Zach Weinersmith: Abridging Things to the Point of (Perfection)

If being creative were a sport, cartoonist Zach Weinersmith would be an Olympian.

“I try to treat my mind like an athlete treats his body — I don’t feed it too much junk, and I make sure it’s getting a lot of exercise,” he says. Over ten years ago, he turned Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC) — a popular single-panel webcomic about science, philosophy, “and other nerd stuff” — into his full-time job.

In 2015, during Weinersmith’s Kickstarter campaign for Religion: Ruining Everything Since 4004 BC (his sixth!), a book of religion-themed SMBC panels, a funny thing happened. In addition to raising 2,516% of its original goal, one of the project’s rewards, a tiny book called The Holy Bible: Abridged Beyond the Point of Usefulness, unexpectedly became one of the most popular books he’d ever published.

For Kickstarter Gold, Weinersmith reprised the idea with Science: Abridged Beyond the Point of Usefulness. From applied science to microbiology, the book summarizes every major field of in a short, hilarious sentence. (Example: “Genetics. The study of specific ways you are broken at molecular level.”) The campaign was extra-special because it preceded the release of Soonish — a book by Weinersmith and his wife, Kelly, which will be published by Penguin Random House this October. Backers of Science Abridged will be able to get a copy of Soonish through New York City’s Strand Bookstore.

From turning his hobby into a career to collaborating with major publishers (and supporting independent bookstores in the process), Weinersmith retains a refreshingly light-hearted perspective: “Risks are practically mandatory if you want to have a career in the arts that lasts more than a few years. And hey, if you feel silly, that just means you’re learning.” Right on.