Anyone else remember the circa-1990’s Nickelodeon show, Weinerville? Whenever I hear or write Zach Weiner’s name, it reminds of that zany cast of puppets with their real life host/friend, Marc Weiner.
Zach had nothing to do with that show (that I know of), but he does keep the zaniness coming with his recently DS-reviewed strip, Captain Excelsior. This weekly look into the lives of a family of superheroes (and one not so super son, I’m looking at you, Not-Ward) is one of the best comics out there today, and certainly the best at lampooning the superhero genre.
Due to the immensity of my enjoyment with the Captain, I shot Zach a few questions about the strip to try and dig a bit deeper into the mind of this comic genius.
Digital Strips: What comic/webcomic did you first read that got you into them?
Zach Weiner: Probably Penny Arcade or Goats. There wasn’t a lot out there back in the late 90s, but those were both comics that were already pretty good by then.
DS: Name three comics (web-based or no) you currently read and why you read them so regularly.
ZW: Thingpart, Creased Comics, and XKCD, because they’re similar to what I do, but significantly different enough for me to learn from them. I also like Simulated Comic Product when it updates.
Normally, I’d like to read more longform stuff (and I do check in with several such strips now and then), but right now I don’t have time to read much beyond short gags.
In print, I’m a fan of just about anything by Alan Moore or Daniel Clowes.
There. You asked for six comics, right?
DS: Indeed I did. Now, with little nods like disguises completely baffling the superpowered community being so spot-on with their comedic timing and truth in that field, how in tune are you with the superhero genre?
ZW: Honestly, not much. Most of my knowledge of the genre comes from stuff I read growing up. So, although there are winks at the broad sense of the genre, you’ll notice there are really no specific references to comic books currently running.
I was very surprised recently when a friend told me that Robin has died, like, 4 times now?
DS: Something like that, though the latest was recently revealed to be ***SPOILER ALERT*** a hoax to fool the current Robin. Sad stuff. Alright, so imagine this: if time were no object and you had the opportunity to do so, what one other genre would you want to write about?
ZW: I actually have a few different things I’m working on right now. Some future stuff includes, science, science fiction, and children’s books.
DS: And Digital Strips wants to be the first one to read each and every one of those products! [The opinions of The Midnight Cartooner are his own, and not the expressed opinion of Digital Strips Inc. – Ed.]
These days there are various networking sites like Digital Webbing and Drawing Board that help connect creators. Â How did you and [Captain Excelsior artist] Chris Jones get hooked up?
ZW: Dumb luck. I just posted on my site that I was looking for an artist. Usually when you do this, you expect to get random amateurish people. I happened to get Chris Jones, who may well be the best artist in comics, though my opinion may be a touch biased. We spent a few months putting it together, then put everything online.
DS: And the last question, the one everyone wants answered, will Ron… sorry, Not-Ward, ever get his day in the sun? Â Because I sincerely hope not.
ZW: Hard to say, really. As you mentioned in your podcast, the obvious route is for Ron to eventually turn evil. We’ll have to see what the future holds…
And that’s how it’s done, folks! Reference the review podcast and you get an instant gold star from the DS crew! Stay tuned for more creator interviews and don’t forget to add Zach and Chris’ Captain Excelsior, updating every Wednesday, to your Favorites folder!