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Paper Girls: the next great American comic book

Paper Girls is the beginning of something great

Paper Girls.
Image Comics
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Following up a hit comic like Saga would be intimidating for anyone not named Brian K. Vaughan. Saga, which Vaughan created with artist Fiona Staples, is still the standard by which all other comic books are judged. The Eisner Award–winning space opera invigorated the independent comic book industry with a story that is as sexy as it is funny and as beautiful as it is moving. It’s so over the top (think magic spells, a seal who wears overalls, and an immolating gorilla) yet so very real (a story about familial love and the struggle to survive).

But in 2015, Vaughan teamed up with Cliff Chiang to deliver Paper Girls, about the weird, jaw-dropping adventures — including time-traveling alien mutants — of a gang of newspaper delivery girls in suburban Cleveland (Vaughan’s hometown). The story opens with an earnest, Spielberg-esque vibe that sends you soaring before abruptly plunging you down into the creepy and bizarre, ultimately leaving you with the most WTF cliffhanger (involving a ubiquitous device that we’re all intimately familiar with in our everyday lives) of the year.

I have no idea where Paper Girls is going next — there are so many questions — but I trust Vaughan and Chiang to deliver (and they do, every month). The questions are just part of what makes Paper Girls so good.

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