Comic Corner: When you reach too far

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‘Paper Girls Volume 1’ review

By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor


I’m the type of person who will read anything, but I—like many others—do find pleasure in discovering that it isn’t a particular plot or scenario that I enjoy, but rather the writers themselves. Authors are a strange thing in the world of graphic novels because so much is reliant on so many other, more aesthetic factors. That being said, I definitely had high hopes for Brian K. Vaughan, the author behind one of my favourite ongoing graphic novel series of all time, Saga. His Paper Girls, however, I found to be an immense disappointment.

The plot is not one to be easily explained. Despite the fact that this particular volume collects single issues 1–5, there’s no real conclusion to anything within the volume itself. Set in 1988, the story follows four girls as they set out on their respective paper routes. The girls encounter many strange and random events that seem as if they’ll trail off and actually lead into something—but never do.

One of this book’s saving graces is the art by Cliff Chiang. It was almost enough to make me keep reading this series—almost.

Just going by this volume alone, the stylization is very similar to Vaughan’s previous work as one of the writers for the TV series Lost. As a reader, I find this incredibly frustrating, because I am adamant in my belief that every single issue or single volume in a multi-volume series must still be able to act as a standalone. There can be overarching plots, but there must also be a complete plot—build-up, conflict, and resolution—within the issue or volume itself, even if that contained plot is simplistic. As it stands currently, we readers are meant to assuage ourselves with Vaughan’s promise that everything will make sense in the end. Call me skeptical, but for me—that just isn’t good enough.