Comic Book Launch: Dino Comics and Scott Pilgrim

Last night I headed to Rocco's Plum Tomato for the sweet launch party for Dinosaur Comics and Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness from Torontonians Ryan North and Bryan Lee O'Malley, respectively.

If you follow the local scene at all, you probably already know these dudes - a friend of mine introduced me to Dinosaur Comics, and it's been a daily hit for me since.


A chap I met at the IFOA from the Beguiling sold me on Scott Pilgrim as the quintessential TO comic and best 'starter' graphic novel. (I did not buy it, at the time, because I am poor, but it is on my list. And North also insisted that I check it out, so really I have no choice).

The book is North's first proper one - he'd made some himself for comic conventions and suffered minor injuries, so he's quite chuffed to have a real, properly bound one from an actual publisher. O'Malley's on his third SP book, so he's rather an old hand at this point.

Aside from the comic proper, North sells Dino comic merch on the site, which pays the bills.

The crowd was shyly enthusiastic, mostly male, youngish (early 20s - though there were a couple kids about, which I thought was adorable) and hip in a nerdy sort of way. They were very patient, polite and apologetic asking North for signatures and photos during our highly informal interview. I spent a lot of time loitering and eavesdropping - who asks better questions than avid fans?

North is polite and enthused also, one of those talented people you're happy to see doing well because it makes the universe seem a fairer place. He's also quite a sport indulging his readers; one fan asked for a very specific pose for his photo. (I asked him to email me the file, so hopefully you'll see it here).

The pic, as promised -Thanks Aaron!


His fans online are quite communicative. Part of the fun of having a comic online is the instant gratification and response. North says he receives a lot of grammar emails (he studies linguistics), particularly when he started using CAPS FOR EMPHASIS, along with a lot of generally positive 'just writing to say I like your comic' sort of messages. They also give him stuff, which is a nice bonus.

Someone brought him a potato. An interesting potato - it looked like it had a face and dreads - but still. North has received other pressies as well - someone in Switzerland sent him a Toblerone for Christmas, which I think is quite sweet.


After signing, (books, scraps of paper, an arm) North gave a presentation of sorts - talked a bit about the comic, the template he uses (basically clip art he fiddled with), and wrote a comic strip live, using audience suggestions, which was an entertaining process - nothing says a good time like typos. North usually takes 2-3 hours in the morning to write his daily comic, so he's planning to "massage" the strip before Monday (he labeled the file "DRAFT - DO NOT POST AS IS") - check out qwantz.com for the rough draft and final version.

He then read a couple of his panels and answered some audience questions, including relating an amusing but somewhat embarrassing personal anecdote at the urging of one of his friends in the audience, which must have taken some serious cojones - you have to be pretty well-adjusted to share that kind of tale with a room full of strangers.

Next up for North, aside from the daily dose of T-rex, - a cartoon pilot. North admits it is somewhat difficult given the nature of his comic, but an exciting step nonetheless.

Not wanting to keep North from an evening of karaoke, I asked if he had any final words of wisdom, to which he replied "the ravages of puberty leave no one unscathed."

Also, if any of his fans are really enthusiastic inventors, he'd like a pair of rocket boots.

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