What a kick to launch a nonfiction webcomic set in New Orleans and almost instantly get this comment from a reader who goes by Editor B: “It really freaked me out to see the dude from Calhoun Superette! All the local specifics are very nice.” The dude from the Calhoun Superette is Hamid, one of the main characters in A.D.–a man who readers will be getting to know over the course of the coming months.
Funny story about Hamid. When Josh and I were in New Orleans earlier this year to meet Hamid and the other people we hoped would be main characters in the comic, we spent time with him and his wife and young son at his home in the suburbs of New Orleans. They had literally just moved back into their house—a year and a half after the storm; their FEMA trailer was still in the front yard. Understandably, things were a bit chaotic for them. Josh had hoped Hamid could take some photos of his store (which he was also just reopening that week), but given everything else Hamid had going on, we weren’t surprised when those shots never seemed to arrive. Still, Josh really wanted to depict the store where he waited out the storm accurately. What to do? I mean, you can’t hassle a man to email you digital pics when he’s just trying to keep his livelihood going, right? Then Josh (well, his wife, actually) had a brilliant idea: maybe another character, Leo, could hop over to Hamid’s store with his digital camera. Josh knew that Leo had just put the newest issue of his music zine Antigravity to bed and might be up for a little adventure. Josh called Leo, Leo said “no sweat,” and 20 minutes later Leo was in Hamid’s store in the Uptown district of NOLA taking photos. And in a true moment of life imitating art, two webcomic characters met … in real life.