Terry Moore "Echoes" in San Diego

These days, when you see Terry Moore's name pop up on the internet, it usually repeats two or three times. That's not some strange, electronic echo you're hearing. It's the high Googleability of a creator with more summer projects than even he knows what to do with.

With the fourth issue of his creator-owned series "Echo" on stands now, Moore is gearing up for this week's San Diego's Comic-Con International by preparing the series' first trade paperback and the debut issues of his two new Marvel Comics series "Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane" and "Runaways," set to hit shops later this summer. Although if you ask the man himself, such an abundance of product was not always part of the plan.

"When I was lining up the Marvel work, I was trying to line it up between my own two creator-owned series," said the writer-artist behind the acclaimed "Stranger In Paradise." "I was trying to do all the Marvel stuff between 'SiP' and 'Echo,' but because of delays on both books, I'm having to do the Marvel stuff while I'm doing 'Echo.' I was working on issues 1 through 5 simultaneously on all books.

"I won't kid you, that's been tough. How long will that keep up? I don't know. I'm really juggling the balls over here because I'm writing both [Marvel] series, and then on 'Echo' I'm writing, drawing, inking and photoshopping the whole thing, so deadlines are fierce over here."

Adhering to such a work ethic has also yielded one of the rare indie series that ships monthly, drawing readers well into "Echo" which tells the tale of two women sharing one body thanks to the interference of an experimental weaponized flight suit. Issue four found Julie (the woman bonded to a piece of the broken flight suit) and Annie (the test pilot who has merged into Julie's body) cross paths with Dillon (Annie's boyfriend) just as suit developer HeNRI descended with a raft of soldiers to reclaim their technology.

"The four issues have just been trying to get the two main characters together," Moore explains. "There's a lot to this story. It's really a lot more detailed in the agenda than I ever had with 'SiP.' The challenge to me was to write a story on this scale because even what's going on right now is just the tip of the iceberg. It's been very exciting for me to try and pull this off.

"Think of it like 'Lord of the Rings,'" Moore continued. "Issues #1 through #5 are like the first five minutes of the first movie where what they learn is going to take them on a journey that exposes them to a new world they didn't know existed, and it's right there in their own state."

While comparisons to the epic fantasy trilogy may have fans anticipating another multi-year series in the vein of "Strangers in Paradise," Moore promises things in "Echo" will move quickly and payoff often. "To tell you the truth, I only conceived it as an 18 issues series. And then, if it does well, and if it's popular, I'm totally set up to do an ongoing series. If not, then at that point I'll have a nice full story."

Of course, despite a full run of comics ahead of him, Moore is more than prepared to introduce new readers to "Echo" either at Comic-Con in person or by way of "Moon Lake" -- " the series' first trade paperback which will arrive in comic shops this fall. But for fans lucky enough to explore the former option, Comic-Con is offering a bit more in-depth experience with Moore including his annual Friday Spotlight Panel, new 11X17 art prints at his Abstract Studio booth and for the first time ever a 24-page sketchbook as well.

Copies of the collected "Strangers in Paradise" will also be on hand at the show, but Moore notes that people expecting his new work and older comics to follow the same path may be in for a bit of a surprise. "In some ways, 'Strangers in Paradise' was a cross between a comic strip and a comic book. By comic strip I mean just character exploration. There was no point to it. The only point was just to hang out with the characters. And repetition is okay in comic strips. You're supposed to build a dozen set ups and play with them over and over and over. Like, everybody can name the twelve set ups for 'Peanuts.' I kind of went into 'Strangers in Paradise' with the same mentality. 'I'm just going to explore these girls and their lives.' Then, low and behold, a story happened.

"'Echo' is the first pure comic book I've done where I came up with the story first and then figured out the one character I was most interested in -- that turns out to be Julie -- so the whole story is built around this character. I'm still doing the character exploration with her, but it's always how she's handling the situation."

For now, Moore is handling his work situation just fine, thanks, with his August-launching Marvel gigs giving him an extra leg up on his first science fiction solo series in "Echo." "Everything helps. Working with the people at Marvel who really know they're stuff -- it's just an ongoing education for me. I'll never stop learning, and the more I can be exposed to really smart people who really know their jobs and how to make great comics, the better I'll be."

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