Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
In the lead-up to Young Liars ending on (I believe) August 19 with issue 18, I will be rereading the 17 issues already out and discussing them at a rate of one issue per day. I haven’t reread any of these comics since they came out, so it should be fun. Spoilers, of course. Let’s dance!
Young Liars #7, “The Spiders from Mars (Part 1),” by David Lapham is… more surprising and shocking than the castration in issue five, but in a different way. While the castration was brutal and sudden and a jolt of horrible violence, “The Spiders from Mars (Part 1)” is an issue where everyone sat up and said “What?” at the exact same time, not sure what to think, because David Lapham didn’t just take the car off road, he went off planet. After many mentions of the Spiders from Mars, he delivers, and, well, Sadie was serious. Here’s what I wrote when this issue came out:
WHAT THE FUCK?
I dare you to predict what will happen next in this book. I fucking dare you. David Lapham is insane and what the fuck, it’s still awesome. The first six issue story is over and now we get… another take on the same story? The way Sadie sees the world? The way she wants to see the world? Wow… I cannot remember another comic that has shifted gears so completely… Anyone not reading this series is missing out on one of the most exciting and insane books around. This has shades of earlier Vertigo series, but is still quite original. This is quickly becoming my favourite book.
This issue begins with the caption “Last week” and has Sadie on Mars, eating a giant fly while her mother is being fucked at the table, soon swelling up, filled with eggs to help populate the invasion force that will conquer Earth. Sadie listens to Earth radio, specifically Danny Duoshade’s show. She wins a chance to go to a concert with him, but needs to be on Earth (and wants to stop the invasion), so she hitches a ride with the invasion force, sabotages the ship (“What would the Beastie Boys do?”), takes over the body of a little girl, and begins enjoying life — until spiders take over her ‘father’ and impregnate her with eggs — until Danny Duoshade arrives to take her to the concert, she goes with him, tells him that she loves him, gets his gun, returns to the trailer park, and kills all but five spiders.
WHAT THE FUCK?
It’s been nearly a year since this issue came out and I still have no idea what to make of it. Along with issue 12, “The Spiders from Mars (Part 2),” this issue bookends the second story or album/EP… six songs long, the same song (or some variation on the same song) begins and ends the story/album/EP… much like Neil Young’s Tonight’s the Night (“Tonight’s the Night” & “Tonight’s the Night — Part II”), Rust Never Sleeps (“My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)” & “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)”, and Freedom (“Rockin’ in the Free World” (accoustic) and “Rockin’ in the Free World” (electric)). When I get to issue twelve, I examine the relationship of these two issues more directly — are they really the same song just different takes?
This is definitely Sadie’s memory/view of what’s happening. The “Last week” could place it with the next issue, which takes place on April 12 (or begins there), meaning that when Sadie seemed dead at the end of issue six (April 2) could be vaguely referred to as ‘last week’ by some. It’s a vague descriptor. Is this what’s going on in Sadie’s mind as she’s in a coma? Danny as her saviour makes a lot of sense — the circus freaks that her Earth ‘mother’ hangs out with allude to the freakshow of the Browning house (the weird freak woman her father has sex with in the first issue is in the background). Is this an odd mix of her delusions and reality? Or is this what really happened?
It can’t be what really happened, of course, because Sadie looks like Sadie on Mars, but not on Earth — and Danny is not Danny Duoshade in real life. Is this how Sadie views the world? That’s the only explanation that makes sense to me, particularly post-bullet Sadie where Danny is her world, she is invincible, and the Spiders from Mars must be stopped.
Also, big fucking clue: the little girl whose body Sadie takes over? A girl named Loreli, who is supposedly Sadie’s sister, but is really Sadie later on… Sadie escapes from her real parents, gets a new family and identity, is aided by Danny, and kicks some Spider ass… it’s almost a blueprint of what’s coming/what’s happened.
I don’t know, I’m rambling. There’s something about the sensibilities of this issue that reminds me of The Incal, too. Lapham’s depiction of Sadie’s mother, fat, swollen with eggs reminds me of Moebius’s art, and some of the dialogue strikes me as Jodorowsky-esque. Danny Duoshade seems like a character taken from the pages of that book. It’s all absurd high drama action fun! Hoo-ha!
Maybe this will all make sense soon?
See you tomorrow.
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