Concrete cartoonist Paul Chadwick is returning to comic books after a four-year hiatus for a new creator-owned OGN with Dark Horse Comics publisher (and writer) Mike Richardson. The two have worked together as editor and creator, but never as creative partners until Best Wishes, which is scheduled to be published by Dark Horse in November.
Based on a story by Richardson and then scripted and drawn by Chadwick, Best Wishes takes the concept of throwing coins into a fountain to get a a wish on its head and turns it into "a screwball romance."
Richardson talked to Newsarama about this story, the ideas of destiny and fate, and what it took to get Chadwick to do his first comic book work since 2013.
Newsarama: Mike, how did you coax Paul Chadwick into doing more comic books -and what’s the creative process like with him?
Mike Richardson: By begging. Actually, Paul and I have had a long friendship and, as he is one of my favorite comic creators ever, I just thought I’d take a shot and pitch him a treatment I was writing. I sent it to him, and he liked it. Paul is an amazing talent. He took the story I wrote, expanded it, and gave depth and personality to the characters in a way only he could do. Of course, Paul scripted the story and drew the comic, so the lion’s share of the work was his.
Nrama: So the initial idea you had for Best Wishes – how did that develop?
Richardson: It was an idea I’ve had for a very long time, about two people wishing their life situations could change, and having their wishes granted, but not in the way they’d expected. It’s sort of like real life. I write down story ideas all of the time and then play with them until I have nothing else to add.
Nrama: Much like your previous book Echoes, on the surface, Best Wishes strays from the sci-fi work you’re famed for. Did you focus on a different genre to challenge yourself as a writer?
Richardson: Well, the entire premise is based on a fantasy element. Two people throw coins into a wishing well at precisely the same moment. Their wishes switch; fun and hilarity ensue.
Nrama: Good point. Can you tell us more about the characters then, Mary and Cal?
Richardson: As I imagined them, Mary is somewhat disappointed in her life. She’s looking for love, but it’s evident that she’s looking in the wrong places, or at least to the wrong people. Meanwhile, Cal is also stuck. He feels he’s never had the break or achieved the status that he feels he deserves. Both characters will end up in a new place, but not in a way they could ever anticipate. Remember, this is a fantasy.
Nrama: What do you think is unique about Best Wishes? What do you want this story to mean to your readers?
Richardson: I enjoy the diversity of content that the comics industry offers. I’ve written all types of stories. This time I thought I’d try my hand at a book that, while it has a major fantasy element, is really sort of - dare I say it out loud - a screwball romance.
Nrama: Fame and destiny are two major themes of Best Wishes. Do you believe you were destined for a career in comic books, as a retailer, publisher, and writer?
Richardson: I guess you could say that. I’ve always written and created stories, even as a kid. I used to think about producing my own comics and making my own movies. I’ve been lucky enough to turn those ideas into reality. It’s been a pretty good career.
Nrama: Big picture, what are your goals for Best Wishes?
Richardson: For Paul to get the attention he deserves. And for readers to enjoy a fun story in a genre not normally found in today’s comics market.