Ok, friends, really big treat today. I’ve got Mr. Terry Moore, indie comic luminary, here. Everyone should know who Terry Moore is through his seminal Strangers in Paradise series, or the sci-fi adventure Echo. Back in August Terry was kind enough to take some time away from working on his comic Rachel Rising and answer the famous nine questions for me.
Q1] What are you working on right now, art-wise?
A1] Rachel Rising issue #19.
Q2] What is your workflow like?
A2] Like a broken levee. In addition to writing and drawing a new issue of the Rachel Rising series every six weeks, I’ve put together a lot of other books this year, plus traveled to conventions and, stupidly, accepted a batch of commissions. Crazy.
3] Who are your top three influences?
A3] Herge, Robert Heinlein, The Beatles
Q4] What is the one piece of indispensable advice you would give a comics creator for getting their work out there?
A4] The work has to be more important than yourself. Feeling that way gives you the courage and motivation to do anything to get it out there. For example, I was never comfortable with public speaking—I’m too shy for that. But I do it with no hesitation on behalf of the book. That difference can get you through all the challenges you encounter.
Q5] What do you think your duty is to the reader?
A5] Entertain the mind, touch the heart, challenge their reality, leave them with hope.
Q6] If you could do one thing better, in regards to graphic storytelling, what would it be?
A6] Architecture. There’s a reason I use a lot of medium close-ups. I will run around the block to avoid drawing a building. I told this to Charles Vess once, describing how I hated drawing windows and such. He suggested I picture the people in the rooms behind those windows, consider them as I draw. So now I do, I think about the people behind each window I draw—and I hate them with a passion. Them and their damn window. And any visitors they have at the time.
Q7] What, if anything, do you prefer to listen to while you work?
A7] Music. I can’t listen to dialogue or singers when I’m writing. Once I start inking, I can put on anything so long as it will help me stay in the chair for 18 hours a day. Over the years I feel like I’ve watched every movie and TV show ever made.
Q8] What is the one comic story that has stuck with you throughout the years?
A8] I read an Archie when I was preteen and I’ve never forgotten it. The story showed him waking up, going through his normal morning routine, going to school, sitting in class. Just like a real person. I’d never seen any comic do that before. It was an eye opener, that you could draw a very realistic world for yourself, then do what you like in it. It blew my mind, the concept of it. It was so much more empowering than watching muscle men in tights do unrealistic shit. Even at age 11 I felt like whatever a bodybuilder does in a leotard is just—who gives a shit. It’s like watching WWE. But, the idea of creating a very realistic alternate reality and then sneak in the fantastic… that was very appealing to me. That’s like a great movie. It drove me towards my style, and I got that from a modest Archie comic.
Q9] What do you consider to be the greatest power of graphic storytelling?
A9] The visuals are powerful on sight. You don’t need any secondary device to show them. Open the page and bam, love it or hate it. Leave it open on the table all day, all year, it will work every time you even glance at it. Also, the visuals can, and should, show you things that cannot be photographed. If done well, comic visuals have more potential than filmmaking. CGI sequences are no match for a great comic artist.
I love the story about Charles Vess’s advice, and I commiserate. Terry absolutely did not disappoint with his answers and a huge thank you goes out to him for participating in 9Q9A! Everyone, check out Rachel Rising , a great and horrific read, in print if you haven’t already.