I grew up on DC and Marvel comic books, yet despite my lifetime obsession with Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Catwoman, She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Mary Marvel, I didn’t realize I was a lesbian until my comic shop owner placed a copy of Terry Moore‘s Strangers in Paradise into my hands. I didn’t know anything about indie comics (or lesbians, really) at the time, but I was skeptical because none of the characters were wearing capes. My comic shop guy sent me away with the first trade paperback and told me I only had to come back and pay for it if I loved it. The next day I was back, paying for it — and all of the subsequent SiP volumes he had in stock.
Later, I came out as a lesbian, wrote a fan letter to Terry Moore that he published in an issue of SiP, and decided I wanted to write awesome things to help other awesome lesbian and bisexual women feel awesome about their sexuality.
And here we are!
Since ending Strangers in Paradise in 2007, Moore has gone on to publish two other series — Echo and Rachel Rising — that feature strong, independent, badass women. But now he’s turning his attention back to Francine and Katchoo as he works to release a softcover omnibus of the entire SiP series. He’s a busy, busy man these days, but I caught up with him and asked him to fill us in on the latest Katchoo/Fran news, and he happily obliged.
AfterEllen: I know you’re juggling a lot right now, but are you still working on that Strangers in Paradise novel you told us about last year?
Terry Moore: Yes, but I’ve had to put it aside for now. It wasn’t going to be ready in time and I needed to shift my efforts to the Omnibus for this summer and The Strangers in Paradise Treasury for the fall.
AfterEllen: What can you tell us about the novel? Where do we pick up with Fran and Kat?
Terry Moore: They’re here with us in the now, today. I always think of them in terms of what they’re doing today. I keep mental track of it. I think, “Oh, it’s nice weather today in Santa Fe. I bet Francine and Katchoo go to the town square for lunch and run into local friends. Tonight they’ll cook this or that for dinner and tomorrow maybe Katchoo will spend all day in the gallery loft, painting.” My mind is with them like that, the way you think of friends or family.
AfterEllen: Why do you think Kat and Fran’s relationship has continued to resonate so strongly with lesbian and bisexual women over decades?
Terry Moore: I’m on the inside looking out, so it’s hard for me to have an objective perspective, but my feeling is that any story about matters of the heart will resonate with human beings. So, right off the bat the story has the reader’s attention. But when you find Francine and Katchoo are actually fighting for each other, I think that strikes a chord with like-minded women. I’ve never met a gay woman who didn’t have to fight for who she is and what she has. Come out on the other side of that and you’re a hero in anybody’s book.
AfterEllen: What do you think Fran and Kat would say about the current state of gay rights legislation in America?
Terry Moore: They would be pleased with the recent surge in national attention. A lot of work has gone into bringing the issues to the people and legislatures, and the media blitz is part of it, it’s necessary, but hopefully one day gay rights will no longer be “news.” It will just be.
I have been moved by lots of lesbian media in my five years of writing for AfterEllen, but Katchoo and Francine’s love story will always hold the most special place in my heart. They were my first and I will always love them best. Find out more about them, including how to order their complete — 2,400 page! — story at Terry Moore’s official website.