REVIEW/INTERVIEW: Paradox Girl #1-3

Every once in a while, we get a comic book that not only is a successful Kickstarter campaign, but provides a character that is so awesome and unique that it should be given some attention. There is an indie book that falls under that, Paradox Girl. Created by Cayti Bourquin with artwork by Yishan Li, these two bring us a character that not only has an epic ability, but she’s just down right hilarious. Paradox Girl has the ability to transport to different times and locations to alter what she wants, but the twist in the story is she has to deal with different iterations of herself throughout the story. In fact, one thing that I personally enjoyed about the character is that we do not have to worry about continuity. You’re sitting there wondering why don’t we need to worry about continuity? Well it’s simple, because as the stories go on, you will see her bounce back and forth to solve whatever challenge is at hand and the story comes around full circle.

Issues 1-3, as I said was a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising an impressive total of $38,222 surely delivered to their readers with amazing writing, artwork, andparadox3 twists and turns that keep you hooked on the story wondering how it all comes around full circle. Issue 1 we get our first glimpse of Paradox girl. You would think that with most new stories, and characters you have some sort of character development and or origin story on how she got her ability, but this is not the case. During an interview with Cayti and her editor Peter, I asked them about that:

The Random Dude:One thing that I saw that is great about Paradox Girl is that we just jump right into the mix, are there any plans about getting into her back story at all with how she got her abilities etc?
Cayti/Peter:Issue 1 gave all the answers you’re probably ever going to get.  She is her present, she doesn’t have an origin story because she doesn’t have a single ‘origin’ anymore.  She’s changed that origin and we can assume she’s constantly changing that origin. There is in theory a ‘first time around’ from whoever PG was before she was a living Paradox, but we’ll never see it, because it doesn’t exist anymore. Plus, as mentioned above, it wouldn’t really be Paradox Girl, that’s someone else, some other set of choices.  One of Paradox Girl’s many Paradoxes is that she has no origin, no starting point, and yet still exists.
Between all the books, Paradox Girl really does her own thing, which brings a fun sense of humor into the story that allows you to really connect with her, especially if you don’t take yourself too seriously. The books also end up being short stories if you will that tie together both in the main characters that we see, from pg1Paradox girl herself, and Axiom Man who is the other super hero in Cityopolis where PG lives. One aspect that I really like about the books is that even though it seems like the stories are bouncing around like a hamster in an exercise ball, Cayti has done a phenomenal job being able to wrap it all together and give it a nice little bow on top.
The artwork also appeals to the manga crowd as well as it has that feel to it, but brought it in such a way that if you’re not a fan of manga (such as myself) that it’s easy to read and follow along with the story, and It doesn’t take away from the story either. Yishan Li, the artist for PG, brings her expertise to this book in glorious fashion. Having worked on various projects for DC, Dark Horse, Random House, Titan Comics, Delcourt and Dargaud, that experience really adds to the story with having fantastic art to back it up.
As I said, issues 1, 2, and 3 are more of short stories that still work together as one collective unit. It’s honestly nice to have a book or series of books that you can just pick up and read without having to worry about reading previous books to be brought up to speed, but if you’re smart about it, it’s worth reading all of them.
With one successful Kickstarter under their belts, Cayti and Yishan are at it again with another campaign to bring us issues 4-5. At the time of this writing, with 12 days left, they’ve already raised over #25,000. So we will for sure be getting more epic stories of PG and her quest to do whatever she wants, while saving humanity at the same time. Isn’t that sweet of her? If you love unique stories with humor and sarcasm, and everything that makes life happy-go-lucky than I would definitely recommend picking up the first three books, and then back the kickstarter to ensure that you get more.
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Here’s the interview in its entirety with Cayti and Peter about Paradox Girl and what they have going on.
The Random Dude: “Where did you come up with the idea of Paradox Girl?
Cayti/Peter:Funny story actually.  My brain!  Okay that was funnier in said brain than it was here. Paradox Girl is a long evolving version of myself.  In my twenties I had a lot of anxiety and self loathing angst (what twenty something doesn’t?).  This developed into a character named Lily who was a ‘reformed’ Catholic demoness in constant conflict with herself.  It was super pretentious and in a constant state of self-chaos-which ultimately lead to the idea of a walking paradox. From there the idea expanded outward and I went through a sort of absurdist existentialism phase and realized the comedy inherent in something so in constant conflict with itself.  The idea of being a walking paradox really predates the time travel.  The time travel became a fun way to explain the paradoxes and the constant state of self-contradiction. In a deeper context, Paradox Girl is the natural evolution of what happens when you have the power to go back and fix your greatest regrets.  Each time you do so, some other regret takes its place.  And on and on this goes till your nobody.  I guess the point is that we’re all a consequence of the choices we’ve made in the past, and removing any element of that completely changes who you are. Do this enough and who is left?
The Random Dude:Who have been your influences in creating a comic?
Cayti/Peter:The greatest influence in my storytelling has to be Satoshi Kon (Perfect Blue, Paprika, Paranoia Agent). Also I would say that Sam Keith (The Maxx) was inspirational.  I’ve loved the cartoons of Batman the Animated Adventures and certainly been enthralled with superhero movies.  I’m not the biggest fan of mainstream comics. Though I love many of the characters, I mourn for their lack of closure. They must continue to suffer to feed the endless appetite for more of their stories.
The Random Dude: “Paradox Girl is a unique book that doesn’t have to deal with the idea of continuity because of her abilities. Can this be a little bit of a challenge at the same time with keeping everything in order both with character development and storylines?
Cayti/Peter:A goal with every issue of Paradox Girl is to tell a complete story. I don’t want to rely on cliffhangers to make people come back for more.  I want people to show up because they like the stories I tell and pack enough in each issue to make them worth coming back to again and again to get everything. We’ll see some character development with Paradox Girl in the upcoming issues, but instead of an ‘arc’ we have what I call a ‘cycle’, a series of (in this case six) issues with individual yet interconnected stories.  PG’s growth is non-linear and can be understood by reading all the issues in the cycle (in no particular order).  Some of the issues contradict each other and so what’s true and what’s not is a complicated matter that I don’t want to risk spoiling with too much explanation. That said, we have 2 more cycles in planning, so hopefully we get to do more than just this one.”
The Random Dude: “One thing that I saw that is great about Paradox Girl is that we just jump right into the mix, are there any plans about getting into her back story at all with how she got her abilities etc?
Cayti/Peter: “Issue 1 gave all the answers you’re probably ever going to get.  She is her present, she doesn’t have an origin story because she doesn’t have a single ‘origin’ anymore.  She’s changed that origin and we can assume she’s constantly changing that origin. There is in theory a ‘first time around’ from whoever PG was before she was a living Paradox, but we’ll never see it, because it doesn’t exist anymore. Plus, as mentioned above, it wouldn’t really be Paradox Girl, that’s someone else, some other set of choices.  One of Paradox Girl’s many Paradoxes is that she has no origin, no starting point, and yet still exists.
The Random Dude: “Axiom Man, will we get to see his back story at all? How did they come together to work as a team to save Cityopolis?
Cayti/Peter: “Axiom Man, on the other hand, is about absolute truth and we will absolutely see his back story, and eventually learn through his series how he and PG got to work together.  They are a perfect yin and yang with each other, absolute truth and the living Paradox. Axiom Man serves as the straight man in the PG series because she’s so ditzy and plays well off of him.  (Count how many times he facepalms!)  He’s really interesting in his own right, and not I think what people are expecting. Hopefully we’ll get funding to add Axiom Man #1 to the Kickstarter rewards.”
The Random Dude: “With a couple of successful Kickstarters under your belt, how many issues are you hoping to take Paradox Girl?
Cayti/Peter:As mentioned above I have 3 cycles to PG’s story, sort of the establishment of who she is, what that means, and where that leads.   We’d like to get Paradox Girl into comic shops, and onto a regular schedule for the rest of the story. Kickstarter has been good to us but they take a lot of time and energy to run, so my publisher (Hana Comics, to whom I am so deeply grateful) will be looking for other ways to get PG to comic readers. I really wanna get to the end of PG’s story, because I think the title is clever as hell, fi3nu4qo “Crisis on Infinite Girls”.  The whole series really is satire and sort of jab at mainstream comics and their ‘continuity’ that goes on forever with these huge iconic figures.  Stories need endings-characters need endings.  I hope I get a chance to show PG’s.”
The Random Dude: “Are there any other plans to take Paradox Girl to other outlets? (animated series, video games etc.)?
Cayti/Peter:Comics are the medium that I want to work through mostly, because chronology is represented by the pages and panels, and so there’s a way to play with that and ‘time travel’ between pages that you couldn’t do in any other medium.  That said: As part of the kickstarter we have a really cool card game we co developed with Past Go Games ( www.pastgo.net ). I’ve played it a bunch, it’s crazy and filled with PG nonsense. We’ve talked about a Paradox Girl visual novel-because Hana Comics’ parent company Hanako Games does games of that variety, but I have a hard time imagining giving control of the narrative over to the player in a way that would feel meaningful and capture the feel of the comics.  We never really see the intervening ‘attempts’ at fixing things, from the audiences point of view PG works because predestination loops get established and while it’s “impossible” it still sort of makes sense.
An animated series would be lovely to do, we have a killer voice actress in Janna Polzin ( http://www.jannapolzin.com ) who did the voice for the Kickstarter videos. 
If I got to have a wish granted and PG jumped to another medium, it would be a 5 or 10 minute live action sketch – with Gillian Jacobs as Paradox Girl. I loved Gillian’s work on Community and Netflix’s Love; she does a the ‘hot mess’ trope so well, I think she fits PG perfectly.  And if you’ve ever seen Orphan Black, Tatiana Maslany does an amazing job interacting with multiple other characters that she is also playing.  I’d love to see that same tech applied and have half a dozen Paradox Girls in live action arguing and fighting with each other over something stupid.”
Check out their Kickstarter campaign here
Twitter: @Hanacomics – Paradox Girl Official Twitter account
                @superliyishan – Yishan Li Twitter account
To hear Al Mega, “The Machine” Johnny Hughes and “The Random Dude” Josh talk about Paradox Girl, listen in on the most recent episode of Flipside Focus
115 More posts in Interviews category
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