Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
All throughout May, I’ll spotlight a different webcomic. Like with the month of independent comics and the month of LGBT comics, I figure I will let you webcomic creators out there suggest your comic for spotlight during this month. So if you want me to spotlight your comic, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Today we look at Mary Cagle’s delightfully fun Kiwi Blitz, about a teenage girl fighting crime with the help of her giant kiwi bird robot.
One of the things I like the best about Kiwi Blitz is the way in which Cagle fully embraces the absurdity of her comic’s concept. I mean, we’re talking about a teenage girl fighting crime in a giant robot Kiwi Bird (or mecha, if you prefer that term) here! If you take such an idea too seriously then…well…you’re bring way too serious!
The book opens with young Steffi celebrating her 14th birthday. It is the not-too-distant future and Steffi spends her days fighting in the Junior division of the Robot Fighting League. Due to a lack of resources, criminals with mechas run wild in the street, as the police just can’t keep up with their technology. Steffi is irritated at this state of affairs, so when her rich robot designer father and her best friend, Ben, build her a robot for her birthday, well, she makes a decision…
And in one of the funniest scenes in the series, check out her dad’s reaction…
I just love how Cagle just goes with the idea of Steffi’s dad just being totally irresponsible. Hilarious. Also, she does a great job with the facial expressions of her characters. Quite expressive stuff.
Here’s Steffi and Ben in action…
In that sequence you can see Cagle’s strong grasp of sequentials. She can tell the story well with just her art.
Here is another major cast member, Reed Bahia, a cop who is sick of not being able to do enough to stop bad guys, so he becomes an ally of Steffi’s…
And that’s the basic set-up of the book. Of course, that only brings us to the end of Book 2 (in a cute bit, Cagle calls each book/chapter a “track”) and Cagle is just beginning Book 8, so there is a TON of awesome fun comics for you to read!
You can check out the archive here. Cagle has set-up a strong concept that looks like it can sustain itself for quite some time. She has an interesting cast and she seems to be willing to mix things up to make sure the book doesn’t get stale (she also has a lot of fun playing with predictable tropes – I particularly liked how Cagle has most people figure out Blitz’s identity pretty easily, just with the information available to the public).
For as long as she wants to do this series, Kiwi Blitz looks to be a great series. You can also buy a print copy of the first volume of the series here, collecting the first five “tracks” (roughly 100 pages of comics)!
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