Thee Comic Column #11: Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising

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As I may have mentioned here before there is a virtual comic book renaissance underway right now, and while I credit a lot of it to Robert Kirkman being made a partner in image comics and helping re-stack that company’s line-up in a decidedly ‘indie’ fashion, there are other companies/artists making great books as well. Image has books like Witch Doctor, Harvest, the forthcoming The Legend of Luther Strode (sequel to last years marvelous The Strange Talent of Luther Strode), and Mind the Gap which are – in my opinion – revitalizing an industry that absorbed many – but not all – of the best indie writers ten or more years ago. And while those writers are in many respects responsible for elevating the standard of the mainstay superhero franchises of the industry at large, their recruitment from the “underground” left a gap that has never been re-populated to the extent that there is legitimate indie scene the way there was back in the days when books like Poison Elves, Dawn, Jinx, Heavy Liquid, TMNT, Stray Bullets and Strangers in Paradise were all on the racks, hence why it takes a major like Image to bring the indie stuff to light (thanks again to Robert Kirkman on this one).

Now, you’ll notice in the above I mentioned Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise. This was on purpose, because Moore is one of those guys who has been able to carve out his own little indie niche and keep it going, first with SIP, then Echo and now with the truly magnificent Rachel Rising.  We’re twelve issues in and Moore has me 100% in LOVE with his new book, which is published through Moore’s own Abstract Studios imprint.

Rachel is a girl who wakes up in a shallow grave in the middle of the woods one night, unable to remember how she got there or why ~GASP~ she’s dead.

Yep, dead.

My friend John turned me on to this book about a year ago, obliquely describing it as “Moore’s take on zombies” he was quick to add a “kinda” that staved off my inevitable GROAN and led me to buy the first issue.


Went back a couple weeks later and bought issues 2 and 3 and now I can say the story bares no resemblence to “zombies” other than the main character is indeed a dead woman walking around. But that’s it. Rachel has a noose burn around her neck and gnarly black Conjuctivas (the whites of your eyes). She’s missing a couple of days worth of memories (cuz she’s been in the ground) and no one she knows seems to recognize her, despite the fact that no one knows she’s been dead. But as the story continues there are a whole lot of other dead people – some coming back to life, some never actually “dying” in the first place. And then there’s all the hapless victims being tossed off buildings and bludgeoned to death. It sounds crude but I can assure you it is not. Rachel Rising is a very sophisticated book that, while the roots may be in horror, is one of those works that naturally (and effortlessly) raises the bar of its genre and makes itself its own thing. And that is the true definition of indie ANYTHING – whether it’s music, film or comics.

Moore is not only a master artist (especially when it comes to women) but also a very meticulous storyteller. The plotting of the book is what I call longview/shortview. Each issue unfolds so freakin’ quickly you’ll read it in minutes and demand more to a cruel and laughing universe that will remind you no, no – not until next month. Yet overall each issue is another passage in a longer work. Like chapters in a book, not the typical 6-issue arcs that although we love them, have come to dominate most of the rest of the industry in order to reap the TPB sales every six months. Rachel Rising has a big picture but we must get there one step at a time. One frighteningly diabolic step at a time…

Incorporating – thus far – elements of undead mythos, witchcraft, black magick and religious lore Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising is probably my second favorite book published today (behind the inimitable Walking Dead of course) and a lesson that you don’t necessarily need the big guns in order to publish a wonderful, literate comic book today.

But of course it helps that it’s Terry Moore. Go out and buy this TODAY and hell support indie comics!!!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

3 Responses to Thee Comic Column #11: Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising
  1. SBaker Reply

    Great question Joseph! I did some nosing around online and found a really cool digital distributor. The cost is pretty dang low so if anyone’s interested, go here and digitally help support this wonderful comic book (and many others as well)

  2. Joe Grez

    JGrez Reply

    Bakes, are these issues available electronically? Maybe so they can be read on a laptop or PDA like ipad or iphone? I realize it’s not same, trust me on that. But the availability of the actual paper comic for me and perhaps for some of our international followers is limited to none. Perhaps, a piece on in your column regarding this?

    • Aryan Reply

      Hi Andrea, Thank you! The creamy trim color is caelld Jicama and if I remember correctly, the pumpkin-y accent color is caelld Firenze. They are from Benjamin Moore’s Affinity color palette, mixed into Benjamin Moore Aura paint. We also used Benjamin Moore Enamel paint for Wood and Metal in Bronzetone anywhere we needed to match the bronze metal factory finish on our windows. Hope this is helpful!

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