Ricky Lima found his “happily ever after” when he started writing comics six years ago. He loves the collaborative nature of writing and illustrating a comic, he says: “Seeing ideas change and mutate inside another person’s brain is what makes comics so exciting to me.”
Happily Ever Aftr, the new graphic novel from Lima and his co-creator, illustrator Nicolas Londiex, is about a kidnapped princess who uses a dating app to find knights to come rescue her. (They are invariably unsuccessful.) But the one-line plot summary doesn’t quite do justice to the narrative’s deep reserves of nuance and empathy. Happily Ever Aftr is also the story of Princess Emily’s captor, Gretchen Grimhold. Gretchen has fallen in love with Princess Emily — to the dismay of her not-so-accepting father — and decides to secure the princess as her bride in the dubious but long-standing tradition of the Grimhold family: via kidnapping.
It’s ultimately a one-of-a-kind story about parental pressure, self-acceptance, and learning what “true love” really means.
Lima was surprised — and thrilled — when the first issue of Happily Ever Aftr found support from over 400 backers on Kickstarter in 2016. He was “beyond happy” to find so many people willing to take a chance on his “weird little idea,” he says.
The success of that “weird little idea” has a lot to do with Lima’s guiding creative principle: “Be radical in thought, gentle in action.”
When it comes to presenting new ideas, he says, it’s important to be magnanimous — and to anticipate that folks might take a while to come around. “I try to shift my excitement for newness onto others,” he says. “That’s how I get my audience to come along for the ride: inspire through enthusiasm.