“As a child I don’t believe I had a desire to be anything in particular,” said D.W. Richards, 50 year old creator and lead writer of Alexandra Forever. “I lived a good portion of my life letting my career find me. While I would never recommend that, it worked out.” A good portion of his adult life was spent working as an accountant to support himself. Roughly 10 years ago, D.W. put his pen to work and has not not stopped.
“I was born in Ottawa, Canada, but primarily grew up just outside of Toronto in what was once a small town named Whitby.” He returned to the Ottawa area and has not left. Animation and comics intrigued him since adolescence, but starting a family early redirected his focus to working. This half of his life has granted D.W. more flexibility to write.
“Alexandra Forever is a long term multimedia project with the goal to tell a single epic across all (as many as possible) media.” The various stories center on a woman named Alexandra Forever, who is a demi-goddess protecting the universe from an ancient demon. Overall, the epic is a sci-fi space opera, but each story possesses a sub-genre. “The opening novel Pairs, (published 2010) for example, is more of a rom-com with minor fantasy elements.” D.W. plans to produce a novel, novella, graphic novel, and a proof-of-concept pilot for an animated series. His graphic novel is next to be released and will drop soon.
“At its foundation the Alexandra Forever project is in part a reaction to how comic book publishers have handled their characters (properties) in the past. Narratives in the various media don’t interconnect. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They run in oblivious isolation to each other. For example, storylines in an animated series do not impact nor are impacted by what is happening in the comic books featuring the same character and both have events which are absolutely unaccounted for in any movie in which the character is present. That treatment is an inspiration of what not to do.”
Here’s a panel from page 14 in the graphic novel.
The project is a partnered-venture between D.W. and Ottawa Brands. “The company is owned by a friend of mine, Donald Lanouette, whom I’ve known for years,” he said. Steve Legge, the graphic novel’s artist, was found by Donald after a two-year search. “We couldn’t seem to garner much interest at all to even look at the script. Since the project had always been offered as a paying gig, I will admit that I am as baffled by this now as I was when we were originally contending with the issue.” Steve has handled the pencils, inks, and colors for the book. “As for the look of the graphic novel, I don’t know where Steve drew inspiration from but it suits the story very well,” said D.W. He added, “It’s in direct opposition to the dark and brooding palate that is currently threatening to become a trend.” Originally, the three encountered trouble communicating because of conflicting schedules, but they were able to improve communication over time.
This is a panel from page 11 in the graphic novel.
“As of this interview we’re very close to completion of the final pages…we should have it completed by late autumn 2015,” he said. Donald and his team are partnering with a small publisher to distribute the graphic novel through Diamond. If Diamond chooses to add the book to its catalog, it will be available for retailers to purchase Spring 2016. If not, he will sell the book at comic conventions and online, which he plans to do regardless. The first third of Alexandra Forever is available to read/download for free via the website (www.alexandraforever.com).
Here’s some additional art for the book.
D.W. had the following advice for aspiring comic creators. “Work with people you like. Do it because you love to.” He also highlighted the importance of social media marketing. “With my energies focused on production, I let marketing fall to the backburner…I probably should have started a campaign earlier.” Lastly, when asked why he thinks it is important to dream chase, he replied, “To paraphrase Jim Carrey, because you could do something you hate, and still fail.”
Photo credit: Dreamer Loop