TERRY MOORE On Bringing STRANGERS IN PARADISE, ECHO, RACHEL RISING, MOTOR GIRL Together For a Crossover Event

Terry Moore
Credit: Terry Moore (Abstract Studios)
Credit: Terry Moore (Abstract Studios)

The recent Strangers in Paradise XXV was just a precursor to what writer/artist Terry Moore has in store for his universe of creator-owned comic books with his upcoming crossover ongoing series, Five Years. Debuting May 29 from Abstract Studios, this event brings together Echo, Rachel Rising, Motor Girl, and Strangers in Paradise for the characters to help prevent an ultimate weapon from destroying Earth. 

If this wasn’t enough, Moore has also been expanding his horizons with adapting his projects for film and television, including a Strangers in Paradise movie, Hulu's Motor Girl TV series, and AMC's Rachel Rising show.

Newsarama had a chance to talk to Terry Moore about his upcoming Five Years, the aftermath of Strangers in Paradise XXV, and the creative process behind adapting his comic books for television and film. 

Credit: Terry Moore (Abstract Studios)

Newsarama: Terry, what can you tell us about Five Years?

Terry Moore: A dangerous paper written by Lilith 2,000 years ago has been leaked to the nations of the world containing the formula for the ultimate weapon - the Phi bomb. Now labs around the world are attempting to build and test the bomb despite dire warnings about the risk.

Tambi, in an all out effort to stop them has enlisted the help of Ivy Raven, Julie Martin, Rachel, and Zoe. Meanwhile, Katchoo and Francine have moved their household to the beach where Katchoo devises her own solution to the problem. That’s issue one.

Nrama: When did you know you wanted to combine Echo, Rachel Rising, Strangers in Paradise, and Motor Girl into the same universe to create this story?

Credit: Terry Moore (Abstract Studios)

Moore: As I developed each series. I wanted them to stand alone and be unique but I also wanted them happening in the same country at roughly the same time, reinforcing each other. World building is more fun for me than a catalog of miscellany.

Nrama: What made you want to split Strangers in Paradise XXV and Five Years into two different titles?

Moore: Well, XXV begins as an epilogue to the "Parker Girl" story in the original series. The risk was always there that one of these spies would be caught and offered an immunity-for-testimony deal. If that happened, Katchoo would be in big trouble. So that’s the problem that brings us to XXV. What Katchoo discovers along the way is what brings us to Five Years. It’s like I told you that story so I could tell you this one.

Nrama: The one character we didn’t see much from in Strangers in Paradise XXV, but is a big focus plot wise, was Julie from Echo. Is there a reason she didn’t get panel time?  

Credit: Terry Moore (Abstract Studios)

Moore: I saw her as very busy but over there… somewhere. In California or the west side somewhere. And XXV was happening on the east side. So she was referred to like this mythic Wizard Of Oz type character, this alleged special person. Remember when they did that with early Batman? That heady first few months he hit the streets he was a rumor among the criminals lurking in the alleys like sewer rats. Just his shadow passing by struck fear into their cowardly little hearts. Julie is my rumored badass. When she finally walks into the room, it will be epic (says the kid on the tricycle).

Nrama: Will we be introduced to new characters?

Moore: Yes, it’s a big world. I like to add a few characters with every new turn.

Credit: Terry Moore (Abstract Studios)

Nrama: How many issues will Five Years be?

Moore: It’s ongoing. It’s fun to imagine the series taking five actual years, but that’s not very practical in real life. Let’s just say I’m laying the story out as an ongoing series and I don’t know how long it will take to finish it. Everything I’ve made to this point was a setup for this one encompassing series. It’s an 'All roads lead to Rome' kind of thing. And when everybody gets there, you discover the biggest story of all has just begun.

Nrama: In Strangers in Paradise XXV Katchoo went on her own adventure, leavingher and Francine separated for most of the series. Are we going to see more moments of them together in Five Years?

Moore: Yes. Because she has been away in XXV, Katchoo refuses to leave again to run off and go hunting with Tambi. She wants to stay by her family. She will take a different approach to the Five Years problem. Which makes sense when you think about it. Tambi is a hunter, Katchoo is a chess player. Tambi will find you and break your legs. Katchoo will destroy your life in a trap of your own making. They’re two very different approaches and both are equally devastating. The complexity of the Five Years danger will need both approaches.

Nrama: You recently announced Hulu was developing a Motor Girl TV series, with you writing. What’s that process been like adapting your own comic book into a TV show? What made you want to bring this particular property to television?  

Credit: Terry Moore (Abstract Studios)

Moore: Honestly it’s been terrific. A TV series requires much more depth of character and a strong sense of place so diving into the story with a fresh attitude has been exhilarating. When I work on the comics, my mind imagines a lot more story than I can fit into the comic. In TV, it’s the opposite, the sky is the limit for stories and details. If you love making stories like me, you love this process. Again, it’s world building with a limitless supply of LEGOs. Fun!

Nrama: What’s the progress on the announced Strangers in Paradise film?

Moore: The news is good but very private and sensitive at the moment. Key people are looking at the script, making decisions. Who says yes will mean everything to the project so, fingers crossed. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that even from Day One the story has to win people over on its own merit. We can’t talk powerful people into becoming involved with this, the story has to win them over. We can’t talk the movie viewer into liking the final film, the story has to win their hearts on its own merit. No matter what happens, it always boils down to the story. Knowing that, I am confident.

Nrama: Would you like to see any of your other properties adapted into film or television?

Credit: Terry Moore (Abstract Studios)

Moore: I would, yes. Rachel Rising is at AMC. Motor Girl is at Hulu. Echo is the only wild child running around the yard but I think it will be picked up soon.

Nrama: Past Five Years, are there plans on more titles or would you rather focus on one title at a time?

Moore: I’m all about Five Years. I can only think about one or two things at a time, any more than that and my wee little brain hurts. I do have other stories in my head that I carry with me like baggage from one year to the next but I’m not too worried about it because I seem to be able to make up elaborate stories about anything at any time. It was either a life of crime or comics for me. Thank god for comics.

Nrama: Would you ever like to do more work for DC or Marvel, or would you rather stick with doing creator-owned work?

Moore: It would be an honor to work with them again. Working at Marvel or DC is a big deal and the world’s your stage. But I love what I do in my own world, too, sharing my handmade books with a smaller audience who know my characters better than I do.

The group dynamic between one creator and his audience is magic, like a phenomenon of physics. Big stages are awesome, but wonderful things happen in small clubs, too. I have been blessed to experience both.

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