CCI: Spotlight on Terry Moore

Writer-artist Terry Moore joked that he actually knew everyone in the crowd that packed his spotlight panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego this past Saturday. Moore addressed his fans without a moderator, revealing recent developments with his classic "Strangers in Paradise" series, his new horror thriller "Rachel Rising" and the feature film in development based on his recent hit, "Echo," all published by his own Abstract Studio.

Raffle tickets were distributed to the audience as Moore noted that this year's convention marked the 17th anniversary of "Strangers in Paradise," which Moore launched in 1994. Moore mentioned that he successfully sold all his issues that year through the use of a promotion: He gave out free sketches with the purchase of an "SiP" T-shirt, the catch being that buyers had to actually wear the shirts for the rest of the day, effectively marketing his book. Eighteen months later, Moore quit his day job as an editor for television to focus on "the house that Katchoo built."

Presenting the complete collection of "Echo" to the audience, Moore said that finishing the story gave him a feeling of great accomplishment. He also mentioned that he nearly left out the epilogue when he was short on space. Moore avoided talking about the book's final sequence for fear of spoiling the ending for those in the audience who hadn't read it yet.

Moore said that "Fables" #107, his recent collaboration with creator Bill Willingham, will be released July 27. He mentioned that the story marks the first time he's even drawn Sleeping Beauty, and joked, "The story is nothing but architecture covered in thorns," an ironic quip referring to Moore's distaste for drawing buildings.

In the past eight weeks, Moore has also finished "Terry Moore's How to Draw Women", a 24-page book that uses a "layered" approach to illustration that gives figure drawings the illusion of life. After raffling off a copy of the book to a member of the audience, he noted that he had turned to this approach after using photo-reference for the first few years of his career.

Moore then presented his latest sketchbook, the result of a series of commissions and resurrected scans from his broken computer. He also noted that he usually avoided sketching during conventions, as the effect resembled that of "drawing while doing speed and acid during a car crash." A copy of the sketchbook got the raffle treatment, as well.

While presenting the first copy of "Rachel Rising" to the audience, Moore revealed that the original concept was considered as a plotline for the DC title "Birds of Prey" "for about 20 minutes." With "Rachel Rising" -- the story of a girl who wakes up in a shallow grave -- Moore hopes to give readers "a case of the good old creeps," which he feels doesn't happen often in current comics. Moore also noted that the back cover of "Rachel Rising" #1 features the art of Eisner winner Fabio Moon.

After raffling off a copy of "Rachel Rising"#1, Moore said that "Echo" movie producer Lloyd Levin (who also produced "Watchmen") has hired screenwriter Kerry Williamson to write the screenplay for "Echo," whom Moore feels has "a wonderful edge to her work."

Moore said that although he had visited 12 conventions this year, he would only come to Comic-Con International for the 2012 season. He visited conventions this year primarily to speak with contemporaries about the emergence of digital comics. Although he feels that no one has a working business model in place for them, "Kids in college now don't think like the Nintendo generation," meaning they're willing to purchase digital comics over simply reading pirated scans.

The panel opened for questions, and one "Echo" enthusiast asked what was in the box that Ivy gives back to Julie in the story. Moore repeated a quote from Neil Gaiman -- "It's the mystery that endures, not the answers" -- and revealed that he hadn't actually worked out what was in the box himself. He then interjected that in 2013 he plans to release a Director's Cut edition of "Strangers in Paradise," to gear up for the story's 20th anniversary, and an "SiP" prose novel that continues the main story of the series.

Another fan asked if Moore would write other prose novels in the future, and he answered that he had approximately 15 other stories that he wanted to tell, many of them in prose. When asked about his editing style, Moore replied that he edits as he writes, making it a point to "just get it down first, and make it rhyme later."

When asked if he would ever write for another artist, Moore answered, "Amanda Conner, I'm her biggest fan." He then closed the panel by sharing that Dutch alternative band The Gathering had been an inspiration for "Rachel Rising," and had he his way, Moore would have brought his down-tuned guitar to the panel and treated his audience to some "goth metal."

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