Paper Girls Volume 4 – Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrations – Cliff Chiang

Colours – Matt Wilson

Spoilers Ahead!

Paper Girls Volume 4 is a 2019 Hugo Awards finalist in the Best Graphic Story category.

A note about spoilers: major spoilers are included in this review about what’s happened previously in the series and what happens in this Volume. I’m not sure how long it will be before I make it to Volume 5 and don’t want to forget anything important so this is my summary. I’ve hidden pretty much everything I’ve got to say about this Volume. Regardless, if you’re not up to this Volume, please be really careful about opening anything spoilery.

When we last saw Tiffany she had arrived in Stony Stream in 2000, in a reality where Y2K actually happened, and it’s worse than anyone even imagined. While the rest of the Paper Girls are initially nowhere in sight, Tiffany is not alone.

The old-timers are also here, but quite a bit younger than they were in Volume 2 when we saw them last. Grand Father and Prioress are considering going nuclear.

Tiffany is trying to convince the police officer who wants to arrest her for looting (which she wasn’t doing. I swear!) that she’s actually from 1988 when she finally notices that they’re not alone.

Except it seems that for now Tiffany and I are the only ones who see the gigantic Transformers fighting in the background because the friendly neighbourhood police officer only sees smoke. Huh. Go figure.

Meanwhile, Erin, Mac and KJ are at the mall. A couple of looters fill them in about the millennium bug.

Pretty big, apparently. At least our girls are all in the same time right now, even if they’re not all together.

Doc from Volume 3 mentioned that the black device the girls have been carrying around was registered to Frankie Tomatah, which was clearly a pseudonym. At the time Erin thought that name seemed familiar but before she could think about it any further all hell broke loose in 11,706 BCE. Now she has a moment to check the comics page, which Naldo and Heck from Volume 1 also did, and figures out there’s a clue there. Great work, Erin!

It turns out that Frankie Tomatah is a comic strip written by C. Spachefski and thanks to the good ol’ White Pages, Erin, Mac and KJ pay her a house call. It seems she’s been expecting them.

Charlotte explains about the Battle of the Ages. The old-timers are enemy fighters, part of a group of the first generation born after time travel was invented, who think it’s immoral to interfere with the timeline, even if you’re trying to fix it. Naldo, Heck and others like them are defying their ancestors to try to fix the timeline regardless. Okay, that’s making more sense now. Oh, and in case you forgot, the old-timers have amnesia rays. Of course they do. Although I’m not sure if I trust Charlotte or anyone other than our four Paper Girls.

Things outside remain pretty chaotic.

Tiffany wanders off to find her parents and instead finds Chris, her future husband.

I love all of the twists in this series! I got one massive surprise in this Volume when I learned Grand Father is actually Jahpo. This is incredible!

Also, future Tiffany is all kinds of awesome!

In the last Volume the bag of newspapers made a great pillow. In this Volume they prove their usefulness in another way.

I love all of this time travel and not knowing who to trust. Although a group of girls from 1988 somehow have the fate of the entire world in their hands, they’re about as clueless as I am and I adore their reactions as they attempt to navigate all the weirdness. I can’t wait to read Volume 5 so I can check out the future!


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The mind-bending, time-warping adventure from Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang continues, as intrepid newspaper deliverer Tiffany is launched from the prehistoric past into the year 2000! In this harrowing version of our past, Y2K was even more of a cataclysm than experts feared, and the only person who can save the future is a 12-year-old girl from 1988.

Collects Paper Girls 16-20.

Paper Girls Volume 3 – Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrations – Cliff Chiang

Colours – Matt Wilson

Spoilers Ahead!

A note about spoilers: Once again I don’t know how to talk about this Volume without recapping Volume 2 or telling you about this one. I’m hiding anything I consider a potentially significant spoiler but please proceed with caution if you haven’t read this series. I’m excited about what happens and need to tell someone.

When we last saw Tiffany, Mac and Erin, they had just been reunited with KJ, who was MIA throughout Volume 2. The trio had spent some time in 2016, where they met a future Erin who was all grown up and still working for the same newspaper. They also met future future Erin, or Erin III, as I called her. She had a red backpack, was from way into the future and, yep, she was a clone. The old-timers followed our trio to 2016, travelling in style, and we met some huge creepy crawlies.

So, our four Paper Girls have finally been reunited but they’re not in 2016 anymore and they haven’t returned to 1988 either. Here’s the biggest clue that they’re, um, in another time entirely. ➡️

In the middle of the night Mac is contemplating her last cigarette when she encounters Wari, a warrior girl with face paint and interesting taste in jewellery, and her baby, Jahpo, who is very huggable. Fortunately Erin swiped the translator from Erin III in 2016 so the girls can communicate with the people in this time.

But warrior girl isn’t even the most dangerous encounter of the night. There’s also Claws to deal with and I doubt I’m the only one thinking the whole poking its tongue out routine isn’t a cheeky gesture.

Okay, I have enough information now so I’m calling it. Our girls are in the past. Way, way back in time. We’ve also seen what appears to be a shooting star, but in this series we don’t wish on them because they’re usually not shooting stars at all. Usually it means our girls have company. Company comes in the form of Doctor Qanta Braunstein, Project Leader at AppleX.

Something tells me she’s not from this time, which apparently is 11,706 BCE (just a teensy bit further into the past than I thought). Doc thinks that maybe she invented time travel, so this entire thing could be her fault. Also it turns out she’s from 2055. Although the Doc is not the girls’ only company.

When I was almost positive there weren’t any more surprises left, Mac and KJ came across this.

This fourth dimensional object allows you to see the future when you touch it, which results in KJ seeing, amongst other things, this.

Woohoo! I can’t wait!

I love that a bag of newspapers have made their way across time with the girls. Apparently, in addition to containing comics, they also make a good pillow. I really enjoy the humour in this series. It appears that no matter what time you’re in or from, your software will always require an update at the most inconvenient time possible.

I wasn’t sure about this series originally but I’m so glad I kept reading. It’s really beginning to come together for me and I’m figuring out bits and pieces I wondered about previously, like the origin of the hockey stick with the warning carved into it. Erin sent that through one of the folding (floating time hole) thingamajigs while the girls were in 11,706 BCE. It’s always fun when you feel rewarded for sticking with a series.

Then right near the end of the Volume this happened

and now Tiffany is in an alternate 2000 where Y2K happened, and who knows where the rest of the Paper Girls are!

I loved the cliffhanger at the end of this Volume and am so glad I don’t have to wait to begin Volume 4.

Content warnings include a slur against Jewish people (this is challenged!) and mention of sexual assault.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The multiple Eisner and Harvey Award-winning series from Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang continues, as newspaper deliverers Erin, Mac and Tiffany finally reunite with their long-lost friend KJ in an unexpected new era, where the girls must uncover the secret origins of time travel … or risk never returning home to 1988. 

Collects Paper Girls 11-15.

Paper Girls Volume 2 – Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrations – Cliff Chiang

Colours – Matt Wilson

Spoilers Ahead!

A note about spoilers: I don’t know how to review this Volume without including them, especially since I’m using this review to remind myself of what I already know when I make it to Volume 3. Please proceed with caution if you haven’t already read this Volume.

Tiffany, Mac and Erin had a really weird All Saints morning in 1988 and now their friend KJ is missing. Or maybe they are because here they are, standing in front of Erin (same Erin, but all grown up) in 2016. Cue The Twilight Zone theme right about now.

Meanwhile, the old-timers in 1988 seem to think they know what happened. Our girls have been “timelined”, same place, different time. Except they could be “anywhere in time” so that doesn’t exactly narrow things down for the old-timers.

The Cardinal is the lady in the stormtrooper cosplay, the guy with the white beard is Grand Father, whose mother was born in 2016, and the one on the left? Yeah, that’s a pterodactyl!

Then, as if two Erins weren’t enough, a third one shows up.

This one actually seems to know what’s going on and I’m guessing this is probably not all that unusual of a conversation for a Uber driver and their passenger to be having.

This creature shows up. He’s a gigantic tardigrade.

Then there’s this maggot.

Okay, so the massive creepy crawlies aren’t the prettiest. But at least this happens.

Yes, please Erin III. Please give me all the answers.

We learn the Erin I’m calling Erin III (red backpack Erin) is actually a clone and she knows Naldo and Uncle (?) Heck, the teenagers from another time that helped our four original paper girls in the first Volume. Although when both of the new Erins are telling our paper girls different things, who are they supposed to trust?

We may not know much about the old-timers (or anyone, really) yet but we now know that old-timers travel in some serious style. Check this awesomeness out!

We even get a glimpse of the future in this Volume and while it looks pretty interesting, it appears global warming has followed through on at least one of its promises.

While I’d much rather read a book than keep up with what’s happening in the world of politics I did appreciate the not so subtle political jabs included in this Volume.

Raising all sorts of fun Back to the Future-ish quandaries and space-time continuum conundrums, including what to do if you find out you don’t exist in the future, I found this second Volume a lot easier to follow than the first. I’m now keen to continue the series, despite and maybe even because it raises interesting and potentially scary questions, like what your kid self would think of the adult you became and what you’d want to tell your kid self if you met them now.

Content warnings include some graphic violence and mention of mental health and racism.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

After surviving the strangest night of their lives in the Cleveland suburb of Stony Stream, intrepid young newspaper deliverers Erin, Mac, and Tiffany find themselves launched from 1988 to a distant and terrifying future … the year 2016.

What would you do if you were suddenly confronted by your 12-year-old self? 40-year-old newspaper reporter Erin Tieng is about to find out in this action-packed story about identity, mortality, and growing older in the 21st century.

Collects Paper Girls 6-10.

Paper Girls Volume 1 – Brian K. Vaughan

Illustrations – Cliff Chiang

Colours – Matthew Wilson

Spoilers Ahead!

So, there I was, happily binge reading my way through Saga and I suddenly remembered that the first Volume of Paper Girls needs to be returned to the library urgently. I had planned on reading both series anyway for my barely started (😱) 2019 Hugo Awards readathon and while the two series have different illustrators they share an author. Since I am now obsessed with Saga I assumed I’d be gaining a new obsession tonight. After all, when I originally looked at the blurbs for both series, it was Paper Girls that I was more excited about.

Long story only slightly shorter (sorry!), it turns out that I was wrong. Yes, I enjoyed this first Volume but I’m almost certain that I wouldn’t be picking up Volume 2 if not for the Hugos. I’m not emotionally attached to any of the characters I’ve met so far (unlike the immediate connections I’ve felt with practically every Saga character I’ve encountered). I know hardly anything about any of the four Paper Girls and while I’m generally okay with multiple unanswered questions this early in a story I’m not that curious about the answers at this point.

Because Volume 4 has been nominated for a Hugo Award this year I’m convinced there’s awesomeness to come if I give it a chance. There’s a lot of potential here – countless people have vanished, the sky’s now very pretty but definitely not typical, pterodactyls, people speaking unknown languages, time travel, and a group of 12 year olds who are left to figure out what the hell is going on.

It may be a week or two before I begin Volume 2 so the rest of my review will consist of notes I’ve made to remind myself of what I think I already know. Beware: spoilers ahead.

It all begins on All Saint’s, Tuesday, 1 November 1988 in Stony Stream, Ohio. Our four Paper Girls are (from left to right):

MacKenzie (Mac) – smokes, is a Girl Scout, and has a teenage brother. The local police are well acquainted with her family. Her father and stepmother, Alice, met at an A.A. meeting. She doesn’t attend private school.

KJ – carries a hockey stick, goes to Buttonwood Academy and is Jewish.

Erin – the new kid. Her younger sister Missy is her only friend and she attends St. Nicks.

Tiffany – saved up to buy the group’s walkie-talkies. Her mother is a doctor, she was adopted and she attends St. Pete’s.

They don’t know what’s happening and they don’t know who to trust, the teenagers,

the old-timers,

or neither. However they have figured out that they don’t want to be near an Editrix. This is an Editrix.

Teenagers, Heck and Naldo, are from Thirteen. “Oh, right, we kinda rolled back the odometer after Calamity ended all the – -”

The most sense I managed to get from someone I think was an old-timer was, “Children, your questions will be answered, but it’s very dangerous for you to be out during Ablution.”

Content warnings include homophobia, alcoholism and attempted suicide.

I hope an eventual reread (after I figure out all of the pieces of the puzzle I’m currently missing) will result in both a higher rating and an updated review rambling about the brilliance that I missed during my first read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Saga writer Brian K. Vaughan launches a brand new ongoing series with superstar Wonder Woman artist Cliff Chiang! In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time.