Columbia College | Columbia University in the City of New York
The dip into comics had been percolating for years, Steinberg says. He had frequently written humor pieces — starting with Jester at the College — and was inspired to try his hand at screenplays after interviewing filmmakers and learning more about the process. One of those early screenplay drafts grew into Cereal, which released its first issue in January (the second issue is due in May). Steinberg says that it has been exhilarating to see his first comic book come to life: “When you’re a journalist, it’s great to see your article printed. But when you’re doing fiction, it’s totally different. You’re the first person to tell this story.”
A parallel story arc focuses on a cereal conglomerate facing a financial shakeup. “I had written so much about business and corporations and knew how business people talk, so that’s how the two ideas came together,” he says. All three storylines (the murders, Colorado’s cereal innovations, and hostile corporate shenanigans) will intertwine as the series continues.
After he had Cereal’s early pages drafted, Steinberg needed to find an artist he could trust with his offbeat vision. He turned to his longtime friend and collaborator, Rich Harrington, with whom he had previously worked on a GQ baseball-themed humor series. “He was just the perfect guy to do the comic book with me,” Steinberg says. “Neither of us had ever done one — we’re two 60-year-old guys figuring it out and learning as we go!”
Steinberg has written Cereal as a six-issue release; the first installment has already gained attention, promoted everywhere from comic book conventions to the cereal-themed podcast “Just Pour the Milk.”
Having taken the deep dive into the milky unknown, Steinberg says he is loving the new experience. “As soon as I think ‘I should have done this 30 years ago,’ I then think, ‘Maybe I wasn’t ready for it,’” he says. “Maybe I couldn’t have done it the same way back then, without all the experiences that I’ve had now.”
“And really, it’s a cliché but it does show that it’s never too late. If you want to start something, just start today.”