Comic Legends: How Did 9/11 Change Strangers in Paradise's Ending?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and thirty-fourth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

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Terry Moore changed the ending to Strangers in Paradise following the tragic events of 9/11.



Strangers in Paradise was a delightful long-running comic book series by writer/artist Terry Moore, telling the story of high school best friends, Katina "Katchoo" Choovanski and Francine. Katchoo is in love with Francine, but Francine sees her as just her best friend. Later, they met artist David, who was in love with Katchoo. We also met (going from left to right) the ditsy but adorable Casey, her ex-husband (and Francine's ex-boyfriend), Freddy and David's sister (and Katchoo's former lover), Darcy.

The characters went through a series of adventures over the 14 years (and 106 issues) of the series (which Moore produced at three different companies, finishing up with his creator-owned Abstract Studios), with Francine eventually coming to realize that she was actually in love with Katchoo, as well.

However, what's amazing is that the ending of the series came about due to a very strange reason. You see, Terry Moore had a whole other ending for the series in mind before the tragic terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

The ending actually changed drastically. What happened was, I was thinking in terms of a traditional tragic love story all along. High prices are paid, and all that. But after 9/11, I felt like there was too much grief in the world, and I didn’t want to add to it with another tragic love story. So I wanted to change the tone of the story back to one of hope and, ‘yes, good things can happen.’ That actually came from the rebel in me, because I’m always rebelling against whatever the predominant thing is. If the predominant thing is hedonism, then I want to go the other way with my work; if people are feeling that there’s just no hope in the world, then I feel the need to draw a lighthearted cartoon. That was kind of what happened. After 9/11, I felt like it was the creative people who were responsible for re-instilling hope into the population. I started thinking about my story, that I could do it with ‘SiP.’ It kind of changed my heart on the story and what I wanted to do with it.

When it came time to end it, I really feel like I made the right decision. The version we ended up with is so much better than what I had in mind before. It’s funny how things turn out, and hopefully they always turn out the right way. I feel like ‘SiP’ ultimately became the story it should be, so I’m very happy with that.

Fascinating insights into a classic comic book series.

Thanks to Shaun Manning and Terry Moore for the information!

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at CBR: Did Disney try to pretend that The Avengers was still being made by Paramount even after Disney bought Marvel?

OK, that's it for this week!

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