Ryan North is a busy person. The Ottawa-born humorist is the creator of Dinosaur Comics -- a charming and clever constrained webcomic that is currently in its ninth year. In addition to that, he is currently writing the Adventure Time comic book series and working on putting together a sequel to the successful science-fiction anthology Machine of Death.
He also maintains a blog devoted to mocking the 1985 novelization of Back to the Future, but that is purely for fun.
With all of North's recent success, it is strange to think that everything started with a comic strip about a clipart Tyrannosaurus rex stepping on a house.
"I was in undergrad and I wanted to do a comic, but I didn't know how to draw," he explains. Because of this, North chose to take a unique approach to the comic strip format.
"My first idea was a comic where it was the same story every day, and I just changed the way it was drawn, which is the exact wrong project for me to be doing," says North. "Then I flipped it, and thought, 'What if it was the same pictures but with a different story every day?' And I ran with that."
This novel concept provides the perfect vessel for North to fill with jokes about everything from Batman to ethical relativism, all presented as conversations between the same three anthropomorphic dinosaurs. Over time, Dinosaur Comics has grown in popularity, and is now one of the most beloved comics on the Internet.
"I started the comic almost nine years ago now, and I just sort of kept at it. You start to build an audience slowly and try to be as good as you can every day with updating and telling funny jokes."
Funny jokes have gotten North a long way, and with his recent foray into print comics, they will most likely take him a lot further. When approached by the creators of the animated series Adventure Time to do a comic book spinoff of the show, North jumped at the chance to be a part of something he already loved.
"I wouldn't want to do it if I didn't already know the show and like the show and like the characters," he explains. "You read comics based on other properties, like TV shows, and when they get stuff wrong it's so bad. So I wouldn't want to write something unless I knew the show well."
Considering all he has been doing, it seems like North could not possibly have time for anything else. Yet he continues to update a blog chronicling his reading of the poorly written Back to the Future novelization, entitled B to the F. However, to North, "that's the fun writing."
"There's usually something crazy on the page I can talk about, so it's more like relaxing writing. There are no expectations. I just started the blog for fun, so no one can be disappointed."