My Short Arm T-Rex Comic Journey
Updated: Oct 23
One morning in 2014, I woke up to an old friend messaging me on, I forget which social media, telling me that I'd better go check out Facebook right away. That was all it said. I had no idea if it was good, bad, a huge news event, nothing. It could have gone either way. Just like when my mom woke me up with a phone call on the morning of 9/11/01 and said, "Go turn on the TV!" Was this something terrible, too?
I rolled out of bed and logged into Facebook (Which I no longer use) and looked at the magic notification button lit up with a much higher number than I'd ever seen. In fact, it said 99, which was the highest number it could reach, I believe. Being only a mild user of Facebook and only really using it to show doodles to my friends and family, I wasn't used to so many instances of people associating with me on the (or any) platform.
Curious, I clicked on the notification button to reveal what in the world caused so much commotion. There appeared a little thumbnail of a silly cartoon I had drawn a day or two before and right next to it there was a number in the thousands. That number stated my toon was 'liked' something like 11,000 times, I forget how many now. But it was massively beyond anything of mine had ever been liked, or even viewed, before. When I clicked on the thumnail to go to my personal art page, I realized the source of all these likes were not my own floundering Derrick G. Wood Art Facebook page. No, it was none other than a page created by Mr. George Takei!
The previous day, and seemingly without much thought, I sent a comic off in a message to Mr. Takei's page. I had never done anything like this before. In fact, I didn't even feel very comfortable doing it. I figured nothing would ever become of this message aside from him seeing my toon and never writing back. But, all hail Mr. Takei, because he decided to share it to his page!
I was shocked. I yelled for my family to come see what I was seeing. To think that this many people were enjoying something that I drew was making us giggle wildly. Was this considered, ''viral?'' I had no idea, but I was loving it either way!
It was astounding to watch the like, share, and comment numbers climb over the next few days. T-Rex and their short arms were a semi-popular gag at the time, so it was nice to know that people were enjoying my take on the movement. I knew this was a good opportunity to get people to start looking at my other toons and my other arts, so I responded to each and every comment, which was in the hundreds at this point, in hopes of garnering some more support. I created stickers of the toon that I sent to many of these random strangers for free. I put together a book of my comics called, "Toons From Hard to Reach Places" with this little tyrannosaurus on the cover and listed it for sale on Amazon. I designed shirts with this comic on it. I desperately wanted the momentum to continue, but, despite my best efforts, nothing further became of it. Unfortunately, I was completely unable to capture the moment. Being the internet guru that I'm certainly not, I had no more ideas of how to fully develop this event into a fanbase. This caused me a bit of frustration, but then I realized I needed to enjoy the moment for what it was: An upward blip on the radar of my Rogue Symmetry. And that's what it remains to this day.
It offered some really fun moments though. One of my favorite memories took place at my art table at First Friday in Phoenix. I was wearing a shirt with my T-rex comic on it and a woman, realizing I was the one who drew it, said, "Shut the front door!!" and wanted to take a photo with me. That was super weird, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't do wonders for my ego. I can see how celebrities can become addicted to that sort of thing because it was pretty awesome to think someone wanted a photo of me because of my art. It's been nine years and that hasn't happened again, but... maybe someday....
From time to time I see my little Rexy floating around the internet, often with my name cut off (Thanks, jerks!), and it makes me smile. It's like seeing an old friend. If it wasn't for Mr. Takei, it would just be another one of my old comics.
If you see him, let me know! I love seeing what he's been up to since I brought him into this world. Thank you so much.
-Derrick G. Wood
While doing a little research for this blog post, I discovered this:
The wonderful Sherpa (RIP) by Go Comics featured my Short T-rex Arms comic. Check out the comments. There was a lot of wonderful support from my Rogue Symmetry readers who thought I should be promoted over to the main page of Go Comics. That didn't happen, despite my best efforts, but that's another blog post for another day.