So in a previous piece I only talked a little bit about how Dinosaur Comics likes to tackle high-brow topics. Ryan North does love to talk about big things, though his topics are a lot more diverse. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, on the other hand, likes to discuss big ideas all the time, and so it’s built a reputation as a–well, “thinking man’s comic” makes it sound like it gets printed in the New Yorker–though this has been featured on news outlets before.
Anyway, the comic updates on weekdays and features one-shot comics with some pretty good humor. Sometimes the setup segues into a bizarre punchline that takes a normal scene and turns it into something weird, and other times it prefers to inject sociology, math, psychology or any other -ology that seems appropriate to the joke. Some of the more common topics include mathematics, theology and existentialism, but presented in an approachable manner, often with setups meant to explain a concept before applying it to a real world case and making that case worth a giggle.
Oh, also in case you’re not used to it, click the thumbnails to see the whole comics. I don’t know, I felt that was worth mentioning.
Zach Weiner, the author and illustrator, has a knack for re-framing a premise through the lens of any field of study, particularly science. I like it. It’s a nerd’s comic, by nerds and for nerds, but typically not that hard to understand for a layperson. I don’t know what some of the terms he injects mean, and maybe even he doesn’t, but I still laugh because it’s not hard to figure out where it’s going.
Of course, the flaw here is that it could get a little too nerdy and flatten the joke, which happens from time to time but generally isn’t a problem.
So, then, how about the art?
Well, it’s not bad, but not really praiseworthy either. It works, is all it really does. Don’t expect something of the same caliber as Delilah Dirk or Bird Boy. He does anatomy and perspective perfectly fine, but it’s all in simple shapes and colors. I don’t really like the way he does heads, though. They sometimes look like jigsaw puzzle pieces on a torso. His color palette can be grating and there’s not a lot of complicated shading aside from occasional black line work. Still, he has a good grasp of the basics and definitely has potential, but I don’t think the nature of this comic lends itself well to hosting high quality drawings anyway. It’s like The Far Side for science majors, you know? No need to kill yourself drawing Mandelbrot sets.
SMBC also has a bunch of videos of comedy sketches they do, which can be pretty funny and are of a good quality. To me, the best ones follow the same format as the strip- using a smart concept as the background for a joke, and keeping it short and vulgar; well, actually one of my favorites is the one where Link from Legend of Zelda gets into an argument with that friggin wizard.
TL; DR: SMBC is like those one-shot comics in the newspaper that all tried to replicate Gary Larson’s talent, but smart and funnier.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is written and illustrated by Zach Weiner. You can view his comic here and buy his merchandise here. You can also support Spandexless by purchasing the first collection of SMBC through our Amazon web store.