Richard Moore’s Boneyard has concluded. A popular fantasy and humor comic, Boneyard tracked Michael Paris after his inheriting a graveyard from his grandfather. In his new graveyard, Paris discovered a cadre of classic monster-types, including the warm and intelligent (and very dangerous) lady vampire Abbey.
With Paris and Abbey’s will-they-or-won’t-they romance at the center, Boneyard ran for nine years, as the graveyard’s inhabitants faced demons of various sorts and the devil himself. Moore mixed in plenty of humor, making Boneyard something rare in today’s comic world – a funny adventure comic that didn’t skimp on character.
After 28 issues (collected into seven trade paperbacks), Moore decided to pursue other ventures, but needed to conclude Michael and Abbey’s saga properly - with a hilarious adventure into the lands of Faerie.
Newsarama spoke with Moore about the series conclusion and his future plans.
Newsarama: Richard, how does it feel to bring Boneyard to a close after all the time you've spent with these characters?
Richard Moore: It's tough. I hadn't finished more than a quarter of the story arcs I'd planned, and never even got to the ones I most wanted to tell. And when you spend years intimately involved with a group of characters, they get to seem like friends. It's always hard to say goodbye to friends.
Nrama: What made this the right time to wrap up the series?
Moore: Several factors. Some were internal, business related. But I also wanted to get to other titles and characters I didn't have time for while I was doing Boneyard. I have a lot of projects vying for their time in the sun. Unfortunately, I'm not very fast, so sometimes hard decisions have to be made.
Nrama: As the series progressed, did it become more difficult find new ways to get humor from the characters, or did the humor flow more easily as you developed a deeper understanding of them?
Moore: Most of my humor is character-oriented, so it always gets easier the longer I write the same cast. Just look at the first season of most TV shows; you can see the characters aren't quite there yet, they're not developed. After awhile with a character, you don't really have to decide how a character will react in a given situation, the character just reacts.
Nrama: When you're approaching a new storyline, how do you balance the humor elements against the plot drama?
Moore: That's always a problem. Comics have fairly rigid page count limits, and when they're ultimately collected into a graphic novel, the requirements can be even more restrictive, depending on the publisher and market. So while the character interactions and the humor are what I'm most interested in, it's important to keep the story moving and properly paced. I can't tell you how many bits and nice little moments have to be cut for time. That's one reason most humorous comics aren't very funny: humor is all about timing, and in comics there just usually isn't space to do it right.
Nrama: The Boneyard has been continually bedeviled by Lilith and Beelzebub in the past, so this arc was something of a change, with new locations and new foes. Was that a deliberate attempt to change things up to keep yourself or readers surprised?Moore: The events in Volume 7 were to set up three major story arcs to come. Later issues would have revealed that there were things that happened in that last story arc that the reader wasn't privy to, things that would have rocked the cast's lives like nothing before.
Nrama: Michael disappears on a quest to help a friend he hadn't even realized was real, leaving Abbey to pick up the pieces and come to the rescue. Did you want to explore just how far Abbey would go for Michael before giving them their moment together?
Moore: To be fair, Paris did pretty well on his own this time, considering he was powerless and wearing tights through most of it. He managed to stop the sham arranged marriage. He just came close to starting a war in the process. But yes, it was a bit of a wakeup call for Abbey, who might not have realized herself how far she would go for him.
Nrama: Looking back on the series as a whole, what are most proud of? Conversely, is there anything you'd do different if you could?
Moore: I'd say I'm pretty happy with how far I was able to develop the characters. It was fun establishing certain characters as being somewhat one-dimensional and easily categorized, then going into their back stories and showing that there were reasons for their behavior, their own private pains that shaped their lives. On the downside, pretty much everything: the art, the writing, it all could have been better. I see a panel here and there that's not too bad, but most of it could have been improved. The curse of the perfectionist, I suppose.
Nrama: Your other recent series was Fire and Brimstone. Can you tell readers a little bit about that series, and if you have any plans to come back to it?Moore: Fire & Brimstone is a fun, action and humor-oriented series about an angel and a demoness who were basically screwing around a few thousand years ago, and accidentally let loose hundreds of demons and rogue angels. Their punishment ever since has been to round up all those escapees and bring them back. And after all those centuries, it's definitely wearing on their friendship. It's a little more bawdy and raucous than Boneyard, and meant to be a faster ride. I'll probably come back to it a some point; right now I'm trying to get a number of other projects out there into the light, so I'm not looking for another "long-term commitment" right now. I'm also transitioning into children's books, so I'm keeping myself to shorter story arcs these days.
Nrama: On that subject, with Boneyard on the side for now, what's next for you?
Moore: I'm currently doing the second mini-series about a tiny gargoyle named Chip, who aspires to be the scariest gargoyle in the world. It's an all-ages title with some nice little surprises, and plenty of humor. After that I have a balls-out fantasy comedy called Gobs, about a group of goblins who open their own pub in the hollowed-out body of a dead giant, and a bit of a change of pace, a horror-mystery called Red, in which I do for Little Red Riding Hood what Tim Burton and Sleepy Hollow did for Ichabod Crane. It'll have a completely different look and feel - should be fun!
Seven volumes of Boneyard are currently available from NBM. Fire and Brimstone is available from Antarctic Press.