Over the last few years, the once strictly cult following of the
graphic novel has blossomed into a more mainstream popularity.
Enter Terry Moore’s “Strangers in Paradise,” a
graphic novel series centered around the lives and loves of two
women, Katchoo and Francine, and the difficult struggles they go
through as they try to find themselves in a dangerous world.

Book Reviews

The “Treasury Edition” of “SiP” —
as it is affectionately known — is a collection of
Moore’s series up to the present day. It includes scenes from
the first 60 issues in chronological order and a never-published
first edition. Moore also ties everything together with running
commentary, including his ideas and aspirations for the series. The
“Treasury Edition” shows readers the very beginning of
“SiP,” from Moore’s original ideas and how
Francine and Katchoo got their start.

“SiP” is beautifully drawn, with a compelling
storyline and characters that feel so real that emotions virtually
leap off the page. The “Treasury Edition” is both a
good place to begin for those unfamiliar with “SiP” and
a resource for fans to enrich their knowledge of the series.

“SiP” is not an average romantic comedy. Its main
characters, Katchoo and Francine, are as different as night and
day, but are very close. Katchoo makes no secret that she has
feelings for Francine, a lovable neurotic who struggles with her
weight and dreams of the perfect man. Francine loves Katchoo
despite the volatility and rebelliousness of her nature, though she
is uncomfortable with the fact that Katchoo is romantically
interested in her. The third character in this mess is David, a
young man uncomfortably in love with Katchoo. This triangle is
complicated even further when it is revealed that Katchoo has a
dark past, one that has followed her and endangers both her life
and Francine’s.

The “Treasury Edition” does an excellent job of
teasing the slight nuances of the comic and turning them into
strong ideas. The history behind “SiP” and the
perspective of the author make the “Treasury Edition”
something that most fans will greatly enjoy, especially since it
discusses and explains the origins of the series and addresses its
possible future.

Moore’s created “SiP” after bad experiences
developing comic strips. His title was adapted from the Tony
Bennett song “Stranger in Paradise.” Moore writes of
the title, “It’s not your typical comic book title, but
it fit the theme of my story: people stumbling through
relationships like awkward guests in a pretty place.” His
commentary throughout the “Treasury Edition” is
intimate and comfortable, allowing the reader to see both into his
mind and into his series. This book is a strong addition to his
already popular series — a glimpse into the creative psyche
of Moore as not only an artist and a writer, but as a person.

 

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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