It’s been a couple of months since we checked in with Terry Moore about his intensely-enjoyable new sci-fi/romance/conspiracy series Echo, and so our “creator commentary” column is covering two issues this month, both of which are fairly old now. As such, I’ll let the interview speak for itself so that we can move the narrative along and save the reviews-and-analysis for a write-up of the new trade paperback to hit tomorrow and, of course, for Terry’s commentary on #13 later this month.
Blog@Newsarama: These last few issues seem to be a case of a lot of story in a little timeframe, and without much actual forward motion in the grander plot.
Terry Moore: Yeah, as my wife says a lot of action but not a lot of story progression.
BLOG@: So can you explain what’s going on with Annie’s subplot? Did Dillon really see that or is it all an electrocution-inspired hallucination?
TM: I think at the moment I’m presuming it as a little question about is part of the charm, when you’re trying to figure out what’s what in a sci-fi story. But the intention is that one thing I’ve tried to do in the last few issues is to give the characters some moments so that we get to know them a little better, as opposed to everybody being on the run like an Indiana Jones movie. I want to be less IJ and more indie film in terms of getting to know the characters.
BLOG@: Where did all the alloy come from? It seems like there’s a whole lot more than the last time we saw Julie—did she take it from the crazy homeless guy?
TM: You’re actually asking a story question because that’s one of the things that I want to kind of present the question in this issue and then try to figure it out a little bit in the next issue. so I don’t want to give too much away in terms of spoilers of who has what and where it’s coming form. Part of what’s happening to the suit is a new twist on the story that I’m going to present in #13.
BLOG@: How much does the current arc play into the final resolution of the story at the end of the day?
TM: I am conscious about trying not to have any wasteful sentences or panels. Everything is useful either to the plot or to understanding something about the character–either for now or for an upcoming scene and I want the reader to be familiar enough with some of these characters so that they can guess what they’re going to do. I’ve always kind of liked the idea of letting a scene play out just a little bit longer than usual because sometimes it’s the last word on a matter that’s memorable. I like to show you what would happen when they turn around, that kind of thing.
BLOG@: So now Dillon wants to head out to HenRI thanks to a vision, and Julie isn’t exactly thrilled about the idea. How long will it take for them to resolve this conflict and start progressing?
TM: I like to try to answer what I can in the next issue in terms of like—for instance in 11, your question is Pam is trapped, now what. Well, it kind of pulls a twist out on 12. And in 12 you ask where did that extra metal come from. Me in reality if somebody walks out of an explosion and has all this extra stuff on them, you don’t stand by the fire and say “Gee, I wonder, where’d that come from?” You kind of do what you have to do and then when the dust clear you can go and take stock. So that’s what I did in 12, it’s kind of run, run, run and then in 13 when they have a chance, you can say “Okay, now what’s going on?” But I also like to have these long, open-ended questions like you would have on a long-running TV series like say The X-Files, where there’s some questions that are meant to be there to build up for the duration of the series and maybe you can get closer to the answer, but when you figure out the answer the series is over. I have two kinds of questions—the questions for the road trip and the questions that I’m trying to build. I’m realy kind of prepping the reader for my version of reality when I introduce these ideas about the metal or the science and all that; I’m just kind of laying the groundwork for something really big to hit for the last third of the series. The whole thing is going to take a big ramp-up.
BLOG@: Certainly it seems like the dangling plot threads and the mysteries here have a much shorter shelf-life than they did in Strangers in Paradise.
TM: I felt like in Strangers I had forever to deal with the plot. You’re right, that is very unlike SiP, isn’t it? I see that.
BLOG@: Is Pam’s mental health improving? Or is she just a very devious lunatic?
TM: I’ve always had the Pam story in my head from the beginning and while Julie progresses toward her big answer, Pam is also progressing toward her own answer and I’m thinking in terms of both of them are kind of looking at the same thing in a certain sense. So I’ve always thought of Pam as a progression. It’s a story about a woman coming back to terms with reality and how it happens and how she deals with it. I’m not an expert in mental illness, I’m just kind of feeling my way through this from the heart in terms of how she gets from where we found her to recovery.
BLOG@: I loved Ivy’s reaction to this Podunk cop; it’s just like, “Here. Is that what you want? Good, now leave.”
TM: Yeah—there are are people I know that are above me, you know, people in power? They never engage. They only engage who they want to engage.
BLOG@: But it seems like for a self-publisher you have a lot of sense for these kind of structures. You dealt with them a little in Strangers in Paradise, too.
TM: I’ve been around them for one reason or another in my life but I’ve never been part of any of it; I’ve never felt like a member of any of that. I’ve always been on the other side of the fence watching but I’ve never been in close quarters with it. And it’s just fascinating to me.
BLOG@: Solicited cover for the second trade didn’t match the actual cover
TM: The one with the green board in the background? Yeah, actually, that’s the cover to #14. I do that—I switch covers out a lot, it’s tricky until the last minute. I think it’s a little more metal than what we’ve seen so far in 12, so there’s something going on there and we’ve got that to look forward to—how that got there.
BLOG@: Any last thoughts on these two issues?
TM: The only thing we didn’t touch on is Ivy, and I can tell you that at the beginning of issue 13 is a real twist on Ivy. She has her claws right on top of them and then something happens and I laid the groundwork for it but it’s kind of unexpected. I’m pretty tickled about it and it kind of puts a new spin on things. In issue 13, I’m going to bring Dan back into play, the biker, because having lost four of his buddies there’s no way he’s going to let that rest.
BLOG@: Archetypes – Ivy is so likable in spite of her character type NOT usually being so. Not unlike Kasey Femur, it seems like she’s kind of playing her own separate game.
TM: You know, I have something in mind for Ivy and I think of her one way but I’m revealing it very carefully, very slowly. She’s an interesting character because you can’t quite figure her out yet but I think when we get to the final revelations, every action will have made sense. I have something up my sleeve with her!