a comic book about delivering newspapers and also time travel
September 7, 2017 12:03 PM   Subscribe

Paper Girls is a comic book published by Image Comics. It's written by Brian K. Vaughan, creator of the famous and excellent comics Saga, Y: The Last Man, and Marvel's Runaways. The art is by Cliff Chiang of Wonder Woman fame. Coloring is by Matt Wilson-- ordinarily a thankless job, but his work here is truly excellent.

Paper Girls is about four 12-year-olds who deliver the local newspaper in their town. They band together as they sling papers on "Hell Night," the early morning after Halloween 1988. From there, the story gets sci-fi: people are vanishing, mysterious strangers stalk the streets, and our heroines discover a strange artifact in the basement of an abandoned house...

Paper Girls started in 2016, and attracted a number of reviews comparing it favorably to Netflix's TV series Stranger Things. It takes some of its storytelling cues from 80s kid-adventure fare like The Goonies, but it's never limited by the 1988 framing. It's a fast read, much less wordy and compressed than many other comics-- Vaughan really knows how to let an important moment breathe, and Chiang's art is dynamic and clear.

From a review by Glen Weldon, also excerpted on the back of Volume 1: "Paper Girls is the only one of the three [Paper Girls, Stranger Things, and Super 8] to tell its story from the point of view of young women, not boys, and it doesn't seem coincidental that its tone is harder, flintier, funnier, more pragmatic, and far less concerned with idealizing the "lost innocence" of childhood."

There are only 15 issues out so far, and you can read 'em all in the three (so far) collected editions. You should buy them from your local comic store, but that first link goes to Image's store if you'd prefer. (If you're a real contrarian, Amazon is also an option.) Once you're caught up, the series resumes on October 4th with issue #16.

[[Bonus! Check out this gallery of how the art comes together on the first issue of Paper Girls!]]
posted by 4th number (15 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
PG is awesome. The quoted review is spot on, it's much more visceral and raw than Stranger Things or Super 8.
posted by signal at 12:23 PM on September 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

I was all set for this to be kinda inconsequential, in the vein of Super 8 and Stranger Things, and then the creators threw a substitution cipher at me. So to really get what was going on with the [spoilers], I had to keep a notebook and crack the code. Highly recommended. Good times!
posted by infinitewindow at 12:26 PM on September 7, 2017

I love, love, love Paper Girls. It kills me a little that I didn't apply for an American Newspaper Delivery Guild membership card; by the time it occurred to me, they'd stopped taking requests. I hope they open it up again. (Ex-paperboy here.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:32 PM on September 7, 2017

Paper Girls is 100% approved by me and The Kiddo!

(Though I did have to preemptively explain that some 1980s slurs are Not Okay, though the book kind of does that for itself a few pages later)
posted by Artw at 12:46 PM on September 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I picked up the first collection and loved it, looking forward to reading the rest! I was a litle wary because while I really liked Saga but started to grow weary of how every single collection always had to end on a crazy cliffhanger. So far Paper Girls hasn't bugged me like that, even though it kind of does the same thing. Not sure why, but it just works.
posted by Wretch729 at 12:54 PM on September 7, 2017

I love Saga but the PSAs around Petrichor are a drag. Just let her do her cool and awesome thing, so slow shit down for that all the time!
posted by Artw at 12:57 PM on September 7, 2017

(Have not shown Saga to the Kiddo.)
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on September 7, 2017

The second volume's probably my favorite so far-- the interplay between Erin and adult!Erin is just so so good, and has a lot to say thematically about what it means to grow up, and about self-acceptance. And it's set largely in a dead mall, which is a cunning choice for a number of reasons.

And then the third one is also great, and it has things to say about adulthood and motherhood, and we get to know KJ a lot better. Looks like the fourth one's gonna have Tiffany in the solo role, and I've liked her a lot since volume one, so that's gonna be really good too.
posted by 4th number at 12:59 PM on September 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I wonder if everyone bigging it up post Stranger Things means it is now bigger than Saga, in trades at least? Weirdly I don't know anyone following it in singles.
posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on September 7, 2017

Now that I'm caught up, there's no way I'm waiting half a year for the next collection when I can see what happens next as soon as possible for just 3 bucks.
posted by 4th number at 1:10 PM on September 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

That's how they get you...
posted by Artw at 1:12 PM on September 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Cleveland for the win, as always!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 1:15 PM on September 7, 2017

I walked into a comic shop near my old house and picked up issue one when it came out, as it was the only floppy that didn't look like capes and spandex, but then subsequently moved countries. Glad to see that this comic has kept going and looks even more interesting - will certainly be checking it out as a trade asap
posted by The River Ivel at 1:35 PM on September 7, 2017

The "how the art comes together" gallery is both impressive and a little... unsatisfying? to look at from the perspective of a thoroughly mediocre artist, because you always kind of hope there's some kind of trick or two that you can steal, but often the "trick" is "spend a few hours working on your art every day for years."

The technique is fairly simple. They're just really good at it.

I've been meaning to read Paper Girls. Thanks for the thread, I think I'll go pick it up.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 1:48 PM on September 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also following it in singles. The gap between arcs is aggravating enough; no way am I waiting for the trade on this one.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:54 PM on September 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

« Older the "eldritch energies" of whiteness   |   The long, winding road to fully automated cars Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments