Tagged: Jared K. Fletcher

Chris’ Comics: Paper Girls #7 & The Fix #4

PaperGirls_07-1Paper Girls #7

Brian K Vaughan,  Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $2.99

What I like about this current arc of Paper Girls is that it’s taking a lot of time travel cliches and having fun with them. So many stories involving time traveling embrace a certain set of rules (Don’t interact with your past/future self, don’t tell people things that haven’t happen yet) that it feels like there’s a certain checklist you have to embrace to tell they type of story. Luckily the team of Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson and Jared K. Fletcher play by their own rules, and it makes for a fascinating read.

As anyone who’s read Saga or anything else BKV has written, you know that he’s quite capable of doing emotional moments well. There’s two in this issue that are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, but they’re both written so incredible well. Of course the credit due is split between Vaughan and artists Chiang and Wilson who excel at body language and mode coloring. Their pacing is great, as one scene goes from super cute to pretty funny in a blink of an eye, while the other drags out just the right amount of time for maximum devastation.

While I was pretty hit or miss on the initial arc, Paper Girls #7 is a great read by a creative team that can’t seem to do any wrong this time around. Everything from the art to the dialogue to the placement of the word balloons seems perfect and significant, and it’s proof that these creators are onto something truly special with this title.

TheFix_04-1The Fix #4

Nick Spencer, Steve Lieber,Ryan Hill, Nic J Shaw

Image $3.99

Sadly, the events on that rad as all hell cover do not take place in this issue.

Mac Brundo is the lead for this issue, a nice change of pace from the last few Roy-centric issues. While he’s no angel, Mac is a little more likable then Roy, and this issue does a good job of making the reader emphasize with him. We also get introduced a character who may or may not have something to do with the events of the last issue, as well as checking in with character find of the year, Pretzels.

Also it’s the first comic I’ve read in recent history where FAP is used as a sound effect, and yes, if you know what that refers to, it’s for those exact reasons. Props to Nic J Shaw for making those fonts large enough for extra comedic effect.

Steve Lieber‘s art thiis month is a little more exaggerated than usual, and it works well for this issue. It never clashes with Lieber’s more realistic style, and when paired with some great sights gags and razor sharp dialogue from Nick Spencer, it results in laughs.

The Fix #4 is another hilarious read from a team of creators who excel at the ridiculous. Between genital based humor, pets, and several threats of violence, it’s hard for me to not love this comic.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Paper Girls #6

PaperGirls_06-1Paper Girls #6

Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $2.99

After a brief hiatus, Paper Girls returns, with our girls no longer in the mid to late 80s, but now in June 2016. Also from this point on, I’m going to get deep into spoilers, so if you’re a trade waiter or behind, know that this is a solid comic and move on.

Anywho, spoilers. Now in the year 2016, the girls come across a 40 year old Erin Tieng, whom I can relate to in the worst sort of ways. Things get kind of X-men-y as we have both a teen and middle age incarnation of a character running around, but Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang keep things relatively grounded, or at least as grounded as you can when time travel is involved.

First and foremost, I love how modern day/future Erin Tieng is portrayed. You rarely see middle aged women drawn as middle aged women in comics, lets along be put in starring rolls. But Chiang doesnt shy away from Erin’s age, giving her wrinkles, a bit of a belly, and Screenshot-31body language that shows that she’s been through some stuff. It also raises some interesting questions about her younger counterpart’s trip into the future goes, especially with the arrival of a new, yet familiar looking character halfway through the issue.

And while Paper Girls has yet to hook me (or emotionally devastate me) like BKV’s other hit comic Saga, the series has definitely excelled at being an extremely well put together comic book. Colorist Matthew Wilson is known for his vibrant, dynamic colors on books like The Wicked and the Divine and Thor. Much like his work on Daredevil, Wilson’s color choice are more subdued here, but still striking by using more unusual color choices to set scenes like purples and pinks. It’s very much in style with Chiang’s style and help keeps the book looking unique.

Also I’m not sure who decided to have the fan letter’s page ALSO go from the 80s to 2016, but it’s a fun bit of meta storytelling that I dig. Speaking of things I dig, Jared K Fletcher’s design work remains top notch. I really enjoy what he and Vaughan have been doing with language and the book’s dialogue, be it the raw but totally fitting choice in fonts and how the time-travelers(?) language is used. If I’m not mistaken (famous last words), the visitors Screenshot-30weird, broken language is getting clearer with every passing issue, which I think is a neat way of making the reader feel more familiar with these characters. This issue in general also feels more restrained for character building, which is something I very much appreciated.

Paper Girls is a very unique read with an excellent sense of design. It’s easy to see that it’s very much  the product of creators who love the medium, and want to use it to tell a story that perfect for this format. Again Paper Girls isn’t my favorite book on the stands by BKV or Matt Wilson, BUT it’s so rewarding on a technical level, not to mention captivating as hell, I can’t help but to buy it on sight.

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Chris’ Comics: The Goddamned #3

TheGoddamned_03-1The Goddamned #3

Jason Aaron, r.m. Guera, Giulia Brusco, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $3.99

The Goddamned is a great comic to review because every issue offers something worth examining. After the first 2 issues, both which I’ve enjoyed thoroughly, I was afraid that Kain and Aga were going to go down the cliche route of Savior and Damsel. While some of that still rings true, issue 3 shows some much needed development for both characters, as Jason Aaron and r.m. Guera do some much need character growth in this issue.

While the man who invented murder (again, such a fantastic title) is a fun lead, Kain hasn’t been one we the reader could get behind. It risked the character being a bit 2 dimensional, but this issue steers away from that by looking us several glimpses at Kain’s past. The flashback involving his parents (Adam and Eve in case your Biblical knowledge is rusty or lacking) is great for fleshing out the character, given us a much needed moment of humor and allowing Guera to draw something pleasant for a minute. Eden under r.m and 002goddamned03jpgcolorist Giulia Brusco is gorgeous and by giving us a quick look at paradise, it shows up how far the world has fallen.

And while it may be hard to look at, the look and design of the world of The Goddamned is gorgeous in it’s own twisted way. I’ve compared it to those old timey Prince Valiant/ Sunday Comics strips, but I’m seeing some Dr. Seuss influence in this month’s issue when it comes to the designs of the newly introduced Night Raiders. Maybe it’s a combination of the exaggerated faces with the bright colors of their eyes, but I’m reminded of the ol’ Chuck Jones “Horton Hears a Who!” TV special. Yes, I’m ancient, this has been established. Either way, I love the look of this book, from it’s malformed characters, to detail backgrounds to “exotic” wildlife. Guera and Brusco deserve like 20 Eisners for the art in this book.

Going back to Jason Aaron, I like how restrained he is in this issue. For the most part, he lets the spectacular art tell the story, which is a smart move given the quality. It also makes the dialogue feel all the more important, not to mention informative. There’s a lot of cool bait and switching in this issue, rarely for the greater good, and I dig the hell out of it. Also I love the choice of fonts Jared K. Fletcher uses for the dialogue, which really feel primitive and biblical, for a better lack of proper adjective.

The Goddamned is definitely the most brutal and old school Vertigo-feeling comic out on the shelves today. Issue 3 is a reminder of how this creative first took off, and as a reader, I couldn’t be any more thrilled to have it. The final pages tease at something very interesting, and I’m curious to see how it all plays out given the type of person Kain is. The Goddamned is a comic that I didn’t really mind being a month or so late, because every issue has been a epic in itself.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Captain Marvel #2 & Paper Girls #5

portrait_incredible (5)Captain Marvel #2

Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters, Kris Anka, Matt Wilson, Joe Caramagna

Marvel $3.99

Come for the Captain Marvel meets Aliens premise! Stick around for Sasquatch-related romance drama!

Captain Marvel #2 sees the good Captain and her Alpha Flight pals investigate a seemingly abandon spaceship that bears an all too familiar emblem on it. Meanwhile, Abigal Brand finds herself back in a familiar role of dealing with alien tomfoolery. If you’re a fan of space politics and gross alien stuff, this is a comic for you.

As noted several times in the past,  Kris Anka is really good at drawing pretty people with huge muscles. While that is certainly a thing he does in issue 2, he also tosses some stuff at the reader that can be best described as  “fairly disgusting” and “slimy”. He does it quite well, which is a testament to his skills, but some of the imagery that Anaka and Matthew Wilson manage to create I could have gone without seeing in life. Also props to Wilson, who’s colors help give the early pages of the book a sense of Claustrophobia, really selling the how unnerving the alien ship is.

Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters do a great job of fleshing out some of the supporting cast this issue. Shifting the focus on Alpha Flight as Carol narrates shows just show strong of story tellers these writers are, letting the dialogue explain the character’s motives. They also excel in the Brand related subplot, which sees a few new twists and forces the readers to question some character’s motives. Captain Marvel’s new supporting cast grows on you real fast, and helps the book establish it’s own voice.

Captain Marvel #2 is an immensely enjoyable sci-fi super hero comic. Carol Danvers as a leader is an extremely fun reading experience, especially when the creative team is as good as this. It sits nicely next to Ms Marvel, The Ultimates, Spider-Woman and A-Force, letting readers know the character is in good hands without the guidance of Kelly Sue Deconnick.

PaperGirls_05-1Paper Girls #5

Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $2.99

Paper Girl #5 is a lot like Captain Marvel #2 in a lot of ways: Great art. Matthew Wilson on coloring and some grossness that I could have lived without seeing. That being said, this issue didn’t work for me as CM #2 did.

Paper Girls certainly get points for getting a lot of stuff done in a single issue. The creators dump a lot of info and potential new plot beats in this issue, not giving the readers much time to breathe. I applaud the decision by writer Brian K Vaughan and artist Cliff Chiang to make the book a dense read, but it’s definitely a little more than I was ready to handle in a single sitting.

Paper Girls art though, that never fails to please.. Cliff Chiang and Matthew Wilson both come through on the visuals, supplying the book with gorgeous art and fantastic colors. Chiang is an inventive story teller, so watching him tell this story with his illustrations choices is super fascinating, He’s so good at blending the period accurate material with the sci-fi stuff, giving the reader a lot to marvel at. And I love Wilson’s choices of colors, which feel retro in a way, but also perfect for the tone of this book.

A good, but not great issue of Paper Girls is still an solid read none the less. The visuals are the selling point this month, and hopefully the break will do the book some wonders.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Paper Girls #4

PaperGirls_04-1Paper Girls #4

Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chang, Matt Wilson, Jared K Fletcher

Image $2.99

One of these days I want to read and Image book and be disappointed with it. For starters, a review fueled by rage and HOT TAKES would be easier and possibly some fun than thinking of new ways to praise books that deliver month after month. But no, Image gotta Image and release quality comic after quality comic, forcing me to up my game and find new ways to praise their books. Unlike Marvel and DC, who throw me a bone every so often and do something dumb, helping me find new ways for me to toss shade at them.

This month’s issue of Paper Girls is another solid one, as team creative team produces a ton of cool visual and narrative moments once again. Yeah I know, another great comic by Cliff Chang, Brian K Vaughan, Matt Wilson and Jared K Fletcher, big shocker there. But at least they give me plenty to talk about, which I’m grateful for.

First and foremost, and slight spoiler,  I’m intrigued by the decision to make one of the girl slightly homophobic. While their words aren’t as harsh as they were back in issue 1, it’s still not great, just slightly less offensive. To have a lead character act like that is bold cb3c481590c0d42e112bf54a45b914ff._SX640_QL80_TTD_decision, as it could result in some readers dropping the book, despite this sort of behavior not being entirely unheard of in the 80s. And in the creators defense, they make sure that she’s called out on it by the other leads, so it’s not like her actions are condoned, and she’s certainly young enough to change her stances as the book progresses. It’s something worth keeping an eye out, but given Chang and BKV’s track record, it’s safe to say they’ll handle this correctly.

Something less controversial to touch upon is Chang’s art for this issue. There’s a bit where a character has a flashback of sorts, and I how Chang and Wilson go with the 9 panel layouts with black borders for 4 wordless pages, and that those pages are printed horizontally. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a book printed out like that, and it’s jarring in all the right ways, giving the chaotic nature of the scene. Chang is stellar as usual on this issue, giving us more bizarre characters and creatures, but this sort of story telling through visuals only is really something else. Vaughan has shown a tone of restrain in this series, and the results have work in the book’s favor, letting the gorgeous art tell the story instead of going with a ton of scene-chewing exposition.

All joking earlier aside, Paper girls #4 continues to be a quality read, deserving your attention along with BKV’s excellent Saga. It’s a fun sci-fi book with some really clever nods to it’s late 80s setting, and the gorgeous visuals and design make it unlike anything else on the market. The first arc will wrap up next month, and it’s hard to predicate how this whole thing will end, which is exciting in it’s own right. Visually stunning, Paper Girls is a shining example of how good Image Comics is right now, and is worth your attention and money.

 

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Chris’ Comics: The Goddamned #2

TheGoddamned_02-1The Goddamned #2

Jason Aaron, r.m. Guera,, Giulia Brusco, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $3.99

 

I really wish this review was just me giggling inappropriately. Granted it would be the vaguest review, it would also be my cutest. Or creepiest I guess, depending on your perspective. Either way I should start doing video reviews for this blog.

The Goddamned #2 is more of the same insanity as issue 1 was, which is the breed of bonkers I love from my comics. This issue is split between Jason Aaron & r.m. Gueras take on Noah and his clan, and Kain, who stumbles across the distraught mother trope. There’s a lot for me to like in there 20 pages, even though it kind of stinks that the first female character we’re introduced to is a damsel in distress of sorts.

The-Goddamned-2-preview-mjmplajmuwohka5h64nauee8jtjzd0vdfa13tw2p1oNoah was introduced in the final pages of issue 1, and this issue sees him a little more fleshed out. Aaron and Guera’s Garth Ennis influence shines here, as we see Noah portrayed as a  righteous religious man who fully believes in carry out God’s work, just in the most violent of manners. He’s a fascinating character, and given his history, I’m excited to see his story play out.  A shame the same can’t be said for said female characte,r who doesn’t even get a name this issue.

While I’m less than pleased with how the book’s only female character is handled in the Kain portion of the book, I love what Guera and Aaron do with the character in this issue. While Kain throws down with a new tribe of foes, Aaron recalls the various methods Kain has tried killing himself. It walks to the line between ridiculous and tragic, because we feel for Kain in a way, but he’s also the dude solely responsible for the way the world is. I do appreciate Aaron and Guera finally giving the readers a reason to get behind Kain as a lead, and how they manage to let the reader know how bad the world is strictly from dialogue and visual cues.

Aside from the great narration and dialogue from Aaron, we get some fantastic stuff from the art team of this issue. Jared K Fletcher‘s choice of fonts really give the book a Prince Valiant/ old timey look, which I dig for a biblical action book.  It pairs well with the colors The-Goddamned-2-2015-Page-22used by Giulia Bruscowhich give the book a nice painted look. And of course r.m. Guera is fantastic. I like the various body type he uses for the book’s cast, especially when so many fantasy type stories only stick or two or 3. He really does a fantastic job of creating a sick and twisted world, while drawing some fine dinosaurs, and uses dark black inks to invokes shadows in some interesting wats. He also shines when it comes to drawing the action pieces in this issue, creating some really brutal art that hard too look directly art, but gorgeous in it’s own way none the less.

The Goddamned is pretty much everything I wanted from the team who gave us Scalped. It’s a violent fantasy book with a killer hook, and small but intriguing cast. Given what we know about the Bible & the Old Testament, we have a rough idea on how this whole thing is going to play out, but it’s fascinating none the less. Guera and Aaron managed to create a captivating narrative quickly, and with Brusco and Fletcher, and visual style that blend European style comics with some Games of Thrones level violence. It’s a book I can’t recommend enough if you want something a little more brutal from Image.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Papergirls #3

PaperGirls_03-1Paper Girls #3

Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chang, Matthew Wilson, Jared K Fletcher

Image $2.99

Brian K Vaughan has been accused of being “Too Clever” a lot these days by my peers. I’m not entirely sure if I get that claim, as I am the type of dude who laughed and clapped when I reached the final page of this issue of Paper Girls #3.

Paper Girls #3’s starts off on several “OH #$#%” moments and ends on one. The book throws a ton of high stress moments at you, expecting the reader to toughen up and take it all in, not unlike the Walking Dead. It’s torture via weirdness, as one of the girl’s lives hangs in balance as some insanity befalls her friends. And it climaxes in a twist no one will see coming, changing the entire dynamic of the book and how you view certain characters. It’s no different than Saga in a way, which makes sense given BKV’s involvement, but also reminds me of the writer’s excellent run on Runaways with Marvel.

Colorist Matthew Wilson is a beast on this issue. As if he wasn’t satisfied experimenting with colors on his Gillen/McKelvie books, Wilson goes all out on this issue of Paper Girls. He drenches the books with purples, red and blues, giving a night sense of night as well as dim lightning PG-3-color-page-01-banner-817x350when need be. It does a fantastic job of setting the scene, and it clashes nicely when he uses brighter colors like white, silver and yellow. Paper Girls attempts to stand out amongst the crowd visually do not go unnoticed, and it’s great to watch them attempt to shake things up.

As for co-creator and artist Cliff Chang, it’s business as usual, which means fine looking comics! No surprise there, as Chang’s simplistic but detailed in all the right places style has resulted in some gorgeous visuals plenty of times. So let’s get into some spoiler talk yes? What I really loved about the end of this issue was the reveal that the black-outfitted weirdos are some sort of time traveling #TEENS. Again, no one saw that coming, and it seem safe to assume that there’s some sort of conflict between said teens and #ADULTS Screen-Shot-2015-12-02-at-8.32.05-PMrocking some Jack Kirby-inspired armor. Anything that allows Cliff Chiang to channel Kirby again is welcomed (See his Orion during his Wonder Woman run), especially when it involves future narcs riding dinosaur. This weirdness actually meshes quite well with the suburban drama that Chiang channeled, and it’s insanity makes for an incredible fresh experience.

The big reveal regarding the visitor’s identities has changed my outlook on this title. It’s gone to self-aware Spielberg comic to Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chang channeling the Forever People. Of course I may be reading into things a bit, but this book managed to once again pleasantly surprise me in a way I found delightful. Paper Girls special brand of crazy is certainly welcomed in an age where comics and being spoiled before they’re even released, and it’s being as unpredictable as it is really works in its favor.

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Chris’ Comics: The Goddamned #1

TheGoddamned01-Cvr-ab5f6The Goddamned #1

Jason Aaron, r.m. Guera, Giulia Brusco, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $3.99

With Image Comics putting out new hit IP after new hit IP, comparsions to 90s Vertigo Comics have popped up. For all you younger readers, 90s Vertigo was the business, giving us such excellent comics like Preacher, Sandman, The Invisibles, and some hella fine Hellblazer comics. There were some really groundbreaking titles coming out from the DC imprint, which helped launched the careers of a ton of amazing creators, but what really won over TEEN Chris was the profanity, violence and nudity, aka things I wasn’t seeing in whatever Spider-Clone comic I was buying at the time. TEEN Chris did not have the best logic when it came to buy good comics back then folks, the Joe Kelly Deadpool run aside.

The current Image renaissance has given readers a plethora of wonderful comics, but none of their acclaimed titles really scratched that ultra violence Vertigo itch for me. Oh sure a lot of these titles are arguably better made comics (hi Saga), but sometimes you don’t want 169021_764322_4_1a deep, thought provoking comic. Sometimes you just want blood , profanity and a generous helping of profanity.

Thankfully, two creators who have some Vertigo experience under their belts finally published a book through Image that’s exactly what I’m talking about. The Goddamned is the first creator owned worked by superstar writer Jason Aaron and ultra-talented artist r.m. Guera since they wrapped up their acclaim run on Scalped. The Goddamned is a Conan meets The Old Testament type comic, in which Cain, the “man who invented murder” wanders a forsaken planet not unlike Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star. It is a concept that is VERY MUCH my jam,and Jason Aaron should get an award of some sorts just for that bit about Cain inventing murder that I quoted.

The Goddamned is a bizarre high concept book that I was sold on immediately when it was announced this past summer at the Image Expo. It’s been some like 1600 or 1700  years since the fall of Eden, and Cain is forced to walk a truly evil earth as an immortal. This first issue gives us the basic premise, introduces Cain as a lone wolf badass, and gives us a TON of brutal fight scenes. While it’s an extremely violent book, Guera’s style never review-image-comics-the-goddamned-1_1really glorifies it, and the brutality never got to me thanks to his over the top, animated style. It’s very much in the spirit of Marvel’s old Conan the Barbarian comic, only with a hard R rating.

Jason Aaron’s dialogue would do Preacher-era Garth Ennis proud. There’s some choice dialogue that may offend any religious folk, but it absolutely delighted me. Aaron does not attempt to go with any sort of period accuracy for this book, which is fine, because this dude is at his best when he’s telling revenge stories with a violent lead. And I like how he doesn’t try to justify Cain’s past actions as any given point, which makes me wonder if the book will actually have a likable protagonist as any given point.

The Goddamned was a book I was very much hyped for, and it delivered on ever level. The art from r.m. Guera and colorist Giulia Brusco is ugly in the best ways, and Jason Aaron’s dialogue is Dirty Harry cranked up to 11. It’s the type of comic I missed reading, and final page is some Brian K Vaughan level of cliffhanger. If you don’t mind your comics on the violent side, pick up the Goddamned immediately.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Paper Girls #2

PaperGirls_02-1Paper Girls #2

Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chang, Matt Wilson, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $2.99

It feels almost pointless to review a book drawn by Cliff Chang, written by Brian K Vaughan, and colored by Matthew Wilson these days. Given the collected works by these 3 creators have product throughout their comics careers, you know the book will be worth your time, and that this trio will bring their A-game to the table. To tell you that Paper Girls is easily worth the $3 should go without saying by now.

What I do want to talk about today is how good this book’s packaging and design is. Letterer Jared K. Fletcher handles the book’s design and it’s quite wonderful. Fletcher kicks the issue off with a phrase in the “alien” language that debuted in the last issue on a page that apparently is also a pull out poster. The book’s back matter, a letters column, and a survey that may or may not get the reader some cool swag and information in the future, is crafted as to match the 80s setting of the book. I love the creative’s team dedication to the single issue format, as if they want the readers to know they’re appreciated for supporting the book on a monthly basis. And I dig the fact that the 3 ads in the back of the issue are for the creator’s others projects, which is a cool way for any new readers to check out some other great comics by the creative team. Team Paper Girls is trying to build a strong community, and I applaud them trying to go about it in such an old school and traditional method.

tumblr_nxaxklv5Gr1s8erfco1_1280Let’s talk about the book’s visuals now. I really like what Cliff Chang and Matt Wilson are doing with the covers. They only use 2-3 colors, but use such an unusual palette that it’s bound to stick out on the shelves. It’s a bold strategy, but effective, and also iconic in a way. The first 2 issues of Paper Girls are designed in such a way that I want to frame them and display them like vinyl record, like some sort of comic book hipster. The interiors are unsurprisingly great. Chang does a fine job of keeping the characters looking period accurate without it ever going too deep into the nostalgia. He and Wilson also absolutely slay when it comes to the weirder elements introduced in this issue, furthering the mystery of what exactly is going on. There’s enough material to make some solid guesses with this small Cleveland suburb, but nothing that’s strong enough to confirm anything yet.

Paper Girls is an incredibly well crafted that can easily double for a celebration of the medium. Vaughan, Chang, Wilson and Fletcher are channeling Steven Spielberg with this book, but in an mature and self aware sort of way. It’s hard to explain, but the book does give off a vibe of 80s cinema, but not in cheesy, lust for the past sort of way. Paper Girls remains a stellar, creator driven comic that is up there with Saga as some of the finest comics being published today. It goes without saying that this book is worth reading immediately, despite the urge to wait for trade. In my opinion, it’s meant to be enjoyed issue by issues, especially with the sort of cliffhangers BKV comics are known for.

 

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Jughead #1 & Papergirls #1

DISCLAIMER: I will go on the record saying that I believe Chip Zdarsky is NICE MAN, but this comic was bought with my own money.

635793458419385897-Jughead-1RegCvrJughead #1

Chip Zdarsky, Erica Henderson

Archie Comics, $3.99

Jughead joins the ranks of Afterlife with Archie in being one of the 2 Archie books I’ve bought in the last 2 centuries. Much like Afterlife, the creators on this book warranted me at least checking out the first issue, despite not caring much for the lead character. The record will show that obviously I am a fan of Handsome-for-Canada writer Chip Zdarsky‘s output, and I’ve been enjoying Erica Henderson‘s work on the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.  I haven’t been keeping up with the relaunched Archie title by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples, so I wasn’t sure what this incarnation of Jughead was like, aside from his love of hamburgers, and chances are he wasn’t a zombie.

Jughead #1 turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Well not that much of a surprise, given the fact I just said I’m a big fan of these creators. I just really appreciated how Henderson and Zdarsky they managed to blend the spirit of these classic iconic comic characters while placing them in a modern setting.

Jughead2015_01-5-666x1024Erica Henderson drawing a teen comedy was a genius move on the behalf of Archie. She excels at drawing various body types and expressions, making her a perfect fit for this title. Her acting and costume designs make the book look like it takes place in 2015, and keeps the character recognizable it. Having her ink and color her own works also helps her art look clean and bold, not unlike Fiona Staples work on Archie proper.

And much like being assigned writing duties on Howard the Duck, Chip Zdarsky couldn’t be a better choice for Jughead. In the afterword, Chip goes on the record stating that he’s a huge fan of Jughead and Archie comics, and it shows in the book. His Jughead is very sarcastic and a bit of a slacker, but ultimately very likable. His dialogue is sharp and hilarious, again much like Howard, but a little more reserved, making it still a teen rated book, only because there’s some serious dept to the humor, and a big ol’ reference to a popular and violent fantasy TV show. It makes for a really fun read.

Jughead #1 is another stellar reinvention of a classic Archie character. I really enjoyed this debut issue, but I’m concerned how long the team with stick around what with Squirrel Girl returning soon, and Chip’s various comments to Marvel and Image comics. Hopefully the pair will be around for awhile, as this book is off to a great start.

 

294389._SX360_QL80_TTD_ Paper Girls #1

Cliff Chiang, Brian K Vaughan, Matt Wilson, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $2.99

Paper Girls #1 was THE comic everyone was talking about at NYCC this year. It’s the first new ongoing writer Brian K Vaughan has launched since Saga, and the first book artist Cliff Chiang has worked on after his Wonder Woman run. It’s been shrouded in secret since it’s announcement, with a premise no one knew much about aside from “suburban paper girls in the late 80s”, with rumors of some sort of bonkers twist to the whole thing. Those rumors were correct to an extent, leading to one of the BEST final page reveals of the year (sorry Invincible Iron Man) in an excellent first issue.

I’ve spoken highly about BKV on this blog multiple times thanks to Saga. Same for colorist Matt Wilson, who’s also working on this book, and is unsurprisingly excellent. Whom I’ve never really talked about around these parts is Cliff Chiang, who’s the perfect artist for a period piece like this. Everything he draws in this debut issue is terrific; the spooky psychedelic dream that kicks this issue off, the character’s body language and dress, and the things related to the twist I dare not spoil. What’s also neat is the subtle but effective reminders that Chiang uses to let the readers know that this whole thing takes place is the 80s, without beating us over the head.  BKV also gets some credit for that, as his “perfect but still natural” dialogue never flirts with nostalgia or worries about being too period accurate. There is one major exception where a homophobic slur is dropped (consider this a trigger warning for the book), but it’s handled pretty well all things considering, as one of the character acknowledges the choice of wording is pretty messed up. It’s good to see that the creative team actually put some thought into that’s word use, instead of just dropping it in the comics and making up excuses for its presence.

Matt Wilson’s colors are gorgeous in this book. He uses a lot of dark blues/purples/pinks for the background, occasionally switching things up to a red or a yellow, and it’s all quite striking. Letter & designer Jared K. Fletcher is the unsung her of the book, contributing some really cool stuff I can’t talk about, but it really sets the book apart from a lot of comics out there. This is a stellar creative team on every level.

I honestly feel the less you know about Paper Girls’ premise, the better you know. What matters is that 4 creators have come together and created a fantastic first issue that’s worth your time and 3 bucks.

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