Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Today, Archie Comics is releasing an original graphic novel, Jinx (collecting stories that originally appeared in digital-only stories outside of the first chapter, which was serialized in three issues of Life With Archie). Written by J. Torres, with pencils by Rick Burchett, inks by Terry Austin, colors by Mark McNabb and letters by John Workman. the collection takes the classic Archie character Lil’ Jinx and ages her and her friends to freshman in high school. The result is a charming and realistic look at the everyday dramas of teenage life.
Burchett and Austin’s art shines as they are a wonderful mix with Torres’ character-driven work.
Here is the original cast of Lil’ Jinx (well, at least the original cast from the 1970s when two black characters, Roz and Russ, were added)….
And here is a sample story with Jinx hanging out with her friend Greg…
Here is a quick update on what the characters look like now…
One of the common traits of the early Lil’ Jinx stories was the interaction between Jinx and her constantly exasperated father. That relationship is a centerpiece of Torres’ work, as well, including the opening of the book…
Torres does a nice job examining that odd relationship that boys and girls have with each other as they get older and start high school. Longtime childhood friends often split from each other when they are thrown into the shark tank that is high school. Here, Torres has the characters explain this situation…
One of the main sources of drama in Jinx comes from Jinx’s steadfast refusal to allow high school to change her, even as, you know, high school changes her.
First off, for a girl that often defined herself by playing sports with her guy friends, she does not take well to not being allowed to do so in high school. This leads to her trying out for the football team (and forging her father’s permission to do so).
Secondly, she has trouble coming to grips with her relationship with Greg. They’ve been best friends since they were kids. But is there something more in store for the two?
Here’s a wonderful page where Jinx reflects on how hormones seem to take over in high school….
Finally, here’s possibly my favorite page of the volume (Jinx had her cell phone temporarily taken away from her on the first day of school as you’re not allowed to use your phone during school hours)….
Another thing I liked about this volume is how messy a lot of it was, just like real life. There’s a boy who is crushing on Jinx and that plot is not resolved in this volume. There is a little drama between Jinx and her good friend Roz that is resolved more through a general, “Why fight?” than over any sort of resolution of their problems (which is exactly what happens with teenagers). A character even comments on this, how real life problems don’t go away in some dramatic scene. It just happens as it happens.
These characters are interesting and I’d like to see more from them in the future, especially with this creative team attached.
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