HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Graphic Depictions Today's Date:

Strangers In Paradise, volume 1

I'm trying to remember when I actually became aware of what we've all come to know as "the Small Press." It's a stretch really: I started reading Wizard somewhere in late '90s, and while it was mostly a very large, and very colorful, advertisement for the Big 2 back then (and pretty much nowadays too, I stopped reading it but they did throw Dark Horse and Image a bone here and there), it would spotlight some of the lesser known companies once in a while. And I remember that every Christmas, Wizard magazine would send out free Christmas gift tags with comic book characters on them. One that Wizard always had featured Katchoo and Francine from Strangers In Paradise.

Just look at that long segue into a review. How do I do it folks? The obvious answer is freebasing.

Anyway, SIP was probably the first "Small Press" title I ever became aware of, though no comic book store I knew of carried it so reading it was never an option. So, it was backlogged. I finally managed to grab a copy recently, and now you get to share the experience, fellow fanpeople.

For those unfamiliar with Terry Moore's life-long work, Strangers In Paradise is the story of life long friends Katchoo and Francine as they navigate the roads of life, love and psychological hang-ups.

Francine has intimacy problems while Katchoo has the age-old plot device of unrequited love…. for Francine.

Along the way, they meet up with David (who has something of a crush on Katchoo, "love triangle" barely covers this trio), and they ditch Francie's boyfriend Freddie, who is a demanding scumbag.

Moore both writes and illustrates the series (and we all know how I love writer-artists) and publishes under his own label, Abstract Studios, Inc.

Moore has a writing style that seems at ease in any situation. He can write an incredibly intimate yet ultimately uncomfortable scene between Katchoo and Francine and have no problem switching to outright humor or over-the-top violence. I've noticed something interesting in the way he's set up his main characters: David, Francine, and Katchoo are all fully realized individuals who emote well, while everyone else is more or less a cliché character played for comic relief.

Moore further elaborates on this in his artwork, as he makes caricatures of some of the background characters (the over-muscled-testosterone-laden cop, the butch lesbian named "Debbie", the creepy Peeping Tom neighbor, etc.) while he keeps his main three characters grounded in a visual reality. All three always maintain human features and rarely slip into a cartoon-like visage. It's an interesting story-telling device that is the singular ability of the writer-artist in the comic book medium.

Moore also paces the book extremely well, and it's a good thing considering the quick introduction we have to the characters, amid several flashbacks and even a dream sequence. Moore gives the reader time to get to know Francine and Katchoo just enough to not reveal any secrets, but keep us reading and able to empathize with both of them. And when I say "secrets" I mean it: Katchoo has a shady past that is lurking just beneath the surface, which raises lots of questions that inevitably lead to more stories (ah, foreshadowing, if only more people used you).

I'm not sure if my knowledge that there are more volumes and more stories to read has clouded my judgment, but I'm looking forward to grabbing a copy of the second volume, I Dream of You.

The second will cost more than the first (which will only set you back $8.95). I am now a fan, as I'm always glad to find a series that has a) "Diversity"- which basically means that hey, there are more than a bunch of white heterosexuals in the world, and it's nice to see that comic book creators recognize it (Moore came first, but Judd Winick has been catching a lot of crap lately for his "My Brother's Keeper" story arc on Green Lantern, and accusations that he has a "gay agenda" in comics) and b) "Solid Writing"- which is...solid…writing. Oh no, I've lost my wit!

'Til next week faithful readers (all three of you).

As always, the opinions expressed by Mr. Sparling are not necessarily those of the editorial staff at Fanboy Planet. Especially that assumption that he had a wit to lose. -- Editor


Robert Sparling

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites