Monday, July 15, 2013

Raptormaniacs Revamp (For Real)

At long last I have come around to revisit the original reason I started this blog to begin with: the Raptormaniacs web comic. It's been more than a year since I last drew a real comic for the blog and much has changed since then. I started dabbling in digital art, for one thing. For another, there have been new scientific discoveries that have made my character designs outdated. All that called for something of a makeover.

For the sake of trivia, have a quick list of the major changes I made.

-I've had readers tell me that they've had trouble differentiating between Savape and Zahavi. In hindsight it was extremely foolish of me to have two "archaeopterygid"-type main characters in the comic and for a long time I'd wanted to either put up a guide to distinguishing the two or have Zahavi transform into a larger troodont in-universe to eliminate the problem. (He has unlimited cartoon powers; he can do that kind of thing.) In the meantime though, paleontology came to the rescue. New analysis of Archaeopteryx feathers show that they had black leading edges. Although an earlier study already demonstrated that the original Archaeopteryx specimen, an isolated covert feather, was dark colored, I had been reluctant to include this in the comic for fear that it would quickly wear down my pencils. Switching to digital art removes the dilemma. Savape's new color patterns are not easy to see at the resolution of the new dramatis personae above, but with luck she should be less mistakable when she shows up in future comics. While we're at it, I gave Remex his tail bands too.

-Feathers extend down to the foot in all the characters (besides Skull and Dinky for obvious reasons) now, based on new Mesozoic avialan specimens showing the ubiquity of foot feathers in Mesozoic theropods. (There's something I wasn't kidding about!)

-Ebeff now has pennibrachiae (wings), based on new evidence of them being present in (adult) ornithomimosaurs, suggesting a wider phylogenetic bracket for them.

-A number of aesthetic choices, such as smoothing the body contours of most of the characters (based on the concept that "primitive"-looking body feathers on fossil dinosaur specimens may be taphonomic illusions) and making their hands and upper legs more obscured by feathers (because there's no reason to think they didn't work like living birds in that respect).

Can I guarantee that I'll post comics more frequently now? Simply put, no. However, I might do an experiment that may help me in doing so, to be revealed shortly.


  1. I think it's really cool how you're incorporating up-to-date paleontological findings into your comic!

    (Also, you should totally do a crossover with My Little Maniraptor.)

    1. Thanks; I try my best. You're not the first to suggest that crossover idea...