Tana Ford’s resume is as diverse as it is as impressive, having worked on everything from Silk and Black Panther to Jem and the Holograms and Star Trek, but she is best known for her Hugo and Eisner Award winning collaboration with science fiction novelist extraordinaire Nnedi Okorafor entitled LaGuardia. We got a chance to interview Ford about her experiences with Okorafor and her fan-favorite Silk title in this exclusive interview from Terrificon 2023.
How did you become involved in LaGuardia?
Tana Ford: Nnedi Okorafor and I worked on Black Panther: Long Live the King and Venomverse War Stories together and became very good friends, which led to the opportunity to work on LaGuardia.
What was the process like in terms of creating LaGuardia, especially with someone who was well known for science fiction stories, but hadn’t written many comic books at the time?
Ford: It was incredible. It was early in Nnedi’s comics career and the nature of her previous work as a novelist is a much more isolating art form, where as making comics is a collaborative process. There is a lot to learn about pacing in comics and where the big action takes place, and the reveal, and how the story and art move across the page. Nnedi’s ideas and writing and the entire experience was wonderful. We will be collaborating again on Nnedi’s first all ages graphic novel called The Space Cat.
What can you tell us about The Space Cat?
Ford: The story is about Nnedi’s oriental shorthair cat named Periwinkle and his adventures in space. He goes through the adventure in a typical cat-like way, salty about everything. We also had to think about what a space ship that a cat would design would look like and how it would function.
Many fans have a great appreciation for your work on the Spider-Man spin-off Silk. What are your memories of working on that series?
Ford: I was working on self-published comics and I got a call to work with Jody Houser on an Avengers anti-bullying comic book and they offered me the job on Silk shortly after. I fell in love with Cindy Moon. Stylistically, my work is very different from the original artist Stacey Lee, and at first, I tried to emulate her style, but then I realized I just had to be me and do the art in my style.
I am very proud of the comic, as we introduced strong female friendships and relationships, and writer Robbie Thompson, who is the son of two therapists, included a lot about the value and normalcy of therapy. We did some wonderful things on Silk.
Ford: Look for The Space Cat in the future and right now I also have slots open for commissions on my website, tanaford.com, and a few other things coming out soon.