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Comic writer Ryan North: Iron Man wasn’t a big deal in comics before his movie came out

At Delhi Comic Con 2017, comic writer Ryan North says he’s really excited to be visiting India and would love to write a comic book on the country.

books Updated: Dec 17, 2017 15:01 IST
Aditya Dogra
Comic writer Ryan North vouches for the efficacy of the online medium to get recognition for one’s work.
Comic writer Ryan North vouches for the efficacy of the online medium to get recognition for one’s work.

The Delhi Comic Con is here and one of the many special guests, at the three-day pop culture fest, is Canadian comic writer, Ryan North. North is the creator and author of Dinosaur Comics, writer of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl for Marvel Comics since its debut, and the experimental bestseller Romeo and/or Juliet.

North says he’s stoked to come to India. “I’m very excited! I’ve actually never been to India before, which makes it even more exciting than just comics (not that comics aren’t exciting, but you know what I mean). I’ve been reading a lot of tourist guides, so I’ll be able to take in as much as possible. It’s not a super long trip, so I won’t be able to see everything (it would take dozens and dozens of trips for that), but we do have a day set aside just for touristy stuff in Delhi,” he says.

Excited about his experiences in India, the writer says, “I would love to write about India. I wouldn’t want to write something without researching it first because you want to (and have to) get it right. So, in a way, this trip is the first step towards that taking place,” he says.

The cover of Ryan North’s book The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

The rush at the event makes him say, “I love that comics are being enjoyed everywhere on the planet, and I hope I can do my part to help keep that happening.” In addition, for aspiring artists and writers, North has one simple advice: “Put your work online and keep at it.”

“I feel like everyone has a different course. I can only speak from my experience, and I really recommend everyone to put your work online, where people can see it. I got my first job in print comics doing Adventure Time comics for Boom Studios, and that was because my editor there — Shannon Watters — had been a fan of my webcomic (titled) Dinosaur Comics,” he says, adding, “I’d been creating Dinosaur Comics for over a decade at that point, and thought it was just a comic. But, it turns out it was doing a lot of other things too: It was showing editors I could meet a deadline (especially a self-imposed deadline, which is the hardest one to meet), it showed I knew my way around a joke, it showed the sort of stories I wanted to tell, etc. What I thought was a webcomic about talking dinosaurs was actually a really long-form visual resume! So, I’m a big fan of putting work online. You can get exposure, and might accumulate a fan base, too, but most [important] of all, you’ll get better at what you do.”

“Iron Man wasn’t a big deal in the comics before his movie came out and was amazing... now he’s one of my favourite characters that I [would] love to write for, whenever I get a chance. So, it’s a loop. The comics inform the movies, which can then inform the comics.” — Ryan North, comic writer

North feels that movies inspired by comic books help expand readership of the latter. “There are people reading comics today, who first got interested in the characters because of the movies. It’s helped the comics [like] Iron Man wasn’t a big deal in the comics before his movie came out and was amazing... now he’s one of my favourite characters that I [would] love to write for, whenever I get a chance. So, it’s a loop. The comics inform the movies, which can then inform the comics, and so on,” he says.

“I hope that as the Marvel movies continue (and other comic book movies too), more and more people — who are fans of these movies — say: ‘Hey, maybe I’ll check out the comics too!’ And then bam! [They become] Readers for life,” he signs off.

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