Written by: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by: Cliff Chiang
Publisher: Image Comics
Format: Softcover, 6.5 x 10, 144 pages, Full Color, $9.99
Reviewed by: Diamond BookShelf
In the early hours of November 1, 1988, 12 year old Erin sets off on her first day delivering newspapers in her small Ohio subdivision. While on her route, she encounters three other paper-delivering girls her age – MacKenzie, Tiffany, and KJ – who ride together to keep safe from any lingering Halloween revelers. But after the four encounter a group of men in black suits and hoods with strange eyes, they discover a mysterious object hidden in an unfinished house, only to re-emerge to find the sky has changed colors and most of their neighbors have gone missing. Soon, the quartet are on the run, trying to uncover the origins of these mysterious events while avoiding the pterodactyl-riding silver-suited figures after them.
Much like other titles from Vaughan (Ex Machina, Y the Last Man), Paper Girls is rooted in the real world while taking readers into new and unexpected places in it, giving the strange and fantastic elements even more power in their contrast to normal life. Paper Girls has the feel of a 1980s kids adventure movie (E.T., Explorers), fitting well with the period its set in. The protagonists act as middle schoolers would, while the few adults around are of little help. Clues are dropped as to what is going and who is responsible, but this is the mystery that propels this series.
Chiang's art is energetic and dynamic, and smoothly juxtaposes the everyday elements with the fantastical. His use of framing moves the story along quickly, and also expands and contracts the scope of the action, keeping the book grounded in the experiences of the four protagonists.
Paper Girls Volume 1 is suggested for Young Adult (13+) readers who enjoy the films previously referenced as well as YA and sci-fi stories. The book contains some coarse language appropriate for the era as well as some science fiction-based violence, but nothing very graphic.