Ever since I picked up my first issue of Runaways, I’ve been a fan of Brian K. Vaughan‘s work. I didn’t know at the time that he’d already worked on some Batman comics that I’d enjoyed, but I appreciated the unique way that he handled teenage characters while also mixing in high stakes adventures and the drama that comes along with mixing those other elements.
He brings all of that to the table with Paper Girls, but enhanced by almost 15 more years of writing experience and the incredible art of Cliff Chiang. The duo came together to craft a 30 issue series that kicked off in 2015 and ended earlier this year resulting in not just my new favorite BKV comic, but one of my favorite comic runs around!
When I first read the initial Paper Girls volume, I had no idea what it was about. I was excited for a story about four teen girls — KJ, Amy, Tiffany and MacKenzie — dealing with nonsense while delivering papers and then BOOM, you’ve got masked strangers, wild machines in unfinished houses and Apple products from the future! And that’s just the first issue.
From there, this quartet of young ladies finds themselves launched into a time travel war between Old Timers from the future who want to shut down time-hopping, and the rebellious young of the even further future who want to go where- — and when- — ever they wish. In getting wrapped up in all this, our heroes wind up leaving 1988 and traveling to 2000, 2016, the prehistoric era and far off into the future.
As things progress, these four young women, who didn’t actually know each other all that well before all this started, not only grow to become incredible friends, but also learn more about themselves and each other. Without giving too much away, they deal with their mortality, sexuality, life choices and what they want to do in the future, all the things anyone has to go through, but put against the backdrop of sci-fi awesomeness.
BKV gets a lot of credit for crafting these brilliant series’s, but you can’t talk about Paper Girls without discussing just how perfectly Cliff Chiang renders the book. First off, the character designs immediately tell you things about KJ, Amy, Mac and Tiffany that give you hints at who you’re dealing with. Then, he absolutely crushes each and every time line, making them feel like lived-in worlds that you want to explore. And then you’ve got all sorts of incredible sci-fi elements ranging from dinosaur mounts and spacey cavemen to all sorts of time machines and…whatever those geometric shape things are!
And with that, you have one of my new favorite books. I don’t want to get into too many of the details, because I prefer to go in as blind as possible when it comes to a book like this. I’m sure it was fun as a monthly ongoing series, but I would highly recommend getting all the issues or trades together and spend a weekend tearing through the story. Reading Paper Girls all in just a few days not only kept a great deal of the details in my head, but showed just how well crafted this series was by BKV and Chiang!