In the early 90s, Terry Moore exploded onto the comics scene with the wildly popular Strangers in Paradise. After winning countless awards, Moore ended the long-running series in 2007. RevolutionSF contributing editor sat down with Moore to discuss life after SiP, his new series Echo, science fiction, and atom bombs.
After twelve years of Strangers In Paradise was it difficult to create a new series? To involve yourself in new characters lives and new storylines?
At first, yeah. I had to take a few months to get some distance. But once I started clicking on Echo it hasn't been a problem at all.
When was Echo first conceived? Was it something you've wanted to work on for sometime? Were there other projects you toyed with developing next or was Echo it?
I had to come with Echo from scratch last fall. I was developing another series when another creator contacted me and said he had something similar going and it was further along.
So I shelved that project and sat down with a blank piece of paper. This was in September, I think. That was a bummer. But Echo is very new, very fresh and very now. So in the end it worked to my advantage.
What new themes has the science fiction setting allowed you to explore that you were unable to tackle in your previous works? Do you approach the writing of an sf concept different than a super hero or slice of life story?
The imagination is liberated, yet spawned from the practical laws of physics and life. I think it's advanced stuff to try and pull off, because you have to be good at the other genres to incorporate them into your sci fi story in order to establish setting and sense of place.
You could specialize in slice-of-life and be lousy at everything else, but you can't write good sci fi without being good at other genres as well.
Are you a fan of science fiction? What writers/ works influenced your work?
I love sci-fi, but not all of it. I like the smart stuff based on earth. Stories like Heinlein and Zelazny wrote. Twilight Zone, Outer Limits stuff, as opposed to space theater or folk-lore based fantasy.
I am captivated by the idea that the most incredible thing can occur in your own back yard.
What types of research did you do for Echo?
Mmmm . . . I spell checked it. Don't want to misspell the title. I read up on atomic bombs. They're surprisingly easy to make.
At first glance Echo is radically different from SiP. Are you worried about disappointing your previous fans? Why should SiP fans read your new science fiction series?
Because it's sci-fi written by me. My work will always read like me. If I wrote a story about Hannibal Lecter I'd try to touch your heart with it. I think I'll win you over once you get used to the new title.
Compared to SiP, Echo has a streamlined cast. Are there plans to expand the cast and thus the related subplots?
Like SiP, the cast of Echo comes in one at a time and builds over many issues. I don't want to overwhelm you at first.
You know the comparisons are inevitable.
How does Julie Martin measure up to Francine and Katchoo?
I see her as a peer. I know a lot about her already and she\'s up there. It will take the reader longer to hang out with her and see this but, she's pretty cool. And she's different. I think the SiP girls would like her.
Are the SiP and Echo universes separate? Will SiP characters be showing up in Echo?
It's possible. I picture them in the same time, same country. But the SiP story never looked skyward. The physics of Echo could have been in SiP all along and the characters never bothered checking it out. That's very true to life, isn't it?
Far more than SiP, the storyline in Echo would seem to be enhanced by color. Was any thought given to producing series in color? Any chance of color version in the future?
I like the immediacy of black & white. I also the old school way I work, drawing and lettering everything on the page. Sometimes I feel like a monk keeping some old tradition alive. So I'm very happy with my B&W comic. Color complicates things.
How has the initial response been to Echo?
Great. The first issue sold out in 24 hours. We're doing a reprint.
How long will the complete story of Echo take? Are you planning a 14 year, some 107 issue storyline like SiP?
Right now, the plan for Echo is 18 issues. I see this as season one of my Echo TV series. Each issue is an episode. By the end of the first season Echo will have completed a major arc. If we come back for more, I have plenty of places to go with it.
When SiP ended your name was attached to a variety of projects at Marvel. Does Echo affect your work for other companies? What else will you be working on?
I'm writing Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane and Runaways.
Those two and Echo keep me busy. My contract with Marvel is for one year of books. Then we'll see what the future brings.