Now Reading: Strangers In Paradise

sip1This series is often solicited as “the greatest love story ever told” and sounds more like something my wife would have mixed in with her Jane Austen books, except also with a lot of lesbians. Oh boy, lesbian love stories, my favorite and most relatable kind of story! I don’t remember exactly when I first read this series or how I ended up reading it. I just heard a lot of good things about it, I guess, and checked it out despite it not being at all something I would typically be reading or interested in, but it turned out that it’s the kind of story that’s hard to put down once you’ve started. This is a pretty long read too. The complete series has around 2200 pages all together, many of which are very text heavy and at times just flat out switches to full prose. The original mini-series that kicks off the story is a little rougher and more wacky and cartoonish than the rest of the series generally is, and may give kind of a false impression of what this tale will be like, but it quickly becomes a highly emotional drama that, while still retaining some moments of screwball humor, is more often incredibly serious, surprisingly dark, and really, pretty depressing a lot of the time.

 

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Most conveniently collected in the Strangers in Paradise Softcover Omnibus Edition

As I mentioned briefly before, the overlying theme here is the complicated relationship between two women, Francine and “Katchoo”, and their various friends and family, as they keep trying and failing to become more than just friends throughout a long series of dramatic situations, typically involving complications due to Katchoo’s shadowy past, which brings a surprising amount of mystery/thriller elements into the plot between all the “will they/won’t they” stuff. This may not sound like anything particularly ground-breaking, story-wise, and it certainly doesn’t sound like something that could possibly fill so many pages without becoming horribly repetitive, but the characters and dialogue are sharp and compelling enough to carry it on much longer than one would think possible. The writer, Terry Moore, is also the artist and does an excellent job in that respect as well. (In fact, on top of writing and art duties he also self-published almost the entire series and continues to do so to this day with other series’ of his.) Anyway, obviously this is probably not the kind of story that quite everyone will enjoy, but to me, it’s an important independent comic classic that I’m glad to have on my shelf and one that I would certainly recommend to those willing to try something different.

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