Saturday, April 21, 2012

Strangers in Paradise Pocket Edition Vol. 3

by Terry Moore

Now that I've read three of these mammoth pocket-book sized collections of Terry Moore's epic Strangers In Paradise series, I beginning to see a pattern emerge in the storytelling.

Each of these books (which collects about nineteen comics) starts with some kind of mundane plot about Francine and Katchoo (Katina Choovanski) getting in to some sort of argument or disagreement, which jeopardizes their friendship and budding romance.  Then, they split on one another somehow, and don't reunite until some sort of threat from Katchoo's sordid past appears.  David, who loves Katchoo, is almost always caught in the middle, and at some point, the story is going to jump into the far future, where the two friends have not seen each other for some years, and both are miserable.

This volume opens that way, with Francine furious that Katchoo has chosen to exhibit very large paintings of her in the nude.  They fight about this, David learns that he has inherited his sister's fortune (Darcy Parker was an organized crime boss), and David and Katchoo fly away, only to have their plane crash.

From here, Moore abandons the lighter plots that make it a joy to read, and instead gives us a dark (although frequently funny) tale that has Katchoo working with Tambi, one of the remaining Parker girls who has a plan to take over the Big Six, but only with her help.  Francine nurses David back to health at her mother's, and is poised to find the elusive happiness she's always dreamed of, when the two friends are reunited, and stuck in yet another series of violent events.

I am very surprised at the balance that Moore is able to find between the fun, romantic comedy side of this book, and the darker, more intrigue-oriented stuff.  All of these characters, even the pathetically eager Casey, are very endearing, and they make this book the stuff of compulsive, stay up too late reading.  It's very good stuff.

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