One of the best new comics this week is about a crew of preteen girls who deliver newspapers in the suburbs. And then: aliens. Well, they’re more like maybe-aliens.
Published by Image Comics, Paper Girls teams up two of the best creators working in comics today. Writer Brian Vaughan is beloved for his work on classic series like Y The Last Man and Saga and Cliff Chiang is best known for a killer run on the most recent version of Wonder Woman, along with great tenures on Batman and Human Target. They’re both master storytellers and it’s a joy to see their talents combine.
Until the book’s surprise ending, not a lot of actual plot transpires in Paper Girls #1. Readers meet the book’s main characters through the eyes of newcomer Erin and see the quartet roll through a gauntlet of high school dipshittery and uncool cops as they deliver their papers.
If you’ve seen Lost Boys, The Breakfast Club or other teen-centric films from 30 years ago, it may feel like the girls in this comic—like cigarette smoking, shit-talking Mac—conform to archetypes from that era. But it feels like those similarities are intentional and will only be starting points for a deeper exploration for those young women.
I spent my adolescence in the suburbs of Long Island during the 1980s and had friends who delivered newspapers. Vaughan and Chiang completely nail the mix of sloth, aspiration, apathy and accomplishment that came from getting cash while doing a boring job like this against the flat backdrop of cul-de-sac sameness.
That sameness gets blown apart when a chance encounter with costumed weirdos leads them to what looks like remnants from a NASA mission.
And their night gets even weirder after that. Paper Girls has all the making of a re-imagined Goonies-style adventure and seems like it’ll deliver the kind of sharp character dynamics that Vaughan’s known for, all done up Chiang’s beautiful signature style. This first issue is a great start.
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