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Terry Moore Says Goodbye to ‘Strangers,’ Hello to Marvel

Terry Moore at Comic-ConTerry Moore spent a warm, conversational hour with a roomful of grateful fans Friday afternoon at Comic-Con. Sharing personal insights into his crafting of the Strangers in Paradise conclusion, offering hints as to his plans for Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane and Runaways, as well as discussing what’s next for his creator-owned projects, Moore really couldn’t have been more accommodating.

Regarding the Strangers conclusion, Moore mentioned that he and his wife Robin traveled to Santa Fe, NM, on what amounted to both a location-scouting trip and the inspiration to trash the ending he’d already written and completely compose a new version while in Santa Fe. Upon completing the rewritten ending, Moore said that he “looked at it and it resonated, and I got teary-eyed and I got goose bumps.” Since I felt the exact same way upon reading the finished book, it seems that thanks are due the city of Santa Fe.

Further discussing his thoughts on the series’ ending, Moore said he felt that “the girls were suddenly in harmony with the universe … so it was OK to leave. You can leave them now. They’re done.” As to the final, bonus scene involving a glimpse into the future and the literal closing of a door on that peek into the future, Moore said that it was his intention to underscore that “the girls are now retiring to private life.” On a personal note, he also felt that this ending meant “that’s it, I can’t go back … because I was also closing the door on me.”

Talking of his post-Strangers plans, Moore described having passionately pitched a Supergirl reinvention to DC (Moore has very strong feelings that the character has been done an incredible disservice and that it’s well past time she received her due), but that DC editorial repeatedly responded with suggestions of his taking on characters other than Supergirl. Eventually, feeling that negotiations had stalled, Moore called Joe Quesada at Marvel, asking if they had anything they might be interested in having him write. Quesada called back in short order and said they had two projects in mind: Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane and Runaways. After due research and consideration, Moore accepted both jobs.

Spider-Man Loves Gwen Stacy commission by Terry MooreGwen Stacy was the hook for Moore to take on Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. Moore admitted that he “stopped reading comics in the ’70s when they killed Gwen … I threw [the issue] down in disgust.” As such, he’s thrilled with the opportunity to help breathe new life into the character since the YA series focuses on the characters’ high school years. Moore still feels such affection for the character of Gwen Stacy that he says, “if Gwen wasn’t there, I don’t think I would have taken it.”

As a big fan of both Brian K. Vaughan and Joss Whedon, his predecessors on Runaways, Moore says of the giant-size shoes he’ll be filling, “yes, I am a dumbass … it’s like going on stage after the Beatles.” Moore’s idea for the book involves using Chase as his focus, a character he freely admits was initially his least favorite of the group. Now, however, Moore says that Chase “may be the key to unlocking the entire series.” Moore hinted that his plans involve Chase’s gauntlets and, in particular, the answer to the question, “where’s the rest of the armor?” Color me intrigued.

Of his one-year exclusivity deal with Marvel –a deal which still allows him to work on creator-owned projects– Moore said that “having spent fourteen years writing and drawing characters on couches, [he] wanted to write characters hanging upside-down.” He also flatly stated that he’s “not doing it as a lark,” referring to his previous foray into working on a company-owned character by saying, “it’s not like Lady Supreme … I hurt myself doing that.”

The two creator-owned projects that Moore is currently pondering are Motor Girl (a working title), originally planned as an original graphic novel, but which will now be serialized for eventual collection. The second creator-owned project he’s considering involves Pixie, the fairy who appeared in Paradise Too, with whom he’s thinking of pairing a character he referred to as “Lizzie the goth girl.” Of the combination, Moore said, “put them together [and] they’re like misfit companions.”

Needless to say, it sounds like closing the door on Strangers in Paradise is already allowing Terry Moore to open the doors on a variety of new creative endeavors … and given his obviously strong feelings for Supergirl, I wouldn’t rule that project out just yet either.

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