I read this after the Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book 2, so it is only now that all the niches fit together and this wonderful series is laid out before me.
The strength of this series is undoubtedly its characterisation. Very few comics have such a powerful and realistic portrayal. 'Strangers in Paradise' is an ode to the hidden depth and powerful beauty of women, irrespective of size etc. I think that is such an important message in contemporary times, and this series is incredibly empowering to actually read.
The art is beautiful and detailed and the storyline is gripping and completely addictive. This is a particularly good value buy, since all the 'Strangers in Paradise' books are correlated. The compilation is also an excellent way of developing a depth of understanding and appreciation for its entirity, while reading each edition tends to segement the series. The pocket book size is also wonderful and little, but meaty enough to have long hours curled up reading.
I am beginning to develop a few dislikes to the series, but certainly not enough to give it anything but five stars. Primarily, I think Katchoo is almost a caricature of herself, and her repetitive anger bursts are somewhat irritating and more aligned with the comic 'Hothead Paisan'. Undoubtedly, Francine is the better more realistic more developed character.
Irrespective of this, 'Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book 1' is a neatly correlated engrossing saga of friendship and so much more. Highly recommended.