PROOF: two hairy boys, i'm the one with the fabulous pandemic hair

Hi everyone, it's me Ryan! You may know me from:

The spiritual successor to How To Invent Everything comes out next week - it's called How To Take Over The World and I'm very excited for it. Just as How To Invent Everything used the (allegedly fictional) premise of "you've gone back in time and your time machine broke and you can't go back to the future, so here's how you bring the future back to you" to motivate all the cool nonfiction about science and invention in the book, How To Take Over The World uses the premise of "how hard would it be to pull of comic book heists in the real world anyway" to cover a lot of fascinating nonfiction about the bleeding edge of science and technology. Turns out when you take "I want a floating secret base" or "I want to dig to the Earth's core to hold it hostage" or "I want to live forever and never be forgotten" seriously, you can learn about some really cool things? WHO KNEW.

Oh also if you preorder the book today you can get a free comic by me and my Squirrel Girl artist friend Derek Charm, so I wanna put the link to that in here too.

Anyway all that context is just prelude to me saying AMA! I love doing these and want to hang out and answer questions from internet strangers for a while!! Let's talk writing and comics and friendships and supporting yourself online and embarrassing personal secrets and anything else!

UPDATE: There are so many questions but I WILL ANSWER THEM ALL

UPDATE, 2pm: I am still working through the questions, keep 'em coming!!

UPDATE, FOUR AND A HALF HOUR LATER: Whew! I think I got everyone, and these were some amazing questions! I'm gonna go rest my wrists but I'll pop back later to answer anyone who didn't get here in time. Thank you all!!

Comments: 467 • Responses: 117  • Date: 

Japeth171 karma

Hi Ryan, huge fan of your work. I have a question for you based on your expertise in the webcomics world.

It seems like back in 2006-2010, every webcomic creator had their own website where they posted their comics. But over time social media sites have taken over, and now it appears most creators post their work first and foremost to instagram, twitter, reddit, and on comic aggregator sites like Webtoons. Do you think this shift has impacted the webcomics medium and changed what type of comics get made and/or what type are successful? Or are webcomics more or less the same it's just they're delivered to readers in new and different ways? (Or maybe you think something else entirely, I'm excited to hopefully find out!)

qwantz236 karma

Oh yeah for sure! I have SO MANY THOUGHTS ON THIS.

Here's the high-level opinion. People don't really visit websites anymore, which sounds crazy to say here on a literal website, but what I mean by that is in 2006, every morning I would do the rounds, visiting upwards of 20 different websites to see the latest comics posted there, etc. Now I, like most people online, start every morning by visiting a single site: Twitter, say. Then I'll check Reddit, maybe - MAYBE - a news site, then I kinda go back to Twitter, then to Reddit, etc, because there's new stuff there.

And if you're making comics, you want to go where the people are! So people started posting their work to those sites - to Insta, Twitter, Webtoons, whatever - and I remember being shocked the first time I saw newer cartoonists ONLY doing that, and not actually having their own website. I get it, of course, but I think there's huge value in having a place you control, that isn't subject to another website's TOS, etc. I never want to be in a position where Twitter can ban my account and then poof, there goes my audience and career. (Whether it's still possible to AVOID it is another issue, and a very depressing one, but hey! Let's not worry about that for now haha sigh)

It has definitely changed comics! There's been a huge boom in relatable comics, and I think in retrospect it's not hard to see why. On social media, your work reaches more people if it's shared, and it turns out a really efficient way to get someone to share your work is for them to see themselves in it. So of COURSE that leads to a lot of relatable work! This brings us into Marshall McLuhan "the medium is the message" territory, but I think it's true here: the medium HAS shaped the content on it, to a huge degree. You see the same thing in newspaper strips: there they have to appeal to the largest possible mass audience that maybe isn't even seeking out their work on purpose, and over time that leads (in my opinion) to comics that tend to play it safer. A comic someone HATES might get them to write a letter and get you dropped from the paper, but a comic someone skims over and doesn't really react too avoids that.

I don't want to say that one is better than the other, and there's definitely comics on Insta that AREN'T relatable and comics in newspapers that ARE edgy, but the general trend goes in that direction for ways that I think can be understood!

baconbrand121 karma

I have so much fucking nostalgia for the “old internet” it’s crazy. And I still do nothing about it and basically only fucking visit Reddit.

How are the metrics on quantz looking now compared to then?

qwantz83 karma

oh hahah if the only place I had put the comics was on qwantz I would be losing my mind: the traffic is nowhere NEAR what it used to be! But a large part of that is that people can already read the comic on Twitter, so there's no real need to click through to the site.

baconbrand15 karma

Does Twitter offer any compensation for engagement? I know Instagram does but afaik Twitter doesn’t make money lol. How viable would your career have been starting out in this environment verses how it was before?

qwantz38 karma

It's really impossible to say! Twitter doesn't reward engagement, but there have been many people spinning a viral twitter thread into at least a book deal, so who can say? My career would DEFINITELY have not been viable without the internet. At the time the only other option was newspaper comics, and I know Dinosaur Comics isn't for everyone. Let's say 20% of people like it (a nice generous number). Online, those 20% can find it and say "oh wow it's like this comic speaks just to me!" and fall in love. But in print, that's 80% of people saying "wow this SUCKS" and STILL having to see it every day, until they write in to the paper to complain. Something with as aggressive an aesthetic as Dinosaur Comics could only really be born on some place like the internet. I think it could've done well if invented today too, but it'd definitely be a very different process.

Whyeth56 karma

2006, every morning I would do the rounds, visiting upwards of 20 different websites to see the latest comics posted there, etc.

When I die and go to heaven it will be an endless stream of webcomics websites I forgot to check 3 Tuesday/Thursdays in a row and have a backlog to gleefully read through.

qwantz28 karma

oh my gosh YES PLEASE

DoofusMagnus8 karma

So for the folks who only post on social, is all their revenue through merch? I'm not aware of those sites paying for views like YouTube or Twitch, but maybe I'm just ignorant there.

I know you've facilitated adspace for the sites of webcomic artists, but are ads losing relevance?

edit: I forgot Patreon is a thing even though I use it. :|

qwantz17 karma

Yeah, it'd be through merchandise, and sometimes through sponsorships, sponsored posts, etc. No ad revenue because it's not your site, all the ad revenue is going to someone else! (though on some sites they share ad revenue with the people on it, so you can get some number <100% of it, at least.)

AceJon104 karma

Ryan I'm a confessed reply guy on Twitter but yours is the only big account that regularly 'likes' my quips. My question is: why are you so benevolent? Or is it just that we are best friends, separated only by the fact we have never met?

qwantz149 karma

I think I've been really lucky (AND THIS IS GOING TO SOUND LIKE A LINE BUT IT'S TRUE) that I have really good followers! Their replies are good and I like to see them, and the "like" is a "good job" from me. I've spoken to people with large follower counts who never look at the replies, and I get it: if mine were garbage I wouldn't do it either! But I've been lucky enough so far that Twitter pals are good pals.

That said: we are best friends forever, and I can never take this back.

AceJon97 karma

That said: we are best friends forever, and I can never take this back.

Glad to have this in writing, thanks.

qwantz99 karma

anything for my best bud!!

Lorde_Hermes83 karma

If one were to hijack a plane like famous hijacker D. B. Cooper, how would one do it?

qwantz107 karma

Well, given that I am definitely NOT DB Cooper - something that incidentally got its start with an AMA on THIS VERY SITE - I'm probably not the best person to ask. But if I were to pull off America's only successful act of air piracy, I'd probably do something similar to what DB did. HYPOTHETICALLY

Sophira68 karma

What are the haps my friend?

qwantz61 karma

The haps, my friend, are SATISFACTORY

Entintado67 karma

Hey, Ryan! How do feel about the fact that a guy in, of all places, Argentina (let’s say, for argument’s sake, that this guy is me) has been reading Dinosaur Comics since the very beginning and became a big fan and has a copy of every single thing that you have published, many of said copies autographed by you? Is that not wild? Wild enough to blow your mind?

Anyway, I don’t have a real question, sorry. Just wanted to say that I really enjoy what you do so please keep doing it.

qwantz83 karma

HONESTLY, my friend, this is the greatest compliment you can GIVE an author, and I really really appreciate it! Also I've thrilled you've been reading Dinosaur Comics for so long! These days sometimes people know me as "The Squirrel Girl guy" or "The Machine of Death guy" or a bunch of other things, but in my heart I will forever be "The Dinosaur Comics guy" and it's always nice to see others who have been there since the beginning too! :)

My mind, she is blown!

michaeljande1951 karma

I absolutely loved your run on Squirrel Girl. That comic is hilarious and heartfelt in all the best ways. I suppose I have two questions:

  1. If Squirrel Girl were to be put into a video game, what type of game do you think she’d fit best? Would she be part of a larger team, or would she be the lead character?

  2. Was there anything you wanted to do during your Squirrel Girl run that you were told couldn’t happen, and if so, what was your reaction and how did affect your writing of that particular story.

If you take nothing else from this, I want you to know that you are a great writer and a pretty cool dude. I look forward to seeing what you work on next!

qwantz85 karma

Aw thanks so much!! I really appreciate it. Whenever you do work for hire it can be a trap - you're putting yourself into a character you don't own and will never control - so you IN THEORY try to keep some of yourself held back, so you don't fall in love. But I fell in love with SG from basically the word go, so she'll always have a special place in my heart. YOUR QUESTIONS:

1 - I love the idea of her in a fighting game, though of course she would absolutely break the fighting mechanics due to being the best. The sincere answer is I'd love to see her as a lead in an adventure game, something with a sprawling story where you use both your smarts and your fists to solve problems and save the day. I think she could shine there, and we could bring in her supporting case!

2 - There was one (ONE) story I couldn't do, and it came down basically to the larger Marvel Universe. When you're writing for Marvel you're in the same sandbox as everyone else, and sometimes that helps, but sometimes it hurts. It helped when we had her visit Dr. Strange and my editors told me that by the time the story would be coming out, Loki would be Sorcerer Supreme, which was awesome because a) I love Loki, and b) I love Loki and SG together. So that was a nice treat I would've never thought of! But it hurt in this other case because I wanted to do a story showing how SG could defeat Thanos. She'd done it before, but it was offscreen and the gag was we never saw how. This was four issues (I had it all plotted out!) showing precisely how this woman with squirrel powers could take down the Mad Titan. But, unfortunately, at the time Thanos was about to die in the comics and would be dead by the time the issue came out, so it never ended up happening. My one regret!

Also thanks again for the kind words!

isosceles_kramer12 karma

I'm guessing you're contractually obligated not to reveal the details of that story to us? they need to give you a What If issue to flesh that out, I know I'd be interested

qwantz38 karma

I never got paid for it so I think I could share it! But I don't wanna because it really was a clever little story, and I'm holding out home I could maybe get to share it one day. :)

be4u17 karma

TONIGHT ON MARVEL’S “WHAT IF” - Squirrel Girl vs Thanos the mad titan

qwantz21 karma

ME: aw man I know how this one goes already!!

Fake_William_Shatner5 karma

When I think of Squirrel Girl in a game, I think of a sci-fi FPS horror game where you had to explore, morph into objects to get into rooms, and build up weapons to cope with and fight alien creatures that broke into the ship. Challenging fighting/strategy game.

Then of course the game Pikman -- which required you to plant little creatures and cultivate 3 different types of simple little creatures that had different specialties and this was required to rebuild your ship. It was a really tough real-time puzzle game. And, you'd of course recruit different types of squirrels in this case.

qwantz7 karma

oh my god a Pikmin SG game makes so much sense!!

noahcarroll36 karma

The world learned last year that Chompsky, despite appearing to be a smol boy, is in fact a really rather large boy.

Other than adding important context to why it would be so difficult to extract yourself and this large doggo from a drained swimming pool, what are the global implications of this revelation?

Oh, and what’s the better supervillain prop: a big old dog, or a Blofeld-esque little lap dog?

qwantz54 karma

It's CRAZY how Chompsky appears smaller in photos! I don't see it because I know his size, but the accidental posting of a photo of him with an item for scale blew a lot of people's minds. I'm told he's a "big dog with small dog energy", which I cannot argue. In retrospect it DOES explain why some people were like "Why does he not simply carry the dog out of the hole" too, haha.

Best supervillain prop is a big dog, because there's more to love, and it's more adorable if the villain does the big "turn the chair around reveal" with a big old pooch on his lap. I HAVE SPOKEN.

s0manycats35 karma

What's the best piece of advice you got from Ryan North, Time Traveller from the Year 3000?

qwantz56 karma

To write down all his advice and put it out in a book! DONE and DONE.

192a32 karma

How often do you end up using your degree in computational linguistics?

qwantz56 karma

Not like EVERY DAY, but still more often than you might think! Trivially I used it when I had Squirrel Girl's computer in one panel show a CL assignment and I could copy and paste in the answer from one of my own projects (the best writers recycle, after all).

But really any sort of higher learning teaches you a lot of project management skills, time management skills, all sorts of things that I use every day. A masters degree is basically a big final project that you spend a few years working on, and once you pull that off, you know you can do it and smaller projects seem a little less daunting.

Freedomkills32 karma

How do you feel about cephalopods?

qwantz51 karma

I think they're very smart and feel almost like alien life on our own world! And that's kinda terrifying. T-Rex's fear of them comes from my own! I'm not a vegetarian but I don't eat them because I feel like they're too smart :(

Sauce_Pain28 karma

Do you think that you would be still stuck in that hole today if you didn't have access to the hivemind?

More seriously: how did you keep all the threads from getting tangled in the choose your own path stories? Did you use some kind of software or did you just invest in lots of string and flashcards?

PS: my favourite Dinosaur Comic is when T-Rex left his wallet on the moon.

qwantz37 karma

The hole story was a lot of fun, and my plan was, if I didn't get out, to just wait until my wife got home and then call her to rescue me. I didn't want to call the fire department because they've got enough to worry about without some guy getting stuck in a hole with his dog, and worst case, an afternoon chilling out in a hole with Chompsky isn't the end of the world, you know?

For your other question: I used software called "Twine" to manage the story. It basically just let me put words in boxes, and then draw arrows between those boxes, but that was enough "on paper" to let me keep track of state in my head. You could still easily screw up, but I would read the path(s) leading me to a node before I started writing it, and that helped prevent a lot of problems before they happened. :)

emperos33 karma

I didn't want to call the fire department because they've got enough to worry about

Don't think you need a Canadian passport anymore, this mindset will suffice to identify you as one

qwantz73 karma

Hah! The funny part is, a few weeks later this kid in Europe found himself in the same situation as me (stuck in skate bowl, no dog though) and he DID call the fire department, and they got him out, but there was a bunch of people making fun of him for doing that! What was he supposed to do, wait until his wife came home? He was a kid, he wasn't even married yet, that would've taken YEARS

emperos16 karma

Unbelievable! This story has strange parallels to the "don't use a stove to heat a lava lamp" story, and I feel that I have learned important lessons from each!

qwantz22 karma

Yeah, me too! I dunno if you're referencing my lava lamp experience or if you had the same lava lamp experience, but YES.

akscully22 karma

1a) When are you going to update your Twitter avi to reflect your pandemic hair?

1b) what would you do with $1,388,385.19?

qwantz50 karma

1a) My avi actually came from Andrew Hussie drawing me in one of his MANY fan comics about me, so when he updates it, SO SHALL I. But he's not on Twitter these days so it might take a while. 1b) This suspiciously-specific number makes me think YOU might have come into a bit of a windfall and are looking for advice, so I'd say "go read all those threads on Reddit about what to do if you win the lottery" and do that: tell no-one, put it in a careful investment, and go on living as you did before.

ps: I would also buy a sea-doo: it's expensive and not practical, yes, but it doesn't NECESSARILY scream "I have come into one million three hundred and eight eight thousand three hundred and eight five dollars and nineteen cents", you know?

geerad36 karma

(It's the amount of money D. B. Cooper was paid in ransom, adjusted for inflation.)

qwantz50 karma

oh well i simply wouldn't know ANYTHING about THAT

baconbrand17 karma

Parasocial relationships are so weird, with the conclusion of Homestuck (and Psycholonials) and Hussie’s web presence fading it feels like someone died. I don’t begrudge anyone from stepping back from the public eye (it honest to god seems like a terrible place to be) but some of that stuff really hits hard. Worst for me was the artist formerly known as John Campbell, I went through a serious mourning period with that.

Are there any creators who’ve retired or stepped back that you feel that way about? Uhh or on a less sad note do you have any active people you want to name drop who you haven’t really met or interacted with that you admire?

qwantz25 karma

I feel like if i DO name-drop anyone I want to meet, it'll make it really weird when we DO meet, because they'll know I'm big into it!! I had a great time once at a YA festival because I had no idea who anyway was or how famous they were, and it was only afterwards when I told people the story of how [famous YA author] taught me how to snap in the green room and they were like "WAIT HOLD UP YOU MET HER AND ALL YOU TALKED ABOUT WAS HOW YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO SNAP???" ¯_(ツ)_/¯

baconbrand5 karma

Hahaha fair enough

qwantz21 karma

that said: Brent Spiner

Jorpho21 karma

You've written the text for a couple of different video games now; is there any particular game that you wish you could have had the opportunity to work on?

qwantz53 karma

This is a great question! There actually is one case that happened just recently: I was recommended to do writing on a sequel to a game, and I was very excited because I'd randomly just played the first installment, AND I LOVED IT. It was charming and funny and clever. So I was all in on this.

But it's also risky when you're hiring someone based on someone else's recommendation, and I didn't want the people hiring me (or myself) to feel like we were taking a giant leap of faith by signing a contract to do a years worth of writing, etc, so we agreed on doing a little bit as a test first. No problem!

Then - and this had never happened to me before - we just did NOT get along creatively. Personally we got along great, but I was just not capable of producing whatever they wanted. I thought I'd hit it, but then I'd get tons and tons of notes about how it was the wrong direction, etc. It was nobody's fault - I think end of the day my style just didn't mesh with what they wanted, and none of us could see that until it was staring us in the face.

So, that was the first writing job I ever lost, and it's obviously not the best feeling in the world to fail at something! But it was less "you can't write lol" and more "it's just not a good fit", so that comforts me - and now, plus side, I'll get to play the sequel game when it comes out without having to write the dang thing. :)

Catssoup21 karma

Are you and joey comeau still tight? Dinosaur comics and a softer world were it for me circa 2007.

qwantz45 karma

Joey and I will be tight forever. For his birthday last year I got him a $100 Steam gift card and for my birthday this year he got me a $25 Steam gift card with a note that said "the rest of the money's mine, motherfucker" and it was honestly amazing

Glittergnash20 karma

Hey Ryan! I chatted with you @ TCAF a couple times and you were always a gentleman and a gem, thanks. Anyway, could you talk a little about how the internet has changed over the course of your life and career in public?

Also, not that you asked, but I have decided a wizard turning me into a whale would be very awesome, thank you. All the best!

qwantz27 karma

Aw thanks!

On the internet, I was thinking the other day that when I was being interviewed in the earlier days of Dinosaur Comics, I used to say one of the advantages of being "internet famous" - a thing that doesn't really exist anymore, since internet fame goes into IRL fame much more easily - was the fact that I could go outside and nobody would know who I am. It was this safety valve, a regulator against getting too much of a big head. No matter how much people said I was great online, I'd go get groceries and just be Some Guy.

That's not really the case anymore, with video being so big: internet fame IS irl fame, and it can't be toggled on and off like I was doing it then. I think that's a LOT harder to deal with, especially when you're young.

Someone told me once their theory that "you stop developing as a person at the age you become famous" and I don't think that's LITERALLY true, but I do think I'd probably be a worse person if I didn't have the grounding of anonymity back when Dinosaur Comics first blew up. I think I'd be pretty weird if I couldn't hang out with my friends without being photographed / recorded / etc. And I know this really isn't an answer, more just a set of concerns, but it's what I thought of when you asked how the internet has changed! It's also become more consolidated (I talk about that a bit in HOW TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD) and that's got its own set of concerns, but I do think I was lucky to get to be able to turn my fame on and off like that.

wray_nerely19 karma

Ryan, why do your Squirrel Girl comics have faint fine print at the bottom of every page? Are you ashamed of your caption writing, or are you in the pocket of Big Magnifying Glass?

qwantz32 karma

SINCERE ANSWER: I love the idea of cramming jokes in the margins, and giving our beloved readers more value for their comic-spending dollar. SECRET ANSWER: I get 5 cents every time someone uses a magnifying glass and I'll never stop

stopboorider18 karma

Ryan, which would you rather have: one t-rex sized chompsky, or a dozen chompsky sized t-rexes??

Also thank you for the lil talk you did at XOXO back in 2018, I feel a lot of strength surge through me to create anything whenever I think of it again.

qwantz46 karma

Assuming I get to keep the original Chompsky-sized Chompsky, I gotta go for the Chompsky-sized T-Rexes. I could open up a sort of "jurassic" "park" for them which would definitely be at the very least interesting if not profitable, and I feel like the ideas around a t-rex sized Chompsky have already been pretty thoroughly explored in the "Clifford the Big Red Dog" series of speculative future documentaries.

bhpratt17 karma

Can you help me convince my kid that Ratatoskr is not too scary? We have had to pause Squirrel Girl due to nightmares. It’s now led to me not being allowed to mention Norse mythology or myths/gods in general!

Before that - we both loved the series. Tippy Toe and Mew were both big hits.

qwantz23 karma

Did you pause at Ratatoskr's first appearance in the book (when she was Girl Squirrel in vol 1) or in her second appearance (when they're fighting Frost Giants in vol 2)? If it's the latter, that whole arc is about her redeeming herself and becoming less scary, which could help. But I would tell your kid that Ratatoskr isn't someone who is EVIL, she's just someone who likes playing pranks and doesn't really care about people other than herself - but as you read the books, you see her learn that! So it's showing that even she can change. She and Doreen end up becoming friends!

And thanks for the kind words! Mew is based on my friend's cat, also named Mew. But that Mew isn't named after Mjolnir, she's named after Mew Two from Pokémon fame.

bhpratt9 karma

Oh - that is a good tip! Thank you. First appearance (shortly after the glorious Eric Henderson penned transformation) is where we stopped.

Maybe I can use this to coax Squirrel Girl back into rotation in the not too distant future :)

And (unsurprisingly) my kid is a big Pokemon fan too - so the Mew naming tidbit will land quite well!

I know you've heard this before - but Squirrel Girl's blend of camaraderie, problem solving, friendship, joy of learning, and yes, fighting, makes it a really wonderful work to read and share. Thanks!

qwantz10 karma

thank you!! I wanted the book to be something that anyone could read without having to know a ton of Marvel stuff, so it's always a thrill when someone new connects with the book. :)

rickstadt7 karma

Wow, it's interesting to come across another parent with the SAME issue. My daughter absolutely loves squirrel girl (and her supporting cast), but the first appearance of Ratatoskr gave her nightmares.

She continued to read the series and was older about the time the frost giant story/redemption arc came out and she refused to read it even though I promised her I read ahead and that they are a lot less scary. In the finale to the series I had to cover Ratatoskr's face with little scraps of post-its.

She's 11 now and still into Squirrel Girl but still will NOT touch Ratatoskr in re-reads. You should really think about dipping into the children's horror genre.

P.S. Thank you so much for everything you did with Squirrel Girl. It gave her a gateway into the wonderful world of comics and now we have a shared hobby we can bond over

qwantz6 karma

Wow! You and the other post are the first two times I've heard of this!! And it's funny because Erica told me that if she were doing it again she'd design Ratatoskr to make her scarier, with predator eyes (like a fox) instead of prey eyes (like a squirrel). Glad we didn't do that! :)

Buswolley16 karma

Some dino comics are unforgettable to me (thinking of Shakespeare saying “I’m so far from even knowing what a bus is”). Which strips do you still think about?

qwantz15 karma

haha, I got a message yesterday from someone saying they have carried "rhumba thumba, farts and shoes, I want y'all to be nice to yous" with them for over a decade since they've read it, and I instantly knew which precise comic they were talking about (God writes The Bible II and that's what he opens with) so - I guess that one?? My brother quoted it to me once too. I guess my true legacy shall be "rhumba thumba, farts and shoes"

Really_McNamington6 karma

For me it's Monopoly as she is played.

qwantz7 karma

ahaha, man, that one came from the HEART

qwantz5 karma

friggin' monopoly

PifPifPass15 karma

Your whole family is made out of meat. What's up?!

qwantz14 karma


TheEpicMemelord14 karma

Do you still go on routine Ryanquests?

qwantz26 karma

You know how at the end of TNG, Q said "The trail never ended, Jean-Luc"? Well, the Ryanquest never ended

username______here14 karma

what is your proudest dinosaur comic?

qwantz56 karma

oh gosh, this IS a hard one. The one that came to mind is this one because I was well into a year of making the comics at that point, and I just then realized I could have off-panel characters, which really expanded the perspective of the comic. I think without characters like God and the cephalopods and others the comic would've felt much more limited and constrained, and with them, it could suddenly go anywhere. I remember taking a walk afterwards and feeling proud that I'd come up with that, and also kinda chagrined it took me SO LONG to realize that I could. :)

CactusOnFire13 karma

How would you describe your relationship to the fairly rigid structure of the panels in Dinosaur comics. Did you ever feel restricted by it, or felt it became easier over time to think in that particular formula?

qwantz33 karma

Oh at the start I thought I'd be changing the layouts every month, because I would get stuck. Then at the end of the month I thought, well, one more month couldn't hurt, and it was easier than trying to make a whole new template. And now here we are almost 20 years later!

It's honestly not as restrictive as it looks. Yes the panels tell a visual story, but add a "LATER:" in any one of those panels, and you've changed that story with one word. To me now it feels more like haiku: I know the general shape of the thing, and practice makes it easier to work in the form, but it doesn't feel like a limitation.

Claposaurus3 karma

I discovered Dinosaur comics back in 2005 and still read it religiously. I am just absolutely blown away at your creativity and humor.

Also your Back to the Future novelation break down is one of my favourite things ever. I've read it all the way through at least 3 times. It's still as funny and insightful as the first time I read it.

And also the Dinosaur comic fridge magnets were a constant source of inspiration for friends and family alike. Unfortunately they ultimately fused with the fridge and I had to scrape them off with a paint scraper when we sold the fridge. But they had a good 10 year run. Was definitely worth the pain of getting them shipped to South Africa.

qwantz3 karma

oh man I'm glad those magnets had such a good run! I had the same issue with a wreath hanger I put up on my front (metal) door - after 2 years the magnets had become one with the door and when I finally got them off, they'd DENTED the door with their desire to fuse. Just wild. I don't think the magnets needed to be that strong but I appreciate the wreath manufacturer's commitment to quality I guess??

The BF blog was a lot of fun! It was an accidental project: I wrote the first post and MEANT to save it as a draft, but instead published it, which at the time also posted a message to twitter about it. So then I was committed, but it was always fun to take an hour here and there and go over a few more pages. It is SUCH a bonkers book!

s3rila13 karma

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl was great . was there hard part to write that run ? what challenge were they or do you have any cool story about writting that run ?

qwantz40 karma

The hardest part was that Doreen was smart, so I had to come up with clever solutions to her problems: she could never take the easy way out. That's the gotcha of writing smart characters: you need to fake being as smart as they are!

One of the best parts of writing her was honestly seeing the letters we'd get (and still get, my editor Wil Moss actually just forwarded me a very nice letter that was sent in just today!). We connected with a lot of younger readers too, and I love the idea of being someone's first comic, getting the honour of being their introduction to the whole dang medium of comics. We had one reader who was there with us from the beginning, sending in letters, and eventually managed to work in some art of Squirrel Girl she'd done into the comic itself, as something Doreen drew when she was a little girl.

That was in our zine issue, and I love that in the author credits it had my headshot and bio, a bunch of other professional headshots and bios, and then this amazing kid with a huge grin on her face and a bio that ended "This is her Marvel debut." LOVE IT

Habanero_Houdini13 karma

Any restaurants you would recommend in Toronto?

qwantz35 karma

Hahah, I actually haven't even BEEN to a restaurant in Toronto (or anywhere) for three years, so I may not be the best one to answer this. I had the best meal of my life at The Black Hoof, but Jen Agg shut down that restaurant even before the pandemic, so - unless you have a time machine that might not be the best advice. But if you're in Toronto in 2015, oh man, you GOTTA check out The Black Hoof.

redditonlygetsworse24 karma

But if you're in Toronto in 2015, oh man, you GOTTA check out The Black Hoof.

How to Invent Everything, Including the Black Hoof

qwantz9 karma


19southmainco7 karma

I just pictured Velociraptor coming up behind Trex to make sure he heard that laugh

qwantz14 karma

FUN FACT: I had this idea early on that "Hah hah hah" would be the SINCERE laugh in the comic, and if they said "Ha ha ha" that was supposed to be an insincere, forced laugh. But then I never went back to make sure that was consistent so I don't think I can point to all 20 years of comics and say that it holds for all of them. But it does hold for some of them!

mrbowers12 karma

November 24, 1971. Happen to remember what you were up to that day? No reason, just curious.

qwantz22 karma

According to all official records and all anyone can credible prove, I wasn't born yet. So, that should put an end to this line of inquiry, and let's all rest easy knowing that whoever this handsome charismatic air pirate was, he wasn't me, and I definitely don't have his $200,000 in negotiable American currency.

BirdLawyerPerson12 karma

THANK YOU so much for making your comics text searchable. The foresight it took for you to do that makes your site much more usable when I'm trying to reference something I know I've heard T-Rex say.

What's your favorite Dinosaur Comic you've written?

qwantz15 karma

It's hard to pick one favourite! I have sometimes went back and re-read old ones, and sometimes I've forgotten the punchline, and sometimes - SOMETIMES - I get to be surprised by it and to literally laugh at my own jokes. It always feels a little wild - like I shouldn't let anyone catch me doing it, like I'm breaking a law somehow - but it is a fun little thing. I really like the first one with the creepy cephalopod neighbours that ended with "COME BLEED WITH US". I feel like that was a good day for Dinosaur Comics. :)

squirrellesbian11 karma

In issue #2 of the unbeatable squirrel Nancy expresses interest in tattoo club and hints she may have tattoos but I don’t remember it ever getting brought up again. As an aspiring tattoo artist and one of the worlds top Nancy Whitehead stans I would love to know if Nancy does have tattoos and what you think they are?

qwantz19 karma

Okay SO Nancy was originally based on my friend Lucie, who is big into tattoos, and has given herself (and a bunch of my friends) several stick and poke tats. That element never really showed up again because we didn't have a Beach Issue so we never saw, but Nancy does definitely have some tattoos, though I never nailed down of what. Lucie has a "NO REGERTS" tattoo which I think is amazing, and I have a classic "heart with a banner" tattoo on my arm, but the banner is blank, so I can write in different things with a Sharpie. It is the world's only future-ready tattoo. I think Nancy is more decisive than me though, so maybe that could be a tattoo for Doreen? :0

squirrellesbian8 karma

Ahhh Nancy having a Doreen tattoo would be so sweet!! Thank you for answering! Also a future ready tattoo is a great idea ur huge brain never disappoints

qwantz13 karma

I couldn't find a sharpie and a pen isn't as good (also it's very hard to write on your own upper arm) BUT:

squirrellesbian10 karma

OMG I love this haha I will cherish the brief moment in time I was on your arm. I wish I had chosen a shorter username 😂 funny enough I made this account/chose this username to ask you something in a Reddit ama you did years ago

qwantz10 karma

amazing! The voyage of SquirrelLesbian has come full circle

squirrellesbian11 karma

I had to learn how to use imagur for this but I hope you enjoy it Nancy’s ink

qwantz4 karma

um I ABSOLUTELY DID and I never realized how much an acorn and a heart line up. Brilliant!!

skyturnsred10 karma

Hey Ryan, just wanted to let you know that I have had this Dinosaur Comic about giraffes in my wallet like requested for a decade now, no joke. One of the funniest things I've ever seen. Thank you for non-consensually participating in the longest running bit of my life.

qwantz4 karma


This is the way.

megarrrrra9 karma

What’s your favourite panel (or panels) from Squirrel Girl? (Btw I love the run!!)

qwantz14 karma

It's the one from issue 31, Erica's going-away issue, where Doreen and Nancy are hugging as they say goodbye. Erica told me she cried when she read the script, but then she got her revenge, because even though I knew what was coming BECAUSE I WROTE THE DANG THING, she got me to cry when I saw that page. Well played, Henderson.

(if you scroll down to the bottom of this page - - you can see the panel in question. It's not that sad all on its own but in context OH MAN

broganisms8 karma

What's Posterchild up to these days?

qwantz13 karma

For context, everyone, Posterchild - ( - was a street artist friend of mine and I hosted a blog of his work! People suspected he was me but I promise he wasn't. Anyway, he's good! He's got other interest that take up most of his time these days, but he still gets up every once in a while, and I still love his work.

squirrellesbian7 karma

Do you have any thoughts on who you would like to see play Doreen if she got a live action adaptation? What about Nancy? (My personal top choice doe Doreen would be liv hewson)

qwantz13 karma

Milana Vayntrub did an AMAZING job doing her voice in the Marvel Rising cartoon, even if that show did skew younger than Doreen's normal demographic. We had breakfast once at SDCC and talked the whole time about Doreen and I hope that one day soon you'll get to see what she can do with the character! That said, I just googled Liv Hewson and YES I CAN SEE IT TOO

florgitymorgity7 karma

What is your favorite "bottom of the page commentary" line/gag from Squirrel Girl?

qwantz16 karma

I was pleased when I discovered they had two purposes: yes, for extra jokes, but ALSO, they could handle plot scaffolding that you sometimes need in a shared universe! An example: if Captain America has had the super soldier serum sucked out of him in another comic, you need to explain that when he shows up in Squirrel Girl so that people who only read that book aren't lost and wondering "Wait, why is Captain America an old man with no powers?"

Normally that's solved by an editor's note on the page, or by one of the characters doing the equivalent of saying "As you know, Doreen, I've recently had the super soldier serum sucked out of me, so now I'm an old man with no powers", but what the bottom of the page notes let you do is address that quickly, quietly, usually with a joke, and not have to break the flow of the comic! So the first time I discovered my Joke Delivery Mechanism also made writing easier is probably my favourite.

StereoTypo7 karma

I still have a "Wizard has turned you into a whale" shirt I got from the Beguiling over a decade ago. Thanks for being awesome Ryan!

What inspired you to make this masterpiece?

Edit: fuck automoderator for removing my question and not telling me for an hour.

qwantz9 karma

haha thank you! The Beguiling is THE BEST.

That video was inspired by me responding in an email thread with the Squirrel Girl team that the X-Men theme song had lyrics, and they said "what are the lyrics" and I said "here, let me record them for you so you can see." As you can tell, I am a dedicated professional in work threads.

qwantz4 karma

UPDATE: I would like to clarify that my wife invented the lyrics while we were watching the 90s X-Men cartoon. As one does.

SirCinnamon7 karma

Where's the money, Cooper?

qwantz13 karma

You'd have to ask him! I'm definitely not him, so we should all stop looking into it!!

gravitationalarray6 karma

Favourite skate bowl? /j All kidding aside, and that was one helluva situation, how go your rambles with Chompsky?

qwantz15 karma

They go well! He is always down for whatever, and happy to go with me anywhere, just as long as we're together. I really admire that lifestyle, that sense of adventure and being down for seeing whatever's around the next corner. Only once in our time together did he refuse a walk, and it was the day after we got him, walking home from the vet. He'd just had a thermometer up his butt and I think he was like "no, I want to sit, I just - I need a minute." Then after a bit he was ready to continue his walk home, and these days he gets treats at the vet so he likes it, even IF he does get a thermometer up his butt as the cost of admission.

titacookie6 karma

If you were given the opportunity to create a universal language, what existing language(s), if any, would you beg, borrow, or steal from to create it?

qwantz10 karma

I am FASCINATED by this idea of a universal language - do you mean "a language everyone by law must learn" (the more boring one) or rather, "a language which is by design accessible to all forms of life across the universe" which is a challenge SO HUGE and borderline impossible that it could take thousands of lifetimes to even BEGIN work on, and if I had those lifetimes and the resources to do it, boy HOWDY would that be a great way to spend that time!!

titacookie5 karma

I am of course talking about the not boring one, bc developing such a universally accessible language would no doubt help one to . . . (wait for it) . . . . TAKE OVER THE WORLD

qwantz6 karma


ScottNewman6 karma

I am currently at the dentist.

What is your favourite TV channel to watch while a stranger sticks metal into your mouth?

qwantz24 karma

okay I don't know if this is revealing that I am some sort of SCRUB or something, but I have never until very recently had a dentist with a TV on the ceiling. That feels VERY fancy to me even now. I have had a hygienist tell me her dad died last month while cleaning my teeth, which gave me the dizzying sense I was somehow on a hidden camera show, because there is absolutely no way to say "I'm so sorry" with your mouth full of someone else's fingers and metal tools and make it read as sincere, but I've never really gotten the chance to watch much hand-in-mouth television.

OH!! I thought of another dentist story. I remember being a teen and staring up at the ceiling tiles and thinking "wow, one day I'm going to have sex, and it's gonna be great, and then, afterwards, the dentist will never be a problem because instead of staring at the ceiling and thinking about how much pain I'm in, I'll instead be able to remember all the cool sex I've had!!!" Anyway turns out a) thinking about sex does NOT stop the pain or your gums from bleeding, and b) even if it DID, I don't want to be the guy poppin a boner on the dentist's chair. So teen me was sadly wrong :(

qwantz18 karma

sorry for saying "poppin a boner" on the internet

VideoBrew6 karma

Ryan, big fan.

Any thoughts on the current state of webcomics? New works worth checking out? Other OG's like yourself worth revisiting?

qwantz12 karma

I am a huge fan of Alex Norris in general and their Oh No comics on Twitter, as well as Alec Robbins and every thing HE'S ever done too. Also definitely re-read all my comics at LEAST once a month IF NOT SOONER

_cathar6 karma

Extremely saddened that your list of comedic internet achievements doesn't include that one time you swapped credit cards with Andrew Hussie.

Also, what do you consider the canon playthrough of your choose your own adventure books?

qwantz10 karma

It's funny, something people told me the most often with To Be or Not To Be was that they ended up with Ophelia as a scientist, which, I realized afterwards, was the ending you got if you chose reasonable options all the way through. So for Romeo and/or Juliet I ensured that the Reasonable Path also gave you a fun and satisfying ending: that's the one where Juliet becomes a pirate and lives on an island. It's EXTREMELY REASONABLE.

PapaSteel6 karma

Ryan, there are plenty of people who struggle with Imposter Syndrome, the feeling that their success isn't earned.

You are the most insanely unique writer out there. Is your every waking moment haunted by the constant fear that you're just a big fat phoney that somehow keeps getting paid, or have you entered into the realm of true megalomania and know that world domination is the obvious next step?

qwantz13 karma


Honestly I think Imposter Syndrome is super common, and YES everyone who reads this is thinking "okay MAYBE but in my case it's REAL and I really AM an imposter" and yes, I'm right there with you. I think for me what helped way back when was getting nice emails from people, telling me how Dinosaur Comics had been a positive force in their lives. It made me think that even if I AM an imposter, it's still helping these people, so what does it really matter? I try not to measure things based on how much I can prove I deserve it, and more on how good I think it was at the end. The only person I can use to judge a work is myself, so I try to never share something I'm not proud of, and trust that will work as a pretty decent way to keep the quality where I want it to be.

reverse_friday6 karma

what's the one thing you could never live without?

qwantz16 karma

See three years ago I was like "I'm an introvert! I don't need people!" and then pandemic happened so uh I guess what I've learned is: PEOPLE

abriefhistoryy5 karma

WELL if YOU were to take over the world, what would be your evil, super-villainous scheme??

qwantz9 karma

Honestly, of all of them detailed in the book, the one in the final chapter (ensuring you're not forgotten) is the one I'd do. It's about ensuring that information you write survives for as long as possible, and it's something I'd really like to do! REMEMBER ME

icecapzone5 karma

About thirteen years ago, I named my cats after a Dinosaur Comics reference (T-Rex named his fists Choco and Rocco, so I named my cats that.)

My question is, did you have any alternate names that were in the running for your dog, Noam Chompsky?

qwantz12 karma

oh man I'm so happy Choco and Rocco (the twins! who! punch!) were real cats! AMAZING.

I was a big fan of the name Dr. Leonard McCoy for a dog (because then you could call him "Bones" for short!) but my wife wasn't a fan of the name "Bones", and in retrospect Chompsky suits him much better anyway. :)

icecapzone3 karma

That's an excellent name for a dog that I will definitely steal, if Rocco EVER dies, which I don't think she will (Choco went to go live on a farm, since she was the twin who never learned to use the litter box.)

qwantz6 karma

Please do! I want to meet at least one Dr. Leonard McCoy in my life.

Rocco and Choco, the twins! Who! Have trouble with the bathroom, at least one of them!

lottaquestionss5 karma

Any super cool super evil schemes that didn't make it to the book that you still think are super cool and want to share with us anyway? :D

qwantz7 karma

Yeah for sure! There was one about throwing your enemies into the sun, but the problem there was it was actually TOO easy: basically the Parker solar probe has already done all the heavy lifting, and I couldn't make the chapter feel like it worked with all the others, which ended up going in some really interesting places. All this to say: once you've pulled off all the heists in the book, you can always pull off the SECRET too hot for the printed word heist and throw your enemies into the sun, WITH MY BLESSING.

Drunkbirth175 karma

Will you please address the allegations that you are taller than Zach Weinersmith?

qwantz6 karma

Allegations?? I am absolutely taller than Zach. He's handsomer though which is truly unfair.

mongoosekinetics5 karma

Where were you on November 24, 1971?

Please provide an alibi

socrazyitmightwork4 karma

TABB was a pretty huge part of my life 15 years ago - it seemed like a kind of digital Bohemia when web comics were emerging with so many of the participants going on to do amazing creative things. I remember its downfall after moving to v2 and I wonder if, as its steward, you have the same nostalgic fondness for How It Used To Be?

qwantz7 karma

Oh yeah I loved it! I was just this week thinking about Timefishblue who posted there and wondering where he's at now, what he's doing, and thinking how impossible it would be to ever know, or even verify if anyone WAS who they said they were if they claimed to be him. But it felt like a really special place for a really long time and I'm glad I got to be a part of it! PS: I hope you're doing well, former TABBer!!

socrazyitmightwork3 karma

haha - that kid could type faster than anyone I know! Do you have any archives that would show how many posts he ended up with? I kind of loved how everyone was so kind to the young'uns like SuperDuperGirl and TFB - it was a different internet back then.

qwantz3 karma

Right?? TFB became everyone's favourite simply by being this really nice young kid. Good old TFB!!

TaBB isn't online anymore but I do have a database backup somewhere, so I could in theory important it and then add them up, but I'm sure it was in the tens of thousands at the VERY least.

ProfCupcake4 karma

What is your best/worst pick-up line?

qwantz15 karma

I've been married for over a decade and before then never really had the chance to deploy many pickup lines, but when I met my wife I said "I like your jacket" as she was leaving the subway and I thought I'd never see her again and desperately wanted to say SOMETHING to her, so as you can see, I am extremely smooth.

(She said "Thanks" and left, but thankfully we connected a little later over Facebook, back when it was a way to meet new friends and not find out some guy you knew in high school once is racist)

mutantlog4 karma

Have you gotten around to sampling Thrills gum (motto: "It still tastes like soap!"), and if so, what did you think about it?

qwantz4 karma

Honestly... it still tastes like soap!!

non-troll_account3 karma

Are you ever going to apologize for the war crimes you commited in the Iran-Contra affair?

qwantz5 karma

Ah, you are thinking of a different North! That's Oliver North. I'm not him, but I did enjoy the video game version of his scandal published on the Nintendo Entertainment System.

ThoughtsAboutAThing3 karma

I just finished reading your Power Pack mini-series and it really makes me sad-mad that you're not writing a Power Pack ongoing. Any plans to do another ongoing for Marvel anytime soon? (Power Pack or otherwise - you'd also be a great Runaways writer!)

qwantz3 karma

Oh haha I could never hit the heights Rainbow did with Runaways - far as I'm concerned that's her book now and forever! But I'm really glad you liked Power Pack - I liked them too, quite a bit, but it was fun to have a story that was from the word "go" self-contained. This was just after five years on Squirrel Girl and I enjoyed getting to tell a small little complete story.

There IS a Secret Invasion miniseries coming out from Marvel this year that I'm writing! Rather than being a Big Event, it's a smaller story about Maria Hill and Tony Stark and Nick Fury and of course a bunch of Skrulls. It's obviously not the same as Power Pack or Squirrel Girl (though I'm hoping to have her make an appearance due to Character Nepotism) but you might like it! As for another ongoing, nothing has been announced yet...

splarfsplarfsplarf3 karma

It’s been nearly ten years since my wife and I attended an Adventure Time comic signing outside The Beguiling with yourself, Merideth Gran, and Michael DeForge. While milling about and waiting for things to start, you shook my hand, forever reducing my six degrees of separation from any number of other people of note with whom you have since rubbed elbows (a far more pandemic-friendly gesture than the handshake). I believe I also bequeathed each of you with a little hand drawn art card. Afterwards, we moseyed into The Central for a much smaller Q&A than this one!

Do you still think fondly of our clandestine handshake every time you see a beautiful sunset?

Does my art card hold a place of high honor in your home? Perhaps in a gilded shadowbox surrounded by candles?

Finally, for everything you may yet achieve in life, may the great importance of creating Adventure Tim and The Mice King never be overshadowed.

qwantz9 karma

I REMEMBER THAT EVENT, especially because we did a TV interviewer there and I got the bizarre but distinct sense he was trying to trip us up on Adventure Time, like to prove we weren't True Fans or whatever?? Probably all in my head AND YET I REMEMBER IT STILL.

I was always holding out hope that Adventure Tim would make it into the show. HE'S CLEARLY EXCELLENT.

I would like to thank you for the handshake and tell you that in my most private moments... I sometimes give your card the same handshake, in a desperate attempt to recapture just the smallest echo of what we once shared.

thestrible3 karma

Do create story board before to make the final result?

qwantz4 karma

Nope, I usually write an outline - just plain text - and then flesh it out from there! I like to leave room for surprises, so the story can grow in the telling, but I also absolutely need to know where we're going, so the story has a shape and isn't just a bunch of stuff that happens. :)

bondjimbond3 karma

What is Chompsky's favourite Toronto park?

qwantz7 karma

He is, I think it's fair to say, "not particularly discriminating" when it comes to parks: if it's someplace to run around and play with dogs and sniff other dog urine, he is ALL IN.

Knocknerve3 karma

you've written some of my favorite dialogue of all time (especially in Lost In Random) - how do you go about making sure characters sound distinct from each other?

qwantz6 karma

A trick I use a lot is to say the dialogue out loud, sometimes while doing a voice, usually just in my own voice. That helps to find the cadence of the speech and to figure out how the character talks. A trick I use a lot to make THAT trick work is, while walking Chompsky, to put on a headset that makes it look like I'm an Important Businessman on an Important Business Call, when really I'm a guy trying to figure out how a old bodyguard full of remorse named "Neeshka" would sound. :)

goldspot73 karma

I absolutely cried like a little girl while playing Lost in Random.

What were your inspiration or references for writing for that game?

Really love the style and those twists and turns.

qwantz6 karma

Aw thank you!!

The way that worked is Olov Redmalm And Klaus Lyngeled at Zoink came up with ideas for the game, and they'd send them over to me. Then as I was writing those ideas would change and evolve, so it became a very collaborative thing.

They'd say things like "We want three little girls here who are ghosts" and then I'd get to run with that, coming up with stories, personalities, answering how they died, and so on. It's a very fun form of writing, where you get a brief of "here's the bones of it and here's how I want to feel at the end" and then you get to fill in the blanks.

The funny thing was that while the game is obviously very VISUALLY inspired by Tim Burton, when I was doing most of the writing, that hadn't been done (or if it had, I hadn't seen it), which I think helped a lot. I wasn't trying to do Burton Lite, but when you see the two combined, you come to it with that expectation, so places where it lines up - or where it goes in its own way - get some added depth that way.

I really liked Even - originally she was a lot more brash and kinda in your face, but as we worked on her, she became a much more authentic little girl who just wants her sister back.

qwantz4 karma

Also TO THIS DAY when I try to write the name "Evan", I write "Even", so I guess she's with me still!

AnEntireBanana3 karma

Ever thought about making a small video game?

qwantz11 karma

I have! I haven't done one all by myself, but I did write all the dialogue for several indie games by Zoink, like Flipping Death. Most recently I got to write Lost In Random! It was a lot of fun. Always a thrill to see your lines delivered by a voice actor, that always elevates the work in my experience.

DylanVincent3 karma

Did you ever read Achewood?

qwantz11 karma

read it, loved it, ate dinner with Chris Onstad when he was in Toronto on a book tour and was so nervous I double-dipped my bread in the communal oil and vinaigrette and knew I'd committed a faux-pas I would never recover from.

dodecatron3 karma

Do you miss Whispered Apologies as much as I do?

qwantz3 karma

HONESTLY, PROBABLY. I'm sad that I haven't gotten a chance to go back to it AND that I haven't even found the time to get the website up and running properly, and I miss the days when I could spend half a day writing in words for those blank comics! All I can offer you... is a whispered apology

boarderzone3 karma

A friend of yours once found out I was a huge fan and gave me your cell phone telling me to text you hello and that he got permission from you. I didn't do it of course because that's weird, but my question is, did he REALLY get your permission or was he just setting me up to creep you out?

qwantz5 karma

It's quite possible!! There was one point where I had a pay as you go phone number, and then when I got another number, I posted the number publicly and chatted with strangers until the money ran out. Maybe that was the number??

boarderzone3 karma

Oh that could be. The mutual friend let's say is one who shaves.

qwantz5 karma

ahaha OH MAN HE WAS TRYING TO IMPRESS YOU!! ahaha I will never let him live this down

BlackholeRE3 karma

Do you still talk to Andrew Hussie, Ryan? Ever do stuff together, professionally or otherwise?

qwantz7 karma

Yeah, we hang out online and I probably talk to him once a week or so! We haven't exchanged credit cards since - that was clearly the pinnacle of friendship - but that hasn't stopped us from enjoying the heck out of our post-pinnacle sunset years.

emperos3 karma

which of the two Dinosaur Comics that Randall has drawn (Guest week and Parody Week) is in your top-five, and why is it both??

qwantz8 karma

Early on Randy sent me a copy of the "FUCK COMPUTATIONAL LINGUISTICS" strip in which I am THREATENED in the ALT TEXT and I had it up on my wall for a very long time. I consider it to be an honourary third Dinosaur Comics, and they are all tied for first.

SickBurnBro3 karma

A wizard has turned you into a whale. Is this awesome (Y/N)?

qwantz3 karma


GoldenCorralBussy3 karma

Do you have a favorite toast sandwich recipe you could share with us?

qwantz12 karma

As the OFFICIAL Toast Sandwich Photographer of Wikipedia I can say: if you ever get tired of a piece of toast between two pieces of bread, you GOTTA try the Reverse Toast Sandwich: a piece of bread between two pieces of toast. And then there's the Open-Face Toast Sandwich, for when you want to live a little!

_cathar3 karma

Just wanted to say that your fascination with the humble toast sandwich taught young me the word mouthfeel and I never stopped rating food exclusively by this metric.

qwantz8 karma

My initial plan was to make every sandwich on Wikipedia's list of sandwiches, but Toast Sandwich was my first stop and I was like, well, it's all downhill from here!

I'm glad you enjoyed the word... mouthfeel

sunshinegui2 karma

I just wanted to say that I absolutely love your Romeo and Juliet Choose your own adventure. My friends and I used to read it during parties and I don't think we've got all the endings, at least not yet. Any plans for another Shakespeare themed choose your own path book? Being Lady Macbeth and going on a killing spree sounds fun, if you're down for it.

qwantz3 karma

Aw that's so great, thank you! I've been told it's a good roadtrip book too, for one to read while the driver chooses. I would like to do another one some day - I've actually been looking at one play in particular lately, but nothing committed yet...!

ProfCupcake2 karma

How often do you get recognised in public?

qwantz6 karma

Honestly, very very rarely. Though one time I was having dinner with a guy I'd just met and he asked that same question and I said "never" and then I swear, the waitress came up and asked if I'd sign her Adventure Time comic. It was like I set it up or something.

I asked later and she'd just gotten the comic before work (which is why she had it on her) and she didn't recognize me, she overheard my name as she was bringing us the food and put 2+2 together). Still!

DoucheCraft2 karma

Any relation to Peter North?

qwantz4 karma

I'm not familiar with his FULL body of work, but none to my knowledge :0

Infammo2 karma

Assuming you were a very productive artist and decided to make the inverse Dinosaur comic with the same text but different pictures everyday what semi-vague dialogue do you think you could stretch out over the most comics?

qwantz8 karma

Infammo, let me blow your mind because THIS PROJECT EXISTS. It's a book called "Exercises in Style: 99 Ways to Tell a Story" and to answer your question: it's about a guy opening the fridge and forgetting what he was looking for.

Lobotomist2 karma

Huge fan of Kurt Vonnegut here. My question is why Slaughterhouse 5 ?

And why do you think people are generally unsuccessful in adapting Kurt Vonnegut ?

qwantz6 karma

It was Archaia who approached me and asked if I liked Vonnegut (LOVE HIM) and suggested Slaughterhouse. That would NEVER have been my first choice because it's his most famous work, and my major concern with that book was I didn't want to be The Guy Who Ruined Slaughterhouse-Five. It just had higher stakes than the others, you know! But it also makes sense to do the most famous book, and it just made me work all the harder to produce a script for an adaptation that would not just honour the original work but also make an argument for its own existance.

I think we were helped a lot by the fact that S5 does really feel like it was intended as a comic! I know that's not literally the case, but so much of the mechanics of the novel: skipping through time, seeing different eras all at once - they all are so much EASIER in comics, where clothing and style and colour can instantly tell you you're in WWII or the 60s or whatever, and you don't need to spend sentences explaining that to the reader. The fact that the text and the medium compliment each other so well helped me and Albert a lot, I think.

ZurrgabDaVinci7582 karma

You've been writing webcomics since they were carved in stone, how has it changed over that time?

How is writong long-form stuff similar/different?

Any advice for aspiring writers?

qwantz5 karma

Advice for aspiring writers: you don't have to write every day, but I do think you should put your writing where people can find it. Every job I've gotten traces itself back, in some way, to me putting up Dinosaur Comics - THE FIRST COMIC I EVER WROTE - online, and then continuing to do so. Yes, you're making a comic, but you're also showing people what you like, what you can do, the fact you can hit a deadline, etc. There's tons of benefits! Plus if you're lucky you'll get nice notes from people, which mean a ton.

Writing longform is interesting, because most of my work there has been in monthly books, where #1 is out in print by the time you're working on #4. So unlike most writing, you can't go back and change things. It really helps to have a good outline so you don't write yourself into a corner! It's also got higher stakes: if one day's Dinosaur Comic isn't to your taste, there's always tomorrow's. But if you don't care for a longer Squirrel Girl arc, well, we're in it for at least four issues which is a QUARTER of a YEAR! So I do spend more time trying to make the longer plots as great as I can.

Fredissimo6662 karma

1) Do you sometimes realise you just wrote a comic that you already wrote in the past?

2) Not a question, but you have the BEST merch! I love my Dinosaur Comic white board!

qwantz5 karma

1) YEP! This has happened several times. Sometimes I catch it before it goes up, sometimes someone ELSE catches it and then I have to pull the comic and write a new one and feel like a big idiot. :) 2) Haha, thank you! The whiteboard was something I'd wanted to make for YEARS and I was so happy when we finally found a manufacturer who could do it. (Most made them to be given away in swag bags and the quality was really bad.)

UrbanDismay1 karma

I know sweet fanny adams about comics (sorry!) but how do you get your hair to look so luscious?

qwantz2 karma

When it was shorter I didn't have to do much and just used the cheapest 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner I could find, but as it's grown I've switched to better repairing conditioner, trying to manage the split ends caused by my initial neglect! But it also helps I took that photo in the morning: by the evening it hangs flatter in my head and is MUCH less Fabio-esque.

Druskell1 karma

I loved what you did with Squirrel Girl.
Do you plan to go back to that ip? Is a movie or show happening, I heard rumors?

Did Marvel ever shoot down your ideas? How hard was it to come up with a bottom text for each page?

qwantz2 karma

Hey thanks! If there's a movie happening, they haven't told me! But I do still love Doreen and would love to be involved in future stories with her. :)

My editors at Marvel were super supportive! They'd never shoot down an idea (unless it was impossible, like if I said "Hey, let's kill Spider-Man! Like for real!!" they'd probably shoot that down) (or WOULD they) but they would sometimes "yes and" the idea, coming up with a way to make it even better. That's basically the ideal form of an editor, in my opinion it's what you want!

The bottom text would sometimes be written as I wrote the issue, but most of it was written a day or two later, when I would re-read the whole thing and decide what to put there. It's fun, felt a little like a victor lap, and a last chance to punch up any jokes!

night_in_the_ruts1 karma

Favorite bit from new book, which I am looking forward to purchasing from a seller of fine readables in the near future?

qwantz3 karma


My favourite bit (and this is sincere) is the illustrations Carly Monardo came up with for the book. In the manuscript I'd write down outlines for what the illos could be, but then Carly and I would have these chats where we'd punch them up, or she'd suggest new ideas, etc. One of the biggest was to have a single supervillain character that reoccured throughout the book - I'd envisioned it as a different one each time, but by making it one lady, it gave the book this visual narrative, as her adventures progressed throughout the book. It's really something special!

ALSO: when I asked Carly what the villain is named she said "Patricia" and I said "oh really why Patricia" and she said "her full name is Patricia Chadams" and I said "oh really why Patricia Chadams" and she said "So for short it's Pat Chadams which sounds like 'Patch Adams', the 1998 Robin Williams vehicle" and I hung up the phone

Digital_loop1 karma

How many hits a day/month does Dino comic get?

Also, how long did it take before it started turning a profit?

qwantz3 karma

I honestly haven't looked at Dinosaur Comics traffic for years: once I started posting on Twitter, I found the "getting likes" thing there scratched the same itch, and was probably healthier than obsessing over traffic metrics! Traffic is definitely down from what it was, but that's also due to the fact isn't the only place to see Dinosaur Comics anymore!

Profitwise it TECHNICALLY broken even initially because I worked for free and was piggybacking on free hosting, but it took about a year before I sold any merchandise to people who weren't family and friends. I started doing the comic full time when I graduated in 2006, and by then it was making about $30 a day, which was (at the time) enough for me to make rent and buy cheap food and keep up my fabulous student lifestyle. (That's about 11k a year.) Afterwards it made more money than that, thankfully, but that $30 a day rate is burned in my mind, because I made $10 on a shirt, so I knew I had to sell three shirts a day to keep it going. (Presumably there were three topless people that I was saving each and every day.)

AshKetchup6001 karma

Which comics are your biggest inspiration?

qwantz3 karma

When I started Dinosaur Comics I didn't know there WERE any other webcomics except Achewood, so I thought I'd be the second comic on the internet. So: Achewood!