I spent a good portion of this evening watching the new DVD, Terry Moore: Paradise Found. My only critique about this production is the interview portion. It would have prospered from some more camera angles on Terry and more visual things: art, covers, photos, etc. edited in. As it is, it's pretty much a one-camera shoot, with the camera tied down. But besides that, it's a long and fascinating interview with Terry, who is one of my favorite comic book creators. Terry's interview reveals a lot of similarities between his reasons for cartooning and mine, including a dissatisfying career in television (he was an editor) and an early "mid-life crisis" that resulted in self-publishing. Of course, he was successful at it. That's a big difference!
The DVD is very professionally done (by Hero Video Productions), and has a number of different shorter sections along with the interview which lasts about an hour and 20 minutes. Right now, I'm watching Terry pencil and ink a drawing which kind of ends abruptly, to be honest. Other segments include Terry's sketchbook, the evolution of SiP, songs from the comics (yep, with REAL music), and real-world locations in the series. (There's even a blooper reel of sorts.)
I'm proud to say I was there from the very beginning for Strangers In Paradise, and still follow it today. I bought the original 3-issue mini series from Antarctic Press way back when in 1993. My current SiP passion is the new "Pocket Books" collections, now up to Volume Four. Each book reprints about 17 issues of the series in a compact, almost-Manga-sized edition. It's a great way to re-read and collect these stories. I can also say that SiP is the ONE comic I have no hesitation to recommend to someone who does NOT read comics. It's part of the real mainstream in comics, the kind of comics that people would read if they knew they existed.
SiP is different than any comic I've ever read. It veers back and forth between being a romance comic, a comedy and a crime/noir comic. When Terry veers towards the dark side, it's very dark, with extremely realistic violence (something he discusses on the DVD). One of the most harrowing scenes I've ever experienced in a comic was the plane crash that Katchoo and David lived through a few years back.
Yet, through it all, SiP is a book about friendship and love, especially between Francine and Katchoo. And the one thing I can state categorically and without malice aforethought: Terry Moore draws the best hair in comics. It moves, it flows, and it looks real. In the DVD, he explains that his characters don't have capes. Instead, they have long, flowing hair. They also have one other thing that caped characters don't always have: Life. Terry has created characters that live and breathe and, like real people, you have no idea what they're capable of and what they'll do next.