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Thursday, June 27, 2013

DEAR DINOSAUR - "New and Exciting Things"

It’s a huge week for Dear Dinosaur!  Have you checked out today’s new strip, which is a turning point for Volume IV?  If not, head over to and check it out!  This week is definitely the most important strip of the volume, so you don’t want to miss it.  Then, once you’ve read it, you don’t want to miss this week’s commentary!

Up until this week, Dear Dinosaur’s relationship with the Shadowy Board of Editorial Figures has been rather combative.  After their plan to introduce a sidekick to the strip backfired, the Shadowy Board realized they need to patch things up with Dear Dinosaur if they want to make the improvements that they feel are needed.  Hence today’s strip, where the Shadowy Board makes a “deal” with Dear Dinosaur to try some “new and exciting things” with the strip.  This kicks off the next 15 weeks or so of stories, which are some of the craziest that I’ve done on the comic.

My original plan was to have the representative of the Shadowy Board to be more devilish.  He is supposed to be manipulative and devious, so my originally design really played that up.  Ultimately, though, I felt like it was too dark and it interfered with my idea to use the devil and angel gag later in the strip.  Then I decided I wanted to make him a bit younger and less menacing.  I thought to model him after actor Joe Manganiello, who I thought had a cool look, but then after marathoning this season of Mad Men over the weekend, I changed my mind.  I felt that Roger Sterling (actor John Slattery) was the perfect fit—you want to trust him, even though he is clearly slimey, which is exactly what I had in mind for the character. 

As I’ve mentioned in these commentaries in the past, I love tropes from old cartoons and one of my absolute favorites is the devil/angel on the shoulder.  It’s a classic and I’ve wanted to use it in the strip for some time.  I had a ton of fun designing the devil, who combines elements of Dear Dinosaur, the immortal Jack Kirby’s Devil Dinosaur, and general Satan-y elements.  I love the design so much that hopefully I’ll have a chance to draw the character into the strip again.  The angel, on the other hand, is just Dear Dinosaur’s wife Krunch.  We haven’t seen Krunch since the finale of Volume III and I really didn’t have any plans to draw her into this volume, so it was actually my own selfish love of the character that made her the image of Dear Dinosaur’s conscience.

In addition to the Mad Men reference, I also snuck in references to a few other shows that I enjoy.  In the first panel, I’m wearing a “Mars Investigations” shirt, which is a reference to the show Veronica Mars (soon to be a crowdfunded movie!).  Later on, in panel 5, Dear Dinosaur is imagining his rich-and-famous lifestyle by picturing himself diving into a pile of coins a la Scrooge McDuck in Duck Tales.  Since the strip is in black-and-white, I didn’t think it would be terribly clear what he was doing, so I have him singing his own version of the Duck Tales theme song (which is crazy addictive).

This week’s soundtrack is “Liar” by Rollins Band.  Henry Rollins is one of my personal and professional heroes.  Not only is he a badass musician, but he is a brilliant writer, comedian, and actor.  There really isn’t anything Rollins can’t do and I really admire that.  

Finally, this week’s strip, along with many others is for sale!  If you’d like to buy the original 11 x 17 art, it’s only $10 plus $3 shipping anywhere in the US.  Shoot me an email at if you are interested!

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