Paper Girls

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Paper Girls
Paper Girls issue 1 cover. Art by Cliff Chiang.
Publication information
PublisherImage Comics
FormatOngoing series
GenreMystery, Science Fiction
Publication dateOctober 2015 – Present
No. of issues26
Creative team
Written byBrian K. Vaughan
Artist(s)Cliff Chiang
Colorist(s)Matt Wilson

Paper Girls is a mystery/science fiction comic book series written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, published by American company Image Comics.[1][2] The colorist is Matt Wilson, the letterer and designer is Jared K. Fletcher, and the color flatter is Dee Cunniffe.

Paper Girls follows the story of four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls (Erin, MacKenzie, KJ, and Tiffany) set in Stony Stream, a fictional suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. While out delivering papers on the morning after Halloween, the town is struck by an invasion from a mysterious force from the future. The girls become unwillingly caught up in the conflict between two warring factions of time-travelers.


Erin Tieng, a new resident of Stony Stream, is a recently hired paper delivery girl. While out delivering newspapers in the early hours of the morning of November 1, 1988, Erin meets Mac, KJ, and Tiffany, a group of friends and fellow paper girls who invite Erin to join them.

The girls are soon attacked by a group of teenagers; one of the teens steals a walkie-talkie from Tiffany. The girls subsequently chase the group to a construction house and find what appears to be a time machine in the basement. They are then struck by mysterious energy emanating from the machine. The girls learn that the teenagers are time-travelers from the distant future, who are engaged in an ongoing war with a group known as the "Old-Timers" (known as "The Battle of the Ages"). At the center of this conflict is the question of whether or not the past can and should be changed by future time-travelers.

Throughout the series, the girls are frequently (and usually, inadvertently) time-displaced, traveling between the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as eras of the distant past and future. As they travel through time, they encounter future versions of themselves and are forced to come to terms with who they will later become. Their lives also become intertwined with those of Wari and Jahpo, two "Old-Timers" who lead the war against their future descendants.



  • Erin Tieng: A new resident of Stony Stream, she has a younger sister, Missy, who she is very protective of. She has maternal instincts and tends to follow the rules. She attends a Catholic school called St. Pete's with Tiffany and carries a pocket knife around with her.[3] She later learns that her future self in 2016 is unmarried, still works for the Cleveland Preserver, and struggles with anxiety, which she takes medication for.[4]
  • MacKenzie "Mac" Coyle: A cigarette-smoking tomboy who swears constantly, Mac was the first girl to become a paperboy in Stony Stream. Cynical and snarky, Mac comes from a blue-collar Irish-Catholic family.[3] She deeply admires her older brother.[5] In 2016, Mac is told she will die of leukemia;[4] however, while in 2171 AD, she learns she actually has a rare, untreatable cancer called "4DC", which only affects time-travelers.[6]She is aggressively homophobic, particularly once KJ comes out to her, though it is hinted that she may reciprocate KJ's feelings.[7][8] Eventually, the two kiss in 2171 AD. [9] Mac is later sent to the distant future just prior to the death of the Earth where she reunites with Dr. Qanta.[10]
  • Karina "KJ" J.: Considered the "smart one" of the group, KJ attends a private school (Buttonwood Academy), plays field hockey, and is Jewish.[3] She carries her field hockey stick at all times and occasionally uses it as a weapon. KJ's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor, and, while in first grade, KJ witnessed her cousin drown.[11] In 11,706 BCE, KJ touches a futuristic device that shows her glimpses of her future.[12] This leads her to come to the realization that she is a lesbian and has feelings for Mac, which puts a strain on their friendship.[5][7][8] In 2171 AD, KJ and Mac kiss.[9] When she is then sent to 1958, KJ seeks out Charlotte in order to find her way back home.[10]
  • Tiffany Quilkin: An obsessive gamer who loves her walkie-talkies, Tiffany is African-American and adopted. She goes to the same Catholic school as Erin.[3] When Tiffany is briefly held captive by a futuristic device, she is shown her past; Tiffany is discouraged to realize she had thus far just spent her life playing video games.[13] In 2000, she discovers that she adopted a Goth style, attended Stern, and married a man named Chris.[7][14] Prior to the age of 13, her parents force her to give up her paper route.[14] After being sent to the distant future, she encounters a new Clone Erin.[10]

War Factions[edit]


"Old-Timers" are the first generation following the invention of time-travel. They strongly believe in preserving the original timeline and rules regarding time-travel are strictly enforced. They cannot travel to the future.[7] Their leader is known by the title of "Grandfather".[14] A sub-sect of Old-Timers are known as Restorers, who actively work to restore timelines altered by the events of the war. The Restorers have the ability to erase and alter a person's memory.[7] Old-Timers speak in a modified version of English, heavily dependant on slang and similar to Old English in style. When Clone Erin (first generation) scatters the girls to separate past/present timelines, she causes the Old-Timers to become stuck inside of the fourth dimension.[10]

  • Jahpo: The current "Grandfather". His speech and attire are seemingly more in line with the 20th/21st century than his charges. He is actually the son of Wari and was born in 11,706 BCE, though this is unknown to him and everyone else. As a baby, Jahpo was saved by the girls and Dr. Braustein when a group of men from Wari's tribe attempted to kill him in a misguided sacrifice.[5][15] Jahpo alleges he is under the command of the Editrixes.[6]
  • Wari: Publicly known as Jahpo's "big sister", she is actually a woman from 11,706 BCE and Jahpo's mother. Wari originally met and was helped by the girls when they jumped to Wari's original time period.[11] After some time, Wari was brought to the future by Dr. Braustein, in an effort to help protect Jahpo from the inherent dangers of 11,706 BCE. Wari spent some years hiding in Indonesia with Dr. Braustein as her "mother". She and Jahpo later returned to Cleveland where they reside in 2171 AD.[6]
  • Prioress: A commander in Jahpo's army who is romantically involved with Jahpo. She is killed during a battle on New Year's Eve in 1999/2000.[16][7][14]


The descendants of the Old-Timers, from the 71st century. They believe in the idea of altering history. Unlike the Old-Timers, teenagers do not have any rules regarding time-travel. They often seek the assistance of "locals" (people living in the present time) to provide them with information for the war effort.[7] They speak in a futuristic language that is only decipherable through translation gadgets.[4] They have the ability to clone humans.[17]

  • Heck and Naldo: Teenagers from the distant future. They are infected with a mysterious illness (possibly "4DC", a rare cancer that only affects time-travelers). Although they in speak in an unknown, futuristic language, they are able to use a translation stone to speak to "locals". They briefly transport Erin to their original time and help Erin heal her gunshot wound by using electronic bugs called iNsecs. They both later die from injuries sustained in a time jump after returning Erin to 1988.[18] Heck and Naldo were also responsible for the creation of Clone Erin.[17]
  • Charlotte "Chuck" Spachefski: A baby boomer cartoonist whose work is featured in the Cleveland Preserver. She inherited the comic Frankie Tomatah from her father.[16][7] In 1958, she encountered Jude, a time-traveler from 70,000 AD who was hiding in her basement. It was Jude who taught her about "The Battle of the Ages" and how to protect herself from the Old-Timers. Charlotte learned the origin of "foldings" (rifts in time) and where to find them; this information allowed her to leave clues in her comics to aid the teenagers against the Old-Timers.[16][7] She attempts to kill the girls in 2000, though they escape.[7][14] She is later killed by an Old-Timer.[19]
  • Clone Erin (First Generation): The first clone of Erin. Originally from the 71st century, she travels back to 2016 in search of the girls. She alleges that the girls are important to the ongoing war between the teenagers and Old-Timers. She attempts to recruit them for the war effort, but the other girls mistrust her and manage to send her back to her original time.[17] However, unbeknownst to the girls, Clone Erin secretly tracks them through time. In 2171 AD, after tricking and luring the girls to her location, she scatters them to four separate time periods.[9]
  • Clone Erin (Unknown Generation): A "descendent" of the first Clone Erin. She meets Tiffany in the distant future beyond the 71st century and explains to her that the war ended some time prior, thanks to the efforts of the paper girls and the Teenagers.[10]

Minor and recurring[edit]

  • Editrixes: Mysterious beings of unknown origin from the fourth dimension who are possibly responsible for the time-travel war. According to Dr. Braustein, the Editrixes can exist in the fourth dimension while allowing part of themselves to be "observed" by 3D beings such as humans. Their goals and motives are currently unknown.[5] Touching Editrixes results in one seeing flashes of their past or future.[13][12]
  • Doctor Qanta Braunstein: Born November 25, 2016, she is a project leader for AppleX and has a sister, Shusha. She arrives in 11,706 BCE believing that she is the "woman who invented time-travel".[11] She accidentally crosses paths with the girls, Wari, and Jahpo, and is later injured while helping to save Jahpo from being ritualistically murdered.[20][5] She is stranded in 11,706 BCE for some time and lives with Wari and Jahpo, though she is eventually rescued and brought back to 2055. She is persuaded by Wari to bring her and Jahpo to the future and they spend an unknown number of years hiding in Indonesia before later returning to the United States.[6] She is later named as "Patient Zero" for the virus 4DC. When her health worsens, she time travels to the distant future in order to die with the rest of Earth.[10]
  • 2000-Tiffany: Tiffany's future self. After being saved by the girls from a battle between the Old-Timers and future teenagers on January 1, 2000, she decides to travel with and assist the girls.[14] She dies in 2171 AD while protecting the girls from a police officer.[9]
  • Chris: Tiffany's husband in the year 2000.[7] The two met while both were attending Stern. Like 2000-Tiffany, he dresses in the style of the Goth subculture.[14] He assists the girls during a battle on New Year's Eve in 1999/2000 and helps them find his wife. He then disappears, having been captured by the Restorers.[14]
  • Melissa "Missy" Tieng: Erin's younger sister and best friend. In 2016, she is a helicopter life-flight pilot and engaged. She takes the girls to the "Fourth Folding" (which leads to 11,706 BCE) via helicopter to escape the Old-Timers.[20]
  • Alice Coyle: Mac's alcoholic step-mother. When Jahpo's dinosaur-esque creatures appear in 1988, Alice decides to commit suicide, believing it is a sign from God that the world is ending. She attempts to shoot herself in the head, but Mac intervenes, and in the ensuing scuffle, Erin is accidentally shot. Alice then disappears, captured by Restorers.[21]


Paper Girls won two Eisner Awards in 2016 for Best New Series and Best Penciller/Inker.[22] In 2017, Wilson won an Eisner for Best Colorist in part because of his work on the series.[23] In 2017, the first compilation was shortlisted for the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.[24]

Publication history[edit]

The series is subdivided into "arcs" of five issues each; between each group of five, the series goes on pre-planned hiatus for three months, during which time the trade paperback collection of the preceding five issues is released. In December 2018, Image Comics announced that the series would end in July 2019 with issue #30.[25]


Issue # Publication Date
1 October 7, 2015[3]
2 November 4, 2015[26]
3 December 2, 2015[21]
4 January 6, 2016[13]
5 February 3, 2016[18]
6 June 1, 2016[27]
7 July 6, 2016[4]
8 August 3, 2016[17]
9 September 7, 2016[28]
10 October 5, 2016[29]
11 February 1, 2017[11]
12 March 1, 2017[20]
13 April 5, 2017[12]
14 May 3, 2017[5]
15 June 7, 2017[15]
16 October 4, 2017[16]
17 November 1, 2017[7]
18 December 6, 2017[14]
19 January 3, 2018[19]
20 February 7, 2018[30]
21 June 6, 2018[31]
22 July 4, 2018[32]
23 August 1, 2018[8]
24 September 5, 2018[6]
25 October 3, 2018[9]
26 March 6, 2019[10]
27 April 3, 2019[33]
28 May 1, 2019[34]

Trade paperbacks[edit]

Volume # ISBN Publication Date Collected Material
1 9781632156747 March 30, 2016 Paper Girls #1–5[35]
2 9781632158956 November 30, 2016 Paper Girls #6–10[36]
3 9781534302235 August 8, 2017 Paper Girls #11–15[37]
4 9781534305106 April 4, 2018 Paper Girls #16–20[38]
5 9781534308671 December 5, 2018 Paper Girls #21–25[39]

Deluxe Hardcovers[edit]

Volume ISBN Publication Date Collected Material
1 9781534303348 November 1, 2017 Paper Girls #1–10[40]
2 9781534310612 April 9, 2019 Paper Girls #11–20[41]


  1. ^ "You all should be reading Brian K. Vaughan's 'Paper Girls' comic series now" – via LA Times.
  2. ^ Raftery, Brian. "If You Only Read One Comic This Month, Make It 'Paper Girls'".
  3. ^ a b c d e "Paper Girls #1".
  4. ^ a b c d "Paper Girls #7".
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Paper Girls #14".
  6. ^ a b c d e "Paper Girls #24".
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Paper Girls #17".
  8. ^ a b c "Paper Girls #23".
  9. ^ a b c d e "Paper Girls #25".
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "Paper Girls #26".
  11. ^ a b c d "Paper Girls #11".
  12. ^ a b c "Paper Girls #13".
  13. ^ a b c "Paper Girls #4".
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Paper Girls #18".
  15. ^ a b "Paper Girls #15".
  16. ^ a b c d "Paper Girls #16".
  17. ^ a b c d "Paper Girls #8".
  18. ^ a b "Paper Girls #5".
  19. ^ a b "Paper Girls #19".
  20. ^ a b c "Paper Girls #12".
  21. ^ a b "Paper Girls #3".
  22. ^ Strength, Reed. "Image Comics, Drawn & Quarterly Lead 2016 Eisner Award Winners". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  23. ^ Elderkin, Beth (July 22, 2017), "Here Are the Winners of the 2017 Eisner Awards," io9. Retrieved July 28, 2017
  24. ^ 2017 Hugo Awards, at; retrieved August 10, 2017
  25. ^ Marston, George. "BRIAN K. VAUGHAN's PAPER GIRLS Ending in July". Newsarama. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  26. ^ "Paper Girls #2".
  27. ^ "Paper Girls #6".
  28. ^ "Paper Girls #9".
  29. ^ "Paper Girls #10".
  30. ^ "Paper Girls #20".
  31. ^ "Paper Girls #21".
  32. ^ "Paper Girls #22".
  33. ^ "Paper Girls #27".
  34. ^ "Paper Girls #28".
  35. ^ "Paper Girls, Vol. 1 TP".
  36. ^ "Paper Girls, Vol. 2 TP".
  37. ^ "Paper Girls, Vol. 3 TP".
  38. ^ "Paper Girls, Vol. 4 TP".
  39. ^ "Paper Girls, Vol. 5 TP".
  41. ^ "Paper Girls Deluxe Edition Volume 2".