Zach of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
SMBC, short for Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, is a heavy-hitter in the game of webcomics and science humor. Its creator is the immeasurably gifted Zach Weinersmith. With an eye for engaging intriguing concepts, and the funny bone wit to match, Zach has created a highly sophisticated comic that deals with a wide range of topics, from biochemistry and physics, to parenting and politics. Followers of SMBC appreciate intelligent dialogue that breathes fresh air into their day-to-day, and which gives them scrumptious intellectual food for thought.
A bit about SMBC
How do you describe Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal to a stranger?
It’s a daily gag comic about lots of nerdy topics, plus dirty jokes.
When did you start SMBC and why, and what were you up to before?
It started as a high school diversion in the late 90s. But, I didn’t take it up as a career opportunity until around 2005 or so. The last full time job I worked was as a closed captioner.
When did SMBC really start to take off, and what triggered it?
Probably around 2008 or so, and I’m really not sure!
Often your comics are constructed on serious scientific theory. How do you ensure the comic finds that perfect balance between the funny and the scientific?
I think a lot of this sort of thing is a matter of developing good taste and a sense of your audience. Also, I try not to send people to wikipedia more than once per comic.
Growing a webcomic
What aspect of running a webcomic has been most important for SMBC’s growth?
I think guest comics probably. That’s a great way to grow your audience.
Which has been your most successful comic in terms of views and engagement? What do you think made it work?
I haven’t got a clue, but the more serious or sentimental ones seem to be popular.
Where are some online places you post your comics?
I don’t know 🙂 I mostly use reddit.
How do you handle trolls and negative commenters?
I ignore them.
What’s the best strategy for monetizing a webcomic, in your opinion?
Diversification. Ad revenue, a variety of merchandise, patreon, etc.
For those of us who use ad networks, could you tell us what you have learned over the years about successful ad implementation?
Not a damn thing. Hiveworks manages my ads for me now.
What advice can you give new webcomic creators about setting up an online store and promoting merch?
Make your comics as good as possible, and selling merch will be much easier.
What do you use to make your comics?
Manga studio and a cintiq tablet.
Tell us about your creative process.
I read a lot of books, then I try to write every single day. If I’m having trouble writing, it’s usually because I haven’t read enough difficult books lately.
How long does it take you to draw a 6-panel comic?
Depends on content. If it’s just people talking, maybe an hour. If it’s got lots of stuff going on, or requires weird angles or something, it can be much longer.
About Zach Weinersmith
What degrees do you hold, and do you plan on collecting any more?
I have a BA in literature and 3/8ths of a BS in physics.
You founded BAHFest. How do you manage to plan BAHfest AND do all your comics, AND do all that reading?
I have help 🙂 Amanda Rossi helps run BAHFest, and we also partner with local groups for most of our shows.
You are both a comic artist and a writer. What’s it like for you to use SMBC as vehicle for both?
It’s great! SMBC pays the bills consistently, which allows me to take risks doing other stuff.
You have to spend the rest of your life reading one author’s work. Who would it be and why?
Maybe Stanislaw Lem. He wrote a lot of diverse material.
If the world was to end tomorrow, how would you prefer it to go down?
Instantaneous vaporization before anyone knew what was going on.
What’s the best way to deal with a burglar you find in your living room?
Avoid eye contact.
If you could be any main character from any book ever for the rest of time, which main character would that be? Why?
God, for obvious reasons.
You get to reshape reality according to the world of a sci-fi novel of your choice. Which would it be?
Maybe some middle Heinlein, where everyone is a highly competent action hero who constantly wants weird sex.
If you had dinner with God and the Devil, how would that conversation go?
Tell us about your published books that are currently available.
Where do you see your molecules in 10,000 years?
Diffused throughout the solar system.
Thanks to Zach Weinersmith for taking the time to give us a little insight into his webcomic.
Check out Zach’s books
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