Rachel Rising Creator Terry Moore Talks Issue #8

Terry Moore's creator-owned horror series Rachel Rising had its eighth issue come out digitally on ComiXology Wednesday, although (as the writer explained on his blog) there was a distribution hiccup that has delayed its delivery to direct market comic book stores.

"She was supposed to be in comic stores this week too, for a coordinated coast-to-coast release, but apparently the shipping didn’t make it. My apologies to stores for now being a week behind comiXology," wrote the artist, who has told ComicBook.com before that he doesn't want to go digital-first for fear that it will hurt his relationship with the comic book retailers who have supported him throughout his career.

While it should be any day now that fans can order #9 from his website, those of us too cheap to pay shipping or lazy to make the order will have six weeks to digest our thoughts on this issue before the next one hits--one where, according to a Facebook status made last month, Moore based at least part of the story on a weird dream he had in real life.

That makes sense, because "weird" not only suits this book, but seems to be, increasingly, the direction he's taking it in. With Rachel seeking out the help of the deeply-disturbed Dr. Siemen on behalf of her undead BFF Jet, the issue toggled between that plot beat and an even stranger, creepier one where we seemed to get a little more of a sense for what the series' antagonists are doing, even if why they're doing it remains murky at best.

As usual, Moore joined ComicBook.com for a brief discussion of the issue's plot, its themes and the ways that he's working to make Rachel Rising a creepy book, literally from cover to cover.

A quick point of clarification: do you anticipate that stores will now be permanently behind the ComiXology release date, or that it will normalize with next month's issue? I know you didn't want to go digital-first.

I don't want to do anything wrong by the brick and mortar retailers. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them. So, I'm doing everything I can to have each new issue hit the market the same day for everybody, meaning stores on the west and east coasts and the digital, all the same day. It's an absolute nightmare though, because it means holding the release for weeks on end while waiting for warehousing and trucking to get the books to all corners of the country. If you imagine trucks spreading from a central warehouse in unison and books in place within one to weeks, you'd be wrong. That was the old days. It's different now. At least, it is for me, as a low-selling indy title. It took 4 weeks for Rachel Rising 8 to get to stores—after it was picked up from the printer. It's a very difficult situation. Meanwhile, comiXology is ready to post the book the same day I finish it. So they're sitting on new product for weeks as well, waiting for trucks to hand deliver books to every state. It's a very difficult business climate, but I am trying to surf it and survive. Adapt or die, right? The attrition in comics is frightening, but I didn't give up 20 years of my life to end as another indy roadkill. Things will evolve and improve and we'll do it together, stores and publishers. We'll figure it out.

So it seems that our friend Dr. Siemen has a very unique relationship with his wife. He seems to know she's dead, right? I mean, he suggests that they're lucky she's not stuck at the cemetery with the unclaimed bodies.

Yeah. The character of Dr. Siemen was inspired by a real life story from the 1950's. It's amazing what people will do, isn't it?

Is the cavalier way that Dr. Siemen deals with the dead (and with Rachel particularly) in any way connected to the way that Aunt Johnny seemed to unfazed by "talking to the dead" early in the first arc?

There is a common theme among the characters that death is ever present. Each deals with that in their own fashion. It defines them, in a way. Aunt Johnny though, she's just spent too many years alone at night at the mortuary... with corpses. It got to her. I wonder, if she were to quit that job and among normal people for a couple of years, if she could regain her reality boundaries. I'm not sure.

I feel like the sound effects in that scene with the wolves is as (or more) disturbing as if we'd actually seen the gore. Are you trying to play with comics a little bit and incorporate other senses into the story that don't get as much play on the printed page?

Yes, absolutely. If the reading experience can be more engrossing than word processing alone, it's a good thing. It doesn't take much to stimulate a sense, it's a delicate trigger. But it's hard to forget a scene if you feel like you saw it and heard it. It takes two sense to appreciate food—taste and smell. If I can create a scene that stimulates two senses, it's a good thing.

I can't help but feel like this scene with Natalie has a real "There is no Dana, only Zuul" vibe do it. Was that on purpose?

I'm in my own world with Natalie. I've never seen anybody like her before. I'd like for her to surprise us. Hell, I'd like all the characters to surprise us.

We're seeing more and more of the 'bad guys" in this arc--is that something that you did by design?

It's just time to up the ante. We won't care about the problem if we don't know more about it. You have to be careful though, the bad guys can be addictive and take over the story. I was always more interested in Hannibal Lector than Clarice; she was normal, he was fascinating.

Is that, do you think, reflected in the color scheme? This time around the yellow/red combination just seems more sickly and dangerous.

I want you to feel at ease at the very sight of the comic. I have to pull every device I can to seduce you into the book then trap you with a great reading experience. I'm following nature's lead on this, it's how the plant and animal kingdom operates, and it works! We're not just making comics here, folks, we're making predators.