George Ford is the creator of the long running comic strip Addanac City as well as a long time cartoonist friend of mine. This week, I took the time to interview him in hopes of learning something new about him as well as introduce you to his work.
Eddie: As a fellow cartoonist, there’s one obvious question I have to ask. The label ‘cartoonist’ sometimes has a negative image in some people’s minds, as if we aren’t real artists. Are you put off by being called a cartoonist or do you embrace the title?
George: I have to embrace the title because that is exactly what I am. The negativity arises because some folks deem cartooning as a trivial pastime that should not be taken seriously in the realm of ‘true art’. In my opinion, art is expressed in many forms. I have made the decision to express my artistic passion in the form of funny pictures and humorous prose. I like to make people laugh and my cartoons are an extension of my attempt to tickle their funny bones. I can’t apologize for that. I must bask in it. Hahaha!
E: The main work that you’re known for is your comic strip Addanac City. How long have you been writing and drawing your strip and where did the idea originate from?
G: I created Addanac City way back in the summer of 1992 while attending Virginia State University. I was just killing time waiting for my dad somewhere and I drew a quick sketch of this snaggle-toothed kid with wild, scraggly hair and I named him Hank. After creating Hank, I began coming up with the rest of the ensemble whom would eventually become the citizens of “Addanac City.”
“Addanac City” the comic strip series began publication in my hometown newspaper, The Gazette-Virginian. The strip ran three days a week for about four years until small-town politics prevailed and they decided to use the space for more advertisements. That’s when I continued the series as full-fledged comic books for the next several years and eventually transforming ‘Addanac City’ into a webcomic to be enjoyed by an audience with a farther reach than my hometown paper could ever provide. It’s been going strong ever since 5 days a week.
E: We table close by at a lot of conventions and we are in the same boat as self publishers when it comes to getting our work out there to the public. What has been your biggest challenge in gaining your audience and fanbase?
G: Conventions are somewhat hard to get noticed because you’re essentially selling the same product as a thousand other salespeople. In order to stand out, you’ve gotta provide the customer with something they can’t get from the next vendor.
I generally wait until a passerby makes eye-contact or moseys close to my table checking out my wares before I engage them. I usually just say ‘hello’. I gain most of my business from people noticing me drawing at my table while they’re walking by. I let my work sell itself without my big mouth messing up the sale.
E: Even though a cartoonist’s life can be a struggle, there are moments that make it worthwhile. Have you had a fan interaction that made you feel like your work was being appreciated and reaching people in a good way?
G: One of the greatest experiences I’ve had has been receiving an email from a total stranger telling me how much they love “Addanac City” and how they’ve been a faithful reader since its creation. I had no idea this ‘fan’ existed at all, but they’ve been there silently rooting me on from the sidelines. People are more apt to complain about something on the internet rather than compliment what they like. A kick in the rump is way more prevalent than a pat on the back when it comes to the web, I’m afraid. So you learn to treasure any words of adoration especially from someone outside of your inner circle of friends and family.
Another awesome moment came from attending a convention as a spectator and getting recognized by one of my favorite team of creators after they saw me wearing a Hank t-shirt.
E: Besides Hi De Ho Comic-Con on Free Comic Book Day May 6, what other upcoming shows can people find you at and what upcoming projects should they look for?
G: I will be attending Comic Con Palm Springs this August. Last year’s convention was the first one ever held in that city and it was such a success that there has to be a second one. I’m proud to be a part of such a fan-friendly event that really caters to the people whether they’re lifelong fanatics or totally brand-new.
For daily humor, please visit my webcomic site www.AddanacCity.com. My full-length comic books can be purchased from Amazon at www.amazon.com/author/georgeford
If you’d like to meet George Ford and check out his work, catch him on May 6th at Hi De Ho Comic-Con on Free Comic Book Day. Hi De Ho Comics is located at 1431 Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica.