Admittedly, I was late to get to the church, only recently discovering that Terry Moore is one talented creator. I guess we just did not read in the same circles. But I had heard of Strangers in Paradise as a popular book in the somewhat underground. So, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed one of the Design-conscious Rachel Rising covers on the shelves of my local store, picked it up, started looking through and quickly realized that it was definitely something I wanted to know more about. Did some research and found out that it was indeed the guy behind Strangers in Paradise, a book I’d been meaning to pick up. On top of that, it was a book about a not-overly-sexualized woman, something that always grabs my interest. So, I put the first trade on my pull list and here we are.
Upon reading Rachel Rising, I was inspired, it was a very smooth read with very few outstanding problems. There were a few editorial changes, I’d have made as a storyteller – where to place eye-catching panels and other stuff like that but they were small, sometimes personal-aesthetic things like that. Overall, the book was a very quick and gripping read. It has wonderful, human characters in a strange situation with a smart, appropriate and skilled art style. One thing that really stood out to me though, is something I prefer to see in good books, women handled as individuals, as real people and not as background or eye-candy. This book had it. Not once did I feel like I was given an image for the sake of female-idolatry. It was great, there was no sexualization for the sake of sales.
But then I started doing additional research on Rachel Rising and Terry Moore – new favorites in my world. And I found the sexualization. Moore definitely seems to have a niche in writing female characters and I’m all for that. But tacked onto that seems to be a lot of flesh on covers for the sake of catching eyes – even Moore’s own website has a scantily clad nearly bare ass with a tattoo as a way to keep readers. The cover of Rachel Rising #7 also seems to be showing a good deal more leg than is probably necessary to entice readers.
Now, I know that I am certain to get my fair share of detractors that might call me a prude or say, “Women are beautiful and we should acknowledge that.” I do not disagree – I love women. But there is more to a beautiful woman than her shape or look and that’s all I’m really saying. Rachel Rising did not get me to pick the book up because it had a beautiful woman on the cover and I won’t be coming back because there was excessive flesh on or between the covers (pun intended), I will marry this book because of the writing, because the characters in the book are predominantly female and because they are smart, interesting women. I will continue reading Rachel Rising and I suggest you at least try the first trade to see if it’s a book you can court.