Reviews: Dinosaur Comics
I don't get this
Why is Dinosaur Comics so great? It's not a webcomic; it's an illustrated blog! What's there to look at? What's there to hold interest? How can this strip be exciting if T-Rex doesn't do anything save smashing houses, making wisecracks, and talking about random crap? Webcomics are supposed to do more. Half of a webcomic is the art, and one of the key things about Dinosaur Comics is its constrained artwork. The comic is essentially Ryan North talking to us through his puppet dinosaurs. It's not a webcomic, and I get sick of people calling it "the greatest webcomic ever". A lot of those same people go attacking newspaper comics for being boring and predictable, but at least they changed the artwork and gave something new to look at. A window of art is always more interesting than a wall of text, and Dinosaur Comics is just one wall of text after another. Here's all I ask: stop calling it a webcomic. Unless it's some sort of meta-joke, which, considering its audience, wouldn't surprise me. (Final note: If someone else would like to write a positive review that explains what makes this so great, please do so.)
I do get this.
Or maybe I don't. It doesn't bother me that the art is always the same. One thing that's great about Ryan North is his ability to keep me from noticing it until he wants me to notice it for a joke. Its also pretty amazing how much variation he gets out of it. Sometimes its two comics for the price of one. Sometimes half the comic is T-Rex's imagination. Sometimes the setting is changed with a simple caption like "Meanwhile in Tudor England" (because the art, while repetitive is minimalist with almost no background elements) and there are several recurring off panel characters (as well as the occasional sprite added like T-Rex's imaginary Batman.) Beyond that, as others have pointed out, T-Rex is a well conceived protagonist and someone a lot of us connect with. He's clearly trying to be fun and exciting, he's full of bravado and yet is so transparently insecure. One seems to come with the other. I think we all see that if he'd just allow himself to be accepted by his friends for who he is (and they clearly do most of the time) he'd be happy, and yet its so hard for him to do. Probably because deep down he doesn't accept himself as being good enough. Sure he's a T-Rex, probably the biggest ever, but he's not a Ninja T-Rex and that's just eating him up inside. I think he needs to be admired because its the only way he'll ever feel secure in the knowledge that others will always like him. Aside from that, its a pretty educational comic. Half the time I'm learning something new. Oh, and its funny. Really funny. Does that help? Last thought. The last panel of clip art is just gold. It captures a range of T-Rex's personality beautifully and its great to put that energy right at the end. I especially like the various instances where its left blank because its so funny and yet so sad at the same time.