Published on October 12th, 2015 | by Maggie


Paper Girls #1 Review

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High expectations come with every Brian K. Vaughan title. Just his name stirs up fine memories of a boy and his monkey, a ghost girl with half a body, and a four-legged lie detector. From page one, you know you’re in for a wild ride. Paper Girls is no exception.

Harkening back to classic supernatural 80s flicks, Paper Girls delivers (no pun intended) a familiar tone with a modern interpretation. We follow Erin, having woken from a particularly strange dream on her paper route the morning after Halloween, or as she’s marked it- Hell Morning.

An encounter with neighborhood bullies attracts the attention of other paper girls in the surrounding area; Mac, Tiffany, and KJ. Together, the girls stumble upon a shocking discovery- all before the sun even rises.

The opening sequence is instantly intriguing. The text-less panels do a wonderful job of creating atmosphere and piecing together an entire picture from certain details. Chiang’s attention to clothing, drapery, and hairstyles make the setting believable and present. The 80s adventure feel stares you right in the face through cuffed pants and high collars. It all works together to maximize the immersion.

Paper Girls #1

Vaughan’s created somewhat of a challenge by setting this story in the 80s with middle school aged girls. Not only does he have to write in a way that sounds like children are speaking rather than an adult writing for kids- it also has to be time appropriate. I don’t know when I last heard someone call someone a Herb but I instantly remember the year in which this takes place. It worked.

The dialogue between characters is sharp. Although there are a lot of characters involved, each has her own recognizable voice and distinctive qualities. Pretty impressive for a first issue. Vaughan doesn’t spend too much time describing any single character, revealing anything through exposition, or spoonfeeding us information. A lot of what we learn about the characters is learned through speech patterns, body language, and interactions with each other.

I was incredibly amused by the ending/last panel. It took me a few seconds to really realize what I was looking at. I laughed at myself, but then became instantly worried about that panel’s implications. Unsurprising result from a writer like Vaughan.

It reminds me of what Williamson is doing with Birthright as well as the initial setup of Plutona, so if you like those, this is sure to please. As all these comics come out, I’d love to see the different approaches in each that will set each story apart.

I’m excited to see what’s to come in this series and what part each of these girls will play in the coming issues. I can tell that each of them will function very differently and affect the plot in a meaningful way. It’s no coincidence that it’s these girls and no one else or no one less. The issue didn’t attempt to be too mysterious or too informative, which is something very few first issues pull off.

Paper Girls #1

Title: Paper Girls

Publisher: Image Comics

Writer: Brian K Vaughan

Artist: Cliff Chiang

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