Thursday, September 26, 2013

Interview with Terry Moore of Strangers in Paradise fame over his works, comics and arts

Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore 

Interview September 2013 with Terry Moore of Strangers in Paradise fame over his works, comics and arts.

  1. I've seen Strangers in Paradise at Negative Burn number 13 on 1995 (I think) and for me it was a bit strange, since somehow (on my mind) I've connected SIP with the movie 'Strangers than Paradise' by Jim Jarmusch (not only on the title but also on the alienated feeling that the characters felt towards society  on the book and the movie). So do you think that your comic work could be a bit influenced by that aspect that I saw at Jim Jarmusch movie?

Strangers than Paradise by Jim Jarmusch
Negative Burn with Strangers in Paradise short story among authors like Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore

TM: Not really. I was thinking about people and how they go through life and love like a bull through a china shop, just causing all sorts of damage and drama. We live on a paradise planet full of beautiful men and women and we have no idea how to behave and enjoy it. We are strangers in a paradise.  

Strangers in Paradise page

  1. Do you think that Negative Burn was a good anthology that captured the spirit of us readers and you creators being elsewhere while creating new ground for the non-superhero comics?
Negative Burn issue 29 with Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise along with other well known comics authors

TM: I think it was a good anthology series. It gave voice to many small creators who needed help in finding a public. For instance, it allowed me, a small time artist, to work with Alan Moore who even back then was considered to be a something like a Greek God.
Alan Moore

2. It's interesting to see how your characters and storytelling frame a perfect symbiosis with text and image (we can see there cinematic angles and you even introduced prose and poetry on some of your Comics aswell as music and lyrics). Do you think that all arts could be mixed on a comic book to give it, the meaning that comics are really an artform and not merely comic books? Did you saw that potential on the 90's to create a narrative on a comic book that merged all artforms?

TM: To me a comic was a story told anyway you like. As long as you could put it down on paper, it didn’t matter if the story used art, words, poetry, song lyrics or music sheets or photographs of other materials and story evidence. Anything goes when you make art. I never wanted to draw every page alike. If you flip through my books, every page looks different. I like that. It keeps the reader entertained but it also lets me try to paint the whole whole world of the characters. If the characters read books, you should be able to look over their shoulder. If they hear music, you should hear it. It makes the fictional world more real, and thats’ what we want, isn’t it? To live there with them.
Strangers in Paradise print - Art Nouveaux style

3. Another visual aspect's that we see a comic book in black and white, and at some point on SIP, you started writing it while picturing it on your mind on color (or so I remember reading this). If you wanted to put color on them which artist would you think would be suitable for this job and do you also think that perhaps with color, the Indie aspect of this work would lose its charms?
cover to SIP - I Dream of you - TPB

TM: Sometimes I think color would be nice. I think more people would try my books if they were in color. But Strangers In Paradise is too big now. It’s 2400 pages!! To color it would cost a fortune. So I no longer think about it. It is what it is until some big crime syndicate buys it and funds the coloring with their massive illegal fortune.

Strangers in Paradise - Page

4. Your characters Katchoo and Francine were great and I as a reader I've thought of them as strong characters, while being idylic (almost ultra romantic characters), I also loved the way you dealt with Casey Bullocks, Darcy Parker, David and Freddie Femur (another ultra romantic character), do you see them as strong, romantic while being fierceless and why do you pick such strong female characters instead of male ones? Did you feel at the time that you could reach through your works to female readers and their sensitive type? (On some of your fan letters, I remember they telling you that both boyfriend and girlfriend were in love with SIP).
Katchoo character of SIP by Terry Moore

TM: I prefer to write about women because there are enough stories about men. And most women I know are pretty strong, so... there. 

5. You started this series on 1993 with Antartic Press, then you moved the second volume to your own abstract studio on 1994. Did you thought at the time that you could have the full control by yourself with this series by doing almost everything yourself? (writing, drawing, promoting and distributing it). 
Issue 1 of SIP - Antarctic Press

TM: In the U.S. you can self-publish because we have the direct market, where the indy creator can list the book with a distributor and sell direct to the retailer on a no-return basis. If the book is popular, you can make a better living publishing yourself than letting a publisher take it and give you a small percentage. This is not possible in europe where the newstand is so very important and only a publisher with some power can get you into them. So I’ve published myself and that is why I am still here after all these years. A publisher would have dropped me many times by now, I’m sure.
Strangers in Paradise - Issue 9 - Abstract studios

6. On 1996 SIP were published at Homage comics that were part of Wildstorm. Did you thought at the time that it was good for you to exchange ideas with Kurt Busiek and Warren Ellis on a more writer-driven-line? How did you felt about it at the time? 
SIP - Homage - Issue 6

TM: I never worked with the other creators at Homage. I went with Homage because Jim Lee invited me personally and I knew that with him involved my book would be in every comic book shop in the world. And for that year at Homage, it was. Anything Jim Lee makes goes into every comic shop in the world. You can’t beat that. 
Deathblow by Jim Lee

7. Then you moved again to your abstract studio at the ending of the 20th century; did you thought at the time that you wanted to have your characters back again, being independent from any comics publisher and that on the turn of the century would be good for you to have full control of the story that you were developing?

TM: I went back to self-publishing because it was difficult for me to adjust to so many other people being involved in the process. So many hands touching the book, sometimes causing delays. I preferred to do it myself and keep the process simple.
SIP -Issue 81 at Abstract studios

9. How was it for you to end Strangers in Paradise that earned several awards and had lots of people that were really hooked on the plot (either female or male). Do you see 'Strangers in Paradise' as your 'baby' like Neil Gaiman does with his Sandman series?
Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman" Brief lives page

Sandman new series - cover by Dave Mckean

TM: SiP is my life’s work, for sure. I am proud of the series and I’m glad that, after all that work I have something to show for my years at the drawing board. But the best thing is I made a magic place in my head and shared it with the world. That is an incredible feeling. 
SIP - Omnibus - complete

10. I remember at the time comparing Love and Rockets by Los Bros Hernandez with SIP over the alienation feeling, do you think that both series have something in common?

Love and Rockets new stories by Los Bros Hernandez

TM: I don’t know. I’ve never read that series.

11. There are rumours that your work 'Rachel Rising' will turn out on a Tv series, is it right?

Rachel Rising issue 2 by Terry Moore

TM: They are trying. All I can do is hold my breath and hope it works out.

12. What were your major influences on the other arts while doing SIP? (writers, movie directors, poets and musicians)

How to draw by Terry Moore

TM: Basically every creative person in music, art and literature over the last 400 years! Seriously, my interest in creative people and the arts knows no limits, and I have just as many heroes in every past decade and century as I do living ones today. Composers, rock bands, pianists, violinists, illustrators, underground cartoonists, fine arts, sculptors, writers, great physicists... my god, the inspirations are endless. And I use it all. It all goes through my brain and leaks out the end of my pen. I’m a creative mess.

13. How do you see the future in comics? Do you think that today (with all things being made on the hour due to technology) the comics market has (still) place for a series like SIP?

TM: I don’t know how SIP would be received today. America is so terribly violent now. Sex is not popular in America now because of decades of disease and predator crimes. It’s not the same America that gave you Playboy and Marilyn Monroe. This is the CSI America, the one that has a gun crime problem.  SiP is a romance story with a sexual undertone. I’m not sure the American kids of today could relate to it. Everything is “pervy” to the young generation. I don’t know about other countries. I hope sex and love are still popular in the rest of the world. Hopefully, America will see you having a good life and return to their senses.
Thanks Terry for the nice interview
Italian playboy magazine with Pamela Anderson on the cover

Marilyn Monroe
 C.S.I Tv series - poster

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Interview with portuguese author Derradé over his first works until now

Derradé is part of a portuguese duo that makes comics for fun on a DIY atitude..

Há Piores

Há piores - 2

HL - Comix


Here's an interview with him:

1. First things first; your pseudonym comes from your name, right? And how about the one of the writer that makes the duo with you (Geral)?

- I Think Geral has to do with something that happened to him in school, but you would have to ask him about it. As for my pseudonym, you are right: it derivates from the initials of my name.

2. On your work, it seems that you're clearly influenced by Angeli and Laerte, were you a big fan of 'chiclete com banana'?
Chiclete com banana by Angeli

- Chiclete com Banana changed my life!... And I don't say it lightly. I had stopped doing comics because what i saw being done, didn't stimulate me. The humor books I had access were from the french-belgium connection, with the 1 gag page, the traditional american comic strip didn't appeal to me, and I was more into the super-hero genre as almost any teenager. But it stopped being fun. At that point I had done in terms of my work, sci-fy in the tradition of Star-wars and a post-apocaliptic story inspired by MadMax. When I read the first number of Chiclete com Banana that reached my hands something changed inside my head. It was another way of doing comics. It openned the world of underground comics, with Crumb, Shelton, then another magazine appeared: Animal, that was more avan-garde, and I bougth the whole collection. And Animal presented me the new european comics that were being made at the time: Peter Punk, by Max, Cowboy Henk, Rank Xerox, the works of Andrea Pazienza. I think It was around this time (1988-1989) that RTP exibited the documentary Comic Book Confidential that presented to me the Hernandez Bros, Charles Burns, Robert Crumb, Shelton,...

Animal magazine with Peter Punk by Max
Cowboy Henk by Herr Seele

Terry Zwigoff and David Lynch's "Crumb"

  All of this made wanna do comics again. Inspired by my group of friends I created the BadSummerBoys, made the first comic strips about them and that is when Geral, one of my friends, cames along and start scripting some jokes for what was to became our first work together: As Piadas do Geral. Then an invitation by the local Newspaper Notícias de Alverca led us into publishing a regular page of comics every month. The next logical step was made: we created "The BadSummerBoys Fanzine".

Bad Summer Boys - Page

3. On your works appears the character 'tracy', was she inspired on Tracy Lords?

Tracy Lords

- On the name yes. By then she had already retired from Porn, and it was a name that allways rings a bell for people of my age, that identifies her as a pornstar. The character of Tracy came out of a necessity to introduce a strong female character in my stories. This happenned long after the end of the Fanzines and when I started publishing with Polvo. Geral was only collaborating now and then in the newspaper page. So I needed a girl in the badsummerboys stories, that by then they were already a rock band. So I decided that she was to be a Pornstar.

4. You did lots of zines and books for a market like the portuguese one, do you feel that your work was rewarded? (not on an economical pace but a spiritual one).

- Yes. Absolutely. Numerous times. I really enjoy to give autographs, and in those moments we contact we people who enjoy our work, and that feels just great. A couple of weeks ago, someone who I gave an autograph in the firsts sessions I did at FIBDA, when the second polvo book (Fava!...) came out, published that autograph in facebook. Now this was 13 years ago!.. it turns out it was his first autograph. It really is something. I may not get many awards given by the "authorities", but that kind of satisfaction is very rewarding. By the way, the only award I have ever recieved (Central Comics Award for best humour publication in 2012) was by vote openned to the public. So it means that at least those who bought, and voted, were pleased.

Fava by Geral et Derradé

5. Music, television and movies influenced your works aswell, could you please let us know which are your favourite genres? (If you have any)

- I like them all really. Maybe I'm more on the adventure/horror/sci-fy kind of movies. But I enjoy a good comedy (the british kind of comedy) and the Tarantino genre ;-)

Blade Runner's picture

Michael Madsen at Reservoir Dogs by Tarantino
6. Living on Portugal and creating funny comic books for a small audience, how can you manage to fight the system?

- By not making profit from what I do. I have a profession in the real world, in order to survive, and to raise a familly. I manage not going insane by doing comics. It works as therapy, really. If there is someone willing to bet on me, by publishing what I do, then fine. But I would feel really bad if I was responsable for someone going bankrupt. That nearlly happened to me in 2006 when I launched my magazine: HL Comix. It was a one man show, I did everything on that magazine, except printing and distribution. I made a vow of only publishing other people work if i could afford to pay them. It never happened and I had to close the magazine after two published numbers and a 3rd already made but never printed. So they may not aknowledge our existince, but we don't give up. Because our goal is to break even. If it turns profit: great, but the goal is to break even in order to be able to do another one.

7. In your stories I see a bit of punk rock mixed with a chaotic atmosphere, where have you found that 'raw power".

- The spirit of Punk is really the DIY: do it yourself. If you like it, it's fine. You don't owe nothing to anyone, so: go for it. Create. It was this kind of thinking: I really love the work of Angeli, laerte, Glauco, Crumb... But there is nothing quite like in Portugal... So I'll do it. Even if it sucks, I'll do it. And We did. And it sucked lol.

Page by Robert Crumb

8. How do you see the movies scene today and all the movies that come from comics?

- Boy, what I've waited for this to happen. When an art despised at school and by the powers that be, at least in my country, is the creative force behind the powerful multibillion dollar industry that is hollywood... But the movies based in comics that I like best aren't even the ones everybody talks. The one I like best is GhostWorld. Dan cLowes rules!... And I really enjoyed Scott Pilgrim, what a feast for your senses... ok,ok,... and the Batman trilogy by Christopher Nolan

Chris Nolan - Batman

Terry Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes - Ghost World

9. What kind of tools do you use on creating your works?

- Regular paper( A4 Cavalinho), blue crayon in order not to be scanned - which spares me the awful work of erasing the crayon lines, papermate nylon black pen, Mitsubishi Uni-ball pen, indian ink for the large black areas, and post production in computer(lettering, filling even bigger areas of black, and the occasional color).

10. If you could choose an art that you do prefer, which one would you choose?

- I have already choosen the Comics art.

11. Portugal's a tiny country, what are the diferences that you see on the North and South of our country?

- Apart from the weather, that influencies a lot of the temper of the natives, It's hard to find Sagres Beer in the North.

Sagres beer ad

12. You and your partner are doing comics for several years, do you think that you still have that 'raw power' on you?

- I think we now have another kind of Raw Power. A more quiet one. A more heavier, baldder kind of power ;-). I don't think the flame has died, but the fact is I was 18 when I created the BadSummerBoys. Now I have almost 42. So, Life goes on...

13. You mention on your Comics several times: Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, The Clash, Quentin Tarantino among many performers, how do they fit on your art and mind altogether?

Sid Vicious

- Because they all are the living proof (well not Sid, he died many years ago, and he is not a very goog example...) of the Punk Ethos: DIY. Now he is dead, and he was not perfect to say the least, but if I had to define someone as my mentor in words and acts throught is life, it was Joe Strummer. He helped me to define my actitude before life and politics.

Joe Strummer

14. We portuguese like to eat and drink, do you think that we're a bit nonsense and we should be concerned over other stuff aswell?

- I think that the main thing that we portuguese can be accused of is not being abble to choose right the people who govern our country. For at least the last 150 years...

We choose not to care, we elect people who are codemned by the justice, we treat politics like we treat football, instead of choosing people and ideas we choose political parties like football clubs. The food and the drink, and the weather are the things that make this country bearable.

15. Your books dwell with the portuguese tradition and culture, do you think that you portray us good on your comics?

- I portray us good by showing how bad we are, lol. I think that's it.

16. What are your favourite Authors in comics,movies and music and do they influence you more on your books than you would wanted it?

- I would prefer they influenced me more, because the final work would be so much better... So here goes the list:

Comics: Angeli, Laerte, Adão, Glauco, Maurício de Souza, Alan Moore, Bill Waterson, Carl Barks, Don Rosa, Franquin, Joann Sfar, Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Hunt Emerson, Alvarez Rabo, Mauro Entralgo, Daniel Clowes, Peter Bagge, Roberta Gregory, Álvaro Santos, Vuillemin, Reiser, Tardi, Serge Clerc, Yves Chaland, ...

Bill Waterson

Gilbert Shelton


Peter Bagge and Daniel Clowes

Movies: Tarantino, Edgar Wright, Kevin Smith, Kubrick, Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Cronenberg, Carpenter, Terry Gilliam, Christopher Nolan,...

Kubrick - Dr. Strangelove
Crash - David Cronenberg
Chris Nolan - The Prestige

Music: The Clash, Joe Strummer, Big Audio Dinamyte, Joy Division, New Order, Pixies, Nirvana, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Mick Harvey, Serge Gainsbourg, Mão Morta, Pink Floyd, Roger Waters,  EEls, Muse, einstürzende neubauten, The Pogues, Vinícius de Morais, Ena Pá 2000, Irmãos Catita, sex pistols, stranglers,...

Halber Mensch by Einstuerzende Neubauten

Gainsbourg by Johann Sfar

Mão Morta - First album