Applause erupted in the standing-room-only 6-120 yesterday at 3:58 p.m. as Zachary A. Weiner, creator of popular webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC), entered the room for a Q&A session packed with questions touching on topics from fellow web comic artists to the merits of Star Wars vs. Star Trek (for the record, Weiner prefers Star Wars). The free event, sponsored by the MIT Lecture Series Committee, concluded with a signing session of the new SMBC compilation, Save Yourself, Mammal!: A Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Collection, and went an hour over its anticipated 4–6 p.m. runtime.
“This is way more than ten people,” Weiner commented as he entered the packed room. He spoke on topics ranging from his internet browsing habits — “Up until this week, I was a frequent Reddit user,” he said of the popular social news site and his blocking of it with a Google Chrome browser extension — to his favorite SMBC comics (it’s “Viewpoints of the Universe,” as he called it, at http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2223#comic), to the stress of writing a comic read by thousands.
“It’s like telling a single joke to a stadium of people every day,” he said. To the ensuing laughter of the audience, he added, “It’s nice to not think about that.”
After the Q&A ended around 5:15, 40 copies of SMBC’s new compilation were up for sale and sold out within minutes. Weiner signed the books (and whatever else attendees presented in front of him) for nearly two hours. In the coming months, Weiner plans to sell additional SMBC compilations, the “world’s first unlubricated single use disposable monocle” developed with the Media Lab’s Benjamin J. Peters G, and a choose-your-own-adventure book. It’s even possible MIT may see his work on a more personal level in the near future.
“Would you be open to contributing content to our Mystery Hunt?” asked one attendee towards the Q&A’s end.
“I contributed to the CalTech scavenger hunt,” Weiner replied to audience, and candidly replied that “as long as I’m in Massachusetts, I like MIT the best.”
We’ll have to wait and see.
Check out SMBC at http://www.smbc-comics.com.