Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
It’s a good time to be Art Baltazar and Franco. The success of the original Tiny Titans series (2008-12) earned them an Eisner Award, and led to the tiny-fication of features as diverse as Hellboy, Battlestar Galactica and Captain Action. Back at DC, their follow-up Superman Family Adventures only lasted 12 issues, and their New 52 Green Team series (drawn by Ig Guara and aimed at the regular superhero audience) went for only eight. In that regard, wile a six-issue miniseries might seem like an even shorter commitment, I like to think it’s another chance for the duo to show their stuff.
Besides, it’s arguably more important for Tiny Titans to remain evergreen than it is for it to be an ongoing concern. The original series produced 50 issues, collected in eight paperbacks. Superman Family filled out two paperbacks, and the new Return to the Treehouse will no doubt add another. My 5-year-old was too young for these comics when they originally appeared, but now she devours them, along with the excellent DC Super Friends comics (written by Sholly Fisch and drawn by various artists). It’s lucky for us that we’re not all the way through the original Tiny run, because it gives her more to anticipate.
And speaking of which, issue #1 of Return to the Treehouse is exactly what fans expect. The plot involves Brainy 5 and Psimon trying to earn their Brainiac Club merit badges by shrinking Titans Treehouse. Since this brings in Superboy and Supergirl, it can pick up where Superman Family Adventures left off. Tracking the treehouse also facilitates cameos from some non-tiny characters, as well as a smattering of gags involving Alfred and the Batcave. Mostly this provides a framework for a series of one- and two-page vignettes, which keeps the issue lively and (almost incidentally) moves the plot along. The jokes are broad but not dumb, and the art is cute but not cloying. It’s not hard to see why kids love this series, and there’s plenty for older fans to like as well. If you’ve never experienced Tiny Titans, this issue is a good entry point — and if your child is like mine, you’ll want to think about firing up the e-reader or springing for those collections.
(Editor’s note: Every Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss “The best in comics from the last seven days” — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done. We’re trying something a little different this week by breaking our entries up into separate posts, so let us know what you think in the comments).