Review: PAPER GIRLS #1


Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: October 7th, 2015

What do you say about the book that has it all? Between comics superstar scribe Brian K. Vaughan, the artist that breathed life into Wonder Woman Mr. Cliff Chiang, incredible colorist Matt Wilson, and phenomenal letterer/designer Jared K. Fletcher, Paper Girls #1 is unstoppable. Infallible. Un-freaking’ believable. We are currently in the midst of another Image-revolution as a new slate of books is released this week (and many more in the weeks to come), but you cannot, under any circumstances, let this one slip you by.

Okay. Girls on a paper route. Weird alien technology. The 80s. That should be enough to convince you, but just in case you need more…Paper Girls follows newbie newspaper girl Erin as she rises to the rank of paper girl elites Mac, Tiffany, and KJ. This first issue sets up the big personalities of the girls as well as the weird mess they’ve gotten themselves into. Together, they fight off jerk teenagers, harassing police, and, well, something a little spooky just in time for the end of Halloween.

If nothing else, this is a beautiful book. As a huge Cliff Chiang fan after his phenomenal work on the last mega-run of Wonder Woman, I would grab anything he works on. Paper Girls showcases some of his best work yet. It’s a little different than WW, but certainly not in a bad way. The art in this book, simply put, feels so alive.

The thick inks work so well for this late-80s decor, and their combination with the thinner, faint detail lines creates enormous depth. On top of that, the world is detailed and intriguing in every panel. I find myself flipping pages without reading at times, so engrossed in the sequential glory of this book. Each panel is clean and readable, yet full of energy.

Matt Wilson is working overtime on these colors. One thing that I will always enjoy about Wilson’s style of coloring is that he so wonderfully jives with each artist he works with in unique ways. With Paper Girls, we see yet another example of just how important cooperative pencil/inking and coloring efforts are. Wilson complements Chiang’s heavy inks with soft but solid colors. His gentle palette conveys the early morning paper route tone beautifully, yet he lights up the panels when flashing lights are involved.

Adding to Chiang and Wilson’s visual feast is Jared K. Fletcher’s gorgeous lettering. The font and outline-less speech balloons are stylistically perfect for this book, complementing the overall design.

As for the writing? Brian K. Vaughan rarely disappoints. Vaughan is great at setting up new stories in bizarre worlds with a crazy cast of characters, but Paper Girls feels a bit more subdued than some of his other work. Subdued until the end, that is, where I’m still not really sure what happened. The dialogue is fun, if not a bit harsh at times, and it conveys the personalities of each of the girls well.

The plot is slow, but more of a take-your-time-to-enjoy-before-it-hits-the-fan kind of slow, and certainly not a boring kind of slow. By the end of the issue (which is more than double-sized, by the way, with a hilarious back matter section), I felt decidedly invested. This is a really, really good thing considering the ending was so bizarre. I’m honestly not sure what to think, but what I do know is that I want more.

Paper Girls #1 puts you on the back seat of the characters’ bikes for a wild ride into the strange. While it may not be the most hard-hitting first issues on the stands, it’s definitely one of the best-looking. If the plot doesn’t quite appeal to you, consider checking this out for some of the best art in comics today. Paper Girls is imaginative, alluring, and heart-stoppingly gorgeous. Don’t wait for this book to land on your doorstep; grab it from the stands as soon as possible.

The Verdict: 9.5/10


Related posts