Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!
Today we look at Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Doctor 13!
The Doctor Thirteen story in the back-up pages of Tales of the Unexpected #1-8 (collected as the trade paperback Doctor Thirteen: Architecture and Morality) tells the story of Doctor Thirteen, a classic DC character whose position as a skeptic began to look pretty foolish when DC took him from his out-of-continuity back-up stories and began to have him interact with the rest of the fantastical DC Universe.
In this storyline, after the events of Infinite Crisis, Thirteen encounters a group of other characters who are currently “unwanted” by the current DC Universe.
Of Thirteen’s group of people, only his attractive, half-Asian teen daughter is considered “allowed” to be part of the DC Universe (which, amusingly enough, she is right now – the only one of the characters in this book to appear with any degree of regularity in the DC Universe).
Azzarello plays Thirteen’s skeptic routine for great laughs as he encounters some unexplainable phenomenon…
Like when he meets a vampire…
What Azzarello and Chiang do really well is find some great obscure DC characters and pair them up with Thirteen. I, Vampire and Captain Fear, you’ve already met, but they also work in Infectious Lass (an old Legion of Super-Heroes character), Jeb Stuart (of Haunted Tank fame), Anthro and a Nazi gorilla from an old issue of Weird War Tales.
The best character that they brought back, though, was an old Golden Age hero called Genius Jones. Genius Jones was a little boy who was shipwrecked along with four hundred books. He read them all and, naturally, became a genius. He then solved any problem you could have for a dime.
Isn’t Cliff Chiang’s artwork amazing?
In any event, the series is a madcap adventure that uses DC’s vast and curious past to tell a rollicking story about how, in the end, ALL characters “matter.”
It’s a very endearing story while also being quite humorous and actually pretty darn character-based (it also has a lot of action – the best of all worlds, really).
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