By Ben Kooyman
Mikey Williams and his buddy Arv are paperboys, delivering copies of The Quotidian Harbinger to finance their comic shop expenditure. A new delivery opportunity arises in route A2-DCB, the biggest delivery district in Harbour City. However, Mikey and Arv soon discover the district is brimming with eccentric characters, dangerous turns, and mystery surrounding the disappearance of the last A2-DCB paperboy.
The first two issues of The Last Paper Route, written by Sean Jordan and Alex Kennedy with artwork by Dave Howlett, felt oddly familiar. As a former and reformed paperboy, I experienced my share of pugnacious homeowners, antagonistic canines, and wet weather. I suspect Jordan and Kennedy are former paperboys too, as they take these recurring trials and amplify them in amusing ways, putting an urban Boy’s Own adventure spin on them in the process.
The milieu of The Last Paper Route is heightened—right down to the Mikey and Arv’s district manager, Don Beagles, who’s part Commissioner Gordon and part J. Jonah Jameson—but the series thus far is refreshingly earnest and shorn of irony. There’s a nice thread of sentimentality for old media—not just newspapers, but walkmans and cassette mix tapes and of course comics and their bricks & mortar proprietors—and allusions to flicks like Goodfellas when revealing the behind-the-scenes minutiae of the newspaper delivery game. Howlett’s black and white illustrations are tonally well-matched to the material, furnishing the two protagonists with some classic heroic action comic poses, with some sprinklings of noir thrown in on the side.
These opening issues of The Last Paper Route are spirited reads that lay foundations for further adventures. Whilst the ideal target audience is adolescents, the series’ nostalgic leanings and retro pop culture touchpoints suggest it’ll land more with readers of my vintage.
The Last Paper Route is published by Decent Comics and available via Comixology.