Graphic Novel Review: Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (illustrator), Matthew Wilson (illustrator)
Series: Paper Girls #1-5
Published by Image Comics on April 5, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Comics
Pages: 144 : e-book edition
Source: Received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (via NetGalley)
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In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

My first thought when I finished reading this was “WOAH. That went a little fast.” And this can be seen as both a good and a bad thing. I like that the story didn’t drag out and moved along, but it also moved at a pace that was just a bit too fast for me. I wanted it to slow down and show me more of what was going on.

That being said, I think it was an okay set up for what seems like is going to be a really cool series. I anticipate liking the next compilation of variants to be better since they’ll be able to dive more into the nitty gritty of what is going on in and have more world/character building.

I’ll admit, I do have a soft spot for Brian K. Vaughan’s works (especially Saga) so that was what originally pulled me in to this series, but the artwork is also incredible and very 80’s. Radical. I mean look at that cover! Those girls look awesome!

Speaking of the girls, they were all a tad underdeveloped, but again, I think with time they’ll be able to show how awesome they are in their own way. Not to mention that each of them seem to have their own skill set and capabilities/knowledge that disallows them from falling into the tropes of so many comic girls I see. They’re not simpering ladies waiting for someone to save them. They take charge and do what they can (all at 12 years old!).

Overall, I gave it a three out of five stars. The pacing and lack of development in some areas bothered me, but the art and dialogue made up for that. I’m excited to read the next one!


Mara, Vol. 1-6 by Brian Wood and Ming Doyle

Mara, Vol. 1-6 by Brian Wood and Ming Doyle
Series: Mara
Published by Image Comics on November 12, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 158 : Paperback edition
Source: Checked out from my local library
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A gifted athlete and a mega-celebrity, Mara Prince is a global brand and the most famous girl alive. But when she starts to manifest superhuman traits, her world starts to crumble around her.

Pursued by armies and governments, dropped by friends and sponsors, and dragged through the media, Mara Prince rebels. Rejecting those who’d reject her, she embarks on a global action to let all of humanity know: she won’t sit down and shut up.

Collects MARA #1-6

A lot of people may not know this but over the past year I have become a HUGE fan of the Image Comics publishing company. Most of their series’ have been right up my alley and all have the same kind of art style that I like to look for (i.e. Alex + Ada, Saga, etc). So, when I saw this at my library, I picked it up on a whim, hoping it would be like the other comics I have read from Image previously.

And I was so right. I mean take a look at the cover alone, it’s gorgeous. She looks like such a kick-ass female character (because she totally is) and the coloring reminded me of some Marvel comics that I have flipped through. Best of both worlds right? Right!

The story pulled me in from page one. We’re thrown into this futuristic world where the athletes reign supreme and pull the nation, and subsequently, the world, together since it’s being torn apart by war. The wars and why they were going on was a little underdeveloped, so I would have liked to see more background on that, but the basic point that war was going on and had changed society in drastic ways (children leave their parents at age seven or ten I believe).

Mara herself is such a cool character. I really like seeing diversity in comics, since it’s not something I’m exposed to that often in regular fiction novels (though this has been changing recently and that’s SUPER cool). She’s an African American female lead who suddenly develops super powers and goes through the process of learning about them and trying to escape governmental control of her mind and body. What’s not to love?

I hope the series does continue on since there were a ton of loose ends that didn’t get tied up, but if it doesn’t I think I can deal with the place that it was left in. A great story and quick read if you’re interested in female superheroes!

Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge

Will and Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge
Series: N/A
Published by Abrams on May 7, 2013
Genres: Comics, Graphic Novel
Pages: 194 : Paperback edition
Source: Checked out from my local library
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Wilhelmina “Will” Huxstep is a creative soul struggling to come to terms with a family tragedy. She crafts whimsical lamps, in part to deal with her fear of the dark. As she wraps up another summer in her mountain town, she longs for unplugged adventures with her fellow creative friends, Autumn, Noel, and Reese. Little does she know that she will get her wish in the form of an arts carnival and a blackout, courtesy of a hurricane named Whitney, which forces Will to face her fear of darkness.
Laura Lee Gulledge’s signature visual metaphors will be on full display in this all-new graphic novel, a moving look at shedding light on the dark corners of life.

This is the second time that I’ve picked up a work by Laura Lee Gulledge and once again I’m so glad I did! She has a way of writing about such serious issues in a very beautiful way. There’s always something so much deeper within her stories to discover and I really like that aspect. Plus, the whole graphic novel format, also makes my inner geek giggle with excitement.

Will’s character is so cute! I loved her and all her friends. She is a troubled girl dealing with real issues, and that’s what makes her so lifelike I think. She’s not just another random character, she matters, and has feelings, thoughts, and real emotions. I also really like how she deals with her problems. It’s something I could connect with immediately, and is something I think Laura Lee accomplishes really well in her graphic novels; pulling in readers and drawing them to characters in a highly personable way.

I really hope she puts out another graphic novel because I will be sooo excited to read it! Keep up the awesome work Ms. Gulledge!

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge
Series: N/A
Published by Abrams on May 1, 2011
Genres: Comics, Graphic Novel, Romance, Coming of age
Pages: 192 : Paperback edition
Source: Checked out from my local library
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Paige Turner has just moved to New York with her family, and she’s having some trouble adjusting to the big city. In the pages of her sketchbook, she tries to make sense of her new life, including trying out her secret identity: artist. As she makes friends and starts to explore the city, she slowly brings her secret identity out into the open, a process that is equal parts terrifying and rewarding.

Laura Lee Gulledge crafts stories and panels with images that are thought-provoking, funny, and emotionally resonant. Teens struggling to find their place can see themselves in Paige’s honest, heartfelt story.

Often times there comes along a book in one’s life, where you relate so well to the characters and plot that you wonder if the book was written solely for you (also the main character having the same first name as you, and same blog name as you helps too). This was the case for me when I read Page by Paige today. I finished the whole thing in under an hour because I fell so deeply in love with the story and all the characters within it.

Lately I have been getting into a lot of graphic novels, and Page by Paige has become one of my all-time favorites. Not only is the writing effortless and easy to read, but the drawings themselves are simply fabulous. There is something especially unique in the way that Paige’s personal drawings are different from the one’s that are explaining the scene. I really like that the author didn’t limit herself in any capacity and went above and beyond with the illustrations.

I can’t wait to purchase this and have it on my shelves, to pick up whenever I feel like it. And the author has one other book that I’ve already put on hold at the library as well so I can’t wait to check that one out too!