Current comic obsession: Paper Girls

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For a good few months now, I’ve pretty much been on a diet of Jem and Buffy comics, and while I love both series it’s getting a bit boring in the comic book shop. Getting into a series can be difficult for me, especially since I really don’t buy a lot of trades. Since buying back issues will break my bank, new series are pretty much my only option for the moment. But when I read about Brian K Vaughan’s new series for Image, I knew that this was going to be perfect for me.

Paper Girls follows the story of four young girls in 1988, who deliver papers in their small suburban town. One night, after fending off some neighbourhood bullies, the four girls decide to stick together to do their post-Halloween rounds. But soon they realise that this is not going to be any regular day. They discover a strange machine in the basement of a new build house and when they emerge, their neighbourhood isn’t quite the same.

Cliff Chiang (former DC editor who also drew for a series of Wonder Woman) is the artist here. He has created some great characters. Each girl has their own personality down to their chosen defence weapon. I think sometimes with larger groups it’s fairly easy to fall back on some easy characterisations, but these girls all bring something quite cool.

It’s obvious where much of the inspiration comes from for this series. It’s so rich in 80’s nostalgia. I’ve seen the comparison to Stand By Me, and I completely get it. There’s a genuine sense of comradery balanced with hesitant resentment among the girls that’s quite dynamic and well developed for being only two issues in.

But since this isn’t just a straight-forward coming-of-age story, there is also elements of fantasy movies like E.T., the time travel in Back to the Future and all with the fun of Monster Squad (which incidentally is referenced with a bedroom poster in one of the panels). But since this is Brian K Vaughan, don’t expect anything out of the ordinary. Everything about this story is unusual, mysterious but with a fine lightness of fun.

The fine people down at Orbital recommended this series to me, so I thank you all much. Issues 1 & 2 are already out in shops and available for digital download from Image’s website. Issue 3 will be in shops on December 2.

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