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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Q&A;: Terry Moore

    Q&A;: Terry Moore

    Terry Moore has been working as a writer and independent cartoonist in the comic industry for close to 20 years. He says that he is “”amazed”” that he has survived for so long in an industry that has seen its audience shrink every year.

    Moore is best known for his creation, “”Strangers in Paradise,”” which gained many loyal fans during its run from 1993 to 2007. He has also worked for major comic book publishers such as DC and Marvel and is currently wrapping up his latest series, “”Echo.”” The Daily Wildcat spoke with Moore over the phone a few days before his visit to the 2011 Tucson Festival of Books.””

    It has been a few years since the end of “”Strangers in Paradise.”” What has it been like to be away from that story and the characters?

    It’s a lot like breaking up from the best band that I was ever in. I’ll go on and do other stuff, but that will stick with me for a lifetime. It’s a little strange because I spent every day with those characters for years and years, so to not do that now is definitely different.

    You are doing something very different with your current series. Can you describe “”Echo”” for anyone who hasn’t read it?

    It’s a sci-fi comic book series. I describe it as “”The Fugitive”” meets “”The X-Files.”” I wanted to write a sci-fi story that could happen in Einstein’s universe, you know, not based so much on “”let’s pretend and suppose”” but more on the real physics and what if it was all a lot wackier than we even think. So that’s kind of my approach to doing a sci-fi story — without going into space.

    I saw on your website,, this week that you sent the penultimate issue of “”Echo”” to the printer. What have you enjoyed from working on this series?

    It’s been a lot of fun to do something totally different. The first series (“”Strangers in Paradise””) was so domestic, and this is a big, high-concept adventure series, so that’s been a lot of fun. The next one, I look forward to doing something entirely different from the first two. That’s the fun of being able to create your own world: it’s to see where you can end up. It’s kind of like a road trip.

    What’s next after “”Echo”” ends?

    I’m going to have to announce that later this week. I haven’t announced it yet. To tell you the truth, I haven’t figured it out yet because I have options and it’s hard to choose. So I’m waiting until the last minute to make up my mind, and Thursday is the last minute. That’s when I have to solicit the new series to my distributor, Diamond Comics. So Thursday I’m going to make my announcement. (Moore announced his new horror comic series will be “”Rachel Rising.””)

    You’ve worked for major comic book publishers in addition to publishing through your own imprint, Abstract Studio. What kind of challenges does each type of work present for you?

    The obvious difference is that when you work on other people’s stuff there’s an awful lot of rules. There’s a big rulebook and a bible that comes with it, and there’s usually caretakers that come in the form of editors and publishers who are watching out for their property. And then there’s a huge fanbase that is watching out for the property. It belongs to them now — Batman wouldn’t do this, he wouldn’t do that, that kind of thing.

    Whereas when it’s your creation, it can be whatever you say it’s going to be. If you’re a Beatle, then you say I can do a soft song and I can do “”Revolution 9,”” it’s all Beatle music. I can do whatever I want in my comics. I draw a page, or I can put a poem in it. You can’t do that in a Marvel book. You’re really just a musician for hire when you’re working for Marvel or DC. It’s like you’re playing in a band for a star upfront; it’s not about you. It’s about someone else.

    What’s your take on the comic book industry in the years you’ve been working as a creator and publisher?

    It’s totally different now. I’m amazed I’m a survivor and part of the new order. When I first got in, it was a completely different thing. It was like music in the ’50s. … When I got in (the comic book industry in) 1993, it had no resemblance to the way it is now — none. Nothing about the business was the same: the fans, the way it works, what kind of comics came out, how they came out, how big and how much money was in the business. Now, I feel like we’re watching the death of an industry in terms of evolution, like we’re switching from being one way to a new way, you know? When you do that, you have to burn the bird and get the phoenix out of it. So I feel like we’re transitioning from the Industrial Age to the Space Age. It’s like everybody is lamenting the loss of the railroad, but hey man, now we have airplanes.

    Nobody I know in the industry — none of the creators — are missing any of the old stuff or any of the old ways. They’re all excited about whatever comes next. But for the first time ever in my lifetime, what comes next is not promising to be better in terms of like, it’s going to be bigger, we’re all going to have more readers, there’s going to be more money, oh it’s going to be so much greater — there’s none of that being offered. It’s still all in the teardown mode. The big thing about digital (comics) right now is that no one is making a dime off of it, so it’s just destroying the industry the same way M-PEG destroyed the music industry. So I don’t know how it’s going to play out.

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