A Crash Course Before the Prime Video Adaptation

KJ, Mac, Erin, and Tiffany stand in a window

Image: Prime Video / Amazon

Here’s everything you need to know about Prime Video‘s Paper Girls, the highly anticipated sci-fi YA adventure show adapting the Image Comics series from Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. The streamer recently debuted an exciting first look at the show, which arrives next month. Keep reading for a quick crash course!

What is Paper Girls about?

In the late ’80s, a group of teen girls encounter a band of teenage boys who don’t look like they’re from their town of Stony Stream, or even from their time. Erin, who’s new to the girls’ paper delivery route, doesn’t know who to trust as the group is thrust into danger and into the future when they stumble across a time machine hidden in a basement. They’re transported to the late 2010s, where these take-no-shit girls get to know each other while on the run from two warring time travel factions.

Their ’80s energy is reminiscent of Amblin-esque tough kids as they encounter squads, sent by the “Old Timers,” of militarized time cops set on seizing them in order to restore the timeline order as they see fit. They also run into teen boys bent on breaking time-travel rules who claim to want to help them but tend to lead them toward more danger. Erin ends up encountering her adult self and she takes it upon herself to protect the out-of-time girls as they investigate clues to find out how to get back home to their childhoods.

Erin and Mac outside a window

Image: Prime Video / Amazon

Who are the Paper Girls?

Riley Lai Nelet stars as Erin Tang, who’s the character the comic follows in its first volume. We pick up on her experience as the new girl in town on her first morning on the paper delivery route when she meets other Paper Girls. They don’t get off on the right foot as she abrasively clashes with rude boys and needs some saving when the other girls thankfully step in. She’s considered weak by Mac Coyle, played by Sofia Rosinsky; Mac was the first paper delivery girl and is the de facto leader of the group, whose members look after each other in the wee hours of the morning when on their routes. The rest of the core group includes Tiffany Quilkin (Camryn Jones), who is the gamer and tech nerd who outfits them with walkie-talkies, and the athletic smart one, KJ Brandman (Fina Strazza). In the trailer we see that adult Erin (Ali Wong) plays a big part in getting involved with the displaced-in-time teens.

Should you read the comics?

In short: yes! Brian K. Vaughan wanted to write a female-centered take on a sci-fi coming of age story in the vein of Stand By Me and War of the Worlds after his stint on Marvel’s Runaways. The resulting time-travel mystery mashes up nostalgia with futuristic scenarios akin to Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future films. It’s illustrated by Cliff Chiang, and published by Image Comics. It began its run on October 7, 2015 and ended on July 31, 2019 upon the release of its 30th and final issue. It’s currently unknown how much past the first 10 issues the show will utilize for the series’ first season.

KJ, Erin and Tiffany in a tunnel

Screenshot: Prime Video

When does it come out?

Paper Girls is set to start streaming on Prime Video weekly starting July 29. The series was adapted by Stephany Folsom, who’s also on the streamer’s upcoming hot property The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power; Folsom was originally set to co-run the series, but stepped down last yearleaving Christopher C. Rogers (Halt and Catch Fire, Lodge 49) as the sole showrunner.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TVand everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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