So, in the last week, traffic to my website has literally quadrupled on average each day. I can only assume this is because of the release of Youngblood #78 last week, which means that a lot of the folks reading this are pretty new to the awesomeness that is Ryan L. Schrodt, Writer of Comics – Destroyer of Worlds. Since most of you that were around prior to last week have either known me from college or followed me on Twitter for the last few years, I feel like proper introductions are in order. You can introduce yourself in the comments at the end of this post and I will introduce myself via today’s Top 10 list – The Top 10 Things You Might Want to Know about Ryan L. Schrodt!
My last name is constantly being mispronounced, so don’t feel bad if you had no idea how to say it. Schrodt rhymes with boat, goat, and vote. You don’t pronounce the C or the D. I would tell you what some of the common mispronunciations are, but that would just open it up for you to call me by a number of unfortunate nicknames that have plagued the Schrodts for generations.
Also, the “L” stands for Lee, which is a derivative of my grandmother’s name (Leola).
In addition to Youngblood #78 (on sale now), I’ve written a bunch of other comics. In 2011, I had a one page story featured in Mark Millar’s CLiNT Magazine (drawn by Des Taylor). In 2012, I had a short story in Shakespeare Shaken from Red Stylo Media. Later this year you can find short stories I wrote in two different Gathering volumes from Grayhaven Comics (“War” and “Cities”). I will also have a short story in Unfashioned Creatures: A Frankenstein Anthology, also from Red Stylo Media. I also wrote a back-up story for Des Taylor’s Scarlett Couture from Titan Books, which was announced at San Diego Comic Con this year.
Additionally, I wrote and self-published a collection of short comics titled Matinee Eclectica, which can be purchased from Indy Planet (or from me at conventions). It features art by Ryan Lee, Guy Allen, Steve Ott, Greg Hillsman, Kyle Shold, Nick Justus and more, as well as pin-ups from industry superstars Josh Howard, Moritat, Victor, Santos, and Tracie Mauk. Plus the cover is by Joe Eisma and Misty Coats. Basically, it’s pretty damn incredible.
08. DEAR DINOSAUR
Dear Dinosaur is a weekly comedic webcomic that I write and draw for www.twoforonecomics.com. It is an advice column written by a dinosaur that hates humans. Yes, you read that correctly. The comic started in January 2011 and is currently on its fourth storyline. You can catch up with every single strip on the website, where you will also find new strips every single Thursday. Then you can check back on this site for official commentary. And, if you are feeling saucy, you can find me at conventions to buy the print editions, which includes exclusive strips and pin-ups from my awesome friends.
The best way to reach me is via Twitter, where you can find me @RyanSchrodt. I tweet constantly and always have my phone on me, so I can get in touch with you immediately. You can also friend me on Facebook, where you can also like the official Dear Dinosaur page. If all else fails, email me. I love interacting with fans and would be more than happy to chat it up with you. Let’s be best friends.
I don’t consider myself an artist. I do draw Dear Dinosaur and I do take commissions, plus I’m always doing sketches at conventions. I don’t consider myself an artist, but I love drawing and over the last year+ of drawing Dear Dinosaur, I have developed my own bizarre loose style that is somewhere between the mad scribbling of a third grader and Garfield creator Jim Davis. I post sketches regularly on both Facebook and Twitter, so you can check out my “art” there. I am available for very affordable commissions as well if you are interested!
I am constantly talking about Lebowski on Twitter and Facebook, which may confuse some of my new friends (that’s you!). Lebowski is my dog. He is a rat terrier/Jack Russell terrier mix that my wife and I rescued 3 years ago. He is pretty much the coolest dog ever and has made sporadic appearances in Dear Dinosaur, where he is usually just barking at stuff. Interestingly enough, he also made a guest appearance in Elephantmen #49, where he was drawn onto Doc Schrodt’s coffee mug. I’ll explain that in a later post, though.
Aside from comics, Lebowski is probably the #1 thing that I tweet about. If you follow me on Twitter, you can also expect lots of rants about the Vancouver Canucks, which are my favorite hockey team, and Saturday Night Live’s Vanessa Bayer, who I inexplicably have a huge celebrity crush on and talk about quite a bit.
Some of you may know me from the five years that I spent as a reviewer of comics on various message boards and, most notably, on The Weekly Crisis. I quit reviewing comics in 2011, ending my column The Comic Book Review Power Rankings, to seriously pursue writing comics. Pull quotes from my reviews were used to promote Elephantmen, Thor: First Thunder, Kill Shakespeare, Skullkickers, and more. I made a lot of awesome friends while reviewing comics, both in and out of the comic book industry. Oddly enough, one of my colleagues at The Weekly Crisis, Ryan K. Lindsay, has also made the jump to writing comics. Check out his stuff, as he has a HUGE future in comics.
I often get asked what my favorite comics are. My all time favorite comics are Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon and The New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. Currently, my favorite books are pretty much everything being put out by Image Comics (Elephantmen, Saga, Revival, Skullkickers, Morning Glories, Chew, etc, etc, etc) as well as Hawkeye and Captain Marvel. I’m also really digging the current direction of the X-Men franchise over at Marvel. Oh yeah, and All-Star Western.
My favorite food is burritos. My second favorite food is jambalaya. One time, I made a grilled jambalaya-filled burrito and it was pretty fucking glorious.
Despite not having a ton of published work (yet), I am asked quite often if I have any advice for aspiring writers. I’ve been working at making comics for about six years now and I’m just now starting to get my big break, so the first piece of advice I can give is to be patient. This isn’t going to happen overnight. Or, at the very least, it shouldn’t happen overnight. If it does, congrats. You are pretty damn lucky!
I could give you the same advice everyone does—don’t talk about making comics when you could be making comics, don’t be afraid to self-published, learn about the three act structure and apply it, make outlines, etc etc etc—but you can find that advice anywhere. Instead, I’ll offer something a little different.
You need to learn to read comics not as a fan, but as a creator. Dissect everything that you read. If you like it, ask why you like it. If you hate it, find out what you would change to make it better. Map out the plot to see how it follows the three act structure. Focus on the layouts. Count the number of words per panel. Clock how long it takes you to read a Bendis comic versus a Johns comic, then ask yourself why there is a difference. Don’t just read comics for fun; study them. It’ll make you a better writer or artist if you can understand the medium and its idiosyncrasies.
And one more thing—I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes that became my personal mantra in making comics over the last few years. On his final night hosting The Tonight Show, a very humble Conan O’Brien said “If you work really hard, and you are kind, amazing things will happen.”