We’re ten issues in on Paper Girls. Like my colleagues before me, I still have no idea what is going on and it doesn’t matter because this book is still excellent. In this case, business as usual means business is good.
Paper Girls #10 continues the groups strange quest through the broken time stream while offering a few clues as to the what and why of everything for good measure. Brian K Vaughan write this cast and world with precision while foregoing any limitations. As a writer, Vaughan almost feels as if he trying to make the story confusing with how little is revealed versus what’s introduced but it works really well on two levels. The first is that by structuring the book in this way, Vaughan is able to make the focus on the characters and in case you didn’t know, Vaughan is a master at building character. Paper Girls has an expanded cast but each individual feel’s incredibly well formed with depth, complexity and perhaps most importantly, personality. Paper Girls understands teenagers and how perceptive they are while also recognizing their emotional impulsiveness. It’s a sharp portrayal that gives them more credit then most adult writers while also recognizing the reality of adolescences and it’s innate limitations. The second thing Vaughan does with the plot information is more of a jedi mind trick, that being where by not revealing all the information, Paper Girls becomes all the more intriguing. This is where the art team of Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, Dee Cuniffe & Jared K Fletcher come in because it’s their brilliant visual story telling work that really makes the second part work.
Try and picture Paper Girls with an average artist or really, any art team other then what they have assembled; you can’t. How much of these big idea’s are already baked into Vaughan’s script and how much is Chiang’s illustration is irrelevant because nobody else could create the visual narrative he does here with this much imagination and precision. Chiang lines are sharp but his Paper Girls work has leaned more on the cartoony side while his visual narration is masterful in it’s purpose and pacing. Rarely is there a panel in Paper Girls that doesn’t feel absolutely necessary and the story moves at a brisk pace while still giving the reader so much content and idea’s from issue to issue. Ten has a huge fight scene involving time portals and a table top, a couple extended scenes with the books antagonist, an attack from the weird eye monsters and a time jump which unifies the cast while introducing an entirely new dimension of reality within the books mythology but it never feels like you are being overloaded with the information. Chiang makes it flow effortlessly with visceral and dynamic illustrations that are equally as exciting with a group of kids jumping out of a helicopter into a time portal as it is when one young girl is lighting a cigarette or telling her friend “I love you” Matt Wilson & Dee Cuniffe’s color pallete is intoxicating in it’s wildly bright base line that helps to heighten the feeling of action and tenstion while letterer Jaded K Fletcher strange design aesthetic continues to impress. All of this makes the desire for clarity feel non-pertinent because the singular experience of the comic is so exciting in and of itself.
Paper Girls #10 continues the bizare time hopping adventures of these pre-teen 80’s kids by doing what it does best in it’s engrossing story telling. It disregards conventional wisdow about science fiction and construction of narrative for it’s exhilerating world building that shows little but consistently impresses with what it does reveal while always suprising the reader with the depth of it’s own parameters, if such parameter’s even exist at all. Fun, exicting and heartfelt, Paper Girls #10 is another installment of the series that continues to impress for it’s quality and breath of story.