Here's the kickstarter if you want a copy.

(Yes, "Choose Your Own Adventure" was copyrighted)

I've been working on this book for several years (with some interruptions) for Breadpig, which was founded by Alexis Ohanian, aka kn0thing, aka The Biscuit Thief.

It's finally done and I'm looking forward to sharing it with all of you. I also want to say thanks to /rpg, which supplied a LOT of playtesting help :)

So, please ask me anything. Also, I think Kelly (handle: sciencegal) will be popping in periodically, so if you have any questions about parasitology or lizards, she's your geek.

<3<3<3 Zach

PS: Thanks to the awesomeness of my readers, we've already hit our baseline goal. However, at 50k, we'll find a geek badass to do an audiobook and at 100k I'll write a sequel. And, the more you give, the more awesome we could make the audiobook or (if we make it) the sequel.

Comments: 1307 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

Etch_A_Sketcher857 karma

Zach! I'm a huge fan. Here's a portrait of you.

What music do you listen to while you work?

MrWeiner424 karma

Wow. I can't believe how fast that was. 1000 internet points to you.

I generally listen to audiobooks or podcasts, but when I do listen to music I'm very fond of Debussy, Rachmaninoff, and Chopin.

MrWeiner207 karma


MrWeiner184 karma

Wow. Damn. I really appreciate it.

MrWeiner218 karma

You forgot "tumescent."

dem35841 karma

You are the best thing that has ever happened to the internet! And I love your taste in music!

MrWeiner25 karma


friendbuddyguy23 karma

What podcasts do you listen to?

MrWeiner86 karma

Although it's a bit slanted, I love EconTalk. Russ Roberts is a great interviewer and talks to people with whom he disagrees. Also, Brian Lamb's interviews on C-Span are great. Science Friday is also awesome, and I love PlanetMoney by NPR.

MrBody42529 karma

If you could urinate any one liquid without anatomical difficulty, what would it be and why?

MrWeiner1267 karma

Low melting point plastic filament. Then your dick would be a 3d printer.

MrWeiner229 karma

I love you.

10000 internet points. +500 for the copy of the cover back there.

illustratingreddit91 karma

Wait! I also have a question for you! How did you get involved with Breadpig? Did you approach them or did they approach you? What is this collaboration like for you?

MrWeiner99 karma

Alexis and I have known each other for a while. We circled each other for some time before getting into publishing bed together. I actually don't remember whose idea it was first.

Collab with them is great. I keep most of the profits, and they're hands off creatively - offering lots of suggestions and making few or no demands.

Ph0X29 karma

How did you two meet? Was it when he stole your biscuits?

MrWeiner35 karma

We met online and then I came by the office to meet some of the reddit engineers later. I've actually remained friends with many of them :)

IAmAWhaleSexologist223 karma

You last AMA was a while ago, so I'll ask again: how often do you get recognized on the street? Asked for autographs? Kidnapped? Kidnapped by aliens? Kidnap aliens?

Also, huge fan. Literally huge, I weigh over 4,000 pounds, but not literally a fan.

MrWeiner185 karma

Depends. In college towns it's frequent. Elsewhere, not so much.

King_Codpiece205 karma

So Zach, I created a reddit account specifically to participate in this Q&A, but it turns out I really don't have anything to ask. That being said, here's a picture of Mothra punching that pussy Godzilla right in the goddamn face. Have a splendid day.

MrWeiner356 karma

Thank you for this confusing erection.

King_Codpiece206 karma

If I can cause just one famous webcomic creator to have a confused erection every day, I know I've done my job.

Now if you excuse, I have to forward Randall Munroe some very titillating midget pornography; good day sir.

MrWeiner126 karma

Indeed sir, indeed.

Jim1150186 karma

If I buy your book will I have the option to choose 'Touch him on the penis' at any point? - Yes this is a deal maker/breaker.

MrWeiner252 karma

If by that you mean can you masturbate to the book, the illustrations feature at least one codpiece, one erotic sculpture, and I believe a few instances of sideboob.

GreenTeam228 karma

Sideboob is my second favorite kind of boob, following only the rare and illusive underboob.

MrWeiner1117 karma

Man, you're gonna love it when you discover frontboob.

moss1873178 karma

Where did you get the idea for the red button to show a "secret" panel?

MrWeiner313 karma

It was originally a reward for voting for me at topwebcomics. After I left that site, I kept out of courtesy to readers. Over time, it became apparent that it was also useful for getting people to visit the main page where ads are run :)

nsdragon193 karma

That's devious. The votey is exactly the reason why I always click the link to your site on my Google Reader feed.

MrWeiner274 karma


pzmyers167 karma

Did you just marry a scientist to get a direct line into the weirdness? I think my wife married me just because every once in a while I'd say something bizarre to shake her out of mundanity. (It's not as if there could be any other reason.)

Also, less math and physics, more biology, please. It's funnier.

MrWeiner216 karma

WHOA! Just noticed the username.

I was attracted to Kelly's waist to hip ratio and the symmetry of her facial features. As a biologist, you'll appreciate. Also, I considered her lack of cooking skill as a form of Zahavi handicapping

TheMediaSays134 karma

One of the things I've always admired about your work is that, besides being genuinely smart and funny, it puts women, LBGTQ, and people of color in a variety of different roles, but does so subtly; I recall one, for example, that involved what I gather were two gay parents, but it was a joke more about parenting in general. I've also noticed that women in your comics are the source of humor more often than in many other comics, where they're usually cast as the straightman (or woman, in this case). How conscious is your use of diversity in SMBC and is there any process involved in deciding the makeup of the characters in a particular joke?

Also, how much time does your sketch comedy take up as compared to your activities relating to the comic itself? Is there one or the other that you would say you emphasize more?

Who do you think would win in a brawl between Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt?

What's the one book you recommend everyone read?

Finally, how much time does the actual business side of running all your activities take up? How much do you think taking care of these things detracts from the time spent doing the things you really like? Did you need to read up on business management and the like, or is it a pretty intuitive process?

MrWeiner129 karma

1) I'll confess, my mental default is still white dude. So, I actively try to mix it up. Hopefully the next generation of Americans won't have a default race/gender mentally.

2) These days, I'm focusing more on the comics. But, I still spend a lot of time on the sketches. Comics are lots of work spread out. Sketches are short bursts of work.

3) TR. Is that even a question? Only chance Jackson would have is if it were a gunfight. As you know, TR reflects bullets. Jackson absorbs them.

4) The Great Gatsby. Read it after you've experienced some life, though.

5) Less and less now that I have helpers. I oversee the business to make sure I'm not being dumb. But, most of the accounting work is done by other people now.

nsdragon122 karma

What percentage of your comics are done after an all-night Wikipedia binge?

MrWeiner190 karma

Almost none. I try my best to avoid wikipedia for comics since I'd like to be in the business of offering rarer information to people. That said, when I'm really out of ideas, wikipedia makes an awesome random idea generator. It's also good if I want to do a comic about something I read a while back, but I need to spot check some details.

Fudgement_Day116 karma

How do you come up with all your math and graph jokes? Do you start with wanting to do a math/graph joke specifically or use it to support the premise?

And for general gushing, you're hilarious, the SMBC theater is hilarious, I can always rely on your comic for a good laugh. Straddling that line between dick jokes or philosophical humor. Straddling it hard.

MrWeiner168 karma

Math naturally lends itself to humor. It can behave like a riddle, which is essentially a drawn out joke. It can also be used to apply cold logic to warm situations, which is a class of joke I'm fond of.

Thanks for the kind words!

Messipus74 karma

Whenever I'm feeling down, I just go to smbc and hit the random button a few times. Usually solves the problem.

MrWeiner267 karma

Pro tip: Hit the x key.

shoez110 karma

Some of your comics seem extremely dark.

  • What elements of your personal religion or philosophy can you share?
  • How do you think your background in science affects these?

MrWeiner165 karma

The dark comics are often about stuff I'm thinking about. I'm a pretty upbeat person, but metaphysics can often be a bit staggering. Better to have my characters go through it than me.

Science is a method and a philosophy, so no doubt it influences how I think and what I think about. But, it's hard to say howso in particular.

[deleted]110 karma

Would you feel uncomfortable if i tried to smell you and keep your smell in a jar to give to my grandchildren?

MrWeiner160 karma

I'd feel I'd found a kindred soul.

sardaukar_siet95 karma

I love your peculiar mix of science, literature and humour. Do you know any other authors in the same vein? Are you a member of some Illuminated Humorist Club?

MrWeiner128 karma

I know people with similar interests, but none are cartoonists. Most people tend to like what they like. I try to like things I dislike :)

stooge4ever83 karma

Hi Zach! Just curious: what do you think of the whole thing going on with Matthew Inman of the Oatmeal and the internet's current public enemy #1 Charles Carreon?

Also, do you wear pants when you draw comics?

ALSO, can I get a high five?

MrWeiner132 karma

I think it's great. This is how we should arbitrate internet fights - public debate and legal action if necessary. It's much better than SOPA or CISPA would be. As Hamilton said "Public infamy must restrain what the law cannot."


Solomontheidiot56 karma

I see you conveniently dodged the most important question. We want answers Mr. Weinersmith.

MrWeiner130 karma

What are pants?

delarhi79 karma

I'm having trouble teasing out the causality in the correlation between your nakedness and your comic making. Does inspiration cause you to strip naked and start making a comic or do you strip naked and become inspired to make a comic?

MrWeiner245 karma

You have made an implicit assumption that being clothed is the default state, sir.

peligrietzer77 karma

It looks like SMBC Comics mostly take place in a world without gender roles, but SMBC Theater videos mostly take place in, like, the-world-according-to-4chan. Is that a conscious split?

MrWeiner110 karma

I'm not sure if it's conscious, but there are probably two reasons if that's so.

1) SMBC is all me, whereas SMBC Theater is me and James writing and a buuunch of people helping out. So, it's inevitable that there's some difference.

2) In SMBC, changing gender is as easy as using an eraser. For SMBC Theater you have to use actors. For whatever reason, it's much easier to find men in comedy than women. We found several great women, but if you only know 2 or 3, scheduling can get tricky. So, we've tended to have more male actors.

EvanPierce68 karma

How is a life most well-lived?

MrWeiner183 karma

Read, build things, don't complain, and don't blame others. Also, remember that charting the path is usually a lot easier than walking it. So, focus more on the walking part.

TwistTurtle56 karma

How in the name of Glorious Satan do you seem to be able to not only understand but accurately explain in comic form apparently every scientific, philosophical or social concept you come across?

Also, what's your favourite fruit?

MrWeiner75 karma

I try my best, but often get it wrong, I'm afraid. My favorite fruit is the lychee. I'm also very fond of watermelon.

josephwb55 karma

Zach, I'm an evolutionary biologist working on open source software for phylogenetic inference. Would you be willing to draw an old-timey computer image that could serve as the icon? I can get you the details.

MrWeiner72 karma

I'm suuuuper busy right now, but shoot me an email and I'll see what I can do.

joejance55 karma

I am really excited about the growth of comics online. The internet is providing many unique voices a place to publish, and that is resulting in a lot of quality. Who are your favorites? Are you friends or acquaintances with other online comic artists? Are there any clubs or conventions, etc?

MrWeiner93 karma

Some of my favorite comics have been PBF, the parking lot is full, and A Lesson is Learned.

Of current work, buttersafe is pretty great. And, of course I read xkcd, explosm, and several other of the popular short form comics.

ihateirony57 karma

No Oglaf? You're missing out!

MrWeiner129 karma

Kelly and I love oglaf. Don't tell my mom.

RochesterinNYC46 karma

I've always wondered, how did you come up with the name "Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal?" Where is the love for Sunday Morning Breakfast Cereal or Friday Night Late Scotch?

Edit: I forgot to mention that I absolutely loved Captain Excelsior. I'm a stickler for the more "realistic," gritty takes on superheros and that was definitely one of my favorites.

MrWeiner63 karma

It was the name of a painting James did in High School after a fight with our art teacher. Somehow, it stuck all these years...

chrysaora23 karma

Is a picture of this painting on the internet??

MrWeiner28 karma

I suspect it is lost to history!

ReactsWithWords44 karma

Mr & Mrs. Weiner-Smith: I know a blacksmith. Do you want a photo of him in his leather apron holding a hot dog over and anvil with a pair of tongs and a mallet in his other hand?

MrWeiner36 karma

Yes please.

ramasule43 karma

Dear Zach and Team,

Thank you all for making me smile and putting such honest, full, insightful, and all around awesome dedication into your works.

All aboard the Weiner mobile

MrWeiner35 karma

Thanks! 500 internet points to you!

TheDroopy23 karma

I feel like you're getting stingier with your points. This is down significantly from your earlier offers of 1k and 10k. Are you simply running out or does it have to do with inflation or something?

MrWeiner25 karma

It's replenishing. Don't worry.

giraffe3443 karma


MrWeiner49 karma

Thanks for being a watchdog. Stubborn geeks like you make this subreddit much better :)

Hydrothermal42 karma

What does it feel like to be so fucking awesome?

MrWeiner72 karma

God I hope Kelly sees this one.

kabuto38 karma

What's your inspiration for your work?

MrWeiner68 karma

I really just try to read a lot, think a lot, then write for an hour a day. I also schedule my life a lot. So far that seems to be working all right.

GreenTeam52 karma

My question is related: Do you find inspiration comes easier when you aren't wearing a shirt?

MrWeiner244 karma

I don't have enough data on wearing shirts to respond.

Doomed35 karma

Have you ever thought of syndicating your g-rated comics or otherwise creating a separate-but-equal experience for prudes who also like comics?

MrWeiner70 karma

I will almost certainly get into something like that if/when Kelly and I have kids. I have some children's books ideas, but they are a bit low on my stack right now.

throwmeaway7631 karma

What's the favourite review anyone has ever done of your work?

MrWeiner88 karma

I was once favorably compared to Vonnegut. I slept well that night.

a_happy_donut29 karma

You've done a few of these AMA's now. Do you find that it is a successful method of promotion for a project?

MrWeiner74 karma

I try to limit it to when I have a big announcement. Honestly, I hate the idea that I'm abusing people's trust just for promotion. So, you won't see me using this more than once or twice a year.

That said, once or twice a year is a nice amount. It's good to get to talk with thousands of readers all at once.

And yeah, I suspect it's a good method of promotion. It's a little hard to tease out number, but last time I did it sales definitely increased during the day.

yesidid45626 karma

Oh man Zach, huge fan. Can't waid to read your comic about this experience. I have some questions:

Do you consider yourseflf to be an "intellectual"?

What are YOUR favorite webcomics? Do you have any advice for any aspiring cartoonists here?

Can you draw a special image for your TVTropes page?

MrWeiner51 karma

I'm mostly self taught which means I know a lot of stuff other people don't know, and that I have big gaps in my knowledge that other people consider fundamental. So, I'm not sure whether I merit "intellectual" or not. I'd say this - I'm neither the smartest or dumbest person I know, but I may be the hardest working, at least at intellectual endeavors.

sinn1sl0ken23 karma

Did you figure out a way to frustrate the classic "I think I'll just look ahead and figure out which way is better" CYOA reader? I feel like there has to be a fitting meta punishment to that.

MrWeiner48 karma

I did a few things to moderate cheating. There's actually a section where if you hit it, you are forced to take all placeholding fingers out of the book :). But, honestly, I'm assuming most people will cheat. And, there's no sense in being a rules Nazi if it makes the game less fun.

UndeadGraduate14 karma

:D I can't wait. I think you might have mentioned it in your kickstarter video, but how many pages does it have again?

chrysaora32 karma


MrWeiner38 karma

Christina, you win the on-the-ball award.

postExistence22 karma

  • I know a guy who changed his last name from Weiner to Wiser so his newborn daughter wouldn't suffer the curse of the Weiner. Would you be willing to change your last name if it meant your offspring did not suffer the same curse? I doubt you guys are related, but... do you have a distant or close relative named Jason ~Weiner~ Wiser? He a Bostonian, which I suppose is similar to an Estonian but with slightly more Irish (which is funny because he's Jewish)

  • I once made a request in your post to draw anything: Two T-Rex samurai roof hopping in combat in feudal Japan. Y u no do bro? Too complicated?

  • So does your wife study zombie fish?

  • Why would you need to do another kickstarter for a sequel if you raised $100,000? The first kickstarter was just for $15,000. Wouldn't you have enough money from the $100k to fund another 2 - 3 books? Is there something we don't know?

sciencegal74 karma

Zach and I just changed our last names to Weinersmith (Zach Weiner + Kelly Smith = The Weinersmiths), so it's unlikely we'll be changing it anything else. Besides, a last name likely Weinersmith will toughen our kids up!

Yes, I do study zombie fish (and it's awesome).

ramasule20 karma

Isn't a Weinersmith a hot-dog vendor?

MrWeiner72 karma

No, that's a Weinermonger.

MrWeiner65 karma

I want our kids to be as awkward and maladjusted as possible so I can relate to them.

I drew the first 60 or so requests I got that day. By the end, my hand was basically a gnarled twig. So, if I didn't do yours, that's why :)

She does, and she replied below.

The first kickstarter is a completely separate project run by James Ashby, with me producing and helping with some of the writing. This is for a book written entirely by me. The money for the first one went to funding production on that project. The funding for this one goes to printing, shipping, breadpig, and my wife's sssssssssssCIENCE!

Freddanator19 karma

Hey, long time viewer of your comics, love them!

Where do you get the crazy inspiration for every comic?

Every joke is so unique and different, but still thought out... I wish I was that creative!

MrWeiner41 karma

I try to read 3-5 books a week in many different subjects. Whenever I stop that, I run out of ideas reaaallll fast.

WhiteBlade300015 karma

Cripes. I really want have that kind of reading output, but my mind wanders all over the place and I end up spending an hour on one page unintentionally. Is there any special way to stay focused, or am I just doomed to be spacy?

MrWeiner20 karma

Wander is good. I find audiobooks help if you're really spacey. It's hard to wander when someone's in your ear.

kristian44415 karma

First asked this on the Bear Grylls one and will continue asking until someone answers:

If, after the collapse of society, you had to be eaten by another well-know person (in any field), who would it be and why?

MrWeiner47 karma

Bear Grylls. That way I'd be consumed at least a few times.

machpe13 karma

Have you ever found it hard to come up with something every day? Or do you have a comic stash hidden in a dark corner of your basement?

MrWeiner21 karma

Pretty much every day :) I do may best to make work I'm proud of every day. There is, sadly, no secret stash.

karsithe12 karma

If you could get anyone at all to record an audio book version, who would you want?

Also how will an audio book work, because the fast-forward button on my cassette player doesn't always work so well any more. It can rewind okay but I need to start saving if this is going to be a problem.

MrWeiner22 karma

Ha! I probably shouldn't reply to this in case I don't get my choice. It'll really depend on how much money we raise.

For the audiobook, I'm assuming it'd be an app and you'd use buttons to select choices after listening.

kalidascopes1212 karma

I find putting my work online to be incredibly intimidating. Any advice for someone scared of putting what they have made out in the open?

MrWeiner31 karma

I find the alternative way more intimidating. Like, for Trial of the Clone, I'm asking you all to buy based on my reputation. For SMBC, the daily updates are my reputation. So, if I suck one day I can do better the next.

That said, the basic deal is this - you've got to be your own critic. You KNOW when you suck. You KNOW. Figure out why you blew it when you blow it, then try to fix it.

Also, in general, if you're an entertainer, you have precisely one job - be more interesting than the people you are entertaining. Otherwise why should they listen to you. That's why if you want to improve at your work, self-cultivation is the best route.

aerugino10 karma

I have to ask, do you feel like you've gotten better at drawing cats?

MrWeiner16 karma

I gave up trying for realism, and that actually improved things. So, perhaps... a little?

ateshr10 karma

How much do you read everyday? Also, what sources do you use to learn mathematics and sciences (namely physics and chemistry)?

MrWeiner26 karma

I try to read 3-5 books a week, plus some science reading.

My preferred learning method goes like this: 1) Read a book chapter. 2) Work problems. 3) Do you get it? 4) If not, go to 2. 5) Do you get it? 6) If not, go to 1.

Usually that's enough. If not, I go to a smart friend or online lecture.

KovaaK9 karma

How many of the votey comics are actual conversations that you two have?

Also, huge fan. Great work :).

MrWeiner23 karma

They're mostly based on what I suspect Kelly thinks...

lurebat9 karma

Why do you always censor nudity (in not puting it in frame or covering it with shadow or something) in SMBC? is it this much harder to draw or you just want to prevent your readers from boobs?
Also, favourite theater episode?

MrWeiner16 karma

I would love to do nudity, but my ad providers don't allow it. Someday, maybe I'll sell enough merch to stop doing ads. But, for the moment, you'll have to find tits elsewhere online.

Favorite SMBCT ep was "Who's On First," without a doubt.

Talithin7 karma

I've been following your math and physics blog posts. Which do you find more enjoyable? I'm a mathematician but I have to admit I'm finding your physics write up much more enjoyable.

MrWeiner34 karma

Depends on my mood. Math is really cerebral, which makes it great. But, I admit, I do smile more doing physics.

Russell said (I'm paraphrasing, I think) that science is the study of what is, and math is the study of what would be if...

So, if that's true, it's not surprising that physics provides more "aha! so THAT'S WHY" moments. I almost want to say it like this: You love physics the way you love your sweetheart. You love math the way you love your god.