Back in 2013, I interviewed comic creator, artist and writer Terry Moore for Starburst Magazine (issue #385). Terry Moore's work has been a part of my life since I was first handed some Strangers In Paradise comics back in 2004. I was instantly sucked into the comic and the art and set about tracking down as many back issues and collected editions as possible. I have followed Mr. Moore's work from SiP to Echo to his current series Rachel Rising (with some sidesteps into his work on Spider-Man as well).
Terry Moore the man became a part of my life that same year when he allowed us to both make reference to SiP in the title of a (very low-budget) film I was making at the time as well as use various SiP related items as props within the film. The film never amounted to anything more than a cool memory of a crazy month I spent playing movies with some friends, but Mr. Moore was hugely supportive of the whole thing, offering words of support and even running the poster for the film a few times in SiP (check out Strangers In Paradise #67 - amongst others - and you'll see it).
He was very kind about the finished film (I'm sure he was just being polite) and sent me a lovely email after he had watched. It was a huge thrill to be able to interview him about his work and to repost it here again for new people to read and (hopefully) be inspired and curious enough to go and check out his work.
AN INTERVIEW WITH TERRY MOORE
by Stuart Mularin
FROM STARBURST MAGAZINE #385 (published in 2013)
In 1993, Terry Moore burst onto the independent comic book scene with the much loved and critically acclaimed series Strangers In Paradise, which ran until 2007. He followed it up with Echo which ran until 2011 and is now working on his current series Rachel Rising. Moore writes, draws and self publishes his comics through his own imprint ; Abstract Studios.
STUART MULRAIN - You came onto the comic book scene on the cusp of the rise of the independent comics of the early 90s, was that an exciting time to get into the industry as a new writer/artist launching his own story?
TERRY MOORE - Yes, it was. Comics were everywhere, the business was thriving, stars were made. It was an exciting time.
SM - Strangers In Paradise began as a miniseries and then returned for a longer second season before its epic third and final maxi-series, giving the series as a whole a complete run of 100 issues. Was that always your intention for the series or did it grow over time and then reach its natural conclusion for you as the storyteller?
TM - No, it grew organically over time. I began with just one issue and showed it around to get a publishing offer. When I got an offer they asked me for a 3-part mini-series. So I did that. Then I started a series and just wandered through the years with it, like a band trying to keep their career going.
SM - You’re writing a Strangers In Paradise novel; what, if anything, can you say about the novels story? Will it pick up where the comic left off or will it be set within the comic time line?
TM - All I can tell you is it takes place in the now. I don't want people to think of them as dated in the 90's. They are still around and they're still cooler than us.
SM - Do you have a planned release date for the novel?
TM - I haven't finished it yet, so it would be silly to target a date. Sorry, I'm guarded with my unpublished work.
SM - A Strangers In Paradise TV series has been discussed for a long time (with an animated series nearly made at one point), is it ever something we are likely to see or are you happy for SiP to remain in the realm of comics?
TM - I don’t think we’ll ever see SiP in another medium because that means somebody in Hollywood would have to read the book, and nobody out there is going to read a 2300 page comic. They want it explained in 20 seconds, like an action movie. Yeah, right.
SM - There has been the potential for an SiP TV series twice now, is it frustrating to have your work optioned for adaptation but never make it to the screen?
TM - Yes. But I got what I wanted out of it——the book. That's all I ever asked the universe for, was that book. Anything more is up to other people.
SM - After you finished Strangers you turned your attention to science fiction with the comic series Echo. What was the genesis of that story?
TM - The idea was for a girl in California to have some sort of special alloy stuck to her that gave her power, and she was on the run from somebody. That was my source idea. It would be like the Fugitive, where the story was about who she encountered and how she had to keep going.
SM - Echo had a much shorter run than Strangers, climaxing with issue 30, was it always planned out to be a shorter comic book run or did it organically end at that point?
TM - It was planned from the beginning to be a 30 issue story with a definite 3 act outline. I didn’t want to follow an epic with another epic, that seemed egocentric to me, like something Norman Mailer would do.
SM - A few years ago you announced a deal between yourself and Hellboy producer Lloyd Levin to bring Echo to the big screen. What, if anything, can you tell us about where that production is?
TM - The rights to Echo have expired and come back to me. So SiP and Echo are both available, if you’d like to buy them for your special sweetie for Christmas.
SM - After you wrapped up Echo you came back with your current series Rachel Rising, which marked a move into the supernatural/horror genre. Did you decide to move into that genre and then create a story to fit that or was it always the story first?
TM - I had the idea without thought of genre, but was delighted it was going to be another genre.
SM - Does Rachel Rising have a planned ending with a set issue number or are you seeing where the story takes you?
TM - It would be nice to have a series so successful you could keep going. Rachel Rising is a critical success, but sales are modest, as they always are on my books. I will probably have to stop before issue 30 to launch something new, just to keep sales up.
SM - Do you have your next series ready to go before you wrap up the current one or do you finish one before developing the next?
TM - I did with Rachel Rising. The first issue came out the month after Echo ended. No break. But it was 9 months between the last issue of SiP and the start of Echo. I had no idea what I was going to do after SiP, I was so fried and empty.
SM - Do you have your next series planned ready for when you wrap up Rachel Rising and if so what, if anything, can you tell us about it?
TM - Yes, there is a new series outlined and ready to go. I have learned to say nothing in advance.
SM - How difficult is it to launch a new title within the industry now? You naturally have your fans that follow you from title to title and you are always critically well received, but is it difficult to reach a new audience?
TM - Yes, it is! The world is constantly wanting to turn away and leave you behind. You have to stay out front and make books that are too good to be ignored. Or take your clothes off. Those are your two options. Nobody should ever see me without my He-Man underoos on so, I have to write books.
SM - All 3 of your series have centred around strong, well written female characters. What made you decide to have a female at the centre of your stories?
TM - I'm not interested in men. Simple as that. If I'm going to spend the rest of my life obsessing over characters, I'd rather obsess over women than men.
SM - How easy do you find it to write female characters and how do you go about finding a female voice (something a lot of male writers think they can do, but actually don't)?
TM - It's hard to explain. Basically, I write a human being, then add the sex last, like clothing. For instance, most of what Katchoo does and says could be played by a male actor. SiP is a classic male-female-male triangle. I just miscast it on purpose to add an interesting perspective, sort of like cubism.
SM - As well as your own series, you worked on Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane: Sophomore Jinx. How was it writing for characters you’d not created and how free were you to put your own spin on the characters?
TM - It’s different for sure. You have to work with respect for the provenance of the material. But I loved the book and the characters, so it was very fun for me. I’m glad I had a chance to do some of that. That type of Spider-Man story is no longer possible, that era is history.
SM - Are there any other comic characters that you would like to work on if you were given the chance?
TM - The only character I’ve ever wanted to work on was Supergirl. My offer to DC was to make her one of their big 5, instead of a sidekick to the guys. They never took me up on it and now I don’t care anymore. I would like to write Batman long enough to kill off the bastard. I hate that character and everything he’s become. What a dick.
STRANGERS IN PARADISE and ECHO are available in collected paperback editions.
RACHEL RISING is available in individual comic form and the first two collected volumes are available in paperback editions.