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Friday, 12 April 2013

Strangers in Paradise: Volumes 1 and 2


Without love, we're never more than strangers in Paradise
Writer: Terry Moore
Art: Terry Moore
Publisher: Abstract Studio

What's it about?
Volume One: Freddie and Francine are a couple.  Francine lives with her best friend Katchoo.  Francine has trust issues and won't have sex with Freddie, though they've been together for a year.  So Freddie and Francine split up.  Katchoo comes onto Francine, who declines.  David notices Katchoo in an art gallery, comes on to her, and is rudely (very rudely) rebuffed.  Francine has a breakdown and Katchoo vows revenge on Freddie.  The relationships get messier and more ridiculous as each character tries to negotiate their way through the romantic minefield.
Volume Two - I Dream of You: A similar situation as before, but now Katchoo's mysterious past is catching up with her.  She disappears for two months, worrying Francine sick.  A shadowy, violent figure hires a corrupt copper to track and report on Katchoo's movements.  People are found severely beaten; Katchoo confides in David; Freddie is lurking in the background; Francine has still not moved on from him.  The finale of the volume solidifies it as a crime, rather than romance, story.

I am reviewing these two volumes together as they are best read in tandem.  Strangers in Paradise is described as a romance comic, and while Volume One is all about boy/girl, girl/girl, girl/boy relationships it is certainly not a traditional romance story.  Volume Two fleshes the characters out and gives a better feeling as to where the series is going.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Princess comics

Recently I have met a lot of young girls, baby through to toddler age, and have been reminded of the prevalence of the Princess story for young female children.  There's loads of traditional Princess stories out there - you know, about the passive beautiful sort who wait for a Prince to rescue or marry them and don't actually do much.

Thankfully, there are a few comics out there who challenge this narrative and create an entirely different sort of Princess.  These are:

The Princess - a webcomic about a transgender girl, her crushes, her wish to join the Girl Cadettes, her friends and her family.  It's full of sparkles and rainbows and cheerful art, and full of messages of support for trans kids.  It's called The Princess because the lead, Sarah, always wears a home made crown.  We reviewed it here.

JL8 - also a webcomic, this is a fan comic about the Justice League of America (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern etc) as little kids, all in their costumes and with all their powers.  It's really cute and funny.  Wonder Woman is of course an Amazon Princess and recent strips have been about her birthday party, with her Mum telling everyone she is a Princess.  Wonder Woman is not happy about this.  We reviewed it here.

Princeless - This is an actual print comic about a Black Princess who refuses to hang around in her tower to be rescued by a Prince, and instead befriends her dragon guard, steals some armour and sets out to rescue all her sisters.  It's relatively new and is in its second volume, or story arc if you prefer.  I recommend this to everyone and it's always been well received.  We reviewed volume 1 here.  You can get it in print from your local comic shop and possibly Amazon or Ebay, or buy it digitally from Comixology.

Please try these comics out!  They are fun for kids and adults.

Al images reproduced with kind permission of the creators.