Paper Girls
Brian K. Vaughan, Writer
Cliff Chiang, Artist
Image Comics, 2015 on.

Paper Girls is a science fiction comic book series available in print and digital formats. However, I have never read the actual comic books; this is technically a review of the graphic novels Paper Girls 1 and 2, which consist of issues #1-5 and #6-10 respectively.

The story is set in the late 1980s, at least to start with, as we follow four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls as they make their rounds early on the morning after Halloween. They start off having to deal with drunken teenagers and pranksters that haven't made it to bed after a night of mayhem, but before long they come across stranger things: a fleshy space capsule in an abandoned basement, strange people dressed in futuristic armor, and quetzalcoatluses in the sky. And then everyone just disappears...

It emerges that -- as far as they can figure out -- two factions of time travellers are having a dispute on this particular patch of time, and they have accidently been sucked into the battle. It's not at all clear what the time travellers want, which group is the good guys, where everyone else is just at the moment, or if surrendering will get them returned to the normal world or just killed.

The stories start off quite slowly, and I'm uncertain how this would flow if you read it one issue at a time. I rather suspect that if I read it in serial format I would have given up after the first issue or two. But if you stick with it, it starts gets interesting fairly quickly. The time travel weirdness starts becoming more and more frequent and confusing, and the occasional dinosaur quickly turns into lots of dinosaurs, along with kaijū caliber tardigrades rampaging through the city and other random, often enlarged, fauna.

The series is still in progress, with no stated end date (although Vaughan has stated that there is a definite end, and this will not be a mega-epic series), meaning that readers are currently stranded mid-story. We have, however, reached the point where I think it is safe to recommend the series as an exciting and sometimes dark story with some interesting twists, lots of great visuals, and plenty of unanswered questions to keep us reading.

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