Paper Girls

papergirls2.jpgPaper Girls Volume 1 (Image Comics 2016) by Brian K. Vaughan (author of SAGA).

Art by Cliff Chiang, color by Matt Wilson, and letters by Jared K. Fletcher.

In the early morning after Halloween 1988, four 12 year old girls delivering newspapers get attacked by teenagers from the future.

Erin Tieng is one of the paper delivery girls in her suburban neighborhood, which means that she has to get up at the crack of dawn every day to deliver the news. Unfortunately, the papergirls3morning after Halloween is notoriously rough. Teenagers are still causing trouble in the wee morning hours, and she is going to have to deal with it. After meeting the other paper girls: Mac, KJ, and Tiffany, the four of them ride together to protect themselves. Trouble starts when Tiffany’s walkie talkie (radio!) gets stolen by some sketchy-looking dudes dressed head to toe in black. On their way to find the thieves, the girls discover that something a lot stranger is going on in town: almost everyone has disappeared; there are dino-birds in the sky; and a metal capsule that looks like a prop from War of the Worlds exploded in someone’s basement.

This is a great start to what seems like an awesome comic. What first drew me to it was the color. I am a sucker for full-color comics, and these aren’t just colored for kicks. Matt Wilson’s palette is gorgeous, with neon pinks and blues mixed with subtler pastels. One of my favorite panels is of a wolfman wearing a guns’n’roses shirt.

Yup, here it is.

The storyline is confusing at first. I wasn’t sure if I was getting into a Stand By Me situation, a Nightmare on Elm Street scare, or a Back to the Future thing. And maybe it’s still all of those. I’m not quite sure yet. All I know is that the art is fantastic, the language is appropriate and not trying to just throw in 80s references willy-nilly. Not to mention, the lettering is on-point. It’s a little violent, but not over the top, so younger but advanced comics readers could probably pick this up. However, this is really for people who really remember the 80s, or at least are enthusiasts.

The comic starts out with this terrifying dream Erin has about a demonic Christa McAuliffe, and I’m sure it’s prophetic in some way. It could have been a premonition about the dangers of time travel, but I’ll have to read more to find out. I want to know if she has precognitive abilities, or if she just has really disturbing dreams. The rest of the characters are also still getting fleshed out. There was a lot of stuff to put in the first five issues, so I’m expecting everything to become clearer in the upcoming collection. I have a feeling the girls might be visiting the year 1999.

One cool thing: the teenager alien-ish language is actually translatable. Someone on Reddit translated. Read it here.

blogphotoThis post was written by Stacia Oparowski, a library assistant in technical services. Besides reading and reviewing graphic novels, she also participates each year in NaNoWriMo and writes the November updates. If you have a suggestion for a graphic novel she should review or if you would like a graphic novel recommendation, please email her at



4 thoughts on “Paper Girls

  1. OMG I didn’t know the alien-ish language was translatable. I read the translations but I couldn’t see if they stated what language it was. I don’t suppose you know?

      1. I don’t think you’re supposed to really think about it yet. I certainly didn’t until I read some other reviews.

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