Episode 15: Serial Artistry with Zach Weinersmith

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Zach Weinersmith, the artist behind Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, takes nerdy Web comics to their logical extreme, and has developed a huge following among science geeks. We talk about his career, the popularity of Web comics, and fulfilling big Kickstarter campaigns in this podcast.

Find him on Twitter as @zachweiner; his SMBC comics feed is @smbccomics.

Show notes

Remember that peak Superman will one day occur. Randall Munroe creates xkcd. Harvey Pekar wrote and storyboarded pieces of his life that comic-book artists illustrated.

My love for Futurama knows few bounds. David Cohen solved a pancake-sorting problem. Zach loved discovering Polish hand magic. The Harlem Globetrotters in Futurama show a real formula in the Prisoner of Benda.

Bob Thaves created Frank & Earnest, and I interviewed him in the late 1990s. Matthew Inman creates The Oatmeal, and his mother’s town’s postmistress hates her. Rich Stevens is the evil robot behind Diesel Sweeties. Tom Tomorrow (aka Dan Perkins) won the Herblock Prize this year for excellence in editorial cartooning. Breadpig publishes books and handles merchandise for folks like xkcd and SMBC.

I spoke with Adam and Tonya Engst about 20-plus years of electronic publishing in Episode #8 (January 30, 2013). Zach’s Kickstarter for “Science: Ruining Everything Since 1543” was a rousing success. SMBC Theater is a cool side project. Newsradio featured an episode about Dilbert; Scott Adams is the guy in line behind Joe Rogan.

Kelly Wienersmith, Zach’s wife, is a parasitologist. Ewwwwww. Well, it’s cool stuff. But, ewwwwww. She’s been involved with SciFund, crowdfunding dollars for science. Zach mentioned his friends’ work on Gaymer X, an all-inclusive gaming/lifestyle event focused on LGBTQ culture.

Andrew Sullivan left the Daily Beast to pursue a “leaky paywall” model of funding himself and his writers and editors. At last count, they’ve grossed nearly $650,000 in a matter of weeks towards a goal for the entire year of $900,000. The Magazine went porous (one article per month for free) in February.

Amanda Palmer told a TED audience and the world that asking for things isn’t the same as begging or coercing people (1.5 million views so far).

Zach’s latest project is the Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses (BAH) at MIT on April 20, 2013. It’s somewhere between the Darwin Awards and the Ig Nobel Prizes.