Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chang's Papergirls: like an all-girl Stranger Things, with time-travel
Brian K Vaughan is one of my very favorite comics creators, though the erratic schedule of Saga, the psychedelic, sexy space opera he and Fiona Staples created has frustrated me at times -- and then I remember that Vaughan is so erratic because he's so busy, creating new titles like 2015's Paper Girls, which Image Comics began to collect in two volumes this year: Book 1 last April, and Book 2 on December 6.
Paper Girls is a remarkable piece of storytelling, even by Vaughan's outlandishly fantastic standards. Vaughan has this incredible gift for telescoping action and dialog -- something also attributable to his artistic co-creators, like Cliff Chiang, best known for Wonder Woman -- dispensing with the connective tissue of the story and diving straight into the muscles of the tale.
This ability to make the action race gives Vaughan the narrative headroom in which to complexify his stories, adding the kinds of layers that make the very best long-form stories so satisfying: false turns, fake-outs, factions, halls of mirrors and mysteries that keep you guessing.
That's his secret sauce, and it's what won Paper Girls Best New Series of 2015. As William Gibson said of genre writers: "I can do plot. I've still got wheels on my tractor. The great thing is when you're doing the other stuff and you whip the plot into gear, then you know you're driving something really weird."
Paper Girls stars an all-girl cast of newspaper delivery kids for a fictional Cleveland newspaper, circa 1988 -- they are instantly and wholeheartedly likable, like the Goonies or the cast of Stranger Things. They convene on November 1, when the mean teenagers of Cleveland are still out an about and making mischief, picking on the likes of them, and they band together in mutual self-defense.
Then things get weird.
The girls are assaulted by a group of costumed teens, who rip off a Radio Shack walkie-talkie that one of them saved for months to buy. The girls chase down these goons, ending up in a partially built house, whose basement holds a spaceship of some kind, or maybe it's a time-machine -- and after a flash and a bang, they emerge to a transformed neighborhood, overcast with a tornado out of which flap huge, monstrous dinosaurs ridden by lance-wielding, argot-speaking warriors who kill and kidnap all they meet.
Before long, the girls are hurled into a mystery tale of Vaughnian complexity, chased through time and space, meeting ambiguous heroes and villains, including several who may be clones of them -- or older versions, or neither.
There are more cliff-hangers than issues in these two collections. I read both yesterday and my mind is fizzing with theories. Knowing how Vaughan works, I may have to wait a long time to find out whether my theories are right, but at least I can assume that when there's no new Paper Girls to read, I'll be able to pick up a Saga.
Paper Girls Volume 1 [Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Jared K. Fletcher and Matthew Wilson/Image]
Paper Girls Volume 2 [Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang/Image]
Edgeryders -- "a company living in symbiosis with an online community of thousands of hackers, activists, radical thinkers and doers, and others who want to make a difference" -- is offering up to EUR10,000 bursaries (along with travel subsidies) for fellows who are contributing to its work on an "Human-Centric Internet." The deadline to apply […]
Los Angeles! Come see me at Exposition Park library tonight talking about Big Tech, monopolies, mind control and the right of technological self-determination
From 6PM-730PM tonight (Thursday, May 23), I'm presenting at the Exposition Park Library (Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library, 3900 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90062) on the problems of Big Tech and how the problems of monopolization (in tech and every other industry) is supercharged by the commercial surveillance industry -- and what […]
[Kathe Koja is one of my favorite writers (actually, she's two of my favorite writers!) and her latest project, am immersive, mixed-reality dance club, is so unbelievably cool that I jumped at the chance to give her a platform to tell you about it. Don't miss her Patreon! -Cory] Stories need an audience to be […]
If you can build a cloud infrastructure, you can build a business. Companies are overwhelmingly turning to cloud computing to set up or bolster their network, and it’s easy to see why. It allows on-demand access to processing power, a la carte services, and nearly unlimited storage, all without adding extra systems and the maintenance […]
Does your gaming setup need an upgrade? No need to wait for Christmas. We’ve rounded up the latest tech accessories for your favorite video game platforms. All of them are already sale priced, but you can knock an additional 15% off the final price for Memorial Day by using the online code WEEKEND15. Audeze Mobius […]
Raspberry Pi is one of the world’s most versatile open-source computers. Alexa is a home automation hub with limitless potential. Together, they’re a dream team for ambitious makers, opening the door to everything from automatic lights to voice-controlled robots. Learning Raspberry Pi is meant to be relatively easy for newbies, but its applications with Alexa […]