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Friday, April 14, 2017

Paper Girls

Paper Girls, by Brian K. Vaugh, art by Cliff Chiang, is a wonderful comic that will remind you a bit of Stranger Things, Super 8, or any of the great sci-fi adventures featuring kids. What's special about this one is it's all girls, and it's about time. Literally.

Four female newspaper deliverers in a suburb of Cleveland are out before dawn on the night following Halloween, 1988. There are still some kids out in their costumes, but a couple looking like mummies have stolen one of the girls' walkie-talkies. They chase them and find, in the basement of an abandoned house, some kind of spaceship.

This leads to a dizzying adventure, complete with giant, dragon-like birds and futuristic people who are dressed like superheroes (these, we learn, are called "the old ones.") The girls end up transported to 2016, where one of the girls, Erin, meets her future self. That was the end of Volume 1, so of course I had to buy Volume 2.

That was just more of the same, only more dizzying. The girls are involved in some kind of time-traveling warfare, and an old hippie is behind it all. They come across a massive flying machine that looks like a steampunk dirigible, and Mac, the tough-talking, smoking girl, learns she will die of leukemia. And should they trust yet another Erin, who comes from far in the future and brings with her giant tardigrades?

Any comic that has giant tardigrades does it for me, and unfortunately Volume 3 is not out yet. But I do have to find out what happens next. This would make a great movie, if Hollywood can realize that action movies about girls can make money. Maybe HBO or Netflix can make it.

There's just something appealing about kids riding their bicycles, which Steven Spielberg knew way back in E.T. To kids from a certain era, before they could drive, bicycles represented freedom, and often adventure, I used to have some pretty goofy made-up adventures on my bike, as they can be motorcycles, rocketships, or any other mode of transportation. I'm not sure if kids ride bikes they like used to--now they are probably inside playing video games. Incidentally, in 1988 a gadget with an Apple logo on it appears threatening, as maybe it should.


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