George's Reviews > Strangers in Paradise, Pocket Book 1

Strangers in Paradise, Pocket Book 1 by Terry Moore
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May 03, 09

bookshelves: 2009, graphic-novels, and
Read in May, 2009

Just read the first volume of Strangers in Paradise. Boy oh boy, did it rile me up. In a good way, of course. Let's just say I admire this graphic novel, but I'm not its intended audience. Loved the art. It put me in the mind of Berke Breathed's Bloom County. For some reason Francine's mother reminded me of Bill the Cat.

OK, let's get down to it. Every single male character in this volume is an asshole. Every. Single. One. Does Terry Moore hate men? I doubt it – he is a man, after all. I think it's more likely that he's a shrewd marketer who knows his audience. I admire his audacity: you've got to admire a guy who can make moving statements about feminine empowerment and draw great cheesecake at the same time and get away with it.

SIP is a graphic novel about sex, minus the sex (the first volume is, anyway). Instead we have the slow, richly deserved torment of the male characters. Let's talk about those male characters, shall we? Freddie and David, the scalp-taker and the teddy bear.

Freddie, first; he's the scalp-taker. Go to a used-car lot and he'll try to sell you a car. Go to a bar and he'll try to pick you up. He's an asshole, but at least he's up-front about it. In the interests of fairness I must also state that guys like Freddie get laid a lot. Moore nails him; the only thing he doesn't get right is that there's no way he would wait a year for sex. A real scalp-taker cuts ties and says bye-bye after two weeks.

David is the teddy bear. He's worst than Freddie, because he can’t take responsibility for his filthy sexual urges. Here’s a scoop: every man has filthy sexual urges. David neuters himself. He is the mascot, the little buddy, the pet. David is the type of character women like, because he’s harmless; men despise and pity him. Unfortunately for him, no woman will ever, ever find him attractive.

I give Katchoo credit; she tells David to go away. He doesn't, of course. David’s job is to read puerile poetry and tell Katchoo he loves her and be her designated punching bag while she works out her aggression. This is empowering, for Katchoo. In the spirit of abusive relationships David sits there and takes it. At one point he tells her he had it coming. I guess it’s Katchoo's pure soul; either that, or he likes being slapped in the face. Whatever; he stays.

The laundered Mob money storyline was a bit incoherent. It also put my Melodrama Meter off the charts. One of the characters ends up being related to another character, which - in the words of the Church Lady - is rather convenient.

Oh, and there's a wonderful fight scene between a female assassin and a fat guy. Yes, I know comic book violence is not realistic, but if you outweigh somebody by 100 pounds, all you need to do is sit on them and the fight is over. By the end of that one I was waiting for the ninjas to show up; maybe they will, in Volume 2.
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message 1: by Robin (new)

Robin Reading your review makes me want to go back and read this again!


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