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 a compelling one-shot story by Peter Quach about live in New York City for two young people who meet each other at a book discussion. The title of the story tells it all, as this story is all about transition, transition from one phase in life to another and heck, transitioning between states in a relationship. It’s a compelling read.
Quach introduces us to the protagonist, Dan, as he shares some thoughts about the New York City transit system with the audience…
Dan eventually meets a young woman named Erin, and the two begin a relationship – but what kind of relationship is an important development in the book.
Quach really does a nice job subtly putting the idea of transitioning into all facets of the story. Both Dan and Erin are transplants (Erin from the West Coast and Dan from the Mid-West) and both are in the midst of recovering from some notable personal conflicts (Dan with depression following his father’s death and Erin with a bad romantic relationship).
As you see in the beginning of the book, Dan makes note of how you can almost form an attachment to a total stranger that you merely see through a subway car. However, in a lot of ways, new people that you meet for real ALSO can pass through your life in a similar fashion. It is often up to you to determine what kind of relationship you will have with these people. In Transit, Dan is confronted with that challenge, and for a guy recovering from some heavy-duty issues, it would be so easy to speed away and hide, causing his new friendship to be no deeper than the people he sees on the subway (Quach even gives us a nice glimpse of how Dan typically interacts with people when we see his roommate try to talk to Dan, only for Dan to retreat to his room where he basically goes into a protective cocoon).
It’s a powerful moment, and it is perhaps made even more powerful by the fact that Quach allows us to figure the significance of the moment out on our own. There are no giant blinking arrows, only subtle (but very important) decisions. He is not afraid of the quiet, of letting his silent artwork and the pauses and beats tell the story.
This was a very strong comic book. You can actually read the comic in its entirety on Peter’s website.
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