Wednesday, November 30, 2016

[ARC REVIEW] Paper Girls Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

Title:  Paper Girls Volume 1

Author:  Brian K. Vaughan

Artist:  Cliff Chiang

Genre:  Mystery / Time Travel / Thriller / Science Fiction

Year Published:  2016

Year Read: 11/30/2016

Series:   Paper Girls #1

Publisher:  Image Comics

Source: eARC (NetGalley) / Library

Content Rating:  Ages 16+ (Strong Language, Gory Violence and Themes of Homophobia)

I would like to thank NetGalley and Image Comics for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


I have been reading Brian K. Vaughan’s “Saga” series for a while now and when I heard that he was making a new series called “Paper Girls,” I just had to check this series out for myself since I have loved everything that Brian K. Vaughan has written so far!

What is this story about?

The year is 1988 and a twelve year old girl named Erin had just recently gotten a job as a paper girl, delivering newspapers to everyone’s houses.  Along the way, she meets up with three other paper girls named Mackenzie, Tiffany and KJ and they quickly formed a bond with each other. Unfortunately, strange things started happening in the neighborhood as alien birds being ridden by soldiers in futuristic armor started showing up in the sky.  Not only that, but it appears that these strange creatures are chasing a group of people cloaked in dark robes and these people in dark robes are hiding a huge secret that could destroy the lives of the four paper girls!

What I loved about this story:

Brian K. Vaughan’s writing:  Ever since I had started reading Brian K. Vaughan’s “Saga” series, I have been so immersed with his creative writing and his ability in creating likable characters in bizarre settings and this comic was no exception!  Probably one of the most interesting things about this comic was that it was set in the 1980s and I barely read books that dealt with the culture and society of the 1980s since most of the books I have been reading would normally take place in the 1960s or the 1970s in terms of older period pieces.  I also loved the nostalgia factor that this book sort of gave me as even though I did not grow up during the 1980s (I am actually a 90s baby), I did like the fact that the book alluded to some popular parts of the culture in the 1980s such as seeing some kids dress up as Freddy Krueger from “The Nightmare on Elm Street” series and mentions of the Space Shuttle Challenger.  I personally enjoyed Brian K. Vaughan making this story a bit mind numbing for the average reader as we not only see  aliens in this story, but the plot also involves a lot time traveling and even though that can be confusing to read through (and believe me, I had lots of experiences where I got confused with time travelling plots), I actually found this aspect to be one of the most interesting parts of the story as it left me wanting to find out more about what is really going on with the aliens coming to the 1980s.   Even though the characters are not fully developed yet, I did like the relationships between the paper girls Erin, Mackenzie, Tiffany and KJ as they try to figure out what is exactly going on and trying to keep each other safe during this strange situation.

Cliff Chiang’s artwork: This is actually my first introduction to Cliff Chiang’s artwork and I am really loving it as the characters have a scratchy look to them, but I love the way that the coloring conveys the situations that the characters end up in such as having darker shadings whenever the characters are in a scary or mysterious area such as the basement or the forest.  I also love the fact that the colors blue and pink represent the Paper Girls themselves as any scene that features pink and blue colors make the Paper Girls really stand out in the story.

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

For anyone who does not like strong language and bloody violence, there are some scenes where characters are killed in gruesome ways and that might be uncomfortable for some readers to handle.  Also, there is some strong language in this volume such as the use of the “f” word and readers who do not like strong language might want to skip over these words.  Another issue that some readers might have with this volume is the totally insane “mind screw” aspect of the story.  Because of this, the story can get a bit confusing, especially if you are not used to time travelling stories (or having aliens suddenly come into the plot).  But for me personally, since I have been reading Brian K. Vaughan’s works for a while and many of his works do tend to have a bizarre quality to the narrative, I was actually used to the mind screw aspect of the story and that just made the story more interesting for me, although I would like it better if there was more exposition on why the aliens are even time travelling to begin with.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Paper Girls” is an awesome read and even though I want to see more happen with these characters and the situation, I am excited to see where this series goes next!

* 2016 Harvey Awards for Best New Series
* 2016 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best New Series & Best Penciller / Inker Team (for Cliff Chiang)