Terry Moore, creator of the wonderful Strangers in Paradise. There have been a million reviews of Strangers, mostly focusing on how Terry writes female characters. When I cajoled my wife into reading the series, she spent the first few graphics assuming that Terry was a woman, a not uncommon event.
However, whilst I agree whole heartedly with those reviews, it’s not his female characterisation that really gets me. The thing I love about Strangers in Paradise and indeed everything that he writes, is his dialogue.
His characters sound very natural, using rhythms and words that ring true. At the same time, he isn’t afraid to throw in a sentence that wouldn’t be out of place in a Hollywood movie. I think that the naturalism of most of it makes the filmic parts work and not jar, which they easily could. The comics in general have that feeling of heightened reality; real people in not quite real situations, but reacting in very real ways.
In many ways, that last sentence is perhaps a great definition of effective fiction. Once the audience believes in the characters, you can create situations that make for interesting and dynamic stories. The challenge is then creating reactions that are genuine and real and the dialogue to go with them.
Terry Moore is the master at this. It’s impossible to not get invested in his characters, even when they are involved in entirely mad situations.