Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book 1
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Wr. Terry Moore

Sometimes, big things do come in small packages. Case in point, the Strangers in Paradise Pocket book 1. The comic collection, presented in digest form, collects issue 1-3 of volume one and issues 1-13 of volume two of the acclaimed series by writer/artist Terry Moore. The set-up is simple. The comic follows the lives of two women, Francine and her best friend, Katchoo. Francine is the standard girl's girl. She constantly struggles Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book 1 by Terry Moore.with her weight, her man problems, and goes from loving herself to feeling like she is the smallest person in the universe in less than sixty seconds. Katchoo is the alpha woman, a take no prisoners, man hating, gun totting, rough and tumble girl that no man can contain. She is the rock of Francine and would do anything for her. Oh yea and she is in love with Francine. And Francine is in love with Katchoo. Or is she? As if the girl's don't have enough problems, a man enters their lives names David that may or may not like one or both of the girls. Both girls are also falling for him. Mix in mobsters and 850,000 dollars in stolen cash generously and what you get is one great story in the making.

While the stories collected here were created 12 years ago by Terry Moore, the stories still have a feeling of relevance and reread value, something some Indy and even mainstream books lack today. Terry Moore sense of dialogue and writing is not too showy nor is it pretentious. It's just real. Every character is distinct and different from every other character and every bit as real as the dialogue. You end up knowing these characters as if they are your own friends. The relationship between the two women is also tastefully done. In today's age, potential lesbian relationships are handled like a teenage boy's fantasy so it is nice to see that Moore shows the two women in a relationship as more than just two women getting together. It shows two people who love and care for each other very much getting together.

Moore, as talented as he is with dialogue, is equally skilled with his art. It is simple yet eye-catching. The women are especially breathtaking without being too unrealistic. These women are full figured, hips and all, and are quite attractive without the over inflated breasts.

While there are no special features in this comic, the price alone will catch any readers' eyes. The pocketbook collects 16 issues for 18 dollars, making it a little more than $1.10 per issue. Plus, it is in digest form and easy to carry around. Anyone who is a fan of Terry Moore or just looking for a good book that doesn't deal with superheroes should consider adding Strangers in Paradise Pocket book 1 to their library.

- James Chan


Double-Take Review: Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book 1 by Terry Moore

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I don't think even the works of Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, and others in their bizarre vein compare to the emotional rollercoaster that Terry Moore's "Strangers in Paradise" put through this reviewer. In fact I am still confused, and weeks after I read this pocket edition, which collects the series first 17 issues in a handy slightly larger manga sized book. But the confusion is a good thing. A very good thing.

"Strangers in Paradise" has been kicking people's posteriors since 1993. It has won numerous industry awards and has been the holy grail of its creator, Terry Moore, who handles the scripting and artist duties. The book has also garnered international acclaim and is published in eight languages around the world. And it puzzles me that it took me this long to pick this series up.

Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book 1 by Terry Moore.I think I mentioned in a previous review how the maturity level of my literature has gone up exponentially since my younger days, and this is a prime example once again. How can a 14-18 year old appreciate this series? I don't think they can until they reach adulthood, because this series is ripe with many adult themed elements that a mind can only fully understand after experiencing and witnessing the turnings of the world after a certain age. Thus I am glad that Terry Moore put this out in a pocket edition.

Besides the hardcover "Marvels" from Marvel Comics, you probably get the most bang for your buck for this comic book. Think about it, 18 bucks for 17 issues in a sturdy, compact, carry it anywhere edition. It's perfect for the daily city commute or a night time read. But enough with that, the content matters the most, and it's simply exceptional.

The story of Strangers in Paradise revolves around three "friends" that have mysterious pasts, emotional problems, crazy family or none at all, and ultimately just insanity galore running through their lives. The definition of entropy could not have been more prevalent in this book. But the magical thing is, that everything is so beautifully choreographed that that chaos implants itself in one's head and becomes parts of individual puzzle pieces that create a comprehensive mosaic in the twisted weird part of your brain. What weakens this aspect a bit is the inclusion of novel like pages, the generic like crime noir part that fizzles away at times, and the sometime repetitious moments between the two main characters. However, those are minor nuisances, if even that

This series is probably as close to poetry in comic books, besides Alan Moore's quintessential "Swamp Thing" run and David Mack's "Kabuki", that I have seen so far. There is genuine poetry that resembles pieces by the famed poet Sylvia Platt, that is betwixt stories about one's sexuality, crime, relationships and plenty more. It is a gorgeous contrast that works well with the equally dazzling and highly expressionist art.

Simply put Terry Moore's art is phenomenal. Worthy of it's own art show, it is simple, breath taking, and incredibly real. His characters display many flaws emotionally, but are equally supplanted with physical ones as well. There are no outrageous body features, muscles, or extravagantly sized breasts. His art is the imitation of life of the real world as nature intended it to be.

This story is simply about identities. Everyone in the book questions who they are to no avail. It is a wonderful piece of literature and a timeless classic. Pick this up now!

- Pawel Goj


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