Rating: 4.5/5 – An Excellent Read That Stands On Its Own.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.
What is it that makes a person want to buy a particular comic? A cool cover? A specific character? An appealing premise? All of these at some point have made me pick up a book and give it a try. But probably the biggest deciding factor for me is the artist and/or writer. I think I’ve gotten a flavor for the ones I generally like and the ones that do nothing for me. Enter Terry Moore and his work on Rachel Rising. I picked it up on a friend’s recommendation recently and fell in love with it. I think Moore’s writing and art are amazing! So what else of Moore’s have I been missing? From what I’ve heard, I missed his magnum opus Strangers in Paradise. I have yet to give it a try, but when I saw SIP (Strangers in Paradise) Kids on the shelf at my local comic shop, I picked it up based on its predecessor’s reputation. If, like me, you have yet to read Strangers in Paradise, then you probably have the same question I had: Does SIP Kids stand on its own or must one have read Strangers in Paradise to “get” it?
After reading the first couple issues, I would say the answer is it stands on its own. I don’t feel like I’m missing a whole lot by not having read Strangers in Paradise, although I suspect issue #2 in particular contains subtle hints about the future relationships between its cast. I’m sure I would appreciate it a lot more if I knew what was to come, but I thoroughly enjoyed it despite my ignorance of the source material. This issue was funny, charming, and had moments of genuine insight and sadness. Despite having a very “Peanuts-like” vibe in style, humor, and presentation, the characters aren’t treated as one dimensional and there’s an overarching narrative that ties all the scenes together. I think the book’s almost comic strip style makes it easily accessible to new readers, but it doesn’t do it at the expense of characterization. The art is also very much “Sunday funnies,” which really works for the book thematically. Terry Moore is an awesome cartoonist and though he has proven that he can push his talents way past this style, he can easily slide right back into it. On a side note, Moore slipped in a Rachel Rising joke that I thought was a neat nod to his other currently published series. It gave me an opportunity to feel like I’m “in the know” even though this world is new to me.
SIP Kids continues to be a fun read that defines the early years of this comic universe. Based on this series, I’m now more inclined to pick up a Strangers in Paradise omnibus just to find out what happens to all these kids in the future. I’m really digging the vibe and I’m loving all the different personalities. I think I’ve zeroed in on my favorite character and it would be interesting upon a subsequent read of Strangers in Paradise to see if it holds up. Issue #2 ends with a definite “to be continued” (unlike first issue’s ambiguous “the end?), which may or may not be resolved next issue. It’s hard to tell because these issues are coming out quarterly and are set in different seasons. I don’t know the reason for this, but I do wish it would come out more often. Until that happens, I’ll be looking forward to spring.
Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
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