Two Image Comics series I’ve been following ended this year. Both had their final trades come out in October. And yes, I read them both. Were they worth that read? Well, the two probably couldn’t have been more different.
At any rate, I finished Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang’s Paper Girls first. Will four twelve year old girls lost in time due to a temporal war get home somehow?
At the end of Volume 5, Erin, KJ, Tiffany, and Mac were all in different time periods. KJ was in the 1950s. Erin was in 2019. Mac was in the last days of planet Earth. Tiffany was in a different place altogether. Will the four get together and go back where they started?
Here’s the thing: this temporal war that has run throughout the series hasn’t really made one side or the other look virtuous. One group seems to be made up of rebellious teenagers. Their whole thing is old people are automatically wrong. But the old timers weren’t exactly benevolent. Really, it was hard to see which side if any the Paper Girls should take. Fortunately, Vaughn and Chiang’s story suggests that neither is an option.
Yes, if anyone wondered if Paper Girls was going to end with a bang or a whimper, the answer is very much a whimper if what the reader wanted was an epic final battle. However, Paper Girls is not now nor has it ever been that kind of series. Erin, KJ, Tiff, and Mac don’t really want to enter a battle. They aren’t really prepared to do so anyway because, you know, they’re 12 and untrained. Vaughn and Chiang know that, and they don’t try to make it any different. Instead, Paper Girls has always been a character study. The four girls are growing up. Each volume seemed to delve a little deeper into a different one.
As a result, the four felt like real girls. As much as they may have looked like stereotypes when we met them, that was not the case. The series wasn’t about action and thrills. It was about four girls bonding under really weird circumstances. And that means the series ends with four girls just being friends. Quite frankly, that’s enough for me. 9.5 out of 10 dream messages.
And let’s say another 9.5 out of 10 for the series as a whole.