Paper Girls 1

October 28, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , , )

paperPaper Girls 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

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Like “The White People”, Paper Girls came recommended to me through a Stranger Things-alike list, but unlike “The White People”, Paper Girls hits closer to the mark. For one thing, it’s set in the 1980s; for another, the whole parallel-world aspect of the story plays a larger role; for yet another, the core group of characters corresponds well to that of Stranger Things. In fact, a handful of reviews I’ve seen for this title calls it “Stranger Things with a female cast”, which is pretty accurate.

The main character is a 12-year-old girl who begins a paper route the morning after Halloween, and runs into some oddities after avoiding an attack from a group of teenagers and then meeting up with a band of three other girls her age who are also delivering papers. What starts out as merely unusual becomes downright ominous as they encounter deformed people who speak a strange language, while people they know disappear from the streets.

A lot of reviews criticize the story for not giving us a lot of detail about the characters, and for the story moving too quickly, but I found the balance of both to be just right. First volumes of new titles are always mostly exposition, and I felt like Vaughan gave us just enough details of both to keep us engaged enough to keep reading. Plus, this collection ends with an ending that promises more answers (and certainly more questions) to come.

I really dug the artwork here, too. I don’t usually mention the art in graphic novels unless the style is noteworthy, and Chiang’s style is so without being invasive. It’s not a minimal style, nor is it overly detailed. It’s not cartoonish, nor is it lifelike. Instead, it’s just enough to convey what we need to see without taking us away from the story being told.

Paper Girls 1 is all about potential, and Vaughan makes it work remarkably well. I’m not sure if Vaughan is a guaranteed author for me just yet (Y: The Last Man eluded me, and I didn’t find a lot to like about We Stand on Guard), but Saga continues to impress the hell out of me, and now I have Paper Girls doing the same thing.

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