So, it’s over….
Suzanne asked me to go to the mailbox on Tuesday. And I saw a bulky package at the bottom of the mailbox. I didn’t even curse the lazy mailman for putting it in the mailbox and not at my doorstop. It was here. After weeks of waiting for it to arrive in Barnes & Noble or online at Amazon. But finally, I bought it… and now it was here. The last Strangers in Paradise trade paperback.
I was going to read Strangers in Paradise: Ever After very slowly. One issue a night. That’s how I was going to do it. I even was going to let Suzanne finish it first (admittedly she was home/sick at the time). So, Tuedsay night I read the first one. Wednesday night I read the second one.
And last night I devoured the rest of it. There was too much: The talk between Nikki and Francine, the reading of the will, Freddie’s redemption, fall, and redemption again, the confrontation between Francine and Brad, and the truth about… well that would be giving everything away.
The best moment… well, not the best moment… cause that will make me seem more pervy than I am… But there was a great moment between Terry Moore (the artist) and the readers of Strangers in Paradise with an aside for horny fanboys everywhere.
Terry has gone out of his way to make this story about love. This love happens to be between two women, Francine and Katchoo. And these two experience and explore every aspect of love. Now, obviously this attaches the word LESBIAN to the book. This is fine. Katchoo is bisexual by an outsider’s definition (that she has had sex with both men and women). She would probably describe herself as a lesbian who loves a man: David.
But when you attach the word LESBIAN to anything aimed at a primarily male oriented audience, other words get attached to it simply by association, like lines put on a website to get noticed on a Yahoo search: YOUNG HOT LESBIAN TEENS NAKED SEX HORNY DRIPPING BOOBS THREESOME
And Terry went out of his way to not descend to that level. He avoided any overly titilaing images from his comic book, specifically nude shots. Yes the girls were occassionally in bathing suits, in underwear, and (once) stripping their clothes off in the middle of a park. But this was all for dramatic affect. He took the high road. He could show the girls naked if he wanted. It was a self-published comic book. He didn’t need to answer to anyone (except maybe his wife). He went the artistic route.
Tho as an artist and a male, I’m sure that drawing the nude female form is probably very appealing. So, in the final issues of the comic book, there’s a scene where Francine removes her clothes (reminiscent of the original mini-series) and you see her breast. Not the outline… Not the curve, artistically drawn. Nope.
Full on boob shot. Breast, areola, nipple, tattoo.
Now that it’s over, over 100 issues in. Well-past the point of anyone who was following the story just to see some boobies… now he draws it.
One final FUCK YOU to anyone who wanted to pigeonhole this story. One final FUCK YOU to anyone who asked him for nudity in the comic book. And one final, “Hey, if there’s anyone left, who love this work AND will enjoy seeing Francine’s breasts, then here you go.” (okay, I might be reaching with that last idea).
I loved it on every level.
I will miss these characters a lot. 11 years by my reckoning. I walked into a comic book store in 1996 (not my typical one), and picked up two series I had heard about: Strangers in Paradise (vol 3) #3 and Astro City (vol 2) #1.
And (other than when I switched from comic books to trade paperbacks), I haven’t missed an issue. I have introduced this series to Michael, Gregg, Shari, Jaeger, and Suzanne. And they have introduced the series to many others as well. One day, if/when I think he’ll appreciate it, I will introduce it to my son, Zack.
I know that Terry Moore is not leaving us, and that he plans on writing these characters in a novel form, and I would never be surprised if some day SiP makes its way onto a television series. But, regardless, I will miss these girls.