is a constrained webcomic
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, the secret to being loved, and more.
The character 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. He is generally more intelligent and skeptical than T-Rex, and often refutes whatever point T-Rex made in the first half, though T-Rex rarely takes notice. 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.
- 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 Playwright and poet William Shakespeare appears in an intermittent series called "Literary Technique Comics.
- "Mr. Tusks" is 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.
These supporting characters almost never speak. Often, they are simply part of the scenery of the strip, and in later strips they are very rarely even acknowledged, despite their regular appearance. They all appear in the strip while T-Rex is about to stomp on them. These characters are:
- The tiny house in panel 3 (occupied in at least one strip)
- The tiny car in panel 3 (possibly occupied, and "slightly out of scale)
- The tiny woman in panel 4
Every comic contains three hidden comments (easter eggs
). One is contained in the alternate text, which can be accessed by holding the cursor over the strip and waiting for the title text tooltip to pop up, or through the image file's properties menu for browsers with a length limit. The second, which began appearing with the fifth comic, is found in the subject line of the "Comments" e-mail address
. The third is found in the RSS
feed of the comic and the archive page, being, essentially, the comic's title. Additional easter eggs have been left in some comics, such as the URL to God's ringtone (the Téléfrançais
theme) hidden in the watermark of one comic and an image steganographically
hidden in a comic about steganography. The image at the bottom of the webpage displaying the tiny woman and house changes according to the current season.
was named one of the best webcomics of 2004
by The Webcomics Examiner.
Cracked.com named Dinosaur Comics one of the 8 funniest webcomics on the internet.
In 2005, it won "Outstanding Anthropomorphic Comic" in the Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards
. Soon after, in August 2005, Dinosaur Comics
was accepted into the Dayfree Press
Japan English class
was used by an English teacher in Japan for creative writing exercises. The project was similar to Penny Arcade
's "Remix Project". The teacher, a friend of North's, used blank templates of the comic and had his students fill in dialogue. The results of this activity were posted to the Dinosaur Comics fan art page
, and two phrases from the students' comics ("Am I bad man?" and "People is sometimes kind") were used in DC
April Fool's joke
On April Fool's Day
2008, Dinosaur Comics
was part of a three-webcomic prank involving Questionable Content
, where each comic's URL displayed another comic's web page. www.questionablecontent.net displayed the Dinosaur Comics
website, www.qwantz.com displayed xkcd
, and www.xkcd.com displayed Questionable Content