Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'Paper Girls' #1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson


★★★★★ (5/5)

Think of your favorite coming of age "kids in peril" movies of your youth. Goonies, Monster Squad, or even Stand By Me all had distinct characters, relatable or funny personalities that helped carry their memorable adventures and were seared in your mind. Paper Girls #1 has that kind of power, innocent with a sense of adventure in a brand new series that has all the makings of a classic.

It's not surprising either considering the heavyweight talent behind this beautiful and engrossing story. Brian K. Vaughan has a way of creating instantly endearing characters that are birthed whole with individual voices, attitudes, and viewpoints. We first meet Erin in mid-dream. A  strange and vivid dream that could prove to be foreboding. It's November 1, 1988, and Erin has work to do. She's got a paper route to complete just before dawn. 

It's not just an exercise in nostalgia, although the 80's are well represented in so much background detail especially one poster of the aforementioned Monster Squad in Erin's room, Paper Girls perfectly showcases a time when a group of girls could meet on their bikes and do their route free from today's much more cautious atmosphere. It allows Vaughan to explore this sleepy suburban community in Ohio with the freedom to find some early morning strangeness. 

And strange is found quickly. Some teens bully Erin but Mac, KJ, and Tiffany quickly descend on the scene. In a matter of panels their personalities, bravado and cohesiveness are fully on display. Mac stands out for her no-nonsense and aggressive demeanor. The other girls aren't pushovers but Mac is clearly not to be trifled with. They decide to finish the route in groups and a friendship is born. 

Cliff Chiang unsurprisingly creates fantastic character designs that are uniquely defined and fleshed out in almost three-dimensional ways. The varied hairstyles, the individual clothing, freckles, a dangling cigarette and all the beautifully rendered backgrounds transports the reader into the story. When things get weird and suspenseful Chiang creates great tension with a surprising reveal.

If anyone says colorists aren't storytellers hasn't seen the transformative work of Matt Wilson. Can you imagine The Wicked and The Devine without his vibrant colors? In Paper Girls Wilson is the arbiter of time and space. It's quite literal in the opening dream sequence that takes place in space, but the rich bold colors heighten the action and the senses. Back in reality, the turning of dusk to dawn is gradually reflected in the shadows, the tone of the scenes, and especially the skies. 

Paper Girls is the culmination of three master craftsmen at the height of their talents telling a character-driven story with unexpected twists. This oversized first issue is a bargain at twice the price. The series defies usual comic book conventions with no capes in sight or category to fit them in. It's simply a good tale told with perfection. With issue one, Vaughan, Chiang, and Wilson have conjured up a story that can go anywhere with characters that matter in a beautifully organic way. If this doesn't describe a classic in the making I don't know what does. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PREVIEW: 'Tet' #4 by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker

We've seen Eugene's story. But during his last day's in Vietnam, he finally learns how Ha survived the war. She's always been much stronger than him; and much stronger than he's given her credit for. With all their secrets gone, Ha and Eugene must decide how to move forward.

REVIEW: 'Cyber Force' #3 by Bryan Hill, Matt Hawkins, and Atilio Rojo

The story of Aphrodite is the focus of 'Cyber Force' #3. This compelling chapter continues to build the new world of Top Cow's reimagined original title. Corporate greed leads to murder and coercion until one doctor's obsession results in a powerful revelation.


CYBER FORCE #3 
Writer: Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill Artist: Atilio Rojo Letterer: Troy Peteri Editor: Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: May 30, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)
Marc Silvestri released 'Cyber Force' twenty-six years ago and this second reboot of the former flagship series rests in the hands of writers Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins. It was only a matter of time before we'd get the whereabouts of the sentient android Aphrodite. Hill and Hawkins dedicate this issue to her story, and it's probably the best in the series so far. We get very little Carin and Morgan in order to give what is essentially an unnerving scientific horror story. 
Cyber Data is the or…

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

PREVIEW: 'Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella: The Heart Is A Lonely Killer' TPB by Shawn Aldridge and Rapha Lobosco

The Vegas strip heats up as Cassie Hack and her companion Vlad are on the trail of a deadly slasher and meet the lovely, yet lethal Vampirella. The team-up event you’ve been waiting for is a high stakes game of chance when they have to take on The Queen of Hearts!


This Volume collects the complete, 5-issue series by Shawn Aldridge (The Dark and Bloody) and Rapha Labosco (James Bond), and features all of the covers by Jenny Frison, Carli Ihde, Jen Vaughn, Kyle Strahm, Chrissie Zullo, Goran Sudzuka, Michael Dooney, Bully Tucci, and more!

Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella: The Heart Is A Lonely Killer TP
writer: Shawn Aldridge artist: Rapha Lobosco cover: Jenny Frison FC  |  136 pages  |  $19.99  |  Teen+  
COLLECTING ISSUES 1-5












PREVIEW: 'The Ghost, The Owl' Hardcover by Franco and Sara Richard

On a cool evening on the swamp, a figure appears dancing across the water. A human figure, but far from a human form. A Ghost, a young girl spirit that seems to have lost its way. A good Samaritan owl decides to help against the wishes of his animal brethren.


What mysteries does the ghost girl hold the secrets to and what will happen when she and the owl unlock them together?  Will they find out what happened to her? Will she find her way to where she needs to be?  What will happen to the animals in the swamp and surrounding forest? An adventure with the most unlikely of pairs, the Ghost, the Owl.

THE GHOST, THE OWL HC
In stores on 5/2/2018 Writer(s): Franco Artist Name(s): Sara Richard Cover Artist(s): Sara Richard
48 pgs./ A / FC                   $9.99