Paper Girls #1
Brian K Vaughn & Cliff Chiang
With the phenomenal “Y: The Last Man” under his belt, and critically acclaimed “Saga” still in progress, my expectations for Brian K Vaughn comics are incredibly high. So how does the first issue of “Paper Girls” hold up? Well, at this point it’s rather difficult to say. Vaughn’s writing tends to have a bit of a slow burn, and this story is no different. It’s certainly chock full of exciting early-stages character development.
Our main protagonist is a 12-year-old Catholic schoolgirl named Erin. She’s got a kitchen drawer full of cash, has test-anxiety dreams about the devil tormenting her little sister Missy, and she’s the newest recruit for the Cleveland Preserve newspaper delivery service.
And seeing as the book is called “Paper Girls” and not just “Paper Girl” there are also three other girls on nearby routes. MacKenzie ‘Mac’ Coyle is the veteran, and clearly a complete badass, smoking her Camels and standing up to teenage boys. Tiffany seems to be a bit of a glory hound, quickly pointing out that she “was the first altar girl long before Mac took over her brother’s (paper) route.” And KJ is…well, KJ definitely has the least character building of the four paper girls in this issue, but she is clever, sarcastic, and Jewish.
As the girls track down Tiffany’s stolen radio they stumble onto something much more exotic that will certainly be a main focus moving forward. The writing on this first issue is a lot of fun, and I’ll definitely be picking up the next issue to see what happens with the reveal at the end of this issue. Characters are colorful, unique and relatable, and Cliff Chiang’s artwork goes a long way to highlighting that.
It’s interesting to read this after Saga because there are some artistic similarities that I expect stem from the descriptions given by Vaughn. That’s not to say that Cliff Chiang’s art is mimicking Staples style by any means. His art has it’s own voice, with heavy line work excellently showcasing character emotionality. And the colors in this issue especially are gorgeous, using lots of blues, pinks, yellows and oranges for the dusk setting.
Vaughn and Chiang are off to a great start on this book, establishing unique characters and laying the groundwork for a very unique plot, and I personally can’t wait to see where they take it in issue two.