No Stranger To Publishing Paradise
Vince Brusio

 

If you consider your life’s work Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, how do you record another album after you’ve caught a second wind? Such a thing can be asked of Terry Moore. He’s the guy who gave us Strangers In Paradise. It’s hitting its 25th anniversary, and Terry Moore is celebrating the achievement by…not celebrating. He’s going back to the drawing board. Literally. Rather than kick back a glass of champagne, he’s listed Strangers In Paradise XXV. There’s more to be told, he tells us. The audience he has to please? Himself. Listen to Terry in his own words in this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview, and see why publishing in paradise continues to be his passion.

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Vince Brusio: It’s been 25 years since Strangers In Paradise first hit the comic shops, and you go and celebrate that anniversary by bringing the book back to the racks. Bravo, Terry. But as you’re committing to Strangers In Paradise XXV kicking off as a monthly series, that means you’ve been working on the book for a while now to get in front of those shipping schedules. Exactly how far along are you in starting the new series?

Terry Moore: I plan to get started any day now. Actually, I’ve been working on this for some time, so I’m in good shape.

Vince Brusio: What was the catalyst for you wanting to bring back Strangers In Paradise? Rachel Rising and Motor Girl did very well for Abstract Studios, so you’ve proven that you can spread your wings and fly. Why revisit SiP instead of launching another property?

Terry Moore: For the only good there is really, the story’s not finished. There is this glaring detail left that must be dealt with. And the 25th Anniversary seemed like the right time. It hasn’t been 25 years for the SIP gang, of course, only a few years. Also, all the other series I did contain links to the SiP story. In SIP XXV, I’ll finally get to tie it all together. It’s like I told you all those stories so I could tell you this one. That’s very gratifying.

Vince Brusio: The series ended in 2007, which means a decade of comic readers have gone through the shops and hit the new releases racks without seeing the monthly adventures of Francine and Katchoo. How do you process this fact? Will it have any impact on the stories you write?

Terry Moore: Well, I am aware that the world has changed and readers move on and every book on the shelf has to win over new readers. But all I can control is the story, so I focus on that and try to make something I would like to read. There’s a long conversation under that sentence, of course, but that’s it in a nutshell. I do feel that every time I write or draw I have to make it the best thing I’ve ever done. I can’t compete with others, but I do compete with myself in the sense that I want the next book to be the best of my career. I chase that goal and hope it makes good things for the business.

Vince Brusio: Give us, if you can, just a few more chicken nuggets in our Happy Meal. Francine and Katchoo are reuniting, but not under the best of circumstances, correct? So what again is the nature of this dark cloud that’s hanging over their heads?

Terry Moore: Well, I think it’s generally known that Katchoo has a bad past and was involved in a shady group called The Parker Girls. As part of a legal plea deal, one of those women is now in hiding and writing a tell-all book about the Parker Girl organization. If it comes out, it will ruin Katchoo’s life. So, Katchoo is determined to find the woman and stop her. I can’t really tell you much more without just handing you issue one. ;)

Vince Brusio: You and your company have served as a big inspiration to independent publishers in this industry. You’ve shown how you can make publishing comics work for you on your terms. What would be some of the rules you’ve imposed upon yourself to make being an independent publisher a self-rewarding enterprise?

Terry Moore: Just never give up. Keep making books. It adds up over the long run. I’m not living from book to book, I’m living off the expanding catalog and that has always been the asset of a book—once it exists, it’s for sale forever. Or, it’s supposed to be anyway. You can still buy a book by Dickens or Hemingway. So we benefit from that aspect of publishing. Of course, the trick is, you have to keep the books in print and the challenge of that compounds with every passing year so you really need a strong relationship with your readers, the retailers, aaaand your distributor!

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Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.

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