an american strat? or mexican, japanese made
i personally prefer the Epi Paul's to the MIM strats. but its up to you, which do you think looks better? do you prefer the tone of humbuckers or single coils? can you go down to a guitar shop and try some out?
go w/ the epiphone, it's a better guitar than a mexican strat.
you should try the guitars and see what feels and sounds best to YOU