How Does the Paper Girls TV Series Compare to the Comics?

Spoilers ahead.

Paper Girls, one of the successful comic book series of the last 10 years, is finally hitting the screen within the newly minted TV adaptation on Amazon Prime Video. When the streamer first announced it could adapt the graphic novel for television, I used to be skeptical. Nevertheless, after chatting with the creators of the book, and ultimately watching the show, skeptics like me could be focused on giving the show a good shot.

“It is a thing that began in our heads and now it’s out on this planet,” Brian K. Vaughn, one in all the co-creators of the comic, told ELLE.com at San Diego Comic Con last week. “Not to only be on the market, but to be so good and to so faithfully capture what I believed could never be on TV. I didn’t think you’ll ever have 4 pre-adolescent female protagonists and a story of this scope with giant robots and a time war. It just looks like that is the type of thing only comics can do they usually proved us improper.”

The unique comic book series by Vaughn and Cliff Chiang follows 4 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls from 1988: Erin Tieng, Tiffany Quilkin, MacKenzie “Mac” Coyle, and Karina “KJ” Brandman. The group gets caught up in a time war between the “Old-Timers,” the primary generation to invent time travel and gatekeepers of preserving time, and the “Teenagers,” the descendants of the Old-Timers who live within the 71st century.

The Old-Timers seek to strictly follow the principles of time travel and keep history because it was. The Teenagers, nevertheless, imagine in altering history and don’t mind a little bit of rule-breaking. The Old-Timers prove to be formidable antagonists with outrageous methods: They kill individuals with dinosaurs, time travel on a zeppelin, and send a number of the scariest and fiercest warrior cops after the women to send them back home and lobotomize their brains in order that they don’t remember time traveling. (Yikes!)

A scene from Paper Girls.

Amazon Studios

Paper Girls won two Eisner awards and was shortlisted for the celebrated Hugo award when it first debuted in 2016. In six short years, the 30-issue series has quickly turn out to be one of the beloved comics on shelves today. What makes Paper Girls special is that in a sea of comic books that primarily deal with the male experience, it focuses on what it’s prefer to be a teenage girl going through changes—all while surviving and stopping a time war. The story explores girls’ sexuality in a way that will not be exploitative, in addition to friendship and first periods. When two of the characters, Tiffany and Erin, meet their adult selves, those relationships explore the concept of loving yourself and protecting your inner child. Certainly one of the best takeaways for readers is an understanding of how precious our lives are and that the messy parts are only as necessary and essential because the successful ones.

While the comic book series has a whole lot of heart, there are some epic parts that might seem daunting to adapt for televisio­­n—just like the out-of-this-world outfits, a fight between two giant water bears, or an apocalypse that involves soldiers riding dinosaurs. Did I mention that the primary characters have clones, too?

So, how does the show compare to the comic series? And does it do the comic series justice?

Each the show and the comic begin the identical exact way. The 4 girls are doing their job, delivering papers, on Nov. 1, otherwise generally known as Hell Day. Since it’s the day after Halloween, and children are likely still pulling pranks, the women determine to buddy up and stick together on their route. To cover more ground, they eventually split up into two groups, each half equipped with one walkie talkie. Suddenly, one in all the women’ walkie talkie is stolen by teens Naldo and Heck, time travelers collecting artifacts from the past and fighting within the time war. In attempting to get their walkie talkie back, the women not only find Heck and Naldo, but in addition their spaceship. After this point, the small print begin to differ between the comic series and the TV adaptation.

But to be fair, the TV show does keep a whole lot of epic aspects from the comics. The variation does feature a time war, however the names of the perimeters have modified. Now the Old-Timers are “the Watch” and the Teenagers are the “STF Underground” (though the meaning of STF isn’t explained). Naldo and Heck are a part of the latter group and are fleeing the Watch after they encounter the women. And while the primary episode of Paper Girls doesn’t give a transparent explanation of how time travel works, by episode seven the science is broken down: Mainly, there are folds in time and one can get caught up in a fold, like a wormhole, and go to a unique era.

paper girls

Camryn Jones as Tiffany.

Anjali Pinto/Amazon Studios

Understandably, there are parts that the showrunners and writers unnoticed, probably because it could be way too expensive to recreate the multiple Kaiju-style fights, just like the one between the water bears. The comics even have a extremely intense scene where all 4 girls find yourself within the Pleistocene era and meet the girl who invented time travel, but that storyline will not be within the show in any respect.

Still, fans of the comic series can be completely satisfied to know that Vaughan and Chiang were executive producers and co-creators of the show. Plus, the writing and directing teams on the production were predominantly made up of ladies.

“Within the show that they had an all-female writing team and directors in order that viewpoint comes through and I feel that makes the show unlike the rest that’s out on TV now,” Chiang says.

The tv show primarily focuses on Erin, Tiffany, Mac, and KJ; their relationship; and development between their kid selves and their adult selves. But this is barely season 1, we would get clones and other larger-than-life fights if Paper Girls is renewed for season 2. Until then, we’re taking a deeper take a look at how the show compares to the comics below.

No Clones

Certainly one of the important thing changes within the screen adaptation is the absence of the clones. Within the comics, we get kid Erin, adult Erin, and clone Erin. The clones play a very important role within the story because they assist explain why the paper girls are special: When the women first encountered Heck and Naldo’s spaceship, it encrypted their DNAs, making them—and anyone sharing their DNA—invisible to the Old-Timers.

There are multiple clones of Erin and there may be one clone of KJ. We don’t see any clones of the opposite characters.

behind the scenes photography for paper girls

Fina Strazza (KJ Brandman), Sofia Rosinsky (Mac Coyle), Riley Lai Nelet (Erin Tieng), and Camryn Jones (Tiffany Quilkin).

Anjali Pinto/Amazon Studios

Latest Characters

The most important difference between the show and the comic series was the creation of a pair of recent characters for the screen, like Larry and Juniper, members of STF Underground. Larry plays a very important role in getting the women to time travel a second time, explaining the STF Underground to them, and introducing them to those awesome mech suits.

The ladies first meet Larry after they by chance travel to 2019 and see him attempting to kidnap the adult version of Erin. He initially thinks Erin is an element of the Watch because she has a certain electronic device that Naldo and Heck gave the paper girls, which the women then gave to her.

When Erin asks what the electronic device is, Larry explains that it prompts the mech suit (which he’s been hiding in a corn grain bin). Since the device is synced to adult Erin, she is the just one who can pilot it.

When one other fold in time appears, Larry convinces Erin to navigate the mech suit, supposedly to 1988 to place the women back of their original time, but he tricks them and really gives Erin the coordinates to 1999.

Once they arrive in 1999, the Watch sends a large mech to stop and capture the women and Erin. Larry dies by being lasered to death by a large mech. Don’t worry, we also meet the 1999 version of Larry, but he later gets eaten by a dinosaur.

None of what was just explained is within the comic book. Nevertheless it works for this story.

paper girls

Larry (played by Nate Corddry), far left.

Anjali Pinto/Amazon Studios

“There are some scenes that just break my heart and we were like, ‘Oh wow is that this a missed opportunity?’ I wish we had done this within the comics. Every character that they added felt like they were organic to our story. They might have been within the comic; we just didn’t have the space for them,” Vaughn says.

One other big change was making Prioress, a gaggle of warriors within the comics, one character as a substitute of multiple. (Within the comic books, many various characters go by that name.) Within the show, Prioress is a kind of hound for the Watch. She chases the paper girls through time within the try and return them to their proper time and fix the timeline. Prioress desperately desires to end the time war, and her desire to achieve this becomes even stronger after she loses her brother.

“Within the graphic novels there may be a female captain after which Prioress comes along. In our TV show I play each,” actress Adina Porter says. “Prioress is the mix of a couple of female warriors in our TV show.”

Meeting the Adult Counterparts

A vital aspect of the comic book series is the protagonists’ meeting their adult counterparts and seeing what their future is like. While the show does have the women meeting their adult selves, the circumstances are a bit different.

Within the show, Erin seems to have rather a lot more anxiety and has a strained relationship along with her sister Missy, whereas within the comic book Missy is known as Erin’s “best friend.” The strain between the adult sisters bothers kid Erin and she or he attempts to speak sense into adult Erin to rekindle their bond.

paper girls

Young Erin and adult Erin (Ali Wong).

Amazon Studios

The variation also changes how Tiffany learns she’s adopted. Within the comics, Tiffany knows she is adopted by a biracial couple. Within the show, the reality of her adoption is revealed by her adult self.

And while KJ is a lesbian in each the comics and the tv show, and her sexuality is explored, she doesn’t meet an adult version of herself in a lesbian relationship like she does within the show. Within the comics, a tool shows her a future version of herself kissing Mac, and that’s how she involves terms along with her sexuality.

Mac in each the comics and the show is imagined to die by age 16 of cancer. She never meets or sees a future version of herself. The show adds a very recent but touching storyline between her and her brother Dylan. He gives each the audience and Mac a sliver of hope that perhaps they’ll catch her cancer early, but circumstances tear her away from a second likelihood at life.

behind the scenes photography for paper girls

Behind the scenes of filming Paper Girls.

Anjali Pinto/Amazon Studios

Even with these differences, the spirit and feeling of the unique Paper Girls series are still captured within the show. All the key elements are delivered to life on the screen, however the TV series will still keep fans of the comics surprised.

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