Ryan North

North_photo (1)Interviewed by Kyle Schoenfeld

Ryan North is a Toronto-based writer, cartoonist, and computer programmer.  He began writing the award-winning webcomic Dinosaur Comics in 2003.  Since then Dinosaur Comics has been collected in four print volumes.  From 2012 to 2014, Ryan wrote the Eisner- and Harvey-Award-winning Adventure Time comic book series.  His other writing credits include The Midas Flesh and Marvel’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

Outside of comics, Ryan co-edited and wrote for the 2010 short story collection Machine of Death (inspired by a Dinosaur Comics strip) and its 2013 follow-up volume This is How You Die.  Also in 2013, he published To Be or Not to Be, a chooseable-path version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet; a sequel called Romeo and/or Juliet is currently in progress.

As a long-time fan of Dinosaur Comics and a contributor to This is How You Die, I was excited to get the chance to talk to Ryan.  We corresponded via email.

In the past, you’ve said you don’t like the label “writer.”  Is there a label or a job description that fits your career to this point?  Does “cartoonist” cover it?

Oh, I’d almost forgotten about that!  I’ve always been twitchy around labels.  These days if I’m at a party and someone asks what I do, I’ll answer depending on how interesting I want to seem.  If I want to seem the least interesting I’ll say I’m a computer programmer (which is true!  I run Project Wonderful, which is an ad network I wrote that is designed, unlike all other ad networks, NOT to suck) but if I want to seem more interesting I’ll say “writer.”  And if I want to seem super interesting I’ll go with “cartoonist,” although that’s risky because there’s always the chance they’ll want you to draw something when you say that, and then you have to explain you’re not THAT kind of cartoonist.

But given all that I do, I think “writer” fits the largest volume of it. These days I’m much happier to call myself a writer than I was a few years ago.

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