MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Before Stranger Things became the streaming sensation fans know and love, before Stranger Things was even released on Netflix, there was Paper Girls, a comic book series by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. Now Amazon Prime is adapting the comic into a live-action show. Based on the comic, here’s why Stranger Things fans should tune in. Brace yourself for minor spoilers!
The 80s Setting
Just like Stranger Things, Paper Girls is set in the big hair decade, albeit in 1988. Similar to ST, PG leverages on the nostalgia with lots of sight gags to cult classic movies like The Monster Squad and A Nightmare on Elm Street, bands like Depeche Mode and Guns ‘N Roses, and events like the Challenger disaster of ‘86.
The Science Fiction Angle
In PG, the main characters find themselves victims of time travel, encountering older versions of themselves, strange beings who want to capture them, giant robots, and even prehistoric beasts! Our heroes must figure out what’s going on and survive this otherworldly threat.
The Kids Are the Heroes
The comic uses that classic 80s adventure movie trope where only the kids have the skills to deal with the impending danger while the oblivious adults fall victim to it. PG takes a feminine slant where the protagonists are four twelve-year-old girls whose jobs are to deliver newspapers (hence the title) around their town. They’re independent and ahead of their time, becoming the first girls to work paper routes around town.
The Supernatural Scares
Stranger Things, particularly in season 4, Vecna (the Big Bad of the show) uses traumatic memories to prey on his victims and it makes for some terrifying moments. In Paper Girls, it’s the girls’ nightmares that provide the horror. On top of that, there are several gross-out moments with carnivorous monsters, disfigured men, and bugs that crawl under your skin.
Much of the fun in Paper Girls lies in creating scenarios where the girls get to react to the things in our time. When the girls find themselves in 2016 and meet their future selves, they go to her apartment and are amazed by her Sony high definition flatscreen television. Her younger self asks her older self if they won the lottery! The comedy serves to give the readers some breathing room from the breakneck pace of the story.