When Strangers in Paradise debuted in 1993, it hit comics like a bomb — there was nothing else like it. Alternately side-splittingly hilarious and deadly serious, Strangers in Paradise followed the relationship of two women — Francine Peters and Katina “Katchoo” Choovanski — through cheating boyfriends, thwarted romantic (and social) expectations, and lingering sins past (often in the form of an extremely nasty crime cartel).
Terry Moore wrote and illustrated Francine and Katchoo’s lives for more than 100 issues until 2007, when both characters finally acknowledged what Katchoo wanted all along – that they loved each other and wanted to build a life together. Although they settled down to raise their children together in that final issue, not every shadow of their previous lives had been accounted for. Now, 10 years after the SiP finale, 25 years after it all began, Terry Moore returns to his most famous characters to see what these women will have to do to maintain the life and the family they’ve finally found in one another.
Strangers in Paradise XXV, Moore’s long-awaited return to Katchoo’s life story, debuts this week from Moore’s own Abstract Studio. He took some time out to answer CBR’s questions about coming back to his most famous creations, the lingering shadows from Katchoo’s past and the status of the recently announced Strangers in Paradise film, which he’s working on with Professor Marston and the Wonder Women director Angela Robinson.
CBR: Terry, I guess I wanted to start with what brought you back to Strangers in Paradise. There are any number of good reasons — the 25th anniversary being a huge and obvious one. What made this the time to come back to Francine and Katchoo?
Terry Moore: The only good reason is, the story’s not finished. There is a glaring unresolved matter that has to be dealt with. So, as a creator, I’m not finished telling the story. And of course, the anniversary is the perfect time to get this done.
Was coming back to Katchoo and Francine like putting on an old shirt? Was there any awkwardness in finding their voices again after the time away?
It’s like reconnecting with friends and the time away just disappears. It’s a nice feeling, like going home.
How much time has passed since we last saw Francine and Katchoo?
A few years.
Where are they now? Will XXV be a direct continuation of the stories from the original series or will these be entirely new directions and stories?
I don’t want to spoil the plot for people who haven’t read the previous series. Let’s just SiP is about Francine and Katchoo. And how fierce some people will fight for the ones they love.
What is this threat to their lives now?
Well, Katchoo is a family woman now, but she has this bad past, remember? It’s a long story and I wrote a book about it. Anyway, she was involved with Darcy Parker, who had a criminal empire and an elite group of women called “Parker Girls” who did scary things. One of the surviving PG women is writing a tell-all book about the whole operation. If the book comes out, it will destroy Katchoo’s family. So Katchoo is determined to stop her. The problem is finding her. The new series is about the search.
When you initially ended SiP, you talked about how all great stories need an ending. You always knew there were more stories to tell with these characters, but when did you start to realize that you really wanted to tell those stories?
There were a lot of stories in the SiP series, but at the root of it all was a love story and the resolution of that ended the series. But the world has changed so much since then. And there is always that one person who can destroy everything you hold dear. And if you’re someone like Katchoo, who has fought so hard for what she has, you don’t let that happen. You fight for what you have. You hunt your predators, to the ends of the earth if you have to.
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