Paper Girls is one of the all-time classic Image Comics series of the 2010s. Written by Brian K Vaughan, pencilled by Cliff Chiang, coloured by Matt Wilson, and lettered by Jared K Fletcher, the series is a fan and critical favourite thanks to its lush visuals and emotive scripts. It’s no wonder that Amazon Prime Video is adapting the comic as a television series.
With that in mind, it has never been a better time to read the Paper Girls comic book series. But how do you do that? This guide will point you in the right direction to start reading this incredible series.
What is Paper Girls about?
I’ll assume that most people are reading this guide due to the Amazon Prime adaption. Since this is the case, I won’t go into too much detail about what Paper Girls is about to avoid spoilers. But for those who want some background, here’s a vague description of the premise:
Initially set in the early hours of the morning after Halloween in 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls begin to experience weird things on their route. This weirdness escalates to include time travel, with the group caught in the middle of a massive conflict. While the comic is about the the girls’ adventure, it’s equally about how their experiences become formative moments in their life.
It shares many similarities with Stranger Things (Paper Girls started before the popular Netflix series began) but with a female cast. That being said, many similar ideas go in different directions. As a result, you can’t say that either series copied the other.
Why you should read Paper Girls
Beyond the great premise, there are plenty of other reasons to read Paper Girls.
It’s a character-driven series. Readers see Erin, MacKenzie, KJ, and Tiffany grow significantly throughout the series. They learn all kinds of things about themselves as they go on these time travelling adventures and change as people because of it.
Brian K Vaughn writes the comic in a way that will always keep you guessing. He gives the readers a range of strange concepts out of context and then drip-feeds the answers as the comic progress. While this could be frustrating, it’s executed well because the answers are satisfying, with plenty of twists and turns along the way.
Paper Girls is also a visual feast thanks to the combination of artist Cliff Chiang and colourist Matt Wilson. Chiang’s line work is bold and expressive. He uses this to capture a wide range of settings and easily portrays both the quiet and loud moments. This is taken to another level with Wilson’s otherworldly colours, which are lush with unnatural pinks, purples, and more.
Where is the best place to start reading Paper Girls?
It may sound like an obvious answer, but the best place to start reading Paper Girls is from the very beginning – Paper Girls #1.
This is due to the way that the comic book series is plotted. It contains six story arcs that form a much larger macro story. By reading from the beginning, readers explore this overarching plot and chart the character’s evolution as they grow from their experiences.
You can read Paper Girls #1 for free on the Image Comics website. This is a fantastic opportunity to sample the comic book series and see if it’s something you want to read more of without spending any money.
How to read all of Paper Girls
So you’ve read Paper Girls #1 and have decided you want to read more. Below is everything you need to know about the various formats that the comic book series can be read.
Paper Girls was serialised as 30 single issues that were released between 2015 and 2019.
Along with the comic book story, the single issues also included a letters column hosted by the American Newspaper Delivery Guild’s own Petey Roy the Paper Boy. This included letters from readers, occasional surveys, character pin-ups, and posters. All of it came together to build a community around the comic.
Alternatively, you can read them digitally on Amazon Kindle.
Trade paperback collections
Prefer to read in trade paperback? Paper Girls has been collected in six volumes.
Paper Girls Volume 1
Collects: Paper Girls #1-5
Paper Girls Volume 2
Collects: Paper Girls #6-10
Paper Girls Volume 3
Collects: Paper Girls #11-15
Paper Girls Volume 4
Collects: Paper Girls #16-20
Paper Girls Volume 5
Collects: Paper Girls #21-25
Paper Girls Volume 6
Collects: Paper Girls #26-30
Buy Paper Girls trade paperbacks on:
Paper Girls also comes in three deluxe hardcovers. These oversized books collect the equivalent of two trade paperbacks of material along with some exclusive extras. Check them out if you’re looking for an edition that will look great on your shelf.
Paper Girls Deluxe Edition Book One
Collects: Paper Girls #1-10
Paper Girls Deluxe Edition Book Two
Collects: Paper Girls #11-20
Paper Girls Deluxe Edition Book Three
Collects: Paper Girls #21-30
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Have you decided that you want to read all of Paper Girls? One way of doing it is with the omnibus edition, which collects all 30 issues in a single collection.
Paper Girls: The Complete Story
Collects: Paper Girls #1-30
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Where to find Paper Girls comics and collections
You may be able to find Paper Girls at your local library. Use WorldCat to find a library near you that has the comics in their collection.
Here are a few other resources that I thought would be fun to include in this guide but didn’t have a home anywhere else.
Something that’s present throughout the Paper Girls comic book is an alien language that’s unique to the series. Want to know what it means? Well, someone has figured it out and has shared how they did it.
It appears that all of Cliff Chiang’s original art for Paper Girls has been sold. However, it’s nice to browse Felix Comic Art to see all the scans.