Saga #36 Story by Brian K. Vaughan Art by Fiona …
Brian K. Vaughan
Paper Girls #3 opens with genre-subverting humor but then pours on the suspense and action. Brian K. Vaughan adds a race against the clock to the other odd time-oriented elements, prompting hand-wringing anxiety while also building in absurd, often hilarious, references to 1988 in weird and apt juxtapositions. Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson continue to provide brilliantly nuanced and multi-layered visuals for Vaughan’s unique mix of the strange and the mundane.
October 21, 2015, I woke up in my Atlantic Beach home around 7:00 AM. I got dressed, made sure my bags were packed, ate a light breakfast, and took off in my car. Today was my trip to Melbourne, Florida where I would be meeting my friend Jade, and we both would be going to Famous Faces & Funnies for a Skype Q&A with the one and only Brian K. Vaughan.
Paper Girls #2 picks up immediately after the close of issue #1. One of our mummy-ninja mystery men is making a mad dash with his bag of stolen devices. The issue then goes on to offer deepening characters and relationships, developing themes, and more than a few surprises. Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang maintain the excitement, intrigue, and childhood nostalgia established in the opening issue while giving their readers much more to munch on.
Nov. 1, 1988. “Hell morning” for four 12-year-old paper girls. Teaming up to minimize the abuse they might take from lingering drunk partiers, Erin, Mac, Tiffany, and KJ run into a completely unexpected adversary, and they’re clearly not locals. Image marketing calls it Stand by Me meets War of the Worlds. Vaughan brings his characteristic mix of the mundanely familiar and the fantastical to the storytelling, while Chiang amplifies the realism through his attention to detail, and Wilson color contrasts early morning blues with neon pink and yellow to evoke the late 80’s era and highlight emotional peaks. And in short, the collaboration is a-MAZE-ing.
The creative team of We Stand on Guard does a stellar job of introducing a premise that seems like it could be yet another false poke at Canada as a joke but it appears that the great white north is being approached with careful consideration. The Canadian easter eggs are abound with Tim Hortons and the CBC but there are some great sensible additions such as the French speaking character named Les LePage and even having a member of the freedom fighters question Amber when they first meet to validate her identity in the form of a hockey question. It just makes sense that a fellow Canadian would ask another who won the Stanley Cup in 2011 to make sure they are who they say they are. All in all, We Stand on Guard has a very promising start that can really dive deeper into the political conflict.
2015 has been quite the eclectic year for comics, and this fact is reflected in our top ten list. Image Comics continues to be the true house of ideas with books ranging from a feminist twist on exploitation films to a murder mystery set in 1940s Hollywood and even a LGBTQ-friendly parody of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Even though they are in the middle of big events (Convergence and Secret Wars), DC and Marvel respectively still have room for offbeat takes on their iconic or not so iconic characters and are represented on this list along with Valiant, which has attracted a veritable Murderer’s Row of creator to shape and develop their shared universe.
Cullen Bunn is unique. If nothing else can be said about him, he is certainly unique. The Empty Man shows the full extent of Bunn’s ability. The series focuses on two detectives as they struggle to sort out the mystery surrounding a series of suspicious deaths and murders. The deaths are connected by the strange hallucinations experienced by the perpetrators, as well as their last words “The Empty Man made me do it”. The Empty Man is unpredictable because it follows so very few tropes. Nothing like this series has been seen before, and readers will be asking themselves the same question over and over: Who is the Empty Man? (Or “What the F*ck?”).