Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Every day this month I’ll be reviewing a different independent comic book, based on submissions from the creators of the comic books themselves.
The month continues with an impressively depressing mini-comic by Dan Mazur about the real-life Keebler elves.
The story begins with a food reporter traveling into the land of the magic folk to get an angle on an idea for his food magazine (Mazur sets up a very interesting world here – one where magic folk not only exist, but everyone KNOWS they exist, and yet, since they are so unbelievable, they’re basically treated as such). He ends up getting told a tale by a drunk old elf, who we discover is part of a family of baking elves who years ago lived in a hollow tree and baked all sorts of stuff, but were most famous for their cookies.
Of course, commercialism gets involved and when they resist, the corporate world just appropriates their images anyways, leading to a sad (and yet brilliantly executed) sequence…
Things only get worse from there out. Essentially, Mazur frames the story as innocence versus corruption, and corruption has the game rigged. However, Mazur makes it particularly clear just what we are losing when we lose innocence. This is expressed through the end of the comic, with an utterly beautiful sequence that uses the unique attributes of comic book storytelling about as well as you can expect. The concept of telling a sequential event through gradual beats is something that certainly CAN be done on film/animation, yet neither has quite the power that comes from the effect as done in comics (you know, like using a series of panels to show a door slowly close and shadows slowly pass over a character’s face – stuff like that).
This is a 24-page mini-comic, but it has the richness of a full-sized comic many pages longer.
This is a really well-told story by Mazur with strong artwork. It is not a happy story, but in its sadness, there is real, effective beauty.
Here is Mazur’s site where you can buy a copy (just $3.50 with shipping included).
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