Interview: Zach Weinersmith Talks Art, Gaming And Cosplay
GaymerX is a gaming convention that takes place every year in San Jose, CA. GaymerX is a “queer space”; a convention where panels center on queer themes, but all are invited and welcomed. Unicorn Booty is a proud media partner of GaymerX; to that end, we’ll be interviewing the Bosses Of Honor for this year’s convention.
If you don’t know Zach Weinersmith‘s name, you certainly know his work: His comic strip, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, gets over a half-million hits a day. He’s also created the interactive novel, Trial of the Clone, which is also available as a smartphone game, and his graphic novel Captain Stupendous is published by IDW. Aside from making things you can read, Zach and his wife Kelly also do the non-weekly science podcast, The Weekly Weinersmith.
Unicorn Booty: How did you first get into comics?
Zach Weinersmith: In the late days of the last millennium, I started drawing them to amuse friends. I was never a comics geek really, but I could write and draw a little, so I kind of fell into it.
What are some of your favorite games and why?
I haven’t played video games hardcore in a while, but I loooooved the Civilization series.
There are people that argue that games are sex-neutral. What would you say to that and how does that relate to GaymerX?
I’m not sure I know exactly how “sex-neutral” is being used, but I think I can try to talk about the arts generally. All art is designed with SOME groups in mind. That’s unavoidable. And, given the history of who was allowed to make and perform art in our culture, the result is that a lot of the work we’re left with, and the work we’re still making, is skewed toward men with a European-derived culture. The existence of any particular piece of work is not inherently bad, but there’s clearly a big historical bias at work.
What’s the best cosplay you’ve either done or seen?
Any time someone has a functional transformer, they win.
Has harassment affected your work or the work of your peers? If so, how?
Not really mine. I mean, here and there I’ve had threats and such, but it’s never affected my work, that I can think of. In general, in comics, it seems the women absorb more of the harassment. How that affects their work, I can’t say. At the least, it probably affects how open they are to public interaction, and not in a positive way.
What can we do to fight against bigotry and exclusion in comics?
I’m sure there are lots of ways! Some people like to be more active. Personally, I try to just include various types of people as characters in my comic, without making a big deal of it. That seems to go over well with people. Now and then, I do push a little harder. But, it’s tough, because if you get very political, you alienate people, which steps on your ability to reach out.
Are there any videogame abilities, like the fire flower or the portal gun, for instance, that you wish you could have in the real world?
Space travel. Any version of space travel.
If games are art, what sort of power do they hold as cultural artifacts?
I haven’t a clue. I don’t think anyone does, at least empirically speaking. I think we tend to overestimate how much media matters to culture (as opposed to reflecting culture). As artifacts, though, I think video games can be very interesting. Games from the 70s don’t say much about that culture, but games from today certainly do. So, it’ll be interesting to see what people think in 50 years, if I make it that long.
Are there any video game characters you’d like to see dating or making out? Or are there any video game couples you think should be splitsville?
Pac-Man and Mrs. Pac-Man should take a break.
(Featured image via John Dill)
GX3: Everyone Games marks the third year of the GaymerX convention, a meeting of LGBTQ tabletop and console gamers with panels, meet-ups, parties and more! The convention takes place December 11 to 13 in San Jose, California. This year’s Bosses of Honor include RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Trixie Mattel, Mass Effect’s Jennifer Hale, and many, many more! Tickets are available at GaymerX.com.