Terry Moore remains one of the trailblazers in independent comics. As well as creating ground-breaking series such as Strangers In Paradise, Rachel Rising and Echo, he has also worked for Marvel, DC and Image. His creator-owned comics have won international acclaim and received numerous awards and nominations.
1. Your iconic series Strangers In Paradise made a welcome return in 2018. What led to the decision to create Strangers in Paradise XXV?
Terry Moore: 2018 was the 25th anniversary for Strangers In Paradise, so I thought it a good time to check in on them and see how they were doing. My fear with SIP has always been that it will be left behind and become something that belongs to the 1990s, like Friends or Seinfeld. That’s not okay with me. I wanted to bring them back into the spotlight and show they were still cooler than us. They didn’t age out, they’re not dated, they’re not your parents. They still look better than us and are more interesting than us. That was always my attitude with them. I look up to them.
2. Within Strangers in Paradise XXV and Five Years, it was shown that your various comics (such as Echo, Rachel Rising and Motor Girl ) all take place in the same fictionverse. A bold move. Since Rachel Rising featured magic and the supernatural, will we see similar elements in Five Years?
TM: The Terryverse, I call it. But yes, each character brings their unusual aspects to the story. Which I think is how the world works. An Englishman in New York kind of thing. I did open the door to the supernatural in the core series, SIP. Francine has a powerful sixth sense and at one point has a conversation with a Victorian woman in a graveyard who turns out to be her long dead great grandmother. So, yeah, the world defies understanding sometimes. I love that.
3. In Strangers in Paradise XXV, the focus shifted from organised crime to something even more frightening. A global arms race of sorts. Was this shift inspired by today’s political environment?
TM: I think it was, yes. War games news just saturates our lives and taints our every day with a subcurrent of fear. If I write a modern day story, that fear and stress has to be there. Even if it isn’t highlighted it is part of problem for a anyone struggling with happiness and a sense of belonging in today’s world. So I have characters diving straight into that mess, trying to do something about it. They can’t replace the impact of a national effort, but it’s amazing how much difference one person can make to the big picture. If one person can really mess up a country, maybe two people can save it.
4. What happened to some of the supporting characters from the original SIP run? Such as Brad, Francine’s ex-husband and the biological father of her child?
TM: If I need him he’s available. I have so many supporting cast members now… it’s a long list. Maybe in the future I can bring some more back. I miss Griffin Silver’s girlfriend. She was cool because she had a smart-ass personality that worked for her. I liked Detective Walsh, he was a good man and those aren’t easy to find in fiction. Most fictional characters have baggage otherwise why use them? Walsh was a decent guy and the story really needed somebody who wasn’t a trainwreck. 🙂
5. How do you think the independent comic book scene has changed in recent years and in your opinion, is this a good or bad thing?
TM: It’s lost the feeling of a cohesive movement for sure. But those movements are unique moments in time so we shouldn’t lose sleep over it. You can still do the book you want by yourself and get it into stores one way or another. It’s up to the creator to navigate the market and that changes a little every year as the world market changes. You can’t sell it the 2008 way because it’s not 2008. But you can still make your book and sell it, so that’s a good thing.
6. Having enjoyed a long and distinguished career, do you have any advice for other independent comic book creators?
TM: You just have to make what you believe in, what you personally want to read, then promote it like it’s the greatest thing ever. That’s never changed. The rest is details that change depending on what year it is. Last year it was all print, this year it’s streaming, next year it’s brain implanted libraries, whatever. If you’re lucky enough to last longer than five years, your formats will change. You don’t care, you just do what you do and let the world enjoy it on whatever format is popular that day.
7. I believe that a SIP film adaption is in the works. Tell us more.
TM: You know when people accept film awards and say “And Ralphy, you worked for 16 years to get this made. Thank you for believing in me.” Yeah, I’m in the Ralphy stage. I have my champions, powerful Hollywood people who love the story and are making scripts and plans and worried about how strikes effect it all. My Ralphys. I’m pullin’ for ‘em. I hope they win. I’d do whatever I could to help them but it’s out of my hands. That’s not my turf.
8. It’s been more than 25 years since SIP first debuted. In that time, you’ve also created other ground-breaking series such as Rachel Rising, Echo and Five Years. So, what can we expect from you in the next 25 years?
TM: My plan is to write a great book, the book of my career. I will spend the rest of my days trying to make that happen.