Book: Paper Girls
Written by: Brian K. Vaughan
Art by: Cliff Chiang, and Matt Wilson
Publisher: Image Comics
Summary from Comixology: “SAGA writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN launches a brand-new ONGOING SERIES with superstar Wonder Woman artist CLIFF CHIANG! In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Stand By Me meets War of the Worlds in this mysterious young adult adventure, starting with a spectacular DOUBLE-SIZED FIRST ISSUE for the regular price of just $2.99!”
Of all the critically acclaimed writers in this new wave of comic book popularity, Brian K. Vaughan is probably the most deserving of the praise. His series SAGA, with Fiona Staples, is the absolute best comic being published right now, We Stand On Guard is a current favorite among many, and if you’ve never read any of his previous series like “Y: The Last Man” or “Ex Machina” then you need to IMMEDIATELY… AFTER you pick up and read his latest series, “Paper Girls”.
I really had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book. All I knew was that my fellow 4LNer Bill Clark loved it, and so did one of my favorite comedians, Patton Oswalt. So obviously I needed to get it.
The summary defining it as “Stand By Me meets War of the Worlds” is pretty spot-on. It starts out very “Stand By Me”, with the paper girls showing their camaraderie, and ends very “War of the Worlds”, with… well, get it and you’ll see. Also, somewhere in the middle it feels a little bit “Goonies”-ish. Basically… do you like 80’s movies? No?! Oh well then get the f— out of here. I’m serious. There’s the door. Yep. Keep walking. There ya go. Don’t look back, you’ll find no sympathy here. Ok, now that those losers are gonna, I’ll assume the rest of you are normal and appreciate the likes of “War Games”, and “Red Dawn”. That’s exactly the kind of attitude you need to have to read this comic.
Vaughan is kind of a fascinating writer. He has this ability to inject a sense of realism into fantasy, and vice versa, that other writers can’t match. It’s not that other writers can’t do it, it’s just that they can’t do it as seamlessly as he does. He uses language and captures personality traits that make his characters feel so real (even if they are winged or horned), and in the case of Paper Girls it works perfectly because these are actually probably some of the most realistic and grounded characters he’s ever written. Which also begs to acknowledge the fact that it’s amazing how this almost-40-year-old man has the sensitivity and intuition to write the complex intricacy that is teenage girls so well.
It’s also important that I acknowledge the masterful artwork or Cliff Chiang. I initially fell in love with Chiang’s artwork on Wonder Woman, and I can’t think of another artist who would’ve better captured the feel of this book. He does with artwork what Vaughan does with story, perfectly blending imagery from the real world with the exceptionally bizarre and fantastical. Working with Cliff on the art is Mr. Matt Wilson on colors. Among other series, Matt has previously done color work on The Wicked + The Divine, and he’s truly gifted at making comics jump out with beautiful colors.
Here’s the deal… Paper Girls is great. REALLY, REALLY GREAT. The character development is perfect, the artwork is flawless, and the ending… OHMYGOD THE ENDING. It’s INCREDIBLE. Totally floored me. I don’t know what I expected, but that sure as hell wasn’t it. I guarantee you that if you pick up this book, that final page will sell you for sure. I absolutely cannot wait for the next issue, and all subsequent issues. Up until now, Godzilla In Hell #1 was my favorite first issue if the year (and I still feel like it’s incredibly creative), but Paper Girls #1 has become my new favorite #1 issue of the year. I can’t recommend it enough, and you’re crazy if you don’t read it. The defense rests.
Music Pairing –
Paper Girls takes place in the late 80’s and a has a significant vibe of teenage angst, so I think for this you’re gonna want to jam some fun 80’s punk music. I thought about Operation Ivy and The Adolescents, but settled on Descendents because, well, they just felt like the right fit.