Book Review: Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn, art by Cliff Chiang

Paper Girls, Volume 1 (Issues #1-5) by Brian K. Vaughn, art by Cliff Chiang

Image Comics, 2015

ISBN: 9781632156747

Available: Library binding, paperback, Kindle edition and comiXology ebook

Paper Girls begins with a strange dream that Erin, the new papergirl, is having, just before she has to awaken for her route. We discover that that date is November 1, 1988. Halloween is almost over for some costumed teenagers when they see Erin on her own. She becomes their target, until the other papergirls (Mac, Tiffany, and KJ) show up, and take matters into their own hands. The girls partner up, two and two, in order to finish their routes in peace, each pair traveling with walkie-talkies in case the teenagers show up again. It should have been smooth sailing from there, but then the girls chase robbers into an abandoned building and find a strange piece of machinery that instantly transports them to another time. Things are very different in their neighborhood after that. Adults speaking a strange language; aggressive flying reptiles; people disappearing; humanoid teenagers who can only communicate with the papergirls through a translation stone; and meeting a very different Erin after she emerges from the time machine, are just a handful of the strange things that the papergirls encounter in the first volume.


I have to admit that this is my first exposure to Vaughn’s work, as I have not read Saga yet. All I have to go by is my first reading of Vaughn’s storytelling, and I enjoyed it. That said, I have consulted with a few colleagues about Paper Girls as compared to Saga, and, while they enjoyed the story, it didn’t meet up with their expectations. The biggest complaint was that the story was too disjointed and the reader doesn’t get much backstory of the papergirls. I do agree, but I still think this is a good story. One friend also indicated it was a slow burn, but pretty rewarding on the last panel of the book. The first volume ended on a great cliffhanger, too. I’m looking forward to reading Volume 2.  A note: as this is set in the 1980s, there is some offensive language specifically regarding the LGBTQ community. Recommended for ages 15 and up.

Reviewed by Lizzy Walker

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