‘Paper Girls’: 4 Differences Between the Comics and the Show

2022 is proving to be a great year for ’80s kids in bikes — or a terrible year, depending on whether you’re one of those kids or just enjoy watching them fight evil. After Netflix released the long awaited fourth season of its hit show Stranger Things between June and July, Prime Video has just made all eight episodes of its newest sci-fi coming-of-age story Paper Girls available to stream.

Based on the comic book series of the same name by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, Paper Girls has got it all: time-travel, giant robots, awkward conversations with future versions of yourself, and even more awkward first periods. However, fans that know Erin (Riley Lai Nelet), Tiffany (Camryn Jones), KJ (Fina Strazza), and Mac (Sofia Rosinsky) from the comics will quickly notice that a few things are not quite the same. A lot of the source material was changed in the story’s adaptation to the screen. Here are 15 differences between the Paper Girls comic series and its Prime Video counterpart.

  1. How the Girls Meet
    Episode 1 of Paper Girls has young Erin waking up with the chickens to do her first paper route on Hell Day, 1988, just like in the comics. However, in the show, she’s harassed by a racist neighbor that accuses her of stealing his paper and is rescued by Tiffany. The two girls later run into Mac and rush to help KJ, who is under attack by a gang of teenagers in costumes. In the comics, Erin is the one bullied by the teens, and the three more experienced paper girls come to her rescue.
  2. The STF’s Device
    The mysterious device that is eventually revealed to be a supercomputer is given to the girls by Heck (Kai Young) and Naldo (William Bennett) in the show. In the comics, however, they pick up the device after it falls from the pockets of a mysterious Standard Time Fighter that attacks them during Hell Day. The original device also has the Apple logo on its back, which is how the girls realize it’s a kind of computer, but perhaps the show would’ve had to be picked up by a different streaming service if the writers wanted to keep that part in…
  3. Meeting Adult Erin
    The circumstances under which the girls meet adult Erin (Ali Wong) also differ slightly from the comics. While in the show they go to Erin’s house and run into a very freaked out older version of her, in Vaughan and Chiang’s story, the girls jump in front of adult Erin’s car as she’s driving and talking on the phone. Oh, and the person she’s talking to is her sister Missy (Jessika Van), about their very alive and emoji loving mother
  4. The Erins and the Tiffanys
    As a comic series, Paper Girls is very plot-driven. Even though we do get to see the girls mature through their journey, there are only a few pages devoted to their backgrounds and inner lives. In the show, this kind of character exploration gets more space. To do that, however, the writers changed a couple of things regarding the girls’ relationships with their future selves. Adults Erin and Tiffany (Sekai Abenì), for instance, don’t have that much in common with their comic book versions.

Vaughan and Chiang’s Erin still lives in Stony Stream, but not in her childhood home. She’s a writer for the Cleveland Preserver, not a paralegal, and her mother is still very much alive. Missy is still a helicopter pilot, but the fraught relationship between the two sisters following their mother’s passing was created for the show. Comic book Erin is also a lot quicker to accept the girls as time-travelers and help them out, and young Erin is a lot kinder to her grown up self. Adult Erin also makes it out of all the time-travel shenanigans alive. Yes, she’s the one that activates the device and reads its instructions, but the tiny computer only leads them to the abandoned mall, where they run into yet another version of Erin (who might still appear in the show sometime in the future). Adult Erin is shot, but Missy saves the day, and the girls move on with their journey by themselves.

Adult Tiffany is more involved in the girls’ adventures than adult Erin, but not in quite the same way as she is in the show. In the comics, she was never kicked out of MIT due to a mental health crisis after finding out she’s adopted. Comics Tiffany has known about the adoption ever since she was a little kid, and as an adult, she attended business school in NYU. Her clothing style is a lot more goth, and instead of having a futureless relationship, she’s happily married to an equally black-clad young man. She’s not responsible for inventing time-travel, but she does take a trip to the future with her younger self.

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