Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Today, we look at one of the most inventive characters Valiant had.
Bob Layton’s The Second Life of Dr. Mirage was one of the most inventive comic concepts of the early 1990s (at least from a non-Vertigo comic). The story is about a doctor named, shockingly, Mirage, Hwen Mirage, and his wife, Carmen Mirage. The two are parapsychologists, investigating reports of paranormal activity, and like the good folks of Scooby Doo, they never actually FIND any paranormal activity, that is until the one day that changes their lives forever (heck, it ENDS one of their lives).
The villain Master Darque sucks the life force out of Hwen, but the love between Hwen and Carmen is so strong that Hwen is not completely killed. This stuns Darque, and Hwen and Carmen escape. However, they discover that Hwen is now, more or less, a ghost.
These early issues are the best of the series by far – writer Bob Layton, with art from a young Bernard Chang (who was amazing on this series), as the book dwells on how this affects their relationship.
Fer instance, how do they have sex now?
Carmen shines in these issues, as she is a truly vibrant figure by Layton. There’s a lot of comedic elements, like when Hwen’s mother comes to visit.
Layton left the book after #11, and Chang followed soon after, and the book really meandered – it is too bad, because it was a great concept, a husband and wife team investigate paranormal activities, only the husband is actually a ghost who can control energy! Neat-o!!
The book ended after 18 issues.
I hope the new Valiant Comics reprints the Layton/Chang issues!!
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