End of an Era: Strangers in Paradise Final Issue Signing

It’s finally over. Strangers in Paradise, the most popular comic recommendation when guys asked “what should I buy for my girlfriend to get her to like comics?”, is ending with issue #90, due out May 30.

In honor of the event, creator Terry Moore will be signing at Jim Hanley’s Universe Manhattan store on Friday, June 1, from 5-6:30.

As a reader, I wasn’t a fan. It seemed to me too muddled in intent, and for a while, those I knew who read it were hanging on only until the end. (What I call the Cerebus effect: “I don’t like reading it any more, but I’ve stuck with it THIS long.”) However, I applaud Moore being able to continue his series for 14 years (106 issues). That’s quite an accomplishment.

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7 Responses to “End of an Era: Strangers in Paradise Final Issue Signing”

  1. Lyle Masaki Says:

    For me, SiP was one of two comics that made me reconsider my decision to drop all periodical comics (the other was Sabrina) I liked the big soap opera about it and appreciated having a title that threw the big cliches of romantic melodrama at a same-sex couple. I might’ve been less forgiving of the series’ inconsistencies if there were anything like it available outside of manga, but as a comic that succeeded for hitting the notes that soap operas were hitting in the 80s (the format’s US peak), it was unique… and probably shouldn’t have been.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Did they actually become a couple? By the point I gave up reading it, there was lots of hint-hint-hint, but nothing concrete (and plenty of contrary evidence, too). It was confusing to me whether it was intended to be a real relationship or a fanboy tease.

    You’re very right about it addressing an unfilled niche at the time. No matter how much I had to grit my teeth at it (mainly because I got tired of being assumed a reader because of my sex), I was glad it was out there.

  3. Chad Anderson Says:

    Like you, I applaud the achievement, even if the actual book wasn’t my cup of tea.

    In addition to the end of the comic itself, isn’t SiP the last of the self-published comics that started out in that wave in the ’90s? The others all eventually finished up, went to another publisher (see: Castle Waiting, and thank God it’s back), went online or died out, didn’t they?

    The only other one that I can think of that’s still being published (sorta) is Stray Bullets, and its creator seems to have jumped to the Big Two for a bit to make some cash (hopefully to finance another issue), for which I can’t really blame him.

    In all the badmouthing that the ’90s gets, lots of folks seem to overlook (or be unaware of) the fact that alongside some really bad superhero comics, a fair amount of creators, from Steve Bissette on Tyrant and Paul Grist on Kane to Zander Cannon on Replacement God and Rick Veith on Rare Bit Fiends, were self-publishing their own thing, and for a while there it looked like it might actually be a viable way to make a living in the direct market (and for some, like Terry Moore and Jeff Smith, it seems to have worked out well). If the bookstores had opened up to comics earlier, would more of these comics still be around?

    True, some of them are still with us, in trade paperback collections, with Image or another publisher, and I guess a lot of the DIY spirit has moved into webcomics (or in the case of Carla Speed McNeil’s FInder, online serialization), but I sometimes miss those days when superhero comics were often so bad that you couldn’t help but be pushed into trying the alternatives.

    Or maybe things haven’t changed as much as I thought.

  4. Lyle Masaki Says:

    Y’know, I can’t remember if they ever did become a full-fledged couple or not, the obstacles breaking them up (and the eventual, strained reunions) are so much more memorable.

    One other thing I enjoyed about the series was how it slowly got gayer as it went along. Moore talked to AfterEllen recently about how he learned from his gay fans and what a learning experience it was writing the characters. That shows in the comic, IMO, particularly as Francine loses her passive “whatever happens, happens” attitude to the relationship and starts to consider her and Katchoo a lesbian couple.

    Hm, y’know, I just realized that SiP serves as an example that I can enjoy a series that moves slowly, as long as stuff keeps happening.

  5. Johanna Says:

    Chad, Distant Soil is still running, if you consider that part of the era, and Bone’s found a whole new life in the mass market with color.

    As for your final point, you made me laugh.

    Another thing I forgot to mention: the final image from SIP that will always stay with me was the widely published promotional picture from early in the run of Katchoo in a bubble bath wearing a leather jacket and holding a gun. It was so fanboy pandering, and so stupid! I kept thinking “who’d want to ruin good leather that way?”

    Lyle, that’s a good point about long runs allowing creators to grow.

  6. Lyle Masaki Says:

    Johanna, I always laugh at that image because I first saw Greg Hyland’s parody of it. In one Lethargic Lad issue he mocks the silliness of that “sexually provacative females are empowering!” rationals with Lady Bad Girl homaging various cheesecake artists’. The last panel is that SiP pinup with the line “I’m smart so this is feminist!” or something like that.

  7. Lyle Masaki Says:

    Gah! Typo city. I need to get back to bed…

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