Comic Reading Review: Paper Girls #5

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Paper Girls (#5)

  • Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Artist: Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson
  • Colorist: Matt Wilson
  • Published by: Image
  • Pages: 36, Publish Date: Feb 3, 2016, Price: $2.99
  • Notes: Monthly series

Synopsis:

“END OF STORY ARC! The first arc of the smash-hit ongoing series concludes with major revelations and another game-changing cliffhanger.”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

Back to Stony Stream, and beyond!

So goes the 5th issue, where things continue to pick up with more of the unusual weirdness. The time travel angle seems further developed with more explained, or not (trust no one?). Those scruddy “teenagers” are apparently a scavenger sort, storing junk in their “Whenhouse.” Also collecting, is Grandfather, with his collection of local residents. What could all that mean?

Heck if I know, but I do sense a sort of order versus disorder theme at work. We have more plot with a little less character development, of which can be a good thing when not in access. Our gals are just in the middle for now of this conflict, of which us readers remain uncertain of its grandness. To what extant will the current plot proceed beyond Sony Stream? I suppose we must read on with patience, with trust in our awesome creative team.

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Meanwhile for this issue, we have some bright, driven moments for our protagonists. Tiffany shows badassery with her sudden assertiveness to not let this grander game control her, a nice reflection to her recent Arkanoid flashback. Erin seems underfreaked out by the sight of weird tiny machines on her belly. Mac is still vary dangerous, by accident. Their reactions overall are still priceless, as we readers can share in them.

The art is again brilliant, but I notice a shift in tone. There is a later nighttime feel, with deep filters and thicker edges at play here, a sort of moonlit approach I enjoy more as the series progresses. I also feel there is lesser minimalism noticed, as technology and settings seem to taker a grander role in the storytelling than initially expected. Placement of the character is also important, with the proximity with danger also plays off well in establishing the continuous mood of the story. I feel that especially with any shot involving the giant dino-bird thing.

The lettering style is also growing on me, feels very special to the series. We see more of those otherworldly language text of which I am well aware of the  uncovered fan translations, elsewhere online. While interesting to know, I prefer my ignorance of unknowing until later; perhaps in a reread in later years. I pull myself to keep the perspective of our protagonists, and take guesses about the what’s being said by the strange visitors.

This issue ends the first story arc, with many answers leading to more questions. We have a curious end, though very clichéd in many time travel stories I have read. But, I do love good time travel stories, which is the bonus cherry to this dessert of a series. To where the series goes from here, could be any direction. This is a good thing, as each new delivery is worth picking up.

– Orion T

 

Comic Reading Review: Paper Girls #4

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Paper Girls (#4)

  • Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Artist: Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson
  • Colorist: Matt Wilson
  • Published by: Image
  • Pages: 36, Publish Date: December 2, 2015, Price: $2.99
  • Notes: Monthly series

Synopsis:

“What lurks beneath the streets of Stony Stream?”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

In this month’s local top story, time travel maybe. New reveals lead to some explanation into current happenings in this strange colorful world of our Paper Girls. Can some waking elderly man (and Public Enemy fan?!) have some foundation into these otherworldly happenings? Also more thrills, drama, action!

The fourth issue in many fresh comics series often reveals a serious unfolding of a bigger picture. Though for Paper Girls, its more of an unraveling to that of the Fruit Roll-ups with peeling shapes; to which I enjoyed in my pre-teen daze. There was that sweet purpose of it all, to consume the rewarding sweetness while finding embedded shapes within (some to my imagination) with each unroll. I had something more than initially desired, to which my satisfaction expanded. Or in this case, a comic book story revealing a bit more with each page turn.

We have new creatures, new concepts, new characters mixed in with the somewhat familiar by now. We got the new fleshing out of the two factions of visitors running about, something a bit more to their mannerisms, language and purposes though much is still left to mystery. We have new dangers, including a strange technological tentacle terror (the Editrix) within the deep.

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The giant bird creatures have grown on me quite, with their long beaks, necks; strong but not dangerous. In the picture below, we have these interesting dangers brought to us I think best represented by the giant dinolike bird, yet a tiny man-made bullet that brought on the unmoored fate of poor Alistar.

With the characters and creatures, we discover with them; especially the “teenagers” and their sensible explanation of time travel consequences. An understanding between two groups is intelligent, though still showing distance. Mac’s reaction is perfect for the sudden revelation to one male having a “boyfriend.” To which certain feelings are still a cultural norm of many today, I think the “effed up time” is referring to our modern times, still prevalent today…yet misplaced which we as a society are still growing. Mac’s youth and reaction (along with her friend’s counter reaction) I feel reflects that. This brings to mind and question, to how far ahead are our visitors and to what degree would we matter in our ever-evolving ways of thought.

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In that, we should be careful, and not completely trusting or easily lead by new supporting characters. Paper Girls has a somewhat new lesson veering off the trouble with snooping and gun safety. They are gullible in following strange strangers into the sewers and woods, to which in saving their friend. The end results proof such, though there could be come misunderstandings as well (will see). I can imagine this throwing back in the day of cartoon public service-announcements (prevalent in the time of our paper Girls). I can see KJ suddenly interrupting a possible abduction lure to a walking child from a passing stranger holding candy. Through a brief explanation of consequences we learn once again that “knowing is half the battle!”

But then again, perhaps no choice but to trust. But there is a laughable degree to which I can’t take this world of Paper Girls too seriously. that’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, we don’t get as much in major character development (more like reinforcement). That’s okay, as we need a little time to take back and breathe in the crazy developments. However, I loved the moment where Tiffany lives through a mundane “hell” as she relived her past in wasting her time away playing an Arkanoid style game. I would fondly welcome any chance to relive my first experience playing Blaster Master or the first Legend of Zelda on the old Nintendo system, both wasting in time but with no regrets.

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That whole sequence, is a fantastic showcase of sequential art. The colors, screen, intensity of colors, angles, all work fantastic together in a moment suitable for framing. I loved every panel of that, and can almost hear the beeps.

That art as usual, continues to present the best sugar to this overall treat. Not much more said, than already in past issues without continuing to feel like I’m gushing too much. As long as the great work is kept up by Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson, than I shall stick around.

So, I enjoyed my sweet fruit roll-up reading of this Paper Girls #4. I look forward to the next issue, and the peelings apart within.

– Orion T

 

Comic Reading Review: Paper Girls #3

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Paper Girls (#3)

  • Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Artist: Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson
  • Colorist: Matt Wilson
  • Published by: Image
  • Pages: 36, Publish Date: December 2, 2015, Price: $2.99
  • Notes: Monthly series

Synopsis:

“The ongoing mystery series from BRIAN K. VAUGHAN & CLIFF CHIANG charges ahead, as the girls have a close encounter with an unexpected visitor.”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

Paper Girls delivers again!!

Open and there is more craziness to this stranger world for our hapless heroines. I see this weird unique aura to this latest issue, where I can feel to what Paper Girls might be moving towards; unpredictable fun. It’s not the horror, fantasy, or science fiction, but the sort meshing of all with drama and humor. Brian K. Vaughan does that well with his written work, without straying the reader too far away into pretentious nonsense. And, he has fun with it all…

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First, we open withTerry and Gabs, of who I assume are minor characters in the opening of this issue. Typical teenagers, though a bit more real life to how I relate to ideas of fantastic danger somehow uniting young couples together. That’s great for the 50s, 60s, 70s of campy storytelling but shit gets ridiculous in the 80s. I can sympathize with the otherworldly knight dude riding the dino-bird thing.

“Scruddy teenagers..”

Though his action was a bit uncalled for. By that, assuming they are dead..or perhaps teleported. Will see. Anything is possible in a comic book.

Also, guns are really bad in this world of Paper Girls. Erin was nearly fatally shot in a struggle for a gun between Mac and her step-mom. There exists a possibility I think, for a main character to die this early. Would the writer dare? Turning the pages later on, I might have been right. We have a badass, standing in front of a car daring to accelerate the story plot in a different direction. But then, a headshot happens and we have one less adult who can make a difference. Oddly enough, it’s more scruddy “teenagers” at fault.

Anyway, Erin has a cool weird dream with Cold War symbolism, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, and…Ronald Reagan?

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Back to the overall plot; to what I first thought was aliens, or the future, or perhaps some netherworld occult weirdness. I’m leaning towards dimensional portals now.

That all being said, the art is awesome again. I hope to meet Vaughan someday, and ask him on choice of artists and colorist in his work. Everything I come across by his writing has a special style combo. I can’t put my finger on it, as I will perhaps ponder the process of grouping a comics team in the future. That’s all I have to say on the art for now. More in-depth for another day.

Overall, another great issue giving you more for $2.99, and more than most $3.99 books flooding the comic store shelves. Not that I mind paying $3.99 for an issue of Paper Girls, but I just like feeling I have enough left over for a vended can of root beer after paying the $2.99. Root beer goes well with this.

– Orion T

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San Diego Comic Con 2015, Part 4 – Some Product Placement

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The merchandise inside the San Diego Comic Con..

All together, a favorite aspect of the San Diego Comic Con show I love to explore inside its gigantic Exhibit Hall. This year was no different, as the variety to collectors appeared wide and wonderful. Though, I felt personally disappointing with the lack of loose action figures among dealers this year. But, they got a spread on plenty of the usual cheap trade paperbacks, geek apparel, vintage comics, packaged popular toys, and popular culture merch for all attendants.

Below, are some notable favorites to my eye for this year…

Vintage comics books look beautiful when freed from their protective sleeves, dont they?

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A favorite find another attendee picked up..described on wikipedia as “a disco album by Meco released in 1977. The album uses various musical themes from the Star Wars soundtrack arranged as instrumental disco music. A single from the album, “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band”, reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 1, 1977″

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Moss Man is a personal favorite from the classic He-Man toys. Now, you can keep your window and other tacky nerd items of choice company.

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From the Super 7 booth, a rerelease of the original classic Alien figure with metal jaws. The metal jaws somehow makes the awesome Giger creation even scarier..

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On action, the original cover to one of my favorite classic Star Wars covers, which somehow reminds me a similiar scene with Dark Helmet in Spaceballs..

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An odd artpiece from one of the custom art booths..

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Best comic book boxes art ever!

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The Chessex booth rocked my tabletop gamer senses..

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From the Square Enix booth, this Play Arts Steampunk Batman figure is a bit ridiculous, but I do love..

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(DKE Booth) Love this custom Bart, figure and package…

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(DKE Booth) Tusken Jones..

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(DKE Booth) Pity the Foot!

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Gentle Giant booth reps play with a giant replica of the Grunt figure from the early 80s Gi-Joe age!!

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The “Blade Fighter” because I love ridiculous vehicles and playsets to our popular figures, and the packaging to..

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The silly transport vehicle of the classic Kenner Star Wars line, lives again!

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I love looking through original art, and the Exhibition Hall has plenty..

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“Can you BEAR it?”

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Love that Harlock pistol!

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Nice, but I wish I could buy just the Sisko..

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That’s all just a small taste of the Exhibit Hall fun for 2015. Next up, to conclude my Comic Con tour will be some personal closing thoughts. Look forward to them!

– Orion T

San Diego Comic Con 2015, Part 3 – Cosplay Craziness

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Meanwhile at San Diego Comic Con 2015..

Characters from our fictional fandoms come alive, through the fans and their cosplay representations. Such has been a tradition for decades, through the term of cosplay has been more widely used through modern times. Now, the scope of popularity can be measured through the presence of those “dressing up.” For 2015, Harley Quinn, Batman, Deadpool, Spider-man, Wolverine, various Jedi Knights, Guardians of the Galaxy, Aquaman (!) remain constant among con-goers.

I was happy to see some attendees have a go at more recent and upcoming characters from films, including Harley Quinn from the Suicide Squad, the Dark Jedi from Star Wars ep. VII: the Force Awakens. I love the throwbacks that appeal to my love for pop-culture nostalgia, including those from GI Joe, Back to the Future, Mighty Mouse. I also enjoy the more obscure characters that get some cosplay love among the attendees including the monster from Five Nights at Freddy’s, the Borg Queen, Union Jack, Devestator.

Below, enjoy some pictures I took, featuring my favorites for this 2015 show..

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Next up for part 4..some interesting, odd stuff!!

– Orion T

San Diego Comic Con 2015, Part 2 – Great Creative Minds of the SDCC..

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The San Diego Comic Con, where one can meet and be inspired by some of the greatest creative folk in our modern times.

These wonderful people are everywhere; at booths, panels, parties, just walking around. You could meet or be in the same room with a hardworking actor, an accomplished writer, a fantastic artist, an innovative game programmer, a veteran dealer. Often times, there are invitations to make some connection, which include purchasing original work, receiving industry advice, answers to questions, getting an autograph, and the sharing countless more insightful and inspirational words. Some are well-known, as others just starting out. Some are there (but not limited to) to promote big projects, while others are there appealing to our inner nostalgic loves. All of which, barely scratch the surface of these exciting interactions of a Comic Con.

So below, include my highlighted moments I captured among favorite people observed at the this year’s show. Some are candid, others open themselves and welcome the ongoing audience. Enjoy, and also consider some of their  creative works..

Sunday at the DC Booth, where Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani (Tiny Titans) did some sketches for patient fans. The Darkseid one is mine!

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Game designer and creator of Fluxx, Andy Looney!

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Legendary artist Rob Liefeld. who many love to hate and hate to love.

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Bob the Angry Flower creator cartoonist, Stephen Notley!

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Back at the DC booth..Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr; the current creative team on Batgirl.

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Artist Tony Parker and writer Paul Cornell, creative duo of the new series This Damned Band! I did an awesome interview with them, of which I will share in the near future on SW!

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Stan Sakai, legendary cartoon artist/writer/inker/creator of Usagi Yojimbo! We also had a talk, of which I will share soon.

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Chris Burnham, a new favorite artist of mine and all around cool dude. Notable works include Batman Incorporated and Nameless.

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Art Thibert, awesome artist and inker being chill in the Artist Alley..

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Samantha Newark, voice actor of Jem form the original Jem cartoon. Was also the voice of the first female Transformer and love interest for Optimus Prime, Elita-One.

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Eric Shanowar on the left (not sure who is on the right), enjoying some hot dogs.

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Stanley Lau, also known as Artgerm, shares in his world of art and digital work..

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Another legendary artist, Steve Lieber..

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Fight Club and other works writer, Chuck Palahniuk

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Adam Warren (Empowered), working on a Shanna the She-Devil sketch. We also had an awesome interview, to be shared in the near future!

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A self promoter, name unknown. One cool Count costume, ah ah!

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William Shatner, promoting his new digital comic series Man O War.

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Image Comics: Where Creators Own Aesthetics panel with Rob Guillory (Chew), Jamie McKelvie (The Wicked + The Divine), Stuart Moore (EGOs), Lee Loughridge (Deadly Class), Scott Snyder (Wytches), and Joshua Williamson (Nailbiter). I learned from this entertaining panel, I should really read Nailbiter.

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Batman (current series) team..with Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki

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Grant Morrison, at his own panel discussing much on DC’s past and future of Multiversity. His time with us was a blast, as he let loose and shared much insight on his way of thinking and writing.

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Cosplayers, of which I will feature more in my next posting, Part 3!

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– Orion T