Stuart Moore ’83
Courtesy Stuart Moore
The late Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck — a 1970s satirical Marvel Comics series — got Stuart Moore ’83 through his sophomore year of high school. So Moore was happy and honored to edit Gerber’s final Howard series in 2002. Moore also got to write Howard and Deadpool — another popular Marvel character — in Deadpool the Duck, which he calls “a mashing of Marvel’s two best-known humor characters.”

“That was wild and fun,” Moore says. “I tried to plot it a bit more loosely than usual, let the characters drive, which — particularly in the case of Deadpool — can be hazardous.”

Moore has written many iconic characters: Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, Iron Man, Thanos, Firestorm, and the Transformers, among others.

He’s also written prose novels based on Marvel characters. He adapted the best-selling Civil War mini-series, in which Captain America and Iron Man fight over opposing political ideologies. This served as the basis for the 2016 movie Captain America: Civil War. Moore’s latest novel, Thanos: Death Sentence, published earlier this year, is an original work about Marvel’s nihilistic villain.  

Civil War was tricky because I wanted it to be accessible to new readers, which meant trimming the more obscure Marvel characters and references from the original story… . So there was a lot of juggling,” Moore explains. “[With Thanos], I really liked the idea of taking this all-powerful villain and just stripping him down, forcing him to start over. It’s also a story that works much better as a novel than in a visual medium because for most of the book, Thanos is wearing other bodies — he doesn’t look like himself.”

Before becoming a full-time freelance writer, Moore worked as an editor for nearly 20 years at St. Martin’s Press, DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, and Marvel’s Marvel Knights imprint.

“I think having an Ivy League degree helped me get my first job [at St. Martin’s],” says Moore, a college roommate of Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber ’83. “I think the biggest advantage you get from a place like Princeton is a general confidence in your abilities… . That self-confidence is a great gift in itself.”

Moore has no preference what medium he’s writing or editing in, be it comics or novels. “I love them both. I’m more comfortable with comics; I love the close collaboration involved. With comics, it's a writer, one or two artists, and an editor. When you get the right combination, it’s magic,” he says. “Novels are the product of a single vision. Prose is terrifying because it’s just you — every word you write is exactly what the reader will see! There’s no artist to make you look good. But that’s precisely what’s so exciting about it.”

Moore says that his work as an editor was invaluable, but he prefers writing: “I love switching genres and mediums, playing in different universes, writing about cats in space and then lonely people in a Jersey beach town. …  I love it when I can get up in the morning, put everything aside, go out, and spend a few hours just writing.”