We are Boulet and Zach Weinersmith, creators of Bouletcorp and SMBC. We are the nicest ginger cartoonists who aren't Ryan North.

We are working together on a kids' book about a precocious geeky girl. The book is called Augie and the Green Knight, and we're running a kickstarter for it now. Zach wrote the book and Boulet is doing all of the artwork.

So... ask us anything!

Comments: 569 • Responses: 93  • Date: 

Roxanne8866 karma

Hi Zach! One thing I’ve always loved about your comics is the race and gender diversity. Your comics manage to include people of all different races, genders, and sexualities without seeming forced or unrealistic. It seems as though they’re just like that because that’s what the world is like. So my question is, do you think popular media will ever start depicting characters with as much variety as you do, as opposed to their current very high percentage of straight, white, usually men? And if so, when?

MrWeiner67 karma

They will eventually, but it takes time. Legal changes can happen in a blink. Cultural change takes 2 or 3 generations. Sometimes longer. But, we'll get there. I think it helps to admit that you're flawed and then to try to raise your kids to lack your flaws.

DougGlover34 karma

If I could follow-up to this, how much thought goes into the specific characters in a story? Roxanne88 above has a good point about how fluid and natural your comics feel when reading them, and I'm surprised at how little I am surprised by them.

One comic in particular, a simple one from not too long ago, had two women, one in bed, and the other was undressing. The one in the bed made some comment about how if sex together would benefit her, she'd have done it already. I read this comic, had my chuckle, and showed a friend, who immediately responded with "are those lesbians?".

I then thought about the implications of that question, and thought to myself, "why does it matter?". You could literally have any two people in that situation, and the joke would remain in tact. Yet popular media refuses to portray this truth.

Sorry for the novel, but I'm genuinely curious.

Huge fan, by the way.

MrWeiner69 karma

I think the thing is that people tend to categorize "other" people as constantly actively being other people. Like, atheists sometimes imagine all Christians go around being Christians all the time. This is, however, only true of insane people. Most people are concerned with paying rent and eating food.

This is where the Bechdel Test is valuable. If the women in your story are constantly actively being women, they're not realistic.

The_Beer_Hunter24 karma

Amen to this. Seeing gay parents in your comics (among other roles - nerds, etc.) in a joke that has nothing to do with their gender, race, or sexuality is really cool for me. To a degree that you may not even appreciate. The only time I see 'gay characters' in anything is when they're 'GAY characters' and not just nerdy dads, boyfriends who are clumsy in bed, total geeks, etc.

So seeing LGBTQX (I think there are a few more letters in there) portrayed like the people I know and the people I aspire to be is seriously awesome. Btw my all-time favorite SMBC not coincidentally has a gay couple. Really appreciate your comics, Zach.

MrWeiner10 karma


Notagtipsy64 karma

Draw yourselves each other like one of your French girls, please? A sketch would be more than sufficient.

Edit: figured this would be more fun.

local_low46 karma

Do you agree with Neil Gaiman that children tend to respond really well to stories with a dark side?

MrWeiner86 karma

Yes. All good children's literature (like all good literature) is in some way honest. I forget where, but Hemingway wrote in "A Moveable Feast" that when he was a young writer in Paris he would sit down and just try to write one true sentence. After that, the rest would follow. If your story isn't honest (which is what people mean by "dark"), it'll be dull.

Greatbaboon45 karma

Your kickstarter has been fully funded in, I think, less than a day. It is pretty awesome, how do you feel about that?

And can we hope for a french translation?

MrWeiner62 karma

It's awesome :) This is a book I was anticipating doing well, but not this well. I mostly did it because I wanted to the book for my daughter. So, one of the really cool things is that because the project did SO well, the book itself will be way more cool. It'll have a freakin' bookmark ribbon.

It's also nice because (like many geeks who do "creative" work) I have permanent outsider complex. I tend to just assume nobody's terribly impressed with my work. So, now and then when a bunch of people come out in support it's really nice. Of course, then I move to impostor complex.

As for the translation - we won't have one as part of the KS, but we are talking with people about non-English editions right now.

tetracycle17 karma

How do you still have an outsider complex, considering how super popular your work is? At least half the people I know read SMBC at least irregularly. (I'm legit asking about this, not asking in disbelief. Well, kinda asking in disbelief too. But I'm interested in what goes on in your head on this issue)

MrWeiner33 karma

It's hard to explain. I think it's just baked in. I've read Richard Nixon had the same thing, and he was the president!

I think my whole life I've been the "try hard" kid. In my head, other people do more eloquent work more easily. Intellectually I know that's not entirely true, but it's not really a rational feeling.

chason16 karma

I think when you live a life inside your head, this effect is pretty natural. Its hard not to think of the people around you as perfect actors when you're constantly playing out different scenarios inside your headmeat.

MrWeiner15 karma

That's the other thing. As a cartoonist, you are an island. If you're a standup, you go out and get laughs every night.

BigBrainAmWinning45 karma

How much influence does Kelly and the baby have on your work? Does she help actually write anything? More importantly, in the votey button she and the baby give you dirty looks from time to time... so does that actually happen?

MrWeiner66 karma

It's funny, but I think I wrote a bit more kids' stuff prior to the new kid. It was also more sentimental. I think that was mostly because I had time to be sentimental before I had a baby.

Kelly doesn't help with writing, but she helps a lot with deciding which writing makes it to the SMBC page. Also, when it's biology-related, she helps check the wording.

The baby is 3.4 months old and incapable of any emotions more complex than "MILK NOW" and "HOORAY." Actual scowling seems to be unintentional.

skyeliam26 karma

The writing that Kelly disapproves of being posted, is there any chance there could be a book or something containing those comics?

MrWeiner38 karma

Kelly never disapproves of something because of content. She disapproves of jokes she thinks suck. Is that about right, /u/sciencegal ?

SAVchips42 karma

What is your favorite comic you have ever written? I'm a big fan of your work, you're my favorite web cartoonist!

MrWeiner115 karma

I think this one turned out well. http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3088#comic

SAVchips18 karma

Also, can I ask another question? How hard is it for you to do the "story" comics? Like the one wherein companies support people who won giveaways to go to the moon and the people become militant. I really, really like those. Thanks for answering the first.

MrWeiner28 karma

They're more work, but I love doing them :) One of these days, I'll do a collection of just the story comics.

Lord_Hex29 karma

What kind of cereal do you like most on a Saturday morning?

MrWeiner29 karma

Count Chocula

basikx27 karma

What are your thoughts on things like the Bechdel Test for acceptable female character development? As a father of 3 daughters I have the privilege of scouring media for the kinds of strong female role models I want my girls to emulate (which is why I jumped on this book - I think you'll do it right).

MrWeiner37 karma

I actually use the Bechdel Test. It's not always applicable, but often is. Also, Allison Bechdel is one of these best cartoonists (male, female, gay, straight, whatever) of our time. So, if she says something about writing, it's good to listen.

anon248163224 karma

You clearly know a lot about physics/math/technical nerdery. Could you describe the depth/breadth of your knowledge and how you came into it?

Any advice for a STEM teacher of gifted middle schoolers?

MrWeiner40 karma

I have a BA in Literature and half a BS in physics. Had to drop out to run the comics business, but I still self-teach on the sly. I'm probably equivalent to a 3rd year physics student, but with a lot of random extra knowledge.

No good advice on middle schoolers. I've only "taught" precocious kids in my own family, which is comparatively easy.

But, I dunno. I was one of those "gifted" kids, and I was useless in high school. In many ways, I didn't really get started on life till 25 or so.

tetracycle10 karma

I was useless in high school

What do you mean?

MrWeiner40 karma

Coasting through life. Smart enough to get by on very little effort, but not excelling at anything.

karmanaut24 karma

What was your most awkward, embarassing incident as a teenager? You know, the one that you hoped that nobody would ever remember or bring up again.

MrWeiner27 karma

Too many to count. BUT, I'm gonna go with the time I hit two other cars because my stupid 17 year old foot decided it couldn't find the brake.

Just to be clear - I was, at this time, completely awake and completely sober, which probably makes the story even more embarrassing. Really, I don't know how a foot fails to find the brake. But... 17...

karmanaut15 karma

I have a hard time believing that a small driving mistake is the most awkward and embarrassing moment from your teenage years. Come on, dig deep. What memories are you repressing?

thangle32 karma

You have to remember, Zach grew up with 1. ginger hair, 2. went to a very nerdy school, 3. his last name is Weiner, and 4. the worst, he had a notorious bowlcut for a very long time. He is the king of repressing embarassing things.

MrWeiner18 karma


Edit: Btw, we got the package you sent. The shorts, which we're calling "The 80s Shorts," are particularly amazing.

thangle8 karma

Hehe, baby 80's shorts! Also, those clothes may be one of a kind because they came off the marketing pile o test crap.

MrWeiner6 karma

Ha! We'll test it on Ada and report back.

MrWeiner11 karma

No, really, it was awkward. I was an hour away from home at midnight, and my mom had to get out of bed, drive for an hour, and make peace with two (justifiably) angry people. It was miserable.

chason6 karma

Hey at least your friends were willing to ditch you to go to the concert you almost made them miss. Soooooo... There's that?

MrWeiner3 karma

HA. I forgot that part...

ThatIrishChap21 karma

Getting Ellen McLain for the audiobook is totally insane. Were there any particular qualities you wanted for the reader?

MrWeiner18 karma

We had a lot of people asking for more "cool" readers. But, Ellen McLain is so right for the part. When you meet her, she instantly reads as a sweet maternal type, which is perfect for this book. Of course, she can do a big range of voices too.

Iccutreb20 karma

Hey Zach! I'm a long time fan of SMBC. I've always wondered, what's your strategy for consistent funny material every day? With most other webcomics, a daily routine means either inconsistency or un-funniness.

Also, do you write several at time, or once a day?

MrWeiner37 karma

Read a lot. That's 90% of it. Read a lot, and read what other people aren't reading. Comedy is not about "comedy skill." It's about having a strong perspective and museum of ideas in your brain.

My favorite writing method (which I've had to scrap due to Baby) is to make yourself write 3 good ideas 3 times a day. I did 10, 12, and 2. It's good because it practically forces you to be interesting. If you know you have to be clever in an hour and 23 minutes, maybe you read a weird book instead of playing video games.

Iccutreb9 karma

Awww yeah a reply for Zach Weiner! Is that the reason you do such intelligent humor sometimes? Or do you shy away from books on topics like that?

I ask because despite my love of learning and reading I fucking hate learning out of books.

MrWeiner25 karma

Here's the way I think about it:

You probably also hate having salad instead of candy bars. But, are you a more fit person if you eat only candy bars? Similarly, you might not like learning out of books, but it'll make you a better writer.

Shortymcsmalls19 karma

Hi Zach and Boulet,

As soon as I saw the Kickstarter for Augie, I knew I wanted to fund it. I too have a young daughter, and I wanted a book that she could enjoy with a great main female character. As soon as I saw the artwork, and a little bit of the dialog, I was sold (so much so that I'm purchasing two so I can give one to a friend).

Zach, do you have any plans/ideas for creating another Augie novel? If not, do you intend to keep writing novels in a similar vein?

MrWeiner16 karma

I would like to! I actually already have some notes on an Augie space adventure. But, I would like to wait to see how people like the first book.

I try to be realistic about this stuff - my proofreading friends all like the book, but that doesn't mean it'll be an audience favorite. So, I don't want to get ahead of myself. I would love to write that book, but if there's not a demand for it, there are other projects I'd be happy to work on.

Payhell9 karma

Other projects as in other children books but not with Augie or totally different projects ?

MrWeiner10 karma


deejayfourex18 karma

are there any SMBC comics that you feel haven't aged as well as others, or that you now find you don't agree with as much now as you did in the past?

ps: i actually do love graph jokes

MrWeiner36 karma

Totally. Early on I was more into shock humor, and I'd even say I now consider some of my earlier stuff a bit sexist. Not incredibly so, but there it is. I consider it a point of integrity to leave it up, but it does make me uncomfortable at times. One of these days I'll go through and footnote things.

zachweinersmithwaifu18 karma

Zach, will you be my waifu?

MrWeiner19 karma

I suspect I already am...

AxiomDave17 karma

Salut Boulet! Je suis excité pour ce livre! J'ai suivi votre bande dessinée depuis quelque années maintenant, j'aime être capable de lire la même comique en français et en anglais. Alors, je serais ravi de voir une version française de Augie être publié! Merci de mettre ces belles œuvres d'art! (Pardon mon français pauvres, j'apprends :) )

Zach, I've followed your comic for years and was amazed to see you and Boulet doing a collab. This is the first book I've helped fund on kickstarter! How did you end up working together? Whose idea was it? Finally - from the previews of the book shown, the story and artwork fit together remarkably well. Has the story evolved with the artwork, or vice-versa?

MrWeiner9 karma

We met in Paris for Festiblog in 2013. I needed a kids' book illustrator, and figured I should ask boulet as a longshot. We were ecstatic when he said yes. The story was written prior to the art.

bluelily21617 karma

What made you decide to write a children's book?

MrWeiner16 karma

I actually wanted to do it for a long time, but I didn't have the spare time. When we decided to have a kid, suddenly it became a high priority. Also, I just happened to have this one idea I really liked pop into my head while I was walking. This book is the result :)

yd12k16 karma

So, what's it like being famous on the internet?

MrWeiner22 karma

It's hard, since the Internet is clearly just a fad.

ObsidianOrangutan15 karma

Where did the name "Saturday morning breakfast cereal" come from? If you were going to rename it to somehing more descriptive what would it be?

MrWeiner19 karma

Long story short, my friend James named a high school painting of his "Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal" to piss off an art teacher. I thought it was funny.

Ruzihm15 karma

Hi Zach,

I really enjoy reading SMBC but my favorites are the ones that are essentially brief sci-fi stories. What inspires you to make these? Who are your favorite authors?

Edit: accidentally a word

MrWeiner16 karma

My favorite sci fi authors are Lem, Heinlein, Dick and... could I lump Hesse in there? Not sure he counts.

For authors, I like Camus' short essays, I like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck. I like medieval ballads quite a lot. I also have a dorky soft spot for Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry Rider Haggard, Jules Verne, and other 19th century(ish) adventure novelists. Haggard's daughter Lilias also wrote some books I love, which are seldom read now.

snickaman8 karma

Whaaaat? Asimov didn't make that list?

MrWeiner18 karma

Some of his short stories are excellent. I enjoy his writing, but he wrote nothing (with the possible exception of I, Robot) that approaches the work of the authors I mentioned. He was a great workhorse with clever ideas, but I don't think he wrote anything half as good as Solaris.

Edit: Do I have to turn in my nerd card now?

nuqqet9k14 karma

Honestly: how is Patreon working out for you? Why isn't EVERYONE on it? It really makes being a supporter convenient.

MrWeiner15 karma

It's great! It's a nice stable chunk of income, which allowed me to hire my first full time employee!

shamemouse14 karma

What are some of your favorite web-comics?

MrWeiner24 karma

Buttersafe is pretty great. Kate Beaton is amazing. But, I don't read too many webcomics :)

BoothTime9 karma

Do you ever reread your old ones for kicks?

MrWeiner38 karma

Oh god no.

tetracycle13 karma

If you could trade one of your appendages for another animal's appendage, what would you get? The appendages don't have to be the same, or in the same location.

MrWeiner12 karma

Vomeronasal organ on my palms. Just for the creep factor.

garfieldtrunkersin12 karma

This is more of a question directed at Zach, because I've been a SMBC fan for so long:

How do you feel webcomics (and web comedy sketches) have changed the way we consume comedy media? Do you see it changing in the near future?

MrWeiner17 karma

I think webcomics have changed comics quite a bit, mainly in that they're neither restricted nor bundled. I talk about it a bit here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grtJlJK7p5A

Short version: Distribution protocol determines artistic content to a greater extent than most people realize.

AlwaysLupus12 karma

Hi Zach. I've seen tons of sketches of Augie by Boulet. Will you be doing any artwork for the book at all? I love your art style.

MrWeiner11 karma

Nope! Boulet is 100 times better than me. Also, I want the book to have a consistent feel.

raindogcomic11 karma

What's your writing process like? sub-question: Are you webcomic-Jesus?

MrWeiner15 karma

Read a lot, write 6 ideas each day. Usually that's enough. My motto is "be boring," and that seems to help a lot.

TeaDevotee10 karma

What has been the best part of putting together this book? How is it different that the SMBC work you do?

MrWeiner9 karma

Having the freedom to not make jokes constantly is nice. Also, being able to write more gently is fun. There are jokes in the book, but they're a little cuter than my usual stuff.

Also, writing longform has been really nice. I'm hoping to do more.

local_low5 karma

Was there anything in it that you realized was a bit too raunchy or SMBC-ish that you decided to take out?

MrWeiner8 karma

No, mostly too nerdy. I had a footnote about Edmund Burke which I removed, for example.

jedberg10 karma

Hi Zach, did you clean up that mess in the kitchen yet?

MrWeiner16 karma

My mom came to visit and she took care of it. I'm a grown man.

noobtheloser10 karma

Hello, Zach! I'm a cartoonist, and we actually used to have conversations on AIM back in the day, before you REALLY got big. I still have your AIM name, but you probably wouldn't remember me. I just started seriously cartooning and blogging for the internet last year in November, and I've developed a decent following, but I want to grow more.

My question is, what do you think is the most important thing to do to make it big as a content creator on the internet, as you are?

MrWeiner5 karma


rob70309 karma

Hey Zach, I just wanted to say that BAHfest is amazing. Sometimes the best way to highlight the problems with bad science is to just take it to the limits of absurdity, and this has the bonus benefit of being funny as all heck.

What inspired you to start it? Did it just grow out of the initial baby catapult comic or was there something else?

MrWeiner6 karma

Ah, thanks! Are you coming again this year?

It was inspired by that one comic, with a lot of help from Christina Xu, formerly of breadpig.

salty-horse9 karma

Zach, is the story written already? Did the story change it after seeing Boulet's art? Did you discover something about the story from the art that you didn't think of yourself?

MrWeiner9 karma

The story is already written, though it still needs a final pass and some copy editing.

I didn't change anything after the art, BUT I think the art in some ways changes the story. Boulet's very good and very expressive, so a big part of your sense of the characters will come out of the art.

krabsan8 karma

What do you think is the biggest difference between french and american comicbook writers?

MrWeiner14 karma

The comics code authority fucked American comics for 4 decades, so we're only now coming unstuck from adolescent power fantasies. C'est la vie.

Omniscient_Goat8 karma

What would you do if you had a time machine that could only travel increments of 23.5 years? Also will this book be in stores? I don't have a bank account or a debit card so online purchases don't work for me.

Finally, if colors had taste, which color would be your favorite flavor?

MrWeiner10 karma

Go forward until they invent immortality and holodecks, then hop into Nozick's pleasure machine.

The book, in sliiiightly different covers, will be out for retail by early 2015 at the latest.

Yellow, trending toward orange.

hermannessert7 karma

As soon as I saw the sketches on the Kickstarter page the first thing that came into my mind were some German kids' books (Struwwelpeter, Heinzelmännchen and many others I can't remember right now) I used to receive as gifts from my relatives in Germany (Grew up in Brazil). They had this style I can't really describe, but Boulet's style reminds me a lot of those books. Does this style have a name? Is it inspired by those kind of books?

Seeing the current success of the campaign. Are you already planning on a sequel or even a series?

Thank you both for the Book! I knew the moment you posted the KS link on SMBC that I had to be part of this and helped the way I could. I just wish I could get one with the Cloth Cover later on.

edit: grammar

MrWeiner5 karma

I would love to do a sequel, but I want to see people's reactions to the final book before that.

Betty_Felon7 karma

If you were a cheese, what kind of cheese would you be?

MrWeiner16 karma


Dashward7 karma

Which children's authors has the most impact on your writing? And illustration? On an unrelated note - what is a favorite memory from your childhood?

Thank you for your work!

MrWeiner8 karma

TH White. He's a miracle. The Ill-Made Knight has no parallel.

Favorite childhood memory? Man... I have a terrible memory. Building pillow forts at my grandparents' was pretty excellent.

chason7 karma

It wasn't filming fake commercials about toilets with your childhood friends?! Someday that stuff will be revered as the precursor to the amazing work that you've done.

MrWeiner6 karma

I will burn it with my own hands.

tknelms6 karma

Do you find that having a daughter significantly alters your outlook on life?

MrWeiner8 karma

It makes a lot of the anti-sexism stuff more personal and urgent, but I don't feel my overall worldview has shifted much.

Armrestinc6 karma

Hi Zach! I first want to say that you're definitely my favorite comic/cartoonist and I love that I sometimes need to do a Google search to fully understand your comic.

My question is with regards to your first date with Kelly, how accurate of a portrayal is Date Wars?

MrWeiner10 karma

Not accurate, sadly. We had a dorktastic courtship, involving silent working "dates" at the library.

local_low6 karma

Why do you think female characters like Augie, smart, brave, interested in science, are so rare? You say it's getting better, are there any good recent examples that come to mind?

MrWeiner10 karma

I think they're rare because you have to shrug off a lot of social pressure. I didn't realize how much there was till I had a daughter whom I expect to be an astronaut.

Part of the problem (and I say this knowing it is ironic) is most of the people writing for these characters are dudes. Even those who "get it" about strong female characters haven't read much of the research on gender that's out there. So, they add women who are tough but superfluous. Or, they add women who are important, but are matron-ish utterly responsible girls. People think it's important to write smart girls, but it's actually (imho) not the major issue. Girls already outperform boys in academics. What's lacking is characters who go and DO stuff without fear of looking dumb.

Proprietous6 karma

Morning, Zach. Bonsoir, Boulet. :)

What books do you remember having a big impact on you as a kid?

How does it feel to know in a decade or two you're going to start meeting people who grew up reading a story you wrote/illustrated?

MrWeiner5 karma

I was really into the Lone Wolf gamebook series by Joe Dever, though I don't know how much influence it had on me.

I've already had a little of people who grew up on my stuff meeting me. It's really cool! It's especially cool when, now and then, someone will say "I got into this geeky field, partially because of your comics."

the_dinks6 karma

Hey Zach,

Just wanted to drop by and let you know that I love your comics. You've inspired a lot of random wikipedia searches over the years, and a lot of learning :)

I have a few questions:

1) How's the baby?

2) Is SMBC your primary mode of income?

3) Who would win in a fight between Georg Cantor, Grace Hopper, and your wife?

4) Was your shift towards a more "intellectual" comic intentional, or did you find yourself drifting that way? What inspired that shift?

5) Just fyi, whenever you do a graph joke AND a dick joke in the same comic, an angel cries.

MrWeiner5 karma

1) Pwecious. Currently eating a stuffed frog.

2) Yes.

3) Clearly Georg would be crippled by self-doubt. Kelly's bigger than Grace, but grace could strangle Kelly with her nanoseconds. I'll say Grace.

4) The comics reflect what I'm reading, and my reading material has dorkitated more and more over the years.

5) THAT'S what that sound was!

HCRoyall5 karma

What inspired you to do a webcomic in the first place? And did that experience lead you into writing a children's book or were the seeds of that idea somewhere in your mind beforehand?

MrWeiner5 karma

Originally I did it for fun. Then, it became a way out of a shitty job.

I've wanted to do kids' books for ages. Once we decided to have a kid, it became more urgent :)

tetracycle5 karma

How involved in the artwork was Zach? Did he do concept sketches or anything, or did Boulet just work from what he wrote? What was this collaborative process like?

(Sorry about the weird wording, I don't know how to talk to two people at once.)

MrWeiner6 karma

I believe that when you work with a great artist, the best thing is to just get out of their way. So, unless I need something very specific done, I let boulet do his thing. So far, it's working very well!

legolas245 karma

I am a big fan of your comics, specially the philosophy based ones. Are the characters in the comics based on real people or experiences?

MrWeiner5 karma

Almost never. Occasionally they come from snips of conversations, but that's about it.

cdrsully5 karma

Have you thought about writing a book for younger kids/toddlers? I'm going to have to wait 3-4 years to start reading Augie to our 3-year-old twins...

MrWeiner6 karma

Search amazon for Twins in Time :)

glykokalyx4 karma

If you would be a pizza topping, which would you be?

MrWeiner5 karma

Pineapple and Jalapeno.

wadewilson19834 karma

Do you ever get the feeling that your baby is silently judging you? Like just watching you and judging every single thing you do, like the baby is so much better than you, like the baby never made any mistakes, like the baby wouldn't have eaten that cheeze-it off of the floor I WAS HUNGRY DAMNIT.... i mean i'm just curious, no real reason for the question.

MrWeiner15 karma

Not really. A 3 month old is basically a really cute balloon full of flab. It's either happy, bored, or demanding something.

Chamberland2134 karma

Can you leak more drawings? Will there be any more books coming from you two? If so, will they be children books or books more oriented towards adults? Would you two consider yourselves successful in the kickstarter for Augie and the Green knight?

MrWeiner4 karma

I will consider it a success when I see that people like the final product :) If they do, and boulet is up for it, I'd happily write a sequel.

Not sure if we'll release more art during the KS, but we'll probably leak stuff to backers over the coming months.

letter_word_story4 karma

I'm a huge fan of your work, so thank you for providing excellent content every day for years.

Your storytelling ranges from one panel comics to now a full children's book. What are some of the differences in how you approach storytelling and humor across different lengths and forms?

MrWeiner10 karma

Roughly speaking, greater length correlates with more needed skills. That is, for something short, it JUST has to be funny. If it gets longer, maybe you need skills at character development, describing places, varying sentence structure, and so on. Imagine a spectrum from weightlifting to decathlon. Gags are weightlifting. Long stories are decathlon.

Paradox2243 karma

Zach, there are many well-developed moral and psychological ideas/questions in your comics. You jokingly call yourself "Old Man Weinersmith" when you bring up sociological probems, moral dilemmas, and questionable humanity. I also often find myself joking about these problems I see, albeit with a much smaller audience.

My question for you: Have you considered using other mediums to bring light to the issues you discuss? Do you sometime wish, even though you're making a webcomic, that these things were taken more seriously?

MrWeiner3 karma

Yep! I'm working on some longer form stuff, but it's too tenebrous to talk about now.

PickledJesus3 karma

Is Trial of the Clone 2 coming to Android? Reading is hard and listening to Wil Wheaton is slightly less hard.

MrWeiner2 karma

We are working on it, but no Wheaton since the project didn't make enough money, I'm afraid!

Rienuaa3 karma

Could you possibly write "Hey Ellen you are my number one friend and your friend owes you $5" for me?

It's totally not for a bet I swear.

MrWeiner9 karma

No. But, I'll write something infuriatingly close.

Hey Ellen,

You are my number one friend and your friend owes you $5.01.

ericthemed3 karma

Hello Zach & Boulet!

We ordered the book last week and are super stoked for this project. Are you fairly confident on the Feb. 2015 ship date? Also, SMBC is a regular part of my morning ritual. :)

MrWeiner3 karma

We are feeling pretty good about that ship date! George Rohac of breadpig is awesome, and we put our trust in him :)

bitter_twin_farmer3 karma

Zach, Huge fan! I bought your twins book for my four year old twins and it scared the shit out of them.

Your SMBC cartoon is just so consistently thought provoking, do you have any sort of a daily writing routine? How do you keep it going?

Boulet, your paintings are absolutely wonderful. I can't wait for the book.

MrWeiner4 karma

Ha! Thanks. Me and Chris have another book or two for this year.

I read every day and write 6 ideas a day. That usually does the trick.

some_moistened_bint3 karma

Zach and Boulet, you guys are fantastic. Happily, happily backed the kickstarter! So, how did you guys meet?

Zach - what inspired you to write a full book?

MrWeiner7 karma

In Paris at Festiblog 2013!

I have wanted to do narrative longform stuff for a long time, but I'm just now getting into it.

tetracycle2 karma

Are you guys buddies? Do you hang out and shoot the shit on Skype?

MrWeiner3 karma

I don't have time to shoot the shit with anyone but my wife and kid these days. But, boulet has an open invitation to see my wife's parasite research through a microscope, which is a clear sign of friendship.

CrackThoseClaws2 karma

I know that the frowned baby and Kelly in the red button are just a running joke, but do you ever really project this upon them?
Do you really ever feel that you're kind of a weirdo compared to the rest of the family?
Or is it just the slob persona you're promoting for shits and giggles?

MrWeiner4 karma

It's mostly a joke. I'm a weirdo, but the rest of the family is too. It's nice.

I suppose we don't actually know if Baby will be a weirdo, but honestly she's pretty screwed if she plans to fit in well with society.

KingJick2 karma

How's the baby doing?

MrWeiner3 karma

Great, actually! We lucked out.

Hideyoshi_Toyotomi2 karma

Hey Zach, thanks for your dedication to SMBC. I backed Auggie pretty much on the strength of that, alone.

Why and how did you pick the Green Knight?

MrWeiner3 karma

Ah, thankks! I hope you like it.

I love the original medieval romance story. One day I was on a walk, and the idea for a story about the other side of it popped into my head.

ancientcampus2 karma

Zach: if you and Randall Munroe competed in a mudwrestling match, who would win the preliminary rap-off?

MrWeiner3 karma

As long as I stick to my "My name is Zach Weinersmith and I'm here to say" openings, I would have a good shot at victory.

Fessenden2 karma

I mostly just want to say, Zach Weinersmith, I adore you, and am grateful for your existence. Your comics have informed my worldview more than internet squiggles have any right to. Now that I'm an actual, honest-to-god adult, I've been trying to buy more of your stuff as a gesture of support.

Also, are you depressed? I get the feeling you just have a dark sense of humor, but sometimes I wonder, since you express so many of my thoughts so well (by which I mean more lucidly and eloquently than I'm capable of), if we have that in common.

Edit:: Bit of a dick move to ignore Boulet. Monsieur, je vous apprécie aussi. Votre style est superb.

MrWeiner2 karma


And no, I've never really been depressed. Sad, down, sure. But, never to the point that I couldn't get my ass out of bed and over to my desk. I don't consider existential philosophy to be depressing, but sometimes it comes off that way, I think.

ThatSteeve2 karma

Zach, was the inclusion of a diverse mix of genders, sexualities, ethnicities, & nerdocities a conscious decision for SMBC or was it more of a draw what ya know?

As a knowledge geek I wanted to thank you for the variety of concepts you cover; sociological, philosophical, scientifical, & more. Whenever you introduce a concept I'm unfamiliar with it's off to research & learn! Was there intent to educate?

Boulet, I'm not familiar with your work, yet, I can say that this is going to be an Incredible looking book!

Thank you both for the AMA!

MrWeiner4 karma

I just figured it was the decent thing to do. It's nice that I get praise for it, but really, it's just decency.

Thanks for the kind words!

SandwichQuestionGuy2 karma

What is your favorite sandwich?

MrWeiner3 karma

Some hard flavorful bread, lots of avocado, chipotle peppers, then some protein.

blonked2 karma

Hey Zach and Boulet! Congrats on the successful funding for Augie and the Green Knight. Can you tell us more about how you'll be looking to produce the audiobook version with Ellen McLain? Will she be visiting you (or vice-versa) to record in a studio together or is it more likely she'll have to do her lines separately and send them to you? I'd love to see a BTS video of the recording stuff if possible!

Love SMBC, been reading for years. Love Boulet's stuff, too! Keep up the great work!

MrWeiner3 karma

We just locked in the deal recently, so the details aren't worked out yet. Likely, I'll fly up to where she lives. What we'll do is record the whole thing top to bottom, then have an editor fix any errors. Hadn't thought about video recording, but perhaps!

Warbek_1 karma

Hey zach, at what age would you suggest reading this book to a kid? My friend's just had a baby and it would be kind of a waste for him to read it to her when she can't get the most out of it.

MrWeiner3 karma

8-10. But, I mean , I think you'll enjoy reading it to a little kid, since it's (I hope) funny.

Okamoto1 karma

Zach, how do you like living in Bicycle City? Have you joined the ranks of the green wheelers? =P

(Can't wait to see you at GaymerX2 next month!)

MrWeiner3 karma

I actually have never learned to ride a bike. That's how much of a recluse I am.

Looking forward to GX2 myself!

benthor1 karma

How much has /u/EliezerYudkowsky actually seen of the material to enable him to endorse it?

MrWeiner3 karma

He read an earlier draft which is pretty much the same as the final draft.

PhD_Dickbutt1 karma

Hey Zach! First of all thanks for hosting events at Cambridge, MA. It was great to see you in person and finally get the truth about drawing in the nude (research might benefit if everyone in lab adopted this technique).

Would Augie and the Green Knight be published as an audiobook in the future? Would you ever animate portions of this book?

EDIT: WHOA! There will be an audiobook read by GLaDOS (Ellen McLain)!!!

MrWeiner3 karma

Thanks! We're doing it again this year: http://bahfest.com

We will have the book read by Ellen McLain. No animations are planned at this point. That shit's expensive!