October 9th, 2019


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train, tintin, leuven

Paper Girls, vols 1-6, by Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

Second frame with dialogue in from the third chapter of each of the six volumes:

Volume 1 (originally in issue #3)

Volume 2 (originally in issue #8)

Volume 3 (originally in issue #13)

Volume 4 (originally in issue #18)

Volume 5 (originally in issue #23)

Volume 6 (originally in issue #28)
I bought the first volume of this series in Portland in 2016, just on impulse, and it proved a wise investment. Volumes 1, 3 and 4 were all Hugo finalists, and the sixth and final volume came out last month, so I read them all in one sitting.

This is the story of four 12-year-olds delivering newspapers in 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio, all from different ethnic backgrounds, who get swept up into a mysterious time war which takes them to the future and past, both near and far. Unlike with some comics compilations, each of the sic volumes has its own arc, though I don't think you could describe them as completely self-contained; I definitely would have benefited from reading Volume 2 before Volume 3.

It's awfully well done. The four girls are Erin (Asian), Mac (tomboy), KJ (Jewish and gay) and Tiffany (African-American and the most nerdy). Each of them gets to confront different versions of their own future - I think the best bit is in Volume 2, where the girls meet Erin's 40-year-old future self in 2016 Cleveland.

The art is great throughout. There is a particularly strong part in Volume 6 where the four girls are scattered into different timelines and we follow each of them on her own line across the pages, like a musical score.

(Click on each page to embiggen)
One is never in any danger of getting confused between the main characters, and when people turn up at different ages, they remain recognisable.

I haven't seen Stranger Things (apart from one episode which I watched for the 2017 Hugos) but I understand it's along the same lines, and that if you like one, you'll probably like the other. I found this immensely satisfying. You can get the six volumes here, here, here, here, here and here.

This was my top unread comic (well, vols 2 and 5 were). Next on that pile is the Fourth Doctor collection, Dragon's Claw.