I’m always interested in anything Brian K. Vaughn is involved in. He could put out a comic drawn with crayons about his ingrown toenail surgery and recovery time, and I’d buy the individual issues to bag, the paperbacks to read, and the Master Collection for that nice shelf look.
Paper Girls #1 (Image Comics)
Smidge of a fanboy. I’ll admit it.
Walking into reviewing Paper Girls, the only advance info I had was that BKV was on it, and that it was, shocker, about young girls delivering papers on their bikes.
Imagine my surprise when Winged Angel Christa McAuliffe shows up on page 3:
Oh, ok, we’re in for a ride. Side Question, is my cat Mr. Fluffles here?
From there, a tale of the pre-helicopter parent days of the 80s starts to unfold. The Paper Girls deliver their wares, deal with annoying teenagers, and help each other with their turf, and then…things shift.
If this was just a story about pre-teens dealing with pre-teen things, I’d tell you go to buy it, and read it, and feel that nostalgia that those of us born before the 80’s never shut up about, and that modern pop culture is trying to recreate with every single terrible remake or reboot.
It’s not just a story about kids though. There’s something else in here, lurking right below the surface, that the final few pages reveals, and the final panel cements. This is a “read it and see how it unfolds” book, that I won’t even hint at to save the experience.
Is It Good?
It’s goddamn awesome. For those of you that like terrible 80’s cinema, it feels like a homage to Monster Squad – which the keen eyed of you will spot as a poster on Erin’s bedroom wall in the opening pages.
That quintessential 80s feel of unrestricted childhood with secret worlds that parents just don’t understand flows throughout. It’s a love letter to The Goonies and E.T., right down to the only adult character being a figure of asshole like authority.
Fair warning: the standard tropes of “the rebellious one, the sporty one, the techy one, the good girl,” all exist here, which might be viewed as a crutch. I think Cliff Chiang’s excellent artwork and the 80s setting might convince you to give it a pass, if it truly is a throwback pastiche of those kid centric flicks that invented the trope.
Jean Jacket with buttons, scrunched down socks, those handlebar grips! Hello 80’s!
Overall, this is one of the better set-the-stage first issues I’ve read in a long time. I’ve got a review issue right here, and I called my comic guy to make sure he puts this in my subscription box immediately. Highly recommended.