Interview: Zack Weiner
Zack Weiner is a modern day Renaissance man. Taking the success he achieved with his award-winning, offensive Web comic, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, Weiner has branched out into adult superhero parody, funny and profane videos and, strangely, children’s comics.
What does the Web allow you to do as a creator that you couldn’t do if you were syndicated in newspapers?
Two major things. First, my content is unedited. This means I’m free to be more creative in general, but especially as it concerns offensive content. Second, no formatting rules. My comic can be any size I like, which allows me to do lots of weird things like super long comics or papercraft comics.
Is getting into print still a goal for Web comic creators?
It depends on what you mean by “print.” Most of us don’t actively seekÂ for newspaper stuff, but book deals are fairly common. Having stuff on paper is as lucrative as ever, but distribution is changing.
You have multiple projects in multiple mediums now. Can you give me a run-down of your current projects?
SMBC Theater is my first video project, and it’s an attempt at sketch comedy. I’m an equal partner with my brother and my writing partner James Ashby. It’s in the vein of SMBC Comics, but the jokes are a bit more general, and perhaps a bit less geeky. It updates Sunday at 9pm PST.
Snowflakes is an adventure comic strip for kids that I do with James Ashby and Chris Jones. It’s rated G, but is designed to be fun for adults too. Because the art isn’t by me, it’s fantastic. If you have a kid whom you want to introduce to webcomics, this would be a good start. We also recently did a mini storyline for the American Heart Association.
Captain Excelsior is a comic project I completed with Chris Jones about aÂ year ago now. However, I mayyy just have an announcement about that project in the near future…
How does the collaborative process work for you in Snowflakes and Captain Excelsior?
For Snowflakes, it goes like this: James writes an outline for a script. I script the comic. Chris Jones makes the artwork. In general, with collaborations, it’s good to have clearly defined roles. Otherwise fights start.
For Captain Excelsior, Chris and I developed characters, then I wrote a full script, then he drew it into a book over the course of a year and a half.
From your other work, it appeared that you were someone that should be kept away from children. Why the dramatic change-up in tone for Snowflakes?
It sounded like fun I like to try out different forms of writing to see how I do. Writing kids’ jokes is a little trickier because you still have to be mean, but you have to do it in a more indirect way.
How do you feel you make out in the never-ending battle to be funny on demand?
The audience continues to grow, pretty much on a monthly basis. So, I must be doing okay…
You have so many ideas — not only for comics but for completely new projects — how do you decide what to pursue?
Time, ability, and inclination. If I have the time, I usually add a new project. If I have the ability (or someone else does) to draw it, then it moves forward. For example, I wasn’t good enough to draw Captain Excelsior. Chris Jones was. Then comes inclination, on the part of all players involved. That usually becomes apparent within a month of breaking ground.
Marmaduke has been made into a multi-million dollar “tent-pole” movie starring Owen Wilson. Your thoughts.
Are they hiring? I have some ideas for an “R”-rated version
What did I forget to ask you?
You forgot to ask how my hair got so luscious.
The answer? Perfect genetics.