Ryan North

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Ryan North
North in 2018, with his dog Noam Chompsky
North in 2018, with his dog Noam Chompsky
BornRyan North
(1980-10-20) October 20, 1980 (age 40)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
OccupationComic writer, computer programmer
Literary movementWebcomics
Notable works
Notable awardsEisner Award, 2013 & 2017
SpouseJenn Klug

Ryan North (born October 20, 1980) is a Canadian writer and computer programmer.

He is the creator and author of Dinosaur Comics, and has written for the comic series of Adventure Time and Marvel Comics' The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. His works have won multiple Eisner Awards and Harvey Awards and made New York Times Bestseller lists.[1][2][3]



North started the webcomic Dinosaur Comics in 2003, during the last year of his undergraduate degree.[4] Dinosaur Comics is a fixed-art webcomic which uses the same base art for every strip. As of 2020 North has produced over 3,500 strips.

Dinosaur Comics was named one of the best webcomics of 2004 and 2005 by The Webcomics Examiner.[5][6] Wired listed Dinosaur Comics as one of "Five Webcomics You Can Share With Your Kids"[7] and PC Magazine included the comic in its "10 Wicked Awesome Webcomics" list.[8] Cracked.com named Dinosaur Comics one of the 8 funniest webcomics on the internet.[9] In 2005, it won "Outstanding Anthropomorphic Comic" in the Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards.[10]

As well as Dinosaur Comics, North also created Whispered Apologies, a site where users could submit comic art without text and others would write text to match the art.[citation needed]

Canada's The Globe and Mail described North as a "pioneering webcomic creator".[4]

Printed comics and graphic novels[edit]

North was the writer of the Adventure Time comic book series from 2012 to 2014.[11] In 2013 the series won an Eisner Award (Best Publication for Kids)[12] and a Harvey Award (Best Original Graphic Publication For Younger Readers).

North has written for several Marvel Comics series, including The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Power Pack, and Inhumans: Once and Future Kings.[13]

On January 21, 2013, Shiftylook.com launched Galaga, a comic written by North and illustrated by Christopher Hastings and colored by Anthony Clark, the creators of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.[14] The comic is based on the 1981 arcade shooter of the same name.

On July 21, 2017, two of North's projects were awarded Eisner Awards: "Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)" for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (with Erica Henderson), and "Best Humor Publication" for Jughead (with Chip Zdarsky, Henderson, and Derek Charm).[15][16]

In 2021, Archaia published a graphic novel adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, which was adapted by North and illustrated by Albert Monteys.[17]

Webcomic tools[edit]

North created three tools to aid webcomic authors: Oh No Robot, a webcomic transcription tool that creates searchable text databases for comics; RSSpect, a method of creating RSS feeds for websites; and Project Wonderful, a pay-per-day auction-based ad serving system. The first two were free, whereas the last took 25% of each sale. All three services are now defunct.

Books and other writing[edit]

During his academic career, North co-authored three papers on computational linguistics,[18] and according to his website, his thesis was entitled "Computational Measures of the Acceptability of Light Verb Constructions".[19][non-primary source needed]

Some of North's original comedy writing appears on the website Madhouse, including Robot Erotica,[20] and prank emails such as attempts to stop other people named "Ryan North" from using his name.[21][22]

In November 2006, Ryan North created the site Every Topic in the Universe Except Chickens,[23] which purports to provide a solution to vandalism on Wikipedia, in that it encourages vandals to vandalize only the article on chickens: "...instead of vandalizing Wikipedia in general, we all just vandalize the chicken article." North reasoned that it was worth trading the reliability of the chicken article if it meant freeing the rest of the encyclopedia from the threat of vandalism because "Dudes already know about chickens." The site received media attention.[24]

A collection of short stories titled Machine of Death was released October 2010 through Bearstache Books.[25] The book, featuring stories and illustrations by various authors and artists, was based on a Dinosaur Comics comic by North of December 5, 2005, with the premise of a machine that predicts the manner of a person's death accurately but in a difficult to understand manner.[26] North was one of its editors, and contributed one of the stories. Machine of Death reached #1 on Amazon.com, beating Glenn Beck and drawing criticism from him as exemplifying a "liberal culture of death".[27]

In November 2012, North launched a Kickstarter project to fund a book entitled To Be or Not to Be: That Is the Adventure, a retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet modelled on Choose Your Own Adventure novels. The project raised more than six times its $20,000 goal in less than a week, and closed on December 22, 2012 having raised $580,905, nearly thirty times their original goal,[28] and a record for a Kickstarter publishing project at that time.[29] The book allows readers to take the role of Hamlet, Ophelia or Hamlet's father and make their own choices throughout the story; the latter characters, as well as over 100 colour illustrations by a range of artists, were added to the book as funding increased.[30] The book made a New York Times Bestseller list.[1]

In 2018, Riverhead Books published Ryan North's "How To Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveller": a nonfiction guide to technology based around the fictional premise of a time machine stranding the reader in the past. It was named one of NPR's and BBC Science Focus's Best Books of 2018.[31][32]

In 2019 North helped develop the story and writing for an iOS game app called AVO![33] by Playdeo Limited [34]


Year Nominated work Category Result Notes
2017 The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Eisner Award: Best Publication for Teens (ages 13–17) Won Illustrated by Erica Henderson[35]
2017 Jughead Eisner Award: Best Humor Publication Won Created by Chip Zdarsky, North, Erica Henderson, and Derek Charm[35]
2017 Romeo and/or Juliet: A Choosable-Path Adventure Alex Award Won [36]
2017 (multiple comics) Joe Shuster Award: Outstanding Writer Nominated [37]
2016 The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Eisner Award: Best New Series Nominated Illustrated by Erica Henderson[38][35]
2016 (multiple comics) Joe Shuster Award: Outstanding Writer Nominated [39]
2015 (multiple comics) Joe Shuster Award: Outstanding Writer Nominated [40]
2015 The Midas Flesh Joe Shuster Award: The Dragon Award (Comics for Kids) Nominated [40]
2014 Adventure Time Harvey Awards: Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers Won [41]
2014 Adventure Time Harvey Awards: Special Award for Humor Won [41]
2014 (multiple comics) Joe Shuster Award: Outstanding Writer Nominated [42]
2013 Adventure Time Eisner Award: Best Publication for Kids (ages 8–12) Won [35]
2013 Adventure Time Harvey Awards: Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers Won [41]
2013 Adventure Time Harvey Awards: Special Award for Humor Won [41]
2013 Adventure Time Eisner Award: Best New Series Nominated [43]
2013 Adventure Time Eisner Award: Best Humor Publication Nominated [43]
2013 Adventure Time Sushter Awards: Outstanding Writer Nominated [44]
2005 Dinosaur Comics Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards: Outstanding Anthropomorphic Comic Won In the same year, Dinosaur Comics was also nominated for Outstanding Writing, Outstanding Comedic Comic, and Outstanding Short Form Comic.[45]

Personal life[edit]

North was born in Osgoode, Ontario, in 1980. His parents are Anna and Randall North[46][non-primary source needed] and said in an interview that he has a younger brother, Victor.[4] In an interview, North said that his family lived in rural Osgoode and there was not a lot to do, so spent much of his time on the computer.[4] After high school, he studied computer science at Carleton University in Ottawa, then did his master's degree in computer science at the University of Toronto in Toronto, specializing in computational linguistics.[4]

North once hosted instructions on his website for building cardboard boxes designed to look like elements of Super Mario Brothers, designed by his friend Posterchild. In 2006, a group of teenage girls in Ravenna, Ohio were arrested after they created and distributed several of these blocks, over fears they were bombs.[47][48]

On August 18, 2015, North became stuck in a skate pit with only an umbrella, a leash, his phone, and his dog, Noam Chompsky, after rain made the surface too slick to easily climb with a dog in tow. He posted about his conundrum on Twitter, leading hundreds of Twitter users to reply with suggestions on how to combine the items in his "inventory" to escape, eventually leading to success.[49][50]

North is married to his wife Jenn Klug.[51] As of 2016, they were living in Leslieville, Toronto, Ontario.[4]


  • Author, The Best of Dinosaur Comics: 2003-2005 AD (April 15, 2006, Quack!Media) ISBN 0-7560-0518-3
  • Author, Dinosaur Comics: Dudes Already Know About Chickens (2010, TopatoCo) ISBN 978-0-9824862-6-9
  • Editor and contributor, Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die (October 13, 2010, Machines of Death) ISBN 0-9821671-2-1
  • Author, Everybody Knows Failure Is Just Success Rounded Down: Dinosaur Comics (2011, TopatoCo) ISBN 978-1-936561-90-2
  • Writer, Adventure Time Issues 1-35 (2012-15, KaBOOM!)
  • Author, To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure (2013, Breadpig) ISBN 978-0-9828537-4-0
  • Editor, This Is How You Die; Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death (2013, Grand Central Publishing) ISBN 978-1455529391
  • Writer,The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Issues 1-50 (2014-19, Marvel)
  • Author, The Midas Flesh Vol. 1 (2014, BOOM! Box) ISBN 978-1608864553
  • Author, The Midas Flesh Vol. 2 (2015, BOOM! Box) ISBN 978-1608867271
  • Author, Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure (2016, Riverhead Books) ISBN 978-1101983300
  • Writer, Jughead Volume 2, Issues 9-11 (2017, Archie Comics) ISBN 978-1-68255-998-7
  • Writer, Jughead Volume 3, Issues 12-14 (2017, Archie Comics) ISBN 978-1-68255-956-7
  • Author, How to Be a T.Rex (2018, Dial Books) ISBN 978-0399186240
  • Author, How To Invent Everything: A Survival Guide For The Stranded Time Traveler (2018, Riverhead Books) ISBN 978-0735220140
  • Author, Slaughterhouse-Five: The Graphic Novel (2020, Archaia) ISBN 978-1684156252


  1. ^ a b "Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous Books - Best Sellers - Books - June 26, 2016 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  2. ^ "2014 Harvey Award Winners Announced". www.previewsworld.com. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  3. ^ "Paperback Graphic Books - Best Sellers - Books - Nov. 25, 2012 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Medley, Mark. "Choose your own interview with webcomic pioneer Ryan North". Retrieved 2021-01-17.
  5. ^ Dale, Beran; Hellman, David. "The Best Webcomics of 2004". The Webcomics Examiner. Archived from the original on 2010-07-19.
  6. ^ Dale, Beran; Hellman, David. "The Best Webcomics of 2005". The Webcomics Examiner. Archived from the original on 2010-07-25.
  7. ^ Richards, Brent (July 1, 2009). "Five Webcomics You Can Share With Your Kids". Wired. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  8. ^ Reynolds, Whitney (June 4, 2007). "10 Wicked Awesome Webcomics". PC Magazine. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  9. ^ Swaim, Michael. "The 8 Funniest Webcomics". Cracked.com. Retrieved November 15, 2008.
  10. ^ "Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards". Ccawards.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
  11. ^ "'Adventure Time' Comic Series Coming From Boom! in February - ComicsAlliance | Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews". ComicsAlliance. Archived from the original on 2013-02-10. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  12. ^ "Eisner Awards Current Info | Comic-Con International: San Diego". 2014-03-06. Archived from the original on 2014-03-06. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  13. ^ "Ryan North: Series". Marvel Entertainment. Retrieved 2021-01-14.
  14. ^ "Galaga launches today!". ShiftyLook. Archived from the original on 2013-04-06. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  15. ^ "Eisner Awards Current Info". 17 December 2014.
  16. ^ "Eisner Awards: The Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  17. ^ "Slaughterhouse-Five, or the Children's Crusade: A Graphic Novel Adaptation".
  18. ^ "Ryan North". dl.acm.org. Retrieved 2021-01-17.
  19. ^ North, Ryan. "Computational Measures of the Acceptability of Light Verb Constructions" (PDF).
  20. ^ "Madhouse: Robot Erotica". Retrieved 2007-01-19.
  21. ^ "Madhouse: Ryan vs Ryan". Retrieved 2007-01-19.
  22. ^ "Madhouse: Madhouse Takes On City Hall". Retrieved 2007-01-19.
  23. ^ "EveryTopicInTheUniverseExceptChickens DOT COM: Save Wikipedia! Promote accuracy at the expense of chickens". Retrieved 2007-01-19.
  24. ^ Tossell, Ivor (2006-11-17). "An earnest target of digital vandals". Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2007-03-01.
  25. ^ "Machine of Death » About". machineofdeath.net.
  26. ^ "Machine of Death Press Kit". Machines of Death. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  27. ^ "Indie Sci-Fi Anthology Steals Glenn Beck's Thunder - Entertainment". The Atlantic Wire. 2010-10-28. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  28. ^ "To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure". Kickstarter.
  29. ^ McMillan, Graeme (December 20, 2012) "Ryan North's 'To Be Or Not To Be' Sets New Kickstarter Record" Archived 2013-02-28 at the Wayback Machine, Comics Alliance, accessed December 21, 2012
  30. ^ Hudson, Laura (December 21, 2012) "Record-Breaking Kickstarter Turns Hamlet Into a Choose-Your-Adventure Epic", Wired, accessed December 21, 2012
  31. ^ NPR (November 27, 2018) "NPR’s Book Concierge: Our Guide To 2018’s Great Reads" , NPR, accessed June 8th, 2021
  32. ^ BBC Science Focus(December 18, 2018) "16 of the best science books from 2018" , Helen Glenny, accessed June 8th, 2021
  33. ^ AVO! iOS app [1]
  34. ^ Playdeo Limited https://www.playdeo.co.uk/[2]
  35. ^ a b c d "2010-Present". Comic-Con International: San Diego.
  36. ^ "2017 Alex Awards". American Library Association.
  37. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (July 11, 2017). "2017 Joe Shuster Award nominees announced". The Beat. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  38. ^ Whitbrook, James (April 19, 2016). "Here Are Your 2016 Eisner Award Nominees". io9. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  39. ^ Alverson, Brigid (September 2, 2016). "Joe Shuster Awards Nominees Announced". CBR.com. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  40. ^ a b "2015 Nominees and Winners". Joe Shuster Awards. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  41. ^ a b c d "Previous Winners". Harvey Awards. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  42. ^ "2014 Nominees and Winners". Joe Shuster Awards. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  43. ^ a b "2013 Eisner Award Nominees Announced". CBR. April 16, 2013.
  44. ^ Ys, Fleen: The Awkward Christmas Dinner Of Our Obligation To Existence » Fleen Book Corner: The Daughters Of (September 23, 2013). "2013 Nominees and Winners".
  45. ^ "2005 Results". ccawards.com. Archived from the original on 2009-03-15. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  46. ^ "Ryan North's web page at the University of Toronto". Archived from the original on 2006-10-26.
  47. ^ "Tall Poppy interview with Ryan North". 2006-05-17. Retrieved 2007-01-19.
  48. ^ "Girls attempt real-life version of video game". Archived from the original on May 22, 2006. Retrieved 2016-05-13.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  49. ^ Polo, Susana (2015-08-18). "Comic writer gets stuck in a hole and Twitter saves him, point-and-click adventure style". Polygon. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  50. ^ Beschizza, Rob (2015-08-19). "Twitter combines everything in man's inventory to help him escape pit". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
  51. ^ Tyrrell, Gary (August 5, 2010). "A Very Happy Thursday To @ryanqnorth And @jennipoos". Retrieved 2021-01-17.

External links[edit]