Ryan M. North is a Canadian writer, computer programmer, and occasional songwriter who is the creator and author of Dinosaur Comics, and co-creator of Whispered Apologies and Happy Dog the Happy Dog.
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Hi I'm Ryan! You might know me from (IN ROUGHLY CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER):
Also as promised here's that time I messed up walking my dog so badly that it was reported on in the international press and now sometimes when you search "ryan north" it autocompletes with "hole". HERE'S PICTURES OF MY DOG
My Proof: Twitter
AMA! Let's talk about writing, or comics, or non-linear second-person narratives, or dogs, or ALL OF THE ABOVE. anything, really, hence this subreddit
UPDATE: it's been two hours and I've answered EVERY QUESTION. I'ma go get some fried chicken parts and answer whatever are new ones show up when I get back. Thank you all for the fun questions!!
UPDATE 2: the fried chicken parts were delicious and now I've answered all the questions again! Thank you everyone <3
I don't know what those people were so upset about. The prize was a ZUNE. I took a bullet for those ungrateful fuckers.
I wish I could find the link! Hold on, let me Bing it on my Zune
Who do you think you ARE, rewriting Shakespeare?!
Hey Joey, remember that time you entered a photo caption contest on io9 (I think) and then you won, and people were like, "No fair, he's the A Softer World guy, he captions photos for a living??
We all agreed it was a pretty good burn
Is it true that you only became so tall in order to better spot dogs in your vicinity?
i can neither confirm nor deny these scurrilous allegations
> ANYONE can get stuck in a hole once, but get stuck in a hole a second time and people start wondering what your problem is.
Those people don't understand the importance of replication in science.
Will T-Rex ever face justice for the thousands(?) of log-cabin-stomping induced casualties for which he is responsible? Is he haunted by those whose homes and lives he has destroyed?
NOPE AND I'M NOT EITHER, NO REGRETS
I always find it interesting that comic writers can be consistently funny. I might have an idea for a one-off comic, but then I'd be done forever.
Do you often struggle to keep up the daily schedule of DC or feel pressure to come up with humorous things?
Some of the greatest advice I got was something I overheard Rich Stevens (Diesel Sweeties) say, about how he's not worried about running out of ideas, he's worried about not being able to make all his ideas happen. Before that I was worried that (crazy as it sounds) I had, like, a finite supply of jokes, and once those were done, I'd be done. No more jokes! That made me realize how crazy that was, and how you can come up with more ideas always. The ideas that fall from the blue sky into your head: those are rare and maybe finite, but writing is work like any other job, and you can work at it and make jokes that are funny. Everyone wants to think art is an inspired act and if you have to "work" at it then you're doing it wrong, you're FORCING it, inspiration should flow like water from your godly wrists, but everyone is wrong.
You have more than one great idea in you. You have thousands.
How did your dog deal with your adventure? Is the hole his new favorite place? Is he afraid of umbrellas now?
He just laid down and waited for me! We've been back to the hole a few times and I went in once and he wanted to get down there with me, but my wife thought that was a bad idea (FOR SOME REASON??). And she was right: ANYONE can get stuck in a hole once, but get stuck in a hole a second time and people start wondering what your problem is.
>locking the front door
So basically what you're telling us is you had to roleplay as homestuck with him to make the game.
How's the Homestuck adventure game coming along? Also, what was your level of involvement in the writing process (considering Hussie has historically liked to work alone)?
Hussie has such a huge team around him! People doing art, music, etc - he's never REALLY been alone, as long as he's had friends.
I was at his place a few months ago to work on some HS game stuff that I'm not allowed to speak about BUT I WILL SAY THIS: making that game has been insanely challenging, but from what I saw the last problems have been conquered and what's gonna come out is gonna be REAL GOOD. For writing, the first bit was Andrew coming to my place for a week, us locking the front door, and basically plotting out the entire story (with puzzles at various degrees of completion) in that time. At the end we had this giant stack of paper with our notes all over it.
He is a very prolific man.
Was it on purpose that Squirrel Girl somewhat called the latest twist in the new Captain America series for Steve Rogers?
Marvel doesn't tell everyone everything! I found out about the end of Cap #1 when it was on stands like everyone else. So in this case it was just GREAT MINDS THINKING ALIKE, I GUESS??
How do you draw the dinosaurs in precisely the same position in each of your comics? Your ability to replicate those guys perfectly is uncanny!
I don't actually draw them! Instead, I just fill a text file with 0s and 1s and save it as binary. Saves time, especially if you can't draw!!
Could Jesus microwave a burrito so hot that he himself could not eat it?
We all could, you don't even NEED Jesus to pull of that particular miracle.
Ryan, did you figure out exactly what crappy clip-art CD you got the assets for Dinosaur Comics from? There was a thread on MSPA Forums (RIP) where someone claimed to have found the mystical artifact, but I don't remember what came of it.
Also, has there been any news of Machine of Death 3 possibly being a thing?
Oh I know which one it came from! I still have it I think. But I've never said which because I really enjoyed that mystery and that thread was a lot of fun!
MoD3: Maybe! It's a lot of work putting together a book like that! There are still stories we've bought that we haven't published though (and we feel awful about that, as an author it's great to make a sale but it's better if people can ACTUALLY READ THE STORY). There's a whole novella we're sitting on! What are we doing???
Is it really horses ALL the way down?
I can't answer that. It's pasture clearance level.
So just so we're clear...
Squirrel Girl is totally, legally, contractually NOT a mutant?
She is medically AND LEGALLY distinct, and I can never take this back!!
What's your fourth favorite type of dinosaur?
Maiasaura! I had her in the first draft of the comic.
On a scale of 1 to 10, just how HIGH did you even have to be just to do something like that?
One time I fell down the stairs after getting out of a hot tub and posted about it, and Andrew emailed me to say "You really are just living out my comics IRL, huh??"
He had warned me about stairs.
Ryan. Some of your work seems to have originated as silly (but undeniably brilliant) ideas thought up by T-Rex and presented in your comic (examples that you're surely aware of: Midas Flesh, Machine of Death).
1) How does T-Rex feel about being such an important brainstorming resource for you?
2) Are there any ideas you've been thinking about stealing from T-Rex lately?
1) He is unaware; I can't risk altering this good idea golden goose!!
2) One time he talked about eating a lot of chicken wings and that's looking pretty good right about now
Hi Ryan! I am a big fan of your previous work, and by previous work I mean making and eating a pizza that looked like Hamlet. With the success and adulation of your brand new chooseable path adventure book imminent, do you have any plans to make and eat a pizza that looks like Romeo and/or Juliet?
As part of that eating pizza that looks like Hamlet I also cooked and ate a pizza that looked like Juliet! I'VE ALREADY LIVED IT
The Back to the Future blog is easily my favorite thing you've done.
Think you'll ever do something in that style again, or was that just a perfect storm of weirdness and time travel and George Gipe?
PERFECT STORM. First, because Gipe was dead. If he was alive I wouldn't have done it, because man, imagine someone maintaining a blog dedicated to tearing apart your book every day? Oof. And also, the book was so bizarre. Clearly first draft, tons of questionable choices and actual objective mistakes that would've been caught if the book had time, but I think it was rushed out the door. I have the novelizations for the two sequels but they're by another author and just depressingly bland instead of impressively bizarre.
What's your favorite anime and/or Weird Al parody?
I think often of how you can draw a line from "It's All About The Pentiums" to "White And Nerdy", and wonder what the third part of that trilogy will look like (due in a few years, if the trend on the last two songs holds).
I heard Toby worked on Undertale in Hussie's basement. Was that at the same time the HS game was being worked on upstairs?
No; Andrew actually maintains a few different apartments for reasons, and these were different apartments!
So your whole life is basically just some advanced SBAHJ live action role play? Sounds like fun
yeah it's worked out so far pretty okay
Oh shit, Hussie's a real estate mogul
Or he moves often and is as free as a blossom carried on the breeze; either way
How do you deal with the constrains of Dinosaur Comics being the same panels every day? How does that differ from something like USG where you and Erica have the control?
How did you come to the decision to do "mouse over text" in your comics? It's such a unique and perfect idea!
Can Maggott from 90's X-Men be best friends with Squirrel Girl? Tippy Toe needs more animal friends!
1) Dinosaur Comics is familiar (it'd better be, after 13 years) so it's got this sense of comfort that no other writing ever has for me. I know the shape of the thing, you know? But I can still be surprised by it. For Squirrel Girl anything can happen so it's a lot more freeing, but then that means you have to figure out what the rules are and where the walls are.
2) I lifted the idea from Achewood, and I believe Chris Onstad was the first to start using it as a second punchline! At the time I believed Achewood to be the only webcomic on the internet. I was gonna be the second!
3) PERHAPS, I'M GONNA LOOK THIS PERSON UP
Qwantz.com has been my homepage for years. All my friends roll their eyes when they see it. How do I show convince them that they're dumb and have poor taste?
MAKE THEM READ IT; IF THEY DO NOT LAUGH AFTER READING ALL THREE THOUSAND INSTALLMENTS THEY ARE NOT YOUR REAL FRIENDS; YOUR REAL FRIENDS HAVE BEEN REPLACED AND YOU MUST GO RESCUE THEM
Ryan, I love how much you love language. Besides Shakespeare (and maybe Chomsky) can you name some authors or texts that have most inspired you?
Vonnegut, obviously; he's great. In terms of language itself, I recently finished https://www.amazon.ca/Story-English-100-Words/dp/125002420X - it's a small book, basically taking 100 English words and showing how they got here and where they began. Super fascinating!
I used to read a lot of linguistics papers, and I wish I saved the one I found that argued that learning language isn't just hard: it's IMPOSSIBLE. So we don't do it! Instead, we just APPROXIMATE it, a faded incorrect photocopy of the language our parents are speaking, but close enough in the ways that count that we're mutually intelligible. And that explains why language in general and slang in particular evolves so quickly: instead of a 100% copy we got a 95% one, and we're just filling in the blanks ourselves with whatever seems most likely.
Do you have any plans on coming to a convention in the near future with Ms Henderson? Many squirrel fans would be pleased to see you both at once!
We're hoping to work that out this summer! We've NEVER appeared at the same show together, so ATTENTION CONVENTIONS: fly us out, this is a "get" for your show, it'll be amazing I promise
Are there any other Dinosaur Comics ideas that you might want to turn into other projects? After Midas Flesh (which, um, was great and you totes forgot to mention it at the top) and Machine of Death, I'd love to see something else.
ALTERNATE QUESTION: Hey, how's the weather up there? ( I ask because you're tall, not Canadian, but feel free to answer however you want).
MIDAS FLESH!! Yes how did I not mention that? DAMN.
Uh there may be! None off the top of my head, but there was an idea a while back where T-Rex wanted a page-a-day calendar with a custom amount of pages for your entire life (statistically speaking) which would be this great memento mori to move around from apartment to apartment your entire life. I may still do that but as, like, an art project for myself or something. I'm not sure "giant inconvenient reminder of death" is that commercial??
Does this mean Hussie is finally going to resolve the clam cliffhanger? Is the Hellapause going to end?
Hi Ryan! I am also Ryan.
I've been following your stuff since before Dinosaur comics hit its hundredth strip. One thing in particular--your humour is always so upbeat and positive.
So, if you finish with CYOA with Shakespeare, who's next on the list? Crime OR Punishment?
"I'll take the crime, but hard pass on the punishment, actually. Thanks but no thanks!!"
Whatever happened to the unbreakable cryptogram you published in one of your comics? Did it ever get broken? Did anyone even get close?
Here's the cryptogram for those who haven't seen it.
It has not yet been solved! I've been meaning to write a will, and when I do the answer will be included there. THIS I SWEAR
your objective now is to outlast this calendar so you can complain to the author that they misjudged the date of your death.
Right?? It'd be a lot of fun. And if I die early, you have fuel for my pyre!!
What's your favorite Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff comic, and what is Andrew Hussie's favorite dinosaur comic, if you know it?
Mine's one you haven't seen yet (it's sketched on a napkin; IT IS AMAZING) and I believe his favourite Dinosaur Comic is all of them because they're all tied for first because he loves me so much that even though he knows they can't ALL be great, he KNOWS that, in his eyes they're all perfect because they all came from me, and even the ones that don't make him laugh still remind him of me and us and how we are when we're together, and he can't help but love that.
Do you get any pushback from Marvel on the amount of computer sccience jokes in USG? I totally love them, btw, I just wouldn't think they'd have a very broad appeal.
(also I have always hated that problem with the 12 balls, 11 of the same weight)
I don't! I think they like them (well, I think I like them) because I'm writing about these women who are CS majors, so of course that would show up in their lives. I like that what Doreen's studying in school is on the surface completely unrelated to superheroing, but ends up making her better at it anyway.
And yeah, that balls question is just annoying: no clever answer, just breaking down the cases and dealing with them all individually. BORING
Are you chasing the dragon with all these Squirrel Girl #1 issues, Ryan?!
I don't know what this cool drug slang means, Joey!!!
Hi Ryan, I'm a big fan of your comic work. Can you talk a bit about Project Wonderful? Is it still going well, and has it been a good experience trying to run an ad network?
Yes! I debated mentioning PW in the post or not, since it seems like such a different thing that the other projects. PW is an online advertising network I wrote from scratch because I found the other advertising options sucky, and I'm really proud of it. The downside is you're shooting for 100% uptime, so every minute a robot checks various PW stats and servers and if anything goes wrong I get a text - there's lots of 2am alarms going off in my past.
I still think it's the best option for online advertising, AND the most fair and transparent, but I've found what we do is SO DIFFERENT than how other companies operate that it's hard to interface with them. They see us as these little weirdos, which is actually fine because little weirdos are who change things for the better (HOPEFULLY??)
Is there an ending where Romeo and/or Juliet get trapped in a skate park?
Haha, no, we all know those are too easy to escape!! All you need is an umbrella, a leash, and like an hour to figure out how to put them together.
How would you say working with larger publishers like Marvel and Boom! compares to doing solo things like Dinosuar Comics? Has there ever been something you wanted to do in Squirrel Girl you weren't allowed to?
The greatest benefit is you've got an editor: someone whose JOB it is to make your words sound better than they are. You want someone like that in your corner, and I've had a lot of luck by getting really amazing editors! In a larger company your editor is also the person who has your back and fights for your ideas at the corporate level.
There's just one thing Marvel said we couldn't do with Squirrel Girl (and they apologized, saying "this will probably be the only thing we say you can't do with Squirrel Girl") but I don't want to say what it is because I still hope I'll get to do it someday :0
Did you know that groundhogs are a kind of squirrel? I've been trying to get a photo of the big fat one by our geology department but he's very shy.
Oh I know LOTS about squirrels now!!
Does squirrel girl watch anime? What would be her favorite?
She does not!! But I just googled "Squirrel anime" and found this:
about a cat taking care of an orphaned squirrel, so that is now 100% canon her favourite anime.
Remember that time a guy who looks exactly like you was in a Batman comic? What was that all about? Do you have any headcanons about the guy who looks like you?
I do! I messaged the artist on Twitter to say "hey, is this me? If so, awesome!" but he never responded, which either means
a) it's not me, or
b) it IS me, but he didn't get me to sign a likeness release, so he's worried that by acknowledging that it's me he could get himself or DC in trouble, so it's best to ignore me.
Anyway it's totally me and Batman is impressed with my plan; the end
What is your favourite joke to tell ambassadors?
I have never had the opportunity; but I did recently read a book of jokes for kids while waiting in a Korean spa (I'd say long story but that's the entire story) and this one actually got a laugh from me:
PATIENT: "Doctor, doctor! I feel like I'm shrinking!"
DOCTOR: I'm sorry, but I'm very busy right now. You'll have to be a... little patient.
Given the quality of the other jokes in the book, this was a welcome surprise!
Hey Ryan, congrats on the new book- I was a big fan of To Be or Not to Be. Some random questions:
How's Project Wonderful going? Is it still a Thing, or has it been kind of overtaken by other ad systems? How much interaction do you have with it these days?
What's the next project you're thinking about? I was pretty excited to hear you played a part in the Homestuck game, do you think you'll do anything else gaming-related?
What's your, for lack of a non-douchey phrase, "social media strategy?" You seem to be pretty good at managing your #brand, and getting the word out about what you're doing. Do you have any sort of process, or do you just tweet and reddit on a whim and it all seemingly works out?
I thought Kate Beaton's recent post was very interesting. I'm almost glad she's taking a break to focus on other work, it sounds like she has a lot of irons in the fire. As a fellow multi-ironer, do you think you'll ever recuse yourself from society and Dinosaur Comics to work on something big?
Did you do anything particularly interesting, structure-wise, for Romeo and Juliet? For example, I really enjoyed the book-within-a-book of TBONTB.
I once saw you at a con and you were as tall as advertised. Thank you for being tall
Haha, lots of questions, thank you:
1- PW is absolutely still a thing! I should mention it more often but since that is a project designed to A) help people and b) make money, I feel bad saying "oh hey everyone, Project Wonderful!" because it feels like I'm shilling? For... my own advertising solution??
2- Next project: not sure! I've got some things I want to write up little proposals for, so I can line them up and decide which looks more interesting.
3- If there is a #secret to my #viralcontent on #socialmedia it is to treat people online as friends. That's it! But so many people get so focused on these stupid metrics: cpc, cpm, uptake, virality, ctr, etc, that they start doing things to increase those numbers instead of doing better things that would increase those numbers naturally. It's kinda like a cargo cult, you know? And then you end up with really tone-deaf messaging that treats people like eyeballs for ad displays and not humans. It's why I hate (HATE) clickbait so much, because that's what that is.
A clickbait headline (YOU WON'T BELIEVE THESE WAYS TO DIE IN THE SHOWER, #5 BLEW MY MIND) is such bullshit (sorry for swearing on the internet) because you're not saying "here are some cool ways to die in the shower" you're saying "NAH NAH NAH I KNOW SOME INFO, GIVE ME A CLICK AND I'LL SHOW YOU" and then of course it's not actually as cool as it sounded, it's all like "have a heart attack (in the shower)", "die of old age (in the shower)", "starve to death (in the shower)" and you realize, frig, someone just read Wikipedia's List of Ways To Die and added "in a shower" after them just so they'd get ad clicks at the expense of me wasting my time. Screw clickbait and screw the whole culture that enables it.
4- Yeah, she presented it really well! I have the advantage that Dinosaur Comics doesn't need to be drawn, so it's less of a time commitment, which is why I can do it along side other things a bit easier.
5- Oh yeah I did! I don't want to spoil it but part of the appeal of the book for me was to do things with choice structure that I didn't do in the first book. I found a few really cool tricks!! Nurse Quest has one of them (that's a sidequest in the book, and you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it).
6- IT IS MY SINCERE PLEASURE
Dinosaurs: feathers or no feathers?
Feathers 100% of the time. OBSERVE
Ryan, I have it on good authority that if you put Maggott in your book I will by be very pleased.
Also I just wanted to let you know that your SG retcon about her and Logan's relationship (from the dang letters page) is my favorite retcon of all time ever. I get to "um actually" so many people with it!
Haha, that came up from emailing with Erica about it: I think she was the one who suggested something like a cab being the origin of that dispute. And I was like, YEP, that's going in the letters column!!
Would you be interested in a translation of the e-book of Romeo And/Or Juliet? I could do Turkish.
That'd have to go through the publisher (and you'd get paid for it!) but yes, I AM interested in people who don't speak English reading my book!
Your Dinosaur Comics are suburb. How do you come up with this shit?
I sit alone in a room and write until I make myself laugh! It is an extremely embarrassing thing to do, which is why I only ever write in private.
Hi, Ryan! I like you, your work, and -- most importantly -- your dog. That is a great dog with a great name. Considering your success with Chompsky, I'd like to invite you to play I game I play with my friends: Name That Pet. I would like to know what you would name the following animal companions, were you lucky enough to be their human. There are no wrong answers. Everyone is a winner.
What would you name a pet:
3) Flying fox/MEGABAT?
(edited to include question marks, per the Reddit gods' request.)
Aw man, I wish you'd said horse because I have the name Leon Trotsky all lined up for my future horse!
RACCOON: Li'l Miss Washbear
LOBSTER: Dr. Claw, alternatively, "Gadget"
FLYING FOX: Amelia EARheart (because foxes have cute ears) (and also hearts)
MEGABAT: Ms. Megan Batt
When is one of the GLA going to turn up in Squirrel Girl?
Also thank you for making Squirrel Girl beating up all The Avengers at the same time canonical.
I really love Flatman and hope to have him show up at some point. They're all pretty fun!! So: HOPEFULLY SOON??
Their slogan will be "Great Lakes, Great Times", which is a slogan lifted from the actual great lakes.
I am the person who once asked you if it was cool to send out wedding invitations in the form of a Dinosaur Comic. As an update on that situation, it didn't work out and i left his awful ass in California.
Related though! What's the strangest thing that people have ever used your work for? Anything you've had to flat out refuse or go after people for?
Aw, I'm sorry about that! Not that you broke up but that he was awful and his ass was awful. Sounds like a bad scene!!
I've had a few people bootleg shirt designs - usually it's larger corporations, ALWAYS it's with the excuse of "oh no see we subcontract out shirt designs and someone at THAT company stole your stuff, anyway we're not selling it anymore so we're good, right?" So you're left playing whack-a-mole with people using your stuff without permission.
Um, strangest thing I've seen - it used to be tattoos because I was like, "you got a T-Rex tattoo? But - but I WRITE HIM! What if tomorrow I decide to make him a CRAZY RACIST??" but then I got a tattoo and I realized a) that doesn't really matter, and b) I'm not gonna make T-Rex a crazy racist; why am I freaking out everyone with T-Rex tattoos with that wild talk??
Whatever happened to the purple line in the choose your own adventure issue of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7 after Koi Boi shows up?
Also... Will you be outchipping Chip on Jughead come this September?
Also also... Marvel Now Fall 2016... Squirrel Girl #1, again?
1) It changed colours between pages due to a printing error! OR SO I CLAIM
2) No-one can outchip Chip, one can only do something else behind Chip and hope he doesn't notice.
3) If there is, nobody has told me yet! I hope not. Doing two #1 issues in one year was enough for me, thanks!!
It happens and regret is a lesson, so i'm sure to not make that mistake again!
Ah, large companies. I hope Calvin pisses on 'em all.
What's the difference in your creative process between writing Dinosaur Comics, which I assume you have almost complete control over, and writing for an institution like Marvel, which I assume there's some level of oversight and guidelines you're expected to meet? Do you find the constraints helpful? Frustrating?
At first I was worried they WOULD be restrictive, but there pretty open there!
For example: Squirrel Girl #1, I wanted to put Kraven in there. My editor says he'll check with the Spider-Man office (which I actually hope is an actual office) and word comes back, sure, you can use him, but just so you know he's immortal right now and can only be killed by Spider-Man. And bam, that's either a restriction for you, OR it's something interesting about the character that you can use in your story.
There's only been a few things that Marvel has said "actually, don't do this" and lots of things that Marvel has been totally cool with us doing, which surprised me. But then Squirrel Girl isn't about going around killing people, so I guess my asks of "can I use this character and give it back in a better condition than when I borrowed them" are pretty easy to say yes to, hopefully??
When you were writing your chooseable-path books, would an idea for a particular ending come to you, and then you'd have to find a way to write towards that ending... or did you work linearly down a path and the ending would just come to you then? Or both?
I'd start at the beginning, and take the canonical path as the starting point. Then I'd just explore the story and cut off branches that were stupid or boring, and keep the ones that were awesome or funny! With Romeo and/or Juliet there WAS one ending I knew I wanted to have, though:
The official ending in the play is really frustrating, because Romeo shows up, sees Juliet is "dead", kills himself, Juliet wakes up SECONDS LATER, sees Romeo is dead, and kills herself. If Romeo just, delayed for five minutes: bought flowers, maybe a nice bottle of wine - ANYTHING - then he would've shown up, seen Juliet waking up, and everyone lives happily ever after. It'd be a ridiculously happy ending for such a ridiculous reason, and I made sure to include that when I (finally!) got to that part of the book.
On a personal level, what are your favorite movies of all time?
Back to the Future (the perfect film??) and Back to the Future II (the perfect sequel that LITERALLY REVISITS THE FIRST FILM: what else do you want??). I think B^F III gets a lot of flak and is about due for a critical reevaluation, but the fact remains it IS such a departure from the series that you're gonna lose some people.
She approves. (whew)
Srs question: What if most of my interaction with friends is telling them unbelievable ways to die in a shower?
I'd say keep it up! You won't believe what happens next.
This doesn't sound embarrassing at all... unless you are, say, dressing up as a T-Rex and trying to type with your tiny T-Rex hands.
I dunno, a dude sitting at a laptop typing silently, until he chuckles, mutters "another good one, self!" and hits save? SOUNDS PRETTY EMBARRASSING TO ME??
The T-Rex costume would only make things better.
These are good and true answers that show heart and a cursory knowledge of German. Thank you.
How do you forget a word that means "washbear"? You don't; it's too perfect
Squirrel Girl for the next Marvel vs Capcom game?
I'd be so into this! Erica mocked up our version of that on the cover of issue #4: http://i.imgur.com/gI7xNdU.jpg
My wife wants to know what your favorite type of ice cream is. This is super important. What flavor is your fav?
Chocolate chip cookie dough; aka The Best Flavour And Humanity's Highest Achievement After Fried Chicken
What's the worst joke you remember from that book then?
I don't remember the specifics, but there was one that only made sense if the person telling the joke didn't actually know what a physician was (I think they meant 'psychic'??)
3 things I would like to say:
1- I love your work
2- Thanks for answering about Hiveswap
3- (Might be a bit spoilery) but is this story similar to Homestuck, I mean in therms of complexity/size?
2- No problem.
3- Nothing will ever be as big as Homestuck
Qwantz, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!
I notice that you refer to your books as "chooseable-path", is there a copyright on the phrase "choose your own adventure" that you are dodging?
Sub-question: Why doesn't my spellcheck recognize the word "chooseable"?
There sure is! It's a trademark so I can't use it.
Hey Ryan, late to the party but still wanted to ask:
How do you get a job writing comics? Would you be in the industry without Dinosaur Comics?
Nope! Probably not. I didn't realize this at the time, but Dinosaur Comics was not just a comic, but could also be seen as this very wordy, punchline-centric, long-form resume. And I started writing the Adventure Time comics because my editor there, Shannon Watters, read my work when she was in university and instantly thought of me when the AT comics started up. And from that has led lots of other things in mainstream comics, and it can all be traced back to doing my webcomic!
What's the best candy?
The only bad candy I've had is Thrills gum
which, yes, does taste like soap. ROSEWATER MY BUTT; IT'S SOAP-FLAVOURED.
And apparently it's Canada only? Sorry, Americans.
So, to start us off.
Would you rather fight a t-rex sized duck, or a hundred duck-sized t-rexes?
Hundred duck-sized T-Rexes mean there are now 100 duck-sized T-Rexes available for science to study, so I will take that option for the betterment of humanity.
How do you come up with all of those incredible pick up lines, e.g. the ones we saw in the Romeo and/or Juliet readthrough???
I sat alone in a room and tried to think of objects that could be used to make horrible pick up lines with. Just like that!
One time my friend Tim and I spent an entire lunch making up horrible "I like my books like I like my women" jokes (the best was "dog-eared").
Do you have any tips on how to find an audience? What's the best way to get your work out to people you're convinced would like it?
The great advice I've seen - which was only a year or so back - was to not try to make friends with the people already established, because it comes across as try-hard, awkward, and weird. Rather make friends and work with other emerging artists like yourself, because in a few years you'll BE the established artists, and then working with others will be working with friends instead of trying to solicit friendship from strangers (always hard, harder still when you're trying to profit from that friendship right off the bat to grow an audience).
My advice is to work online, make it accessible, and don't put up anything you're not happy with. Also try not to get involved in Twitter fights. There's no winners in a Twitter fight!!
Have you taken the time to listen to any music by Sloan since TCAF? They're pretty great.
Also, what music do you like to listen to anyways? I feel like this is missing from my mental list "Facts about Ryan North". Fact 1 is that you are tall.
I made a RDIO playlist that was just dozens of different covers of "Just What I Needed" which I listened to often, and which I'd link to except they closed down forever. My taste in music is "eclectic" aka "not that good".
I like to listen to playlists like that when I write (or just the same song over and over) because it's a song that I like, but I can ignore it because it's so familiar. This annoys everyone but myself!!
How do you fight the writing block monster?
Also have you discovered any cool not that known writers/artists lately we should check out?
I have a text file of abandoned comics that I couldn't get to work, so when I'm stuck I can work with those! That way at least I never have a blank piece of paper (or screen) to deal with, and it changes from "invent something new" to "get this old thing to work": a different muscle to flex if one isn't cooperating.
Lately I'm big into books about dying in lonely places, and Jon Krakauer has a couple of those (Into Thin Air, Into the Wild) that I really enjoyed.
If you were a dinosaur, what dinosaur would you be?
Easy option is Tyrannosaurus Rex, but it's also the correct option, so here we are.
Thanks for the answers! And I remember when PW came out and everyone was all "Who IS this Ryan North, what will he come up with next?"
Turns out: lots of things, most largely unrelated!
You mentioned how you've enjoyed working with an editor. Can you give some examples of ways an editor has helped you out, that maybe you wouldn't have come up with on your own? Have you ever had any arguments with your editor?
The greatest example is with Wil Moss, who is my editor on Squirrel Girl. I talked a bit about this here where I go over the first issue with behind the scenes notes, but basically, in the first issue, SG beat up Kraven and that solved her problem. The end!
And Wil said something like "I always saw her as someone who would try to solve her problems by helping the person instead of punching them" and it was like reading the teacher's answer book, honestly. Suddenly SG snapped into place and I was like "Of COURSE. That's who this person is!" and got really excited and rewrote the whole thing. The thing people talk about when they talk about Squirrel Girl is her empathy and her honest desire to help people, and that all grew out of a note Wil gave me.
Editors! They're great!
To be fair, I'm in line at a Dollarama in Kitchener right now, and the package says "It still tastes like soap" so hey, truth in advertising!
THEY'RE STILL SELLING IT??
maybe I should try it; perhaps with my new adult palate I will find the soap to be sublime??
A little over 5 years ago, in an interview with Andrew, Andrew mentioned your entire home was a big shrine devoted to him.
How's that shrine doing nowadays? Any improvements?
Haha, so the thing was I replaced EVERY PICTURE IN MY HOUSE with a picture of him instead as a prank, but you know what? THAT PRANK WAS A LOT OF WORK. Picture frames aren't designed to be opened regularly and while it was worth it to put Andrew in, it took me a real long time to take Andrew out. I believe there are a few picture frames that still have various portraits of Andrew in them around here!
Who would you like to see portray Squirrel Girl when she inevitably shows up in Infinity War part two to defeat Thanos?
I don't know! I've seen some casting but I really see her more as an animation character than live action. You don't have to make compromises in animation!!
1) It's the age old question. Should I research an ad company, or just pick whichever one I can remember the name of?
GO WITH PROJECT WONDERFUL
The last time I tried it I remember my thoughts going something like this: "Eww, soap. Wait, this is kind of good this very second. Nope, never mind, it tastes like soap again."
But clearly this calls for a trip to the newish Dollarama at King St E and Benton/Frederick in Kitchener. If you want to make a night of it, you could stay at the Crown Plaza (formerly the Delta Kitchener (formerly the Four Points Kitchener (formerly the Valhalla Inn Kitchener (formerly the Inn of the Black Walnut?!?!)))) just across the road.
Oh my wife's from there and I'm there NOT INFREQUENTLY. Last time I was there I had some pizza that I would rate as "just okay"! But it was really cheap so I'm not sure what I was expecting; I give the whole pizza experience I solid B+.
Man, Squirrel Girl was already on my list of things to read but the promise of both computer science and computer science jokes in addition to all the other stuff makes me want to read it even more!
Do you ever wake up realizing there's an awesome Adventure Time idea you'll never get to tell in sequential art format and begin to cry?
No way, because my pal Chris is writing the books now and I could always tell him! But I have had no ideas because his ideas for the comic are great, so it looks like I dodged a bullet there when they hired me first and then him, and not the other way around!
What is your favourite album of all time, and what is your favourite album that you'd never want to admit is your favourite album?
I barely ever bought albums! The one tape I ever bought was "The Simpsons Sing the Blues" and the only CD I ever bought was Aimee Mann's "Bachelor #2", so I think Aimee Mann takes favourite album which leaves TSStB as "never want to admit is my favourite" because I don't: it's cheap tie-in garbage and I was a literal child. :(
Do you have any plans for a multi-format Gumroad release of Romeo and/or Juliet like you did with To Be or Not To Be?
Perhaps! It depends on how the book does.
1) who is your favorite Tom Clancy character? 2) And your favorite direction?
My favourite Tom Clancy character is Red October and my favourite Tom Clancy direction is "south-southwest".
Haha, it amazes me that you're able to come up with all these crazy scenarios, branch and merge them together seamlessly, and end up with this great book with so many different endings. I can't wait to read it!
Hey thanks! :)
I am glad to hear that I'm not the only person who used Rdio to listen to every possible cover version of the same song. I wouldn't put it on repeat, but it was a fun use of the service!
(But seriously, go listen to Twice Removed by Sloan)
I am listening to it (UPDATE: RIGHT NOW)
I'm just asking for confirmation here - you did take the once-in-history opportunity to watch 'Back to the Present 2', right?
I was with Andrew Hussie that day, and I wore my colour-changing lenticular 2015 cap all day long. SPOILER ALERT: it's made of plastic which doesn't breathe, so it makes your head extremely warm (and fashionable)
It probably wasn't Pepi's Pizza then because I'd say their pizza is at least "Very Good" but it is also "kind of expensive".
I'll have to check out Pepi's next time I'm there!
Hi Ryan! You make a lot of fun stuff. Have you ever thought about doing some fun audio stuff, like podcasts or audiobooks?
We did an audiobook version of To Be or Not To Be, which was fun even though I wasn't doing the voices! And me and my friend Emily have talked about doing a podcast but we haven't found the time yet. SOMEDAY