Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Ralph Cosentino is in a fairly unique position when it comes to getting superheroes.
An extremely gifted artist and children’s picture book author, Cosentino has been tasked with telling the stories of several DC superheroes via picture books, which means Cosentino is a) Reclaiming the characters for the audience they were originally created for, b) simplifying their stories down to their most essential aspects in order to fit them into about 32 pages (or the equivalent of thirty-some panels) and c) streamlining them to make them as appealing as possible to an audience unfamiliar with their comics.
Of course, while the children’s story book and comic book have a lot in common, they’re not exactly equivalent, and Cosentino’s work faces some demands that the original, Golden Age comic books did not, including making these characters and their first stories beautiful enough and satisfying enough that they earn their permanent, expensive ($16) format.
Cosentino started this series with 2008’s Batman: The Story of The Dark Knight (which I discussed at some length on my home blog, here), and continued it last year with 2010’s Superman: The Story of The Man of Steel. I was particularly excited to check out his new book, Wonder Woman: The Story of the Amazon Princess, since the character seems like such a difficult one to get…at least judging by the property’s permanent residence in Hollywood development hell, the recently passed-over David E. Kelly TV pilot and DC’s now seemingly annual reboots of the comics character.