Friday, May 22, 2009

Dinosaur Comics is a constrained webcomic by Canadian writer Ryan North. It is also known as "Qwantz", after the site's domain name, "qwantz.com". It has been online since February 1, 2003, though there were early prototypes. Dinosaur Comics has also been printed in two collections and in a number of newspapers.

Comics are posted on most weekdays. Each comic uses the same artwork, with only the dialogue changing from day to day. There are occasional deviations from this, such as several episodic comics. It has been compared to David Lynch's The Angriest Dog in the World comic, and also made references to it. The strips take on a wide variety of topics, including ethical relativism, the nature of happiness, and the secret to being loved.

Main cast

The main characters' names are each dinosaur's genus (with the notable exception being "T-Rex", an abbreviation of the Tyrannosaurus' full binomial name). Although other dinosaurs have been mentioned in the strip, they are rarely shown.

* T-Rex is the main character. He is a green, 27-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex. His character is portrayed as self-confident, but frequently shown up by other characters, especially Utahraptor. He is good-hearted, but occasionally shows signs of being egotistical or selfish. T-Rex appears to be stomping a log cabin and a woman in the third and fourth panels of the comic, respectively.
* Utahraptor, T-Rex's comedic foil, appears in the fourth and fifth panels of the comic. One early comic says one of his identifying features is that he "frequently debunk[s] [T-Rex's] theories." Utahraptor is gay, as North confirmed in the title of the RSS feed for the December 13, 2007 comic:

“ i received several dozen emails about utahraptor either being a girl or being gay in yesterday's comic! he is gay, guys. only he doesn't talk about it all the time, on account of having interests outside of being gay? ”

* Dromiceiomimus appears in the third panel. She is generally friendly to T-Rex, answering either neutrally or with mild, friendly criticism. She has been a romantic interest of T-Rex's.

Supporting cast

* Several comics take place in a mirror universe. In this arc, the standard comic has been flipped horizontally, as if seen in a mirror. All of the dinosaurs, in addition to being literal mirror images, sport drawn-on goatees to demonstrate that they are the mirror-universe counterparts of the normal characters.
* God and the Devil make frequent appearances in the strip, speaking from off the tops and bottoms of the panels respectively, in bold and capitalized letters and with the Devil's font in red. They also speak with little or no punctuation and can be heard only by T-Rex. Topics of conversation between T-Rex and God vary, but the Devil and T-Rex mostly discuss video games and Dungeons & Dragons.
* T-Rex's neighbors: families of raccoons and cephalopods who talk to T-Rex in unsettling tones, with capitalized italics.
* Morris: a tiny bug, lacking in self-confidence, who mostly appears on T-Rex's nose and speaks in lowercase letters.
* A fictionalized version of 19th-century poet Edgar Allan Poe first appears offscreen, supposedly relaxing on T-Rex's couch, and later as a needy, annoying friend of T-Rex's, following T-Rex around and only wanting to talk about their relationship with one another.
* A fictionalized version of actor Patrick Stewart appears in several comics.
* A fictionalized version of William Shakespeare appears in an intermittent series called "Literary Technique Comics."
* Mr. Tusks: an elephant affected by island dwarfism. He speaks only in the sixth frame and makes puns on the word "short" and its variants every time he speaks. He is the Vice-Mayor of a fictional place known in the comic as Tiny Towne.


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