds, and frankly, I can’t argue with that. I found the banter and comradery between the four lead characters both charming and engaging. However I found it to be unconvincing for 12 year old girls. If people did really speak like this at that age, then I sorely missed out – spending too many hours playing video games and not going outside.
As the story develops it gets itself into all sorts of knots, I found myself going back and forth thinking I’d missed a fundamental point in the story. It also didn’t help that the alien – time traveller – mutants.. (god knows what) speak in a different language. Apparently, if you scour reddit, you’ll find the translation, but it spoils the fun of not knowing.. and this not knowing really puts the reader in the place of the characters.
I have to say, the colour pallet and artwork is wonderful, it felt so retro.. like I was reading a comic from the 80s that I’d found in the attic, but with the deadpan wit of an episode of South Park, it expertly bridged a generation. (not sure if I’ve articulated that as well as I could have!) Unfortunately, this doesn’t help the story build any tension when I feel it’s necessary to aid the narrative. Any tension that is built however is quickly eradicated with some funny moments of satire; for example, a guy kisses a girl (why wouldn’t he, it’s the end of the world, right?) – well she pushes him away “What’s wrong with you?” – Made me chuckle anyway..
So is it a story of time travel, space travel or both? After reading it, I’m really not sure, but with a killer cliffhanger right at the end, it’s going to be hard for me not to have to find out what happens next!
Disclosure: I received a copy from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my review in any shape or form.