Casey got to sit down with artist/writer Terry Moore, creator of Strangers in Paradise, Five Years, Rachel Rising, Motor Girls and so much more! Casey and Terry talk about creating comics, working for the big boys and doing indie books.
Find Terry online:
Transcript by Steve, the alcoholic robot.
Terry Moore Interview
[00:00:00] Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: Citizens that are public customer the verse, or I’ll come back to, or the country can agree that is mr Horsley and today on the show, well, it’s 1996 Eisner award-winning crater writer, artists of strangers in paradise. Terry Moore.
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: Yeah. I feel like we should have mentioned that he went back to back Harvey awards, two one for lettering and one of her best cartoonists. That’s impressive and awesome with its two different categories now. That’s awesome.
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: That is awesome. That is awesome.
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: Yeah. And Casey had a chance to sit down with them and talk to him about his career, about his work, on terms of paradise, about his work on Spiderman, all this stuff that he’s done.
This guy’s got a great career. He’s an amazing artist in, you should definitely check them out if you ever heard of him before. But if you’re coming in listening to this show and you know client books, you’ve probably heard of him, or at least you’ve seen his work. If you, have you ever heard of the name?
Cause that was some people. I know there’s people out there who read the books, but don’t ever look at the craters names and that. For a long time, that was me.
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: That was me [00:01:00] too.
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: Now as we do more of this, now that I do more, I actually take more note of who works on books, but it’s, yeah,
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: Some of that’s fun though, cause sometimes you’ll read a story like,
okay, like today, this morning you and I are having a conversation about Jim shooter and you didn’t know that at 16 years old he wrote the first Superman versus flash race.
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: Yes. We’ve been one of nine. I had no idea of the classic issue of drawn by Curt Swan. I have that. I have a
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: of the classic storylines of all time are Superman and
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: Yeah. We’re talking about with, that was Jim shooter and I looked it up. I’m like, yeah, it is. Tim should, Oh my God. That’s awesome.
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: Yeah. It’s really cool. Hey, before we get into this interview, I have an amazing idea, and this is new. Johnny does not know what I’m going to say right
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: I don’t,
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: does not know the words coming out of my
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: I don’t.
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: so. If you’re a fan of the show and you listen to the end, you hear us always say, and an oceans of podcasts, we are and as construe Lou compels you to do, open the mind and read more.
But what I want to know is [00:02:00] what does Catheline compel you to do? Hit us up on Twitter or Facebook. Tell us what it is, and we will add that into, and maybe we’ll pick yours and instead of our. One that we always use, which is opened the mine and read more, which I think is important because you should open your mind, but what maybe we’ll use yours and what come through compels you to do.
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: Yeah. I like that. That’s cool.
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: Yeah, I knew you would. That’s why I didn’t even bother telling you, say anything, but after this, let’s sit back and listen to Terry Moore in his own words.
Terry Moore: I care more about reading the story. If I can get attached to these people, like a TV show, you know, as opposed to, Oh, look, here’s my really wild style. And they look like balloon animals and they say wacky things and you know, a little bit of that goes a long way. Yeah,
Casey Allen: yeah. I can imagine. so. You, you didn’t really have a formal education [00:03:00] in illustration other than like the, the core.
So, so when you, when you finally decided to make that leap, did people think you were crazy? Did they think you were nuts or were you just, what, what was the impetus for you to go like, this is what I’m doing now?
Terry Moore: Yeah. You know, there were two, there were two responses. Normal people. I guess you could call, you know, regular, normal people that don’t think about these things.
they’re called muggles in Harry Potter, right?
Casey Allen: Yes.
Terry Moore: The Mughals thought this man’s having a midlife crisis. You know, I might as well been saying, you know, I want to be a professional football player, and they were all like. But when I would show things to say a comic shop owner or another artist, paint would be impressed and they would concur with me.
And so those were the people I was trying to get to. So I listened to them and did not listen to the, [00:04:00] you know, the sensible adults around me. So I had selective hearing.
Casey Allen: but, but you also, you had the wife and kids at home was what, what was the progression there?
Terry Moore: Well, the, there was the rule you can imagine from anyway.
which is, you better keep your day job and don’t change.
Casey Allen: Yeah,
Terry Moore: we better not go back one penny backwards. And it took me, I did both for a year and a half before the comic book was more important than the day job. You know? Um, when I was in, I was editing freelance by that time. And when you do that, the, it’s, you’re charging the client $300 an hour to be in a video editing suite.
And. I had a phone call that was trying to get to me from my comic book distributor, and if [00:05:00] I didn’t take the phone call to the shit in my entire shipment of books was going to have to wait a month. And that phone call was worth $10,000 to me, and I had, so I had a $300 video problem or a $10,000 comic book problem.
So you can tell which one I did. Oh yes. That’s when I knew it was time to stop. So I stopped editing at that point and just focused on the comics and never went back.
Casey Allen: That’s, that’s amazing. And with your, with your job as a video editor, did that help you? Did you take anything from that in terms of like.
Storytelling and pacing and stuff like that. It seems like it might kind of feed into, uh, at least a little bit in the, in the back of your head while you’re putting together a page.
Terry Moore: You are, you nailed it. You’re absolutely right. I did.
Casey Allen: Well, I’m a very smart man.
Terry Moore: I mean, there’s just you and Einstein. He sounded
Casey Allen: just [00:06:00] like you and he, you know, uh.
It doesn’t surprise me one
Terry Moore: bit.
No, you’re, you’re exactly right. , I, you know, if I hadn’t done the editing, they did the job with me as an editor was to sit all day and watch these actors. Every single tape that the actor made. So you’re watching every nuance, you know. So I’m watching 30 hours of footage to get to give you that 20 minute documentary.
And I watched, you know, all the good ones and the bad ones and all that. And it just really, I learned that the people who seem to be great actors, their face was in constant motion. Even when they looked like they were static, something was going on. That was giving off this radiation, this, this Berg, , charisma that you could not turn away from.
You know, so even if you think, say like, say Robert [00:07:00] DeNiro is giving you the glare on the screen and you think, well, that’s just a freeze frame. No. If there’s a difference between the live version of the freeze frame, and there’s something about that live version that me with my art artistic. Bent, I would look at it and think, how is he doing that?
Is one eye a little narrower than the other? Is it the little set of the mouth? Is it the flare, the nostril? You know, and I really had years to think about it. So it was something much better than going to art class and somebody has drawn circles and connecting them, you know, and going over gross anatomy, you know?
By that I mean big picture anatomy. Yeah.
Casey Allen: So, so you were literally paid for for a long while to look like seriously. Deeply. Look at people.
Terry Moore: Study people.
Casey Allen: Yeah. So a
Terry Moore: toddler walking, how they dress, how the clothes hang, how their expressions work. And I remember one time, like, you can’t try this. [00:08:00] Here’s something everybody can try.
, you have a next time you see a copy of American pie. With Alison Hannigan talking about band camp.
We’re just run through that. Put your finger on the, on the freeze, on the clicker frame and run through it frame by frame slowly and watch her face run all over the place. I mean, no two frames are alike and it did two things. It showed me. That how alive the expressive faces are. But it also showed me how much distortion there is in a face.
Because one of the things I noticed about people who grew up say drawing is hero comics only. Say, for instance, , they learn one way to draw the X. Men and X-Men has two expressions, grim or grimmer. And when you look at photos of the family over the, over the last five years. Every photo can be different of your, you know, your siblings.
And when you look [00:09:00] at say, actors and look at their freeze frames and run through them slow-mo, their face is very elastic and all over the place. And it really freed me up when it came time to drawing, could chew and it was hard to figure out how to make her pretty, and then how to do it again and again.
And then it realized that I didn’t have to memorize it one way like you would if it was a comic strip, like for better or worse. They really only are three or four expressions, you know, that she learned how to draw. But if you’re drawing something like strangers and paradise, you’ve got to draw a hundred expressions and there’s going to be attractive ones and not attractive ones and gross ones.
And I mean, in my book, people can sneeze and pick their nose and pull their mouth apart and you know, it’s just roll their eyes. It’s everything, you know, and that I like that freedom. And I learned it all in the editing suite and an art class
Casey Allen: that is SI [00:10:00] my initial, you know, earlier when you were talking about your job that just came, I didn’t even think it would be that much like that deep.
Yeah. Of what you pulled over from, that’s amazing to me. ,
Terry Moore: you know, I didn’t notice that the first year or two or three. It was when I was burned out and near the last four years and I was starting to draw comic strips at home and I was working on character designs a lot. And how do I keep from drawing that same cartoon face over and over like amateurs?
And how do I get, you know, how do I get liberated with this? And that editing suite answered my problems. It really was the catalyst to. Go home and, and, and think outside the box. You know, it was the, it was the, I think if you only have, if everybody had the same two or three influences would all be the same.
But when you get somebody unusual, cause they had a weird, [00:11:00] weird ingredient and the recipe, you know, that was my weird ingredient.
Casey Allen: That’s, that’s amazing. So, yeah, you, you started, you speaking of Kitu and stringent in paradise, you started that in, in 93. Yeah. And, Not very long afterwards, you, you got the Eisner award for best serialized story.
that is, , starting off strong man. Holy smokes.
Terry Moore: I, you know, once I hit, once I got started and the book came out, , I had like a golden boy summer for about three years, you know, it was just wonderful. But I, I hit at a time when everybody was looking for things like that. You know, there was a lot of indie comics and there were a lot of comic shops and a lot of money and everybody was buying everything.
So it was just a good timing. I was lucky.
Casey Allen: Yeah, there was, there was a really great, . In the resurgence at the time, but I’m thinking like pure bags, hate and eight [00:12:00] ball and all these other fantastic comics, and then you come along and people go nuts over it. And it had something, a lot of, , other comics at the time didn’t have.
, I remember, so my first exposure to your work was, uh, an article I read about it in, um, in wizard magazine, which, , when you grow up in Alabama and there’s not a comic shop around, but the grocery store has wizard magazine, Holy smokes. That is a, a window into
Terry Moore: a
Casey Allen: world that you don’t really get, .
So, yeah. Yeah. I just remember being fascinated with your work through that and actually went to a comic shop, when we went into town and, picked up an issue of, strangers in paradise. And I loved how you, specifically how your illustrations were and they, they were not like they, [00:13:00] the atypical, capes and punches comics and.
So it, it always, I can see how people really latched onto that. Did you get any pushback from people when you first started out? Just by virtue of being different?
Terry Moore: Not from the quality of being different. I, I always felt like, I had people who were fans of the work, but then there were a lot of people who were, who were purist.
And they found the work sloppy because there wasn’t consistency and consistency of design and things like that. so from a critique standpoint, there were, they would, they would see that, you know, , so I definitely was not accepted in all circles in terms of like, just being a cartoon is that shows up.
, and. I, you know, and I focused on the story instead because I felt like if it’s just about the art, , there’s [00:14:00] only so many there that’s a small room to talk to play too. But if it’s about the story, you’re playing to everybody. And so I was writing this drawing for people that didn’t care what the art looked like as long as it worked, you know?
Casey Allen: what was your inspiration behind, , the, the storylines that you did? Because I mean, you’ve really broke a lot of ground, , in comics, just picking up some of the issues that you did. Like, , I mean, you talked about the AIDS crisis a little bit. You talked about, , rape and prostitution and all kinds of other, , body image, which.
, isn’t it a very important thing for people to talk about and nobody wants to talk about it. So what, how did, how did you go there, especially it just as, I mean, as a, as a dude, how did you know to that that was something that you might want to write about?
Terry Moore: Well, I, , I’ve grown up in a house with [00:15:00] women and, , I liked women.
, I mean, even. From young teenage, you know, I was always, , I had a lot of favorite actresses. You know, when I was 12, I had a crush on Natalie Wood and all the other actresses of the time, you know, so I was just always looking and noticing what women were dealing with and what they were going through, you know.
, and of course my sister would bring her problems home from school and I would hear what it was like to have your feelings hurt, you know, and see all that. So, and then my mom dealing with, you know, , strange man getting too close and talking and they won’t go away. And so, you know, you’re a little boy standing next to her.
You see this crap, you know, and you think sticks with you. So I had all this and that point of view in my head already that, well, how tough must it be to be a woman on this planet of predators? And not know if the next guy walking up is okay or trouble. And, , so I kind of had that standpoint in my mind, [00:16:00] writing about a story instead of it being apartment 3g like, Oh, do I love him?
Do I not love him? It was more like my attitude was, love is absolutely the worst thing that can happen to you. And if you realized you fell in love, you’d go home and cry about it for a week and your friends would go, Oh my God, no, no, no. Oh God, no. So I took that standpoint, you know, like a, like a comedian.
And, , but then I just kind of played it. I kind of wrote the scenes and, and with respect, you know, like. These are real people and that the damage is real. The situations may be funny, but the damage is real. And you have to be very careful here and treat people with respect, you know, so I can kind of have this old Alabama Christian training in me, plus the modern world of everybody’s, , wants to, you know, loosen up and do I want to, I feel like I need to walk this way.
I feel any like I need to walk that way. And. What is everybody going to say? You know? [00:17:00] So I was, I was kind of like the guy, I felt like the drummer boy at the revolutionary battlefield, like just watching all this go on around me and I’m just kind of writing about it at night, you know? That’s how it fell.
I wasn’t personally involved in any of it, but I was surrounded by it. I mean, how could you not write about it? And I didn’t grow up, you know, just. Totally all about superhero comics. So I, all I cared about was Neil Adams and Greenland and Jim Lee. That wasn’t me. I was surrounded by artists like that, but that wasn’t me.
I was more like, you know, when you’re a rock and roll musician, you’re in everybody’s house all day and you hear all these problems and you go play and you see wild things and people make bad decisions and, and uh. Yeah. You have all this other world, you know, another exposure to a different exposures of the world, you know?
So I brought that with me. That was my baggage. [00:18:00] That’s,
Casey Allen: , that, that’s, that’s amazing. , ,
Terry Moore: some
Casey Allen: of the situations that you, that you’ve put your characters through, did you ever get any pushback from fans? Like how dare you do this to cut you or anything like that? Because I can, I can see people. Easily getting really attached to these characters.
I mean, they, they’ve stood, how long has it, have you had them? You’ve had them over nearly 30 years. so,
Terry Moore: yeah. Well, in the beginning when it was, will she, won’t she, , you know, the first five years, especially, Mmm man, if I had people would come to the show. And they put their hand out to my wife and say, I love your book.
And she would say, Oh,
Casey Allen: okay,
Terry Moore: this ball guy next to me was Terry.
Casey Allen: Yeah.
Terry Moore: And it’s as if they, she had pointed to a turtle, they would turn and see this bald guy [00:19:00] and they would go, Oh. And I mean, if, if the Terry Maura was my wife, she would be, you know, have a much more successful career. So yeah, it was difficult, but I got to tell you that the gay community was very, sweet to me, very respectful for the fact that, here I am, this guy coming in from.
The other side of the Lake and, and coming in and trying to tell stories. And, I was accepted on the basis of the work and not on, you know, here’s a straight middle aged white guy, bald as the last person in the world. You’re six. I look like your dentist, not like the cartoonist, you know? And, but I think they kind of realized that, you know, Hey, maybe this guy is trapped.
As well. You know, like some of us don’t feel like we’re in the right scan and maybe he’s got the same syndrome in his own way. So, I kinda just, they took it, they accepted me and I, [00:20:00] that was
Casey Allen: great. That’s it through such a, through with, with so much respect and it seems like you also did your homework.
On stuff. And
Terry Moore: I’ve always been, I grew up with creative people, so, you’d have to be very sheltered not to have grown up like this. And my cousin bin, in Arkansas was gay and we knew it from where we were when we were five years old. And you just grow up that way. And he was one of the first victims of, the AIDS crisis.
And so that really bothered me a lot. And I started that age story with out of respect to him to show that, you know, these lives matter. And, so it was always something like that, you know, there was always something behind it
Casey Allen: that, that’s, that’s amazing. And, My wife’s, her uncle was the first man in Alabama to, to die of AIDS.
And it’s because [00:21:00] they have a very, very, culturally, kind of a conservative family he is not talked about. And it. It infuriates my wife
Terry Moore: as painful
Casey Allen: to know. And just, just because, I mean, he, he was a person. He, he deserves, uh, compassion and love, and he shouldn’t be a secret. Right. So,
Terry Moore: and that’s what, , Ben had to leave Arkansas and he moved out to San Francisco.
And, you know, he was out there three years before he. Got that and started all thoughts. I’ll start it up and he passed away. And you think about all the sweet things he did for us, our family. it was just, it’s really tough pill to swallow. So I, my heart was in it when I was doing the story.
Casey Allen: Wow.
Terry Moore: And I’ve had a soft part. I think that maybe that, you know, I. There [00:22:00] were characters in our lives and we just always accepted them. But that really, stuck with me and that kind of set the tone for my, passionate case for these, for this arrangement. You know, in the story. Now, I may not have been quite that way if it hadn’t been for Ben and knowing Ben
Casey Allen: that that’s, that’s amazing.
In so. You, you did strangers in paradise and, and, you’ve, you’ve came back to them a few times. Do you think you have any more, any more stories for, for them in the future? Or are you in a place where you’re happy where it’s,
Terry Moore: I’ve of, I came back to them last year for sip 25 for the 25th anniversary and kind of put them in a story that kind of.
Brought together a lot of my books. And then this year I’ve been doing this book called five years that they’re in, but also all my other characters are in it. You know, I’ve put all my comics [00:23:00] into one big, big picture story. And I think at the end of this, I think that could chew and Francine, my original characters will have kind of passed the torch because there’s a younger set of characters that are kind of a little more REL relevant to today.
And at some point you want to hope, you always hope and believe that you’ve earned the right to, to be in a happy place and stay there for the rest of your life. You know, and I kind of feel that way about Francine. You could shoot, like, you don’t want to go in there and undo that and mess with that.
You know? they’re not either, not James Bond.
Casey Allen: Yeah. Yeah.
Terry Moore: But I do have, I have, you know, some other younger characters that are happy to walk across the street and blow up a building for me. So I think that’s, you know, at this, at the end of this, I will let them get some rest. They deserve it. I don’t wanna I think it can ruin something if you go back and mess with it, you know, and whoops. [00:24:00] So suddenly everybody’s, you know, got leprosy or something. Nope. Yeah.
Casey Allen: Yeah. So, and this kind of, we’ll put a pin in, in that for now, outside of, I’m wondering. In 2017 there was a, a script you were working on for, for a possible film adaptation.
Has that, has that progressed any further or is it, is it in limbo or,
Terry Moore: you know, ironically, The really brief answer is that that was a first draft and I, the second draft was sent to me last week.
Casey Allen: Oh wow.
Terry Moore: Yeah. This is why they go up and accept their awards and say thank you for having faith for nine years or 16 years, or it’s just unbelievably slow.
And the problem is the people you need to work with are already working and they’re busy. So. I [00:25:00] mean, it’s just like, it’s impossible for some guy like me at my level, which is nothing for them to get the ticket, the time needed to move on these things. They see something, they love it. They say, Oh, that has a lot of potential.
They grab it and then they sit on it and it’s their pet project and it’s been on the fridge for five years. You know? It’s that, that kind of thing, you know? But, the good news is that. everything is spoken for except for echo actually. So everything lives somewhere and it’s all in various stages of process.
And now my motto to everybody out there is in my lifetime, please. So I’m not even trying to get at anything this year as like in my lifetime. Please. Cause if, if all this stuff comes out after I’m dead and gone and it’s a big hit, I’m going to be mad.
Casey Allen: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the artists for preacher, like [00:26:00] he at least got to see it on the small screen before he, before he passed.
, but. Yeah, yeah. We, we need to see, we need to see a stranger’s impair is, is Rachel rising, , getting, Oh
Terry Moore: it lives somewhere. , and my girl lives somewhere.
Casey Allen: Really? That is, that is awesome. So can we talk a little bit, cause you, you moved on from, strangers in paradise and, and started just. , doing a few other, personal create our own projects.
But you also went and did, you, you wrote some runaways, you wrote Spiderman loves Mary Jane. how was that going from your creator on work to, to working for one of the big two and then. Bye bye. Virtue of that, having a huge team of editors over you, was that hard to do? [00:27:00] Was it
Terry Moore: a, it was two different experiences I did.
okay. When I, I did two Marvel books and they gave me all the freedom in the world, and then I did a DC book and. It was a night. It was very difficult. like there was so much continuity going on with the various crisis stuff that, I would say I would turn in a script and to have a lot of characters and 17 scenes in my script and they would send it back with three scenes.
And I can’t use any but this one character because all the other ones are in the middle of some other continuity. So it was very difficult, to do that. Who is, I’m sure you’re pulling your
Casey Allen: hair out.
Terry Moore: I eventually, I quit. I couldn’t even finish my run on the book. I just, I said, okay, that’s just too much.
But I know work in the Marvel, the two Marvel books were, um, a tremendous fun. Yeah,
Casey Allen: yeah. And the, uh, those [00:28:00] books in particular, same like, Oh, that’s a natural fit. Because I mean, they, they could see what you, you’ve done and, and go like, Oh, this is why we hired you.
Terry Moore: You know, the one that was the most fun was the spider man.
Unless Mary Jane, they, I guess they just let me do what I wanted and I just had fun. And I liked the spider red Spiderman as a little boy. And I liked this. My favorite period was in high school. during those years of discovery and, you know, and cockiness. And, so I, I was happy to do that. The one that was tricky was runaways because you were following the great, originator, Brian Kayvon, who was, you know, could do no wrong and loved it.
And, so he was ready to move on and go to Hollywood and start working on stuff. And they needed some. Sweden did a short run and then they passed it to me. And so I am set up for failure and I was really, really thinking I have to [00:29:00] be stupid to take this one on, but I did my best. And the thing, the problem was that you’re working so far in advance.
I did my entire run without any feedback. So I did all of it and never knew. It’s like, okay, is this just awful?
Casey Allen: Just to be very disconcerting nugget.
Terry Moore: And then I, I can’t remember if somebody did a short run after me, but shortly after I left it, but the book died and then I thought, great, I killed it. And, The book started coming about the next year and it got, you know, people responded to it and they liked it. And I thought, well, I wish I’d known that then I would have been a little more humorous or something, you know? But, yeah, it was difficult working so far in advance. Cause when I do my stuff, I worked right on top of the deadline.
and when I finish a book back in those days, it was in the shop two weeks later. So I could. Yes. Say go Clinton was in trouble. I could make fun of it in my book.
[00:30:00] Casey Allen: So can we speak on that a little bit? The difference between writing for your creator on stuff and then writing for, um, for a company like Marvel or DC in, in specifically, even even more so than that, writing for a different artist.
Terry Moore: Oh yeah. The best thing about running for an artist was that I could write all those things. I didn’t personally want to draw. Like, you know, when I’m writing for myself, My nightmare is to draw like, downtown New York, you know, suddenly every window in New York blows out. That’s in the script and you have to draw that.
Well, that’s a nightmare. But when it was in Berto Ramos. I could, right. Oh, a nice helicopter view of Malibu beach with all those houses. I don’t want to draw that, but he was happy to draw it. And I wrote scenes like, Oh, okay. It’s the long beach pier, and you could see the queen Mary too and all that. You know, Peter Frank job, you know, if it had been me, I would have [00:31:00] had, okay.
Close up of head, barely in front of a queen Mary sign. Oh
Casey Allen: yeah.
Terry Moore: That was the big difference. I could use the fact that I was using a fantastic artist and just take advantage of that. Yeah. so that was the good thing about that. But in terms of treating the characters, you just have to, I really did my homework.
I read every page and every single, I read the Bible and everything else that was associated with runaways. And, you know, you really try to get in the swing of it as if you’re suddenly working on. The Seinfeld show. So you can’t show up and it’s your first week on the job at the Seinfeld show and right.
Something doesn’t fit, you know, the problem is you now, so you don’t want to be that guy. So it’s like a new job. You know, you do your homework and try to know your job.
Casey Allen: I want to talk about, , how you compartmentalize, , your, your creative time with your family time cause you, you, you also worked with, , and did a very creative job. While [00:32:00] also having, having kids. But before we do that, can, can we talk a little bit, did you, so when you did the stuff with Marvel, I’m sure you had some carry over fans from, , strangers in paradise and the other stuff that you’ve, you’ve done, creator owned.
Did you get any, , any feedback from them? , w did, were they bothered by you moving to one of the big two or doing stuff for the big two.
Terry Moore: No, I don’t. I never got any flack for it cause I wasn’t like a purist, wasn’t like a door on in quarterly Fantagraphics guide, you know, live into your die. You know, it wasn’t,
Casey Allen: and I’d
Terry Moore: already done some spot jobs for all everybody.
over the years I’ve done a little something with everybody, so it wasn’t out of the norm. And everybody understood that after, you know, a 12 year run on sip, I needed a break and I think I kind of announced it too. So I took a year to do that other stuff. And, then came back to do my own book again with echo, [00:33:00] but I think they kind of went okay.
And, I didn’t catch to any real grief over, I didn’t notice that I wasn’t like the purest, you know, I was never going to be an art Spiegelman’s magazine or anything. And there was, I knew people who were peers and. I was friends with him, but I wasn’t, I never claimed to be. So I w I was just happy to work for a living, you know, to draw and make comics.
you know, I’m facing the crisis right now with the collapse of diamond comic distributors. I’m not quite sure how to go forward, so I may end up, I don’t know, you know, going to work from our is not out of the question, although I can’t see that happening, but I mean, everything’s on the table again, you know?
Casey Allen: Yeah, yeah. And I mean, well, you, you have the proven ability to consistently put out products. So, I mean, I wouldn’t blame them at all for scooping you up [00:34:00] because you
Terry Moore: are, most important thing in my business is to. Is to live in the now. the minute you start all your stories is happened 10 years ago, you’re done.
You know, so you have to work in the now, live in the now, be making material now. Know what waiters, you know, the readers today are very different than 10 years ago. So, if you hadn’t been working every week, I think it’d be difficult to make the jump, you know.
Casey Allen: Yeah, yeah, I’m sure. Are you still getting people picking up strangers in paradise and rediscovering it or discovering it
Terry Moore: a new, yeah, and I hope that that’s, I assume that that’s how books work, that it’s just around now and it’s like somebody reading a classic for the first time, you know?
You know, everybody discovers it the first time at some point in their life, so. you just hope for a lot of that from now on.
Casey Allen: I think a lot of the, the themes in it are [00:35:00] universal and, so it, it’s kind of evergreen in that way.
Terry Moore: it’s how a book is supposed to work. I mean, the kind of like my job has done and it’s out there now, and it’s.
It’s just there for people to find or notice or whatever. Then other second life it has now. Yeah, there’s two lives. There’s that production life. When I’m putting it out, like the best example I can think of is, think of Louis Louis Carroll, writing his stories, as periodicals and newspapers, and then it’s collected into a book and we see it as, you know, the Scrooge story and it’s a big book that you go find now and, or whatever.
And. Are Alison Wonderland or whatever, you know, and, those were written, there was a production era where people of his time were reading it as it was written, a chapter at a time. And then for the rest of this, it’s the book era where it’s on the shelf. It’s waiting for you, calling to you at some point in your life.
That’s where they are.
[00:36:00] Casey Allen: So as a, as a writer, like what is. What helps you to, to kind of recharge and, and get renewed to, to have new stories.
Terry Moore: It’s, I think your mind has to keep, being interested in the world around you. Your worst enemy is nostalgia, as a writer. So I, I’m very. I pay attention to what’s going on now.
And if, if, you know, the, the most nostalgic thing I have in my life is my love for jazz music, which goes way back so that I’m still looking at what happened in the fifties and sixties because of things like that. But I’m not looking at the comics of the fifties and sixties anymore. You know what I mean?
And I realized the difference between, say Robert Heinlein and. [00:37:00] Norman mailer, the way those guys wrote back then, would not work today. You know, it’s kinda their, their, their prejudices would show their, their pro style would not read well in today’s faster world because everybody is read all the, it’s not an, it’s not a new book anymore.
They’ve read everything that was. You have to assume your reader is ready, everything you have. So in it, in order to entertain them, you’ve got to launch from that high point. Not think, well, this is the first time they’ve ever seen disjointed sentences. Well, yeah, they’ve seen them all. This needs to be your attitude, so you need to do something brand new.
And that’s the joy actually. That’s what makes you keep writing every day is when you can think of. A scene that you’ve never seen before in a book or on the screen. a moment I had like that I’ll give you one is, [00:38:00] cut, you went to visit her stepfather’s grave and she squirted lighter fluid on it and set it on fire.
And the key was the guy, you know, that had abused her. And I have never seen that scene on screen before, and I’ve never read it in a book. And I thought, I think this one’s mine. And I was really happy, you know, to have that scene and to draw it and everything. So those little things are keep it going. You know, like I, it’s, the more you write, the more you’re trying not to write.
Like people you admire, the more you’re trying to find your own voice because it’s only when you say something original that it seemed to matter, you know, and you can write a thousand pages that read just like Hemingway. Well, we’ve already had a Hemingway that’s like hearing somebody play Jimmy page.
We’ve already got a Jimmy page and he’s out of work. Why do we need you? The client, even Jimmy [00:39:00] can’t get work doing that anymore. So, you know, play something new. You know? And that’s, that’s how I feel as a writer and a cartoonist.
Casey Allen: , I’ve asked this to a few different, , writers and artists before, but you.
Do you listen to music while you write or do creative stuff? Does that kind of help propel you? Some people just like to have nothing. Nothing on at all.
Terry Moore: When I’m writing, I need silence so that I can let my mind, work, concentrate. But when I’m drawing, I need music to keep me in the chair. it’s hard to sit in the chair for, you know, all day, every day for years.
so the music helps keep you in the chair.
Casey Allen: Awesome. Uh, and, and I’m assuming it’s jazz, right?
Terry Moore: Well, it’s, I love everything. So it’s, I can go all the way back on all these different kinds of things. Jazz, blues, rock, you know, yeah. even country, you know, I. [00:40:00] I have as, and it’s the same thing with movies.
You know, I have my faith, I have my heroes from every decade of the 20th century. I’ve been through every old movie, and I mean, I’m just as big a fan of William Powell and Myrna Loy as I am of Russell Crowe or somebody, you know? And so, yeah, you, when you’re in the studio with a drawing board and a TV screen and a headphones.
You go through all of it over 25 years. Wow.
Casey Allen: Well, one thing I’ve been doing lately is, we have like the, the NASA channel , and, I turn it on to , international space station and have that on while I’m writing or, you know, doing creative stuff. And it’s, I don’t know. I like the, I like the glow of it from, it’s peaceful and just kind of like helps me to kind of focus on what I’m doing, just, you know.
[00:41:00] Otherwise I’m just looking at clouds.
Terry Moore: Yeah, it’s peaceful until that big shadow comes in, that object comes from around the moon and it’s slowing down
Casey Allen: there. There’ve been a few times where I’ve seen lights in the distance. I’m like, what the hell was that?
Terry Moore: Oh, that was definitely a shift. Yeah, for sure.
Casey Allen: A big media.
Terry Moore: So
Casey Allen: your art process, I heard you talking about. Just the, it’s just decisions you’ve, you’ve put into, um, how you, you do your artwork and the materials that you use. Was it always like that with specifically when you started with strangers in paradise where you, uh, were you as conscious of that stuff?
Because I remember reading, I think, uh, you said that in Rachel rising you did, um, mostly brush cause you wanted a rougher field.
Terry Moore: Oh, the other way around. Yeah. I was [00:42:00] using brush, because when you’re grew up loving cartoon strips, you know, everybody’s doing brush. And so I’m an animation. So it was all brushed and standard paradise was mostly all brushed.
And, and then when I did, and I kept brushed for echo because it’s, you know, silver stuff. And. When I got to Rachel, I wanted to, have a more frenetic, earthy, scratchy feel. I wanted the page to look nervous and I want, cause I was a big believer, still am in some subliminal messaging. So I wanted everything that the, I was seeing and putting into the brain to be edgy.
You know. And I would try to, so I went for more of a penance ink approach and harsher lines and straight lines. You know, there’s not a lot of straight lines and strange and paradise. Everything is [00:43:00] art. But when I got to Rachel, I started using straight lines, things like that because it’s not normal to nature, you know?
I’m not sure there are any straight lines in nature, so. Even if you think they are, you put a ruler up there and you say, Oh no, it’s not. So I was doing things like that. You know, I think it through, because I had a lot of time to think about it, but, you’re trying to put that stuff there, not for the first read, but for the art teacher who goes back and reads it the third time and tries to explain why that page worked.
You know, why is it a sin? Why is this any different than somebody taking a big pan and trying something real quick? Why is this seem to have some sort of impact on you emotionally? You know? So that’s, you start thinking like a painter. You know, you start thinking about, what do I put in here? So if somebody stares at it for 10 or 15 minutes, they can get lost.
There’s something to look at. You know, there’s something, there’s another layer behind the first layer. So that’s, [00:44:00] and that was, you know, part of the thing you get to do as a cartoonist, you know, you’re not just drawing Batman and the Cape and those boots. You’re, you get to draw all kinds of stuff in there that it may take somebody two years to notice.
Oh, my word. Did you notice bat Mike was sitting in the backseat of the Batmobile this whole time? No, I didn’t see that look. You know, so stuff like that, you know.
Casey Allen: I, I never considered that, the, uh, the type of, paper or the pin you used or whatever would help set a mood. But it, it totally comes through.
Terry Moore: Yeah. Because the, the, we see it firsthand when we pick up these materials. There’s the rough paper and the smooth paper and the different look between what tool you use about making a line. Um. It has everything to do with the personality, you know, and when you’re trying to figure out why does my drawing suck?
And Frank chose look great, you start looking, [00:45:00] first thing you look at his past, the talent is a, what’s he using? And then how does he draw and who are his influences and how does he make the head and how does he make the arm the arm? So yeah, you get into the details.
Casey Allen: So it is funny you, um, you brought up Frank Cho because you both are known and, and well known and well appreciated for, for your depictions of, of women in your art and, and for completely and totally different reasons.
because Frank likes to draw, you know, really, um, Very attractive, big booty women. And, , you draw people from a more like, grounded, realistic perspective. and, and you’ve even gone so far as to do some, uh, some books about that. What was your inspiration for, for doing that in the first place [00:46:00] for, um, for teaching people how to draw women correctly?
Terry Moore: Hmm. I don’t know if it’s, I think, I think I kind of picked that up from my exposure to the European graphic novelists when I was a kid. You know, when I was, in the English school system, that was the books I was reading where people from France and Belgium and all that. So,
Casey Allen: yes,
Terry Moore: that’s how I got an early chance to.
To look at the graphic novelists from Europe, you know, before I was really making my own comic. And so I always thought that that was very admirable. I love 10 10 and, and the way those figures were, as opposed to say, America’s Dennis the menace. Where her mom, his mom has a wasp waist, you know, and just that old fifties cartooning style.
It’s too icon. It’s too, not iconic, but, it’s just, it’s symbolism. It’s not the real thing. [00:47:00] It’s just a symbolism of a woman. You know? It’s a symbol of a woman that, and I wanted more like reality, so that if somebody said, my heart is breaking, it wasn’t always a joke. You know? So that she could have more emotional range than just, you know, be a straight, straight woman in a straight man’s for a comedy gag in a comic strip.
You know? so it was striving to get a little bit more realistic, but still maintain. I, you know, it’s like more Drucker. His, his people were more realistic looking, ban a comic strip. And I loved it, you know, cause he had a little more room than many magazines.
Casey Allen: What Drucker? Who is that?
Terry Moore: He was the cartoons that did in mag magazine that did satires of the movies and the TV shows.
Casey Allen: Yes. Did he,
Terry Moore: did he just pass? He did, yeah. So he’s fine, but he was a big influence on me for his characterizations of people, you know. [00:48:00] Mmm. So his hands had five fingers that worked, you know? Yeah. I like that.
Casey Allen: That’s, that’s awesome. And it’s, especially in the nineties when, when strangers in paradise was, was first coming out and into like the early two thousands, um.
Women looked ridiculous in comics and, uh, the, the amount, the sheer amount of pressure just put on their spines, um, was, uh, mind boggling stuff.
Terry Moore: There was a medical Marvel.
Casey Allen: Yes. Yes. It’s like the, uh, I can’t think of the name of, I think it was from the, might’ve been a Ruben. But it was, they, they took the painting and figured out she would have had like 11 extra vertebra or something if, if she were a real person.
But, uh, it, [00:49:00] it’s really interesting to me that you, you seem to come from a pure art perspective, uh, even though you don’t really have a, a formal art education. But, uh, you, you did the class and I’m assuming you, you went. Got other stuff elsewhere and picked up stuff along the way. Are you still, um, exercising those muscles and doing stuff to help exercise that other than your regular comics work?
Terry Moore: yeah. It’s kind of like a, you know, class one Oh one class two Oh two class three or three thing. Where you don’t go back to one Oh one again, but you’re always learning. And, when I was, drawing as a hobby, I certainly went to the library and got one by one, got every book and went through the mall.
And I’ve heard other artists say that as well, that they also went through every book in their library, their local library. so I think that that’s pretty common. it’s [00:50:00] something like somebody being interested in anything in particular. You go find all the stuff you can about it. So that’s a constant self-education.
And even today, I’m still looking closely at anything that is good, you know? and I follow artists on Instagram. Who do totally different things than me and just admire the work so much. So, yeah, you never stopped that love for, and you have to keep looking outside your own world, you know? Otherwise you make the same thing over and over.
Casey Allen: Who’s inspiring you right now?
Terry Moore: Uh, gosh. I don’t know. I’d have to, I’d have,
Casey Allen: I mean,
Terry Moore: yeah, and they’re not, I’m thinking I have a list of artists on,
Casey Allen: are there any comics that are, that are blowing your hair back currently? Um, are you able to enjoy and read comics now?
Terry Moore: I’m not, reading, the big story crossover stuff, but I am always finding and discovering new [00:51:00] cartoonists who have their personal work.
and they’ll hand it to me or I go see the show and pick it up. an artist’s alley at the conventions is full of great new talent. You know, it’s a very lively scene. It’d be nice if the public could see what we all see in artist alley
Casey Allen: a bit. I bet. And hopefully you’ll get to experience hardness and again, some time soon.
As we are deeply entrenched in the covert virus. so, I’m going to start wrapping it up. I do have a quick question as to, how do you compartmentalize your, your time that you spend, in, in your creative zone and you know. Being especially, you know, I’m sure when you’re, when your kids were younger, uh, being a dad and a husband and being there for your family is how do you, um, [00:52:00] how do you achieve that work life balance?
Or is that something that you constantly have to struggle with?
Terry Moore: Well, it was easy, because I work at home, so I was just always here and available. and it got to be here. Here when the kids came home from school and you know, every day, and it’s worked out pretty well. And I’ve noticed with that, with other, guys who are dads with kids in the house are cartoonists, men and women who are cartoon is with kids in the house and all that.
It’s, it works out actually better than you might think. So. And their mind just kind of rolls with it. This is just how we do it.
Casey Allen: That’s awesome.
Terry Moore: Yeah. So,
Casey Allen: W, you know, diamond distributors right now, things are crazy with that. Comic stores are shutting down. We need comic source. Comic swords are the lifeblood of the comics industry.
do you have any that you, that you were particularly fond of? I always like to ask people where they go.
Terry Moore: What stores? Oh my gosh. I have a store in [00:53:00] almost every city that we love. I hate to leave anybody out with a list. It’s a Sophie’s choice, right?
So my local one here in Houston is, I can, you know, God’s for them. Of course. , he has been rock city comics and they’ve been great supporters all along, and they carry a complete diverse line of comics and have great workshop. So they’re available to anybody that’s wants to check them out. But there’s a store like that in every city.
Casey Allen: Oh yeah. My, my favorite one in Birmingham has, say, combination tattoo parlor and comic shop. It’s called sanctum and it’s fantastic. It’s a few miles away from my work. So it’s, it’s great.
Terry Moore: It makes great sense, doesn’t it?
Casey Allen: Oh, yeah. Yeah. And so, , what can we do right now do you think, to, to kind of help our, uh, our local comic shops because it’s kind of on shaky [00:54:00] ground right now.
Terry Moore: I think what they’re looking for right now is a business. So supporting your local comic shop is really important right now. And, everybody’s there. Everybody’s website is open, and the mail still works. So, yeah, everybody’s happy to sell you a comic and we can get it to your front door.
Casey Allen: So everybody, , go out, , order changes in paradise 25 and, uh.
Terry Moore: Well, no, actually that would be fine, but also the current series, five years, , check it out.
Casey Allen: Awesome. Awesome. Is there anything else coming up that you want to, , talk about?
Terry Moore: I’ve got some special, special, uh, edition books coming out this year and don’t, we’re not promoting them yet, but, you know, there’s.
There’s a lot coming up, so stay tuned. Awesome.
Casey Allen: Awesome. Terry Moore, thank you so much for, uh, for chatting with me today. And, , if you have anything coming up that you want to promote or whatever, by all [00:55:00] means, let us know.
And, , we will, , utilize our, , our social media and all that other fun stuff.
Terry Moore: Thank you. And, uh, send me a link and I’ll boost it. Thanks so much for this exposure. I really appreciate it,
Casey Allen: man. Thank you. Oh, well, we, we are the kids on the block and it’s been an honor to be able to talk to you because, uh, I’ve always been kind of fascinated with, with you and your story because you really.
put out stuff that not many people are, uh, are doing. And it’s, it’s always cool to talk about to the person behind that, uh, behind that book.
Terry Moore: So that’s, thank you very much. You’re very kind. Thank you.
Casey Allen: Alright, well, again, have a good one. Please stay safe. You too. Yeah. Wash your hands.
Terry Moore: Okay. All right. Bye.
Casey Allen: Bye.
[00:57:00] [00:56:00] Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: Alright. We’re
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: We’re back at listening to Casey talk with Terry and as his illustrious career there. What’d you think
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: I want to go back and read strangers in paradise because I’ll be honest, I never read it.
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: if you honestly, I’ve read the first, I think a half of it. I never finished it out just because one, I
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: A lot of
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: thought reading and it was, it was, it breaks out in 2007 what’s a time when I was getting married, I wasn’t reading comic books. But I want to read it because it’s a really good story and you know, I think you’ll actually really enjoy it.
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: Yeah. He seems like a really cool guy. I, I’d love to have a conversation with him.
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: Yeah. I mean, again, like I said before, every time I hear an interview with somebody that I’m not on for the show McMahon, I want to be on that one.
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: It was like, it’s not you and I.
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: Yeah.
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: You’re like, Aw, come
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: But I mean, I don’t want Casey or Jeff to think that I don’t love them doing what they do because I love their questions. I love what they do, but I’m always just jealous cause I want to be there too.
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: Right, right. It’s kind of funny. [00:58:00] There’s a lot that goes into this podcast and it’s more than just hearing us talk to the interviews that you guys hear, or even the, uh, the tots that we like to do, or the specific episodes where we bring up a concept and we talk about, talk something through, there’s editing involved, there’s websites.
We have a network which shows a ton of other podcasts. A lot goes into it. So having Jeff and Casey be able to run these interviews, like with Terry Moore, huge help, huge help, and we appreciate everything those two do for us.
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: we do a hundred percent it’s, it’s, it’s awesome. I just always want to be a part of everything. So
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: All right guys, if you enjoyed that interview, I implore you to go to dot com and check out, Oh, we have. Yeah. To offer, cause there’s a lot of stuff out there on spore. The verse.com that. Man, you could sit, there’s over 300 hours of content just on spore livers, or sorry, just for the [00:59:00] country.
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: but it’s everywhere. I mean, we got, we got so much stuff for you to check There’s so many podcasts, our show, so many other shows out there. Like bridging the gate domes and haphazard adventures and misery point radio and the list goes on and on and on and so much content. No paywall all free to go check it out, listen, comment, subscribe, do all the things and why you’re there.
In the top menu bar in the middle is a button that says
Casey Allen: You, you normally,
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: on that and check out all the cool designs that are up there. Maybe you want to spoil of her shirt or Aboriginal geekdom shirt or a split country shirt, or you
Casey Allen: the cabin fever
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: or you
Casey Allen: you guys are mostly in chiller as as it
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: you help support us to pay the bills and make more of
Casey Allen: was telling somebody the other day, I being I still need to, uh,
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: right.
Casey Allen: check in on my, my artist
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: a
Casey Allen: because the little
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: we leave though, I want to let you
Casey Allen: to get out
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: you want to help us
Casey Allen: anyway has been taken away from them even more.
Terry Moore: That’s true.
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: of the country.
Casey Allen: So,
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: You’ll get all the [01:00:00] newest stuff. I think I say that the
Casey Allen: How have you been dealing with that
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: repeating it, but I think it
Terry Moore: Um, well, I have,
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: of that.
Go to iTunes, go to Google play,
Terry Moore: every three days, I have to go to the warehouse and get a few things, but I don’t see another
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: it tells us what you like of us,
Terry Moore: to do that, and
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: it helps other people
Terry Moore: once a week I have to go to the grocery store and I, it’s like
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: All right, guys,
Terry Moore: a run in a
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: don’t forget in an ocean is a podcast
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: are
Terry Moore: without the shotgun.
Kenric – Terry Moore Intro Outro.output: compels you to do.
John – Terry Moore – Intro Outro.output: go to Twitter and Facebook and tell us what compels you so we can add it right here for
Terry Moore: I get Too dissimilar and don’t talk to anybody ,
Casey Allen: I’m very sorry. Hold on one second. I have a very loud five-year-old.
Terry Moore: Hi
Casey Allen: to a man named Terry Moore. Say hello, Terry.
Terry Moore: Hello in [01:01:00] Alabama.
Casey Allen: Say, okay. Say now, say bye bye to Terry.
I’m very sorry.
Terry Moore: cool.
Yes. That is so cool. They like that you’re willing to be around you and they’re interested in your, you know, like that. That’s sort of cool.
Casey Allen: I love being a dad. Yes. Amazing. And, uh, I have two girls, so, um, no. They, they keep me busy. Uh, maybe
Terry Moore: someday they’ll be the one taking care of you too. They’ll, they’ll be decide which, which home you’re in.
So the good one or the bad one.
“Drinks and Comics with Spoiler Country!”
Did you know we have a YouTube channel?
Buy John’s Comics!
Support us on Patreon: