The Same World, but Two Different Realities in Paper Girls 16

By Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

One of my most vivid memories is a day in first grade when we had a substitute teacher. I opened a little tupperware container full of alphabet flash cards and it fell on the floor, scattering the cards all over. When I started to pick them up, the teacher came over and yelled at me for “crawling around on the floor,” wouldn’t listen to a word of my protest, and sent me to detention. The flash cards remained on the floor for the rest of the day.

When you’re young, it often feels like you and adults live in two different worlds, but that specific scenario was one where I quite literally felt like the teacher and I were seeing and experiencing two very different realities. That rift between generations is illustrated just as literally by Cliff Chiang, Brian K. Vaughan, and Matthew Wilson in Paper Girls 16. Continue reading

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The Weight of Memories in Saga 47

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

We all experience millions of moments. Some are life-changing, some represent a larger theme in our lives, and some don’t seem to mean much of anything. If you could choose three of these moments to tell your story, it would be hard not to stick to the benchmarks: births, deaths, weddings, etc. In Saga 47, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples give us a few glimpses into The Will’s past and, by the nature of storytelling, we know that these are not random, but their selection tells a story of its own.
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The Inevitable Feels Vital in Saga 46

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The most successful plot turns are ones that feel surprising but, in retrospect, inevitable. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples end Saga 46 with Petrichor and Robot in a passionate embrace. If this had happened on page one, perhaps the reader would have been thrown, but when the dust settles, it’s clear that this is where we were heading all along. Vaughan and Staples have fully established the depths of both Petrichor and Robot’s loneliness. Even their cliched verbal sparring into macking was telegraphed by the fact that they’ve both been reading romance novels, where kissing without first trading barbs is a rarity. Continue reading

Saga 45: Discussion

by Ryan Desaulniers and Patrick Ehlers

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Ryan D: Since last issue’s final splasy page reveal — which Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples love doing to us — my friends and I have been theorizing what the heck is happening with this male-looking version of Hazel who appears to Alana. The easy explanation would be that Alana is sick with her stillborn child and hallucinating. I find myself extremely pleased now, after reading this issue, that the approach the creative team took here is much more dramatically interesting than a mere hallucination. Having this apparition be a side-effect of the magical abilities which Alana temporarily sports due to her miscarriage helps to further the lore of the Horns’ magical abilities and the context in which they were used, and the fact that Marko, Alana, and Hazel all share sight of this magical illusion-child offers us crushing moments like this:

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Definition by Contrast in Saga 44

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

When you are a kid, your family creates your idea of normal. It’s only when you go to a friend’s house and things are done just a little differently, that you can really define what makes your family unique. In Saga 44, Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan reinforce what we know about Marko, Alana, and Hazel by giving us a fun-house mirror version of their family.

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Paper Girls 15

Today, Patrick and Ryan M are discussing Paper Girls 15, originally released June 8, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: I’ve always loved the idiom “snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.” It implies such a rough and determined win against nearly insurmountable odds. Like, think about how much courage it takes to snatch anything out of a pair of motherfucking jaws, never mind that the jaws evidently belong to the personification of “defeat.” It’s dramatic, heroic, hopeful. But it’s seldom something we see in the work of Brian K. Vaughan. Closing out the third story arc, Paper Girls 15 gives us a prime example of the exact opposite — defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. Every act of bravery is punished with increasingly perplexing consequences, until the very nature of the Girls’ time travel is thrown into question.

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Saga 43

Today, Ryan M. and Spencer are discussing Saga 43, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan M: Part of what makes Saga such a great story is that it operates on both the most literal and metaphorical levels. We are seeing the story of a nuclear family with relationships that are immediately recognizable. Marko and Alana’s romance is not a merely a vessel for a message about the power of love to transcend the boundaries created by heritage. They are two characters that have both the universal and specific complexities of each of us. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples deliver on both premises in Saga 43 as the crew regroups after Alana’s miscarriage and fights some dung people. Continue reading

Paper Girls 13

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Paper Girls 13, originally released April 5, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: The best sci-fi creators find a way to distill their grand ideas and concepts down to situations and emotions their audience can connect with and relate to. Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang have been wizards at this throughout Paper Girls, using their story to explore themes as weighty as prejudice and generation gaps and as mundane as family and growing up. Issue 13 distills that idea even further, slowing their ongoing story to a crawl and instead using the journey to naturally draw out the cast’s view of themselves, their families, and growing up in general. The result is never anything less than completely engaging. Continue reading

Paper Girls 11

paper-girls-11

Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Paper Girls 11, originally released February 1, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

suck·er punch

noun

1. an unexpected punch or blow.

Patrick: There’s not much that happens in Paper Girls that is expected, so it might be kind of hard to notice when the series is actually delivering unexpected blows. I mean, when you’re tumbling through time and space, what actually counts as “unexpected” anymore? That could be a tension killer, but under the measured eyes of Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, a constant stream of sucker punches becomes an unsettling canvas. Continue reading

Saga 41

saga-41

Today, Ryan D. and Spencer are discussing Saga 41, originally released January 4th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

And I love Dr. King but violence might be necessary

-Killer Mike, Run the Jewels

Ryan D: With all of the racially charged protests in the US from last year, Martin Luther King’s tenants of nonviolence became a talking point, used to chastise on countless 24/7 news networks and talk radio shows. The tricky thing about the six tenants of Kingian nonviolence is that they call for the understanding that “the Universe is on the side of the just”- a choice which seems to be a bit harder for those less inclined to believe in such a broad, philosophical stance, alongside a very Biblical adherence to turning the other cheek. The philosophy of the universe of Saga, on the other hand, seems more in line with the words of Killer Mike mentioned above, which goes on to say, in an ode to Malcolm X: “Cause when you live on MLK and it gets very scary/ You might have to pull your AK, send one to the cemetery.”  This is exactly the position we see Marko in by the end of Saga 41 in an issue revolving around violence, and it is always fascinating to see a pacifist’s descent. Continue reading