|This article relies on references to primary sources. (November 2010)|
|Current status / schedule||Updated every weekday, off on Canadian holidays|
|Launch date||February 1, 2003|
Dinosaur Comics is a constrained webcomic by Canadian writer Ryan North. It is also known as "Qwantz", after the site's domain name, "qwantz.com". The first comic was posted on February 1, 2003, although there were earlier prototypes. Dinosaur Comics has also been printed in three collections and in a number of newspapers. The comic centers on three main characters, T-Rex, Utahraptor and Dromiceiomimus.
Comics are posted on most weekdays. Every strip uses the same artwork; only the dialogue changes from day to day. There are occasional deviations from this principle, including a number of episodic comics. Dinosaur Comics has been compared to David Lynch's The Angriest Dog in the World comic, and makes references to it. The strips take on a wide variety of topics, including ethical relativism, the nature of happiness, and the secret to being loved. North created the comic because it was something he'd "long wanted to do but couldn’t figure out how to accomplish... [he doesn't] draw, so working in a visual medium like comics isn’t the easiest thing to stumble into."
The main characters' names are each dinosaur's genus, except for "T-Rex", which is a popular abbreviation of the Tyrannosaurus's full binomial name. Although other dinosaurs have been mentioned in the strip, they are rarely shown.
- T-Rex is the main character. He is a green, adult Tyrannosaurus rex. His character is portrayed as self-confident, but frequently shown up by other characters, especially Utahraptor. He is good-hearted, but occasionally shows signs of being egotistical or selfish. T-Rex appears to be stomping a log cabin and a woman in the third and fourth panels of the comic, respectively.
- Utahraptor, T-Rex's comic foil, appears in the fourth and fifth panels of the comic. One early comic says one of his identifying features is that he "frequently debunk[s] [T-Rex's] theories." Utahraptor is gay, as North confirmed in the title of the RSS feed for the December 13, 2007 comic:
i received several dozen emails about utahraptor either being a girl or being gay in yesterday's comic! he is gay, guys. only he doesn't talk about it all the time, on account of having interests outside of being gay?
- Dromiceiomimus appears in the third panel. She is generally friendly to T-Rex, answering either neutrally or with mild, friendly criticism. She has been a romantic interest of T-Rex. Episode 6 suggests that they were once together, and that Dromiceiomimus broke up with T-Rex. However, one comic stated they had spent the night together, suggesting that their relationship is still on. Dromiceiomimus is a nautical engineer.
- Several early comics take place in a mirror universe. In this arc, the standard comic has been flipped horizontally, as if seen in a mirror. All of the dinosaurs, in addition to being literal mirror images, sport drawn-on goatees to demonstrate that they are the mirror-universe counterparts of the normal characters (a parody of Star Trek's Mirror-Spock).
- God and the Devil make frequent appearances in the strip, speaking from off the tops and bottoms of the panels respectively, in bold and capitalized letters and with the Devil's lines in red. They also speak with little or no punctuation and can be heard only by T-Rex. Topics of conversation between T-Rex and God vary, but the Devil and T-Rex mostly discuss video games and Dungeons & Dragons.
- T-Rex's neighbors: families of raccoons and cephalopods who talk to T-Rex in unsettling tones, with capitalized italics.
- Morris: a tiny bug, lacking in self-confidence, who mostly appears on T-Rex's nose and speaks in lowercase letters.
- A fictionalized version of William Shakespeare appears mostly in an intermittent series called "Literary Technique Comics."
- Mr. Tusks: an elephant affected by island dwarfism. He speaks only in the sixth frame and frequently makes puns on the word "short" and variants. He is the Vice-Mayor of a fictional place known in the comic as Tiny Towne.
These supporting characters almost never speak. Often, they are simply part of the scenery of the strip, and in later strips they are very rarely even acknowledged, despite their regular appearance. They all appear in the strip while T-Rex is about to stomp on them. These characters are:
- The tiny house in panel 3 (occupied in at least one strip)
- The tiny car in panel 3 (possibly occupied, and "slightly out of scale")
- The tiny woman in panel 4, whom North has called "the most competent character in the entire comic."
Every comic contains at least three hidden comments (Easter eggs). One is contained in the title tag, which can be accessed by holding the cursor over the strip and waiting for the title text tooltip to pop up, or through the image file's properties menu for browsers with a length limit. The second, which began appearing with the fifth comic, is found in the subject line of the "Contact" e-mail address. The third is found in the RSS feed of the comic and the archive page, being, essentially, the comic's title. The "Transcribe This Comic!" image at the bottom of some comics has a hidden message in its title text as well. The ads displayed on the site, both for Dinosaur Comics merchandise and third-party products, also have hidden messages in their title text. Additional easter eggs have been left in some comics, such as the URL to God's ringtone (the Téléfrançais theme) hidden in the watermark of one comic and an image steganographically hidden in a comic about steganography. The image at the bottom of the webpage displaying the tiny woman and house changes according to the current season.
Dinosaur Comics has received several awards and recognitions. It was named one of the best webcomics of 2004 and 2005 by The Webcomics Examiner. Wired listed Dinosaur Comics as one of "Five Webcomics You Can Share With Your Kids" and PC Magazine included the comic in its "10 Wicked Awesome Webcomics" list. Cracked.com named Dinosaur Comics one of the 8 funniest webcomics on the internet.
April Fool's jokes
On April Fool's Day 2008, Dinosaur Comics was part of a three-webcomic prank involving Questionable Content and xkcd, wherein each comic's URL displayed another comic's web page. Questionablecontent.net displayed the Dinosaur Comics website, qwantz.com displayed xkcd, and xkcd.com displayed Questionable Content.
On April Fool's Day 2010, the usual characters were replaced with those from the Nedroid webcomic series The same 6 new panels were applied to every single comic on the website. Afterwards, North kept this feature available and added other webcomics, such as Penny Arcade and xkcd, all of which can be accessed by adding "?butiwouldratherbereading=" and the specific name to the end of the URL.
- The Best of Dinosaur Comics: 2003–2005 AD: Your Whole Family Is Made Of Meat (April 15, 2006, Quack!Media) ISBN 0-7560-0518-3
- Dinosaur Comics fig. d: Dudes Already Know About Chickens (2010, TopatoCo) ISBN 978-0-9824862-6-9
- Dinosaur Comics fig. e: Everybody knows failure is just success rounded down (2011, TopatoCo) ISBN 978-1-936561-90-2
- Dinosaur Comics fig. f: Feelings are boring, kissing is awesome (2012, TopatoCo) ISBN 978-1-936561-86-5
- Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online Cartoonists (includes material from Dinosaur Comics)
- North, Ryan (February 1, 2003). "Dinosaur Comics No. 1". Dinosaur Comics. Retrieved November 15, 2008.
- "Q: Is Dinosaur Comics printed anywhere else off the Internet?
It was in a few papers, but they tended to go bankrupt, so that was the end of that. There were a lot of university papers. If a university paper or a school paper asks to run the comics, I'm like, "Sure! Don't worry about payment, just putting it in will be great." But for large papers I ask for a little bit of money. Then they go bankrupt." "North By T-Rex: Dinosaur Comics' Ryan North talks about bringing up his dino-baby in the world of webcomics."; Internet Archive link.
- "HI MERCURY—I'm so happy you got rid of that stoopid comic! You might as well be running crap by Callahan in your paper as the never-funny Blecky Yuk-o. Maakies and Perry Bible Fellowship are keepers; Dinosaur Comics looks promising... ". http://web.archive.org/web/20070929090553/http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Letters?category=22120&issue=267907;
- Doctorow, Cory. "Dinosaur Comics collection: improbably fantastic re-use of dinosaur clip art". Boing Boing. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- Elfring, Matt (May 30, 2012). "Web Comic Spotlight: 5/30/12: Dinosaur Comics". Comic Vine. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- Swaim, Michael. "The 8 Funniest Webcomics". Cracked.com. Retrieved November 15, 2008.
- North, Ryan (March 19, 2003). "Dinosaur Comics No. 35". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (September 21, 2004). "Dinosaur Comics No. 393". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (April 6, 2005). "Dinosaur Comics No. 515". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (June 12, 2003). "Dinosaur Comics No. 96". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (March 14, 2003). "Dinosaur Comics No. 32". Dinosaur Comics.
- Mitchel, Bill (August 13, 2009). "In Depth: Ryan North". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- North, Ryan (January 24, 2008). "Dinosaur Comics #1153". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (March 20, 2003). "Dinosaur Comics No. 36". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (February 4, 2003). "Dinosaur Comics No. 4". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (June 24, 2003). "Dinosaur Comics No. 103". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (December 12, 2007). "Dinosaur Comics #1128". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (December 13, 2007). "Dinosaur Comics #1129". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (February 25, 2003). "Dinosaur Comics No. 19". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (June 27, 2003). "Dinosaur Comics No. 106". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (February 6, 2003). "Dinosaur Comics No. 6". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (January 30, 2007). "Dinosaur Comics No. 928". Dinosaur Comics.
- God's first appearance: 128
- The Devil's first appearance: 465
- North, Ryan (January 17, 2005). "Dinosaur Comics No. 465". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (April 19, 2005). "Dinosaur Comics No. 523". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (April 29, 2005). "Dinosaur Comics No. 531". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (May 6, 2009). "Dinosaur Comics #1462". Dinosaur Comics.
- "Dinosaur Comics – November 21st, 2005 – awesome fun times!". Qwantz.com. November 21, 2005. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- T-Rex's neighbors appear in the following comics: 492, 493, 494, 500, 524, 681, 788, 888, 988, 1598.
- Morris appears in the following comics: 673, 674, 935, 942, 1012, 1602, 1768.
- In this series, the main cast discusses various literary techniques. In the sixth panel, under the title "Meanwhile, in Tudor England!" T-Rex solicits Shakespeare's commentary on the topic at hand. Shakespeare appears in the following comics: 958, 959, 960, 983, 1007, 1018, , 1066, .
- Mr. Tusks appears in the following comics: 1078, 1079, 1080, 1099, 1149, 1181, 1222, 1250 and 1768.
- North, Ryan (February 13, 2003). "Dinosaur Comics No. 11". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (May 30, 2006). "Dinosaur Comics No. 784". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (February 1, 2010). "Dinosaur Comics #1644". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (September 30, 2004). "Dinosaur Comics No. 399". Dinosaur Comics.
- North, Ryan (June 29, 2007). "Dinosaur Comics #1023". Dinosaur Comics.
- "[Dinosaur Comics] Steganography". Truth and Beauty Bombs Forum.
- The Best Webcomics of 2004
- The Best Webcomics of 2005
- Richards, Brent (July 1, 2009). "Five Webcomics You Can Share With Your Kids.". Wired. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- Reynolds, Whitney (June 4, 2007). "10 Wicked Awesome Webcomics". PC Magazine. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
- "Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards". Ccawards.com. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- North, Ryan (April 1, 2010). "Dinosaur Comics #1686". Dinosaur Comics.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Dinosaur Comics|
- Official site
- Webcomics Examiner interview with Ryan North
- A Greasemonkey user script that displays the three Easter Eggs
- i am other people: Ryan North (interview with Joey Comeau of A Softer World)