Title: Strangers in Paradise
Series: Strangers in Paradise (graphic novel series)
Author: Terry Moore
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Romance
Publisher: Abstract Studio
Release Date: 1993
Format: Graphic Novels
Source: Checked out from my local library
Katchoo is a beautiful young woman living a quiet life with everything going for her. She’s smart, independent and very much in love with her best friend, Francine. Then Katchoo meets David, a gentle but persistent young man who is determined to win Katchoo’s heart. The resulting love triangle is a touching comedy of romantic errors until Katchoo’s former employer comes looking for her and $850,000 in missing mob money. As her idyllic life begins to fall apart, Katchoo discovers no one can be trusted and that the past she thought she left behind now threatens to destroy her and everything she loves, including Francine.
This graphic novel series was recommended to me by one of my new friends from the New World Magischola LARP. While not the same caliber as Saga or Runaways, it was a very engaging story and excellent art. My one caveat in this review is that my library only had a random assortment of issues, not the complete story. So I missed some of the adventures, but I got the general story arc.
The things I loved about this story:
- Real, messy relationships and complicated feelings
- Tragic, but realistically so, pasts
- The female characters have real chins. This sounds weird, I know- but you know how most women, especially slightly overweight women, have a bit of a fat pouch under their chins? Not a full-on second chin, I mean, just that soft curve. Moore draws that, as the female characters are making expressions or in poses that would realistically make that area more prominent. I have never seen that area realistically drawn before. And his entire approach to facial expressions is beautiful.
- Lesbian themes. Yay diversity!
- A good balance of humor and drama, with consistent pacing
- Ensemble cast
- Attention to detail with background items and characters, which always makes me feel like it’s a full picture
- The line art was done well enough that I didn’t notice the absence of color (normally, I favor colored over black and white graphic novels)
- There were moments of character idiocy. I know this contributes to the fact that these feel like real, flawed folks…but I did want to smack Francine upside the head several times.
- Some of the side characters were tropish, for laughs, which is fine. But David started to feel that way toward the end- this may be because I was missing issues where he was more fully explored. But we never really saw him make mistakes or have second thoughts, and it made him feel flat.
- There wasn’t enough Mike Walsh. 🙂
Overall, I really enjoyed this contemporary drama/action/romance story. The art was wonderfully done, the pacing was great, and I felt very engaged with both Katchoo and Francine. I highly recommend for fans of those genres, and/or graphic novels, and/or Terry Moore.