I can pinpoint exactly the moment when I started reading Strangers in Paradise, a couple of years ago when my best friend and partner in crime lend it to me after her boyfriend recommended it to her. The recommendation was great, not only because it wasn’t done in the usual ‘You should read SiP because it’s a woman’s book’, but because it was more of a ‘If you want to write real relationship stuff, you should read SiP’.
And while I completely understand the annoyance at having SiP recommended when one wants to read superheroes, I just can’t not recommend it when someone ask me about a book with strong women. Realistic women. And now that the series is almost ended (Only three numbers to go, and I can’t believe what a rollercoaster it has been), I want to talk about my current favorite female character. And no, I’m not talking about Katchoo, even when I love her to bits, or about Francine, who is every shade of amazing especially in the latest twist of the screw. No, I’m talking about the character whom I loathed when she was introduced and whom I wanted to see drown when she was getting married in Hawaii with Francine’s stupid ex-boyfriend Freddy.
Yes, I’m talking about Casey Bullocks.
The cheerleader. The annoying, always chirpy girl who suddenly attached herself to Katchoo and co. and just didn’t know when to let go. The one whose next appearance after the wedding was in a future flashback being all uncomfortable with the idea that maybe Francine and Katchoo were a couple. That Casey.
I have no idea when she became my favorite girl in SiP, but it was somewhere between her absolutely clueless attempt to seduce David after she realized Freddy would always be in love with Francine, and when she hugged Katchoo after Francine discovered they had been together one single, meaningless night. Somewhere in between, Casey went from becoming the cute but annoying sidekick who sometimes would come and make everything insane to be a woman I could respect. Sure, she did stupid things, but she did them because she thought they were the right thing to do. And in the meantime, she didn’t just became Katchoo’s friend, she became her rock.
She left the man who just married her for her body to become her own woman. She went to Vegas to be a showgirl because she could. And she went back to Katchoo and David, because she loved David, and she cares so much for Katchoo that she’ll be willing to do anything for her.
And then Terry Moore gave us a bit more background on Casey. She’s a recovering anorexic, she has had more boob jobs that one can remember, and a couple of nose jobs too. She’s dyslexic, and she had an incredibly low selfesteem that made her go and try to fix everything that wasn’t wrong with her by looking good and looking perky.
And she managed to come out of all it as one of the most balanced persons in Strangers in Paradise, becoming not only Katchoo’s rock, but David’s confident.
In issue 85 she has a heart to heart talk with Francine that even now makes me say wow. After many issues in which Casey practically locked Francine and Katchoo together in the same room, she tells Francine to stay away. Because Katchoo doesn’t need to be played with, because it has been enough of the ‘well, maybe this time it will work’ game. Because Casey will live with Katchoo, and they will raise together a child. A child that Katchoo is having with David, because Casey can’t have children for all the stupid things she did when she was younger.
Casey doesn’t do much in issue 86, and I’m truly worried about what will happen with the cast in issue 87. But whatever happens, I just have to tip my hat to Mr. Moore, who managed to turn my feelings about a character 180° degrees, and without me noticing that every time I was buying an issue it was not only to see what was happening with Katchoo, Francine and David, but because I was hoping that Casey would pop up again, filled with her love for life no matter what.