The Whatdead: Terry Moore on Rachel Rising #6

Terry Moore's creator-owned horror comic Rachel Rising saw its first arc conclude this week with the release of Rachel Rising #6. Not only does it wrap the first storyline in dramatic and game-changing fashion, but the issue is also the first time that Moore--whose previous books Strangers in Paradise and Echo have made him one of the most beloved and respected independent comics creators of the last 20 years--has released one of his books digitally on the same day as the print release.

The story that just ended can be pre-ordered on Moore's website or through Amazon now, under the title Rachel Rising Volume 1: The Shadow of Death.

Moore joined us as part of our ongoing series of postmortem interviews, and touched down not only on the end of the arc and the beginning of digital for Rachel Rising, but also on his relationship with the direct market and what it's like to be writing a long-form, open-ended story like Rachel Rising again after a few years of writing a three-act story like Echo.

You generally have issues available for a couple of weeks at your website that aren't available in the stores until later, due in no small part to Diamond's fairly arcane distribution system when it comes to smaller titles. Will you eventually start moving these items to digital-first, or do you see that as a step too far as far as the direct market is concerned?

No, I can’t go digital first because that would not be fair to my brick-and-mortar partners. Imagine if you’re a shop in NYC, and customers were buying books before you had a chance to even put them on the shelf. That would be disastrous.

As the arc draws to a close, it feels a little bit like Echo. We're starting to see more and more people affected by the phenomenon that changed Rachel. But Echo was a finite story and this is more open-ended. Does this allow you a little more flexibility as far as the whos and hows of your next victim/resurrectee?

The ideas just won’t stop. I have so many ideas for Rachel Rising I can’t imagine ever getting them all in there. The same thing happened with Echo, but I wasn’t able to use my new ideas, because the story was following a strict outline. I could easily have kept going with Echo, because what happens to Julie and Ivy after Echo is incredible… but I had to stick to the one arc plot, so it ended where it ended. But in my mind, I know it continued. I hope to go back and write the next part someday.

With Rachel Rising, I am just writing down all the ideas and hope that the series will be able to continue long enough or me to get the original scenes in print. That’s what I live for, making scenes I’ve never seen before in print or film.

On this month in specific: I think it's clear, but since it wasn't happening on-panel can I clarify something? Was that motorist sexually fondling the snake lady?

Yes, he put his hand up her thigh. That was a big mistake.

Decade-old spoilers ahead: I remember as I was reading, being a little frustrated with the fact that the Parker Girls were behind the plane crash in Strangers in Paradise. Here, we have a traffic accident that happens in the presence of our Spooky Mystery Woman. It's probably safe to say she's "responsible," but she seems to be more a part of the fabric of the world. Do you think this is more a "natural" occurrence than the airplane in Strangers in Paradise or am I splitting hairs?

TheStrangers in Paradise plane crash wasn’t Parker Girl related or sanctioned, that was solely Veronica’s doing. Just to clarify. Rachel’s car crash was part of a very nasty case of supernatural forces taking offensive steps towards something. “They shall fall like snow” refers to the casualties, while some are rising like “oaks”. So, it’s two different things, with similar results… dead people.

It's hard to discuss this issue too much without asking the kind of "what's next" questions that you shy away from. That last sequence, though, seems perfectly suited to a horror movie or the collected edition. Was it important to you to give the book that feeling--something that both wraps the story arc for the trade reader but also is a big tease for the next arc?

Yes. I want the trade to finish with a punch, so the reader is excited and wants the next book. It’s such a blast when you read a book like that, isn’t it? It’s a real joy to find that reading experience. So, that’s my goal. Fingers crossed it works.