I’m not quite certain what to make of the first volume of Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise.
By no means do I believe that comics need to always be about superheroes or mutants or anything more than everyday life. I point to recent reads like Deogratias, Epileptic, or Blankets…or even further back to Fun Home or This Will All End in Tears as fine examples of how the graphic novel can be a satisfying medium through which to tell tales of normal people experiencing normal things, with beauty, compassion, depth, and sophistication.
Moore seems to be telling a similar tale of normal life in this collection…but not with the level of depth I had hoped for. In truth, his two primary characters seem more like shadows of complexity, shackled to stereotypes that perhaps Moore had originally intended to break through his telling of their tale. Katchoo often comes across as a riotous, man-hating lesbian and Francine is a codependent, overly emotional woman. And of course, Katchoo is in love with Francine, because lesbians can’t be just friends with women.
Look, it’s When Sally Met Sally!
This volume is just the beginning of their story, which apparently lasted quite a while: There are three volumes of Strangers in Paradise, and the third volume is divided into eight parts. The local library has all of those parts…but doesn’t have the second volume at all! I guess it’s a good thing that I didn’t really feel all that invested after reading the first section; I’d be a bit livid right now. Either that or I’d be on Amazon Marketplace, trying to find a cheap used copy. Now look, I can save my money.
Final Verdict: I admit, I am slightly curious about how their story plays out, and if the library did have the second volume, I would probably give it a go. Obviously, there’s something to this story if it lasted long enough to fill out 10 books. Then again, there have been five seasons of Jersey Shore…so, there you go. However, I don’t feel any great sense of loss that I won’t be continuing along with Katchoo and Francine. Back to the library they go.