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The opening of something truly special...,
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This review is from: Strangers In Paradise Pocket Book 1: Pocket Book Bk. 1 (Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book Collection) (Paperback)
I've been a comic reader for years now; I grew up reading Alan Moore (before I could appreciate the weight that comes with the man) in 2000AD, and have tangled with books by him and other greats like Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman... so I've spoiled myself with some of the best of the best. Nothing though is like Terry Moore's masterpiece Strangers in Paradise.
There's nothing otherworldly here; no magic, no superpowers, no aliens, nothing remotely strange. This is, at its core, a story about two people and the path they chart through life - sometimes together, sometimes apart - and true love. If you require guns, violence, explosions... well, you get some of that too, but it's secondary to what is most important of all here: the relationship between the two central characters of Francince and Katchoo, two women struggling with their pasts, their desires, their dreams and their often troubled futures.
The themes in this story are familiar ones to us all, grounding the story in ordinary feelings and experiences, while weaving in a complex background of gangsters, deception, espionage and murder. Twisting between the suburban and everyday into this world of organised crime, the danger would be that the two halves of the story would seem divorced from one another - even moreso considering the book uses an often drifting perspective, flashing forward and back in time and sometimes eschewing ordinary panels for written text, scripts, even song lyrics and music. Instead, Moore blends them masterfully creating a complex tale that never loses you and just keeps hooking you in with unanswered questions that get under your skin and refuse to let go. It pulls you along, and not once did I want to put this book down once opened. And once I was done, I opened the next book.
While the story can go to out-of-the-ordinary places (including some occasionally goofy story-asides, including a glorious homage to Xena: Warrior Princess), this is at its heart a story about very real women, with flaws, strengths, weaknesses, and a genuine love for one another. Like I said, Strangers in Paradise is a romance, one spanning years, involving two women, one guy, and a lot of problems both ordinary and extraordinary; the laughter, the tears, the murders... and as much as I love the excess and daring-do of other comics, I have never read a book as special as this. If you've never read Terry Moore before, start here. You won't regret it. You'll also be reading the greatest romance in comic book history.
Read it, then try telling me I'm wrong.