Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Er… it’s the other epic conclusion to Ellis Week as Ian Astheimer appears out of the void to share with us one of his favorite Ellis works.
One thousand and one people can’t be wrong!
336. Global Frequency
This is how you write a team book.
A thousand and one operatives — from all walks of life — were ready, willing, and able to save the world at a moment’s notice. All they needed were a call on their fancy cell phones, which could do just about anything, and they were out the door, on a bold new adventure.
Miranda Zero — not her real name, but the only one you’re getting — founded and headed the organization, thanks to funds provided by the G8 for previous services rendered.
The purple-banged Aleph kept everyone connected, slinging info from her cozy seat in the heart of NYC.
They were the only two constants in the revolving cast of specialized characters.
The done-in-one missions were relentless, and the threats were at once outlandish and terrifyingly real. How do you stop a radioactive man from turning into a wormhole? Or a bionic soldier? Or a killer meme? Or a suicide cult that’s strapped a hundred hostages to a bomb? Or an angel that drives people insane on sight? Or weaponized ebola from launching? Or a terrorist cell with a nuke triggered to explode over London? Or an assassination of one of your own? Or insane surgeons and their torture hospital? Or a masochistic murderer with a taste for cannibalism? Or an infiltration at your own hidden HQ? Or a satellite programmed to launch kinetic harpoons at Chicago?
With big brains and plenty of ammunition, it turned out.
Warren Ellis created the series and provided the scripts.
Brian Wood created the circle-in-a-square graphic, I believe, and provided the covers.
David Baron provided the colors.
Michael Heisler provided the letters.
And, Gary Leach, Glenn Fabry (with Liam Sharp), Steve Dillon, Roy Allan Martinez, Jon J Muth, David Lloyd, Simon Bisley, Chris Sprouse (with Karl Story), Lee Bermejo, Tomm Cokker, Jason Pearson, and Gene Ha (with Art Lyon) provided the pages.
Each issue — each mission — was not only an artistic showcase (Ellis is a master of tailoring his scripts for his collaborators) but also a cleverly disguised info dump, full of arcane history, secret government projects, cutting edge technology, bleeding edge science, odd occupations, and odder hobbies.
The twelve-issue series was collected into two trades, which are still available. Get them. You won’t regret it.
For more on Global Frequency, hit up the wiki, which also delves into the television adaptation that never came to pass…but became a global sensation anyway.
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