Thursday, October 16, 2008

Comic 489: Look Harder

Firstly and unrelatedly, the other day there was, very briefly, a link to "New merchandise in the store" but there was, alas, no new mockable merchandise (or non-mockable, for that matter). The link was soon removed. If there's new stuff soon - then I totally called it. Now, where were we? Oh yes -

insert today's xkcd right over here
While there is nothing particularly unfunny here, I find the joke pretty forced. Still better than most of the recent comics, but the whole thing is a kind of long set up for a "ha ha, google maps is taking over this person and also they can't keep zooming in all the time! they lose detail." Ha, all those people who try to zoom in to far on google maps have we got the comic for you!

Say, you know what this is that we haven't had for a while? A comic conflating humans and computers. Join the club, 489.

But it looks like even some of the forumites are unhappy with the recent comics.

On another note, a comment on the last post here pointed me to this New Yorker Cartoon Lounge interview and cartoon competition with everyone's favorite cartoonist, Randall Munroe. It has some interesting nuggets in there - for example, he says the comic is "about three-fourths autobiographical" hopefully ending that little debate we occasionally have. It also is full of irritating little not-quite-name-droppings but like, concept droppings. "Look Sarah Palin is stupid, isn't that funny?" "Look, I still mock Ron Paul that's the kind of joke all of you guys make all the time!" "cough cough ahem youtube took my audio preview idea cough" etc. But read it for yourselves, and decide what you all think is good in there.

PS - Tonight, we see the dreaded xkcd guest comic on qwantz...


  1. Randall's guest comic is up. It isn't bad, but unlike the other comics, it relies entirely on the source material (which is probably what saved it from being detestable) with basically zero real deviation. Not awful, but pretty poor, and completely pales in comparison to the other guest comics.

    It will probably get the most praise.

  2. Out of interest, is that the first ever Dinosaur Comic without Dromiceiomimus in it?

  3. I think Randall did alright filling Ryan North's shoes, and a couple of his New Yorker Cartoon Lounge samples were pretty good! By which I mean, they (and the Qwantz comic) reminded me of the "old Randall" who could put odd-but-interesting ideas together and come up with something original.

    However, his burst of creativity seems to have resulted in phoning in #490. He's not even pandering in that one; now he's arriving at our workplace at 9 am and trying to make conversation. From a decade ago.

  4. I agree with Thomas. 490 was zero funny.

    A comment on the LJ feed:
    "This made me laugh far too hard." (source)
    Yes. Yes, it did.

    See, Randall, I can make jokes, too!

  5. I think his "three-fourths autobiographical" comment was actually a joke. The full quote is:

    "Well, I draw XKCD, a webcomic about stick figures who do math, play with staple guns, mess around on the Internet, and have lots of sex. It’s about three-fourths autobiographical."

    He's humorously saying he does the first three things, but not the having of the sex.

  6. I'll write something about the dinosaur comics guest comic later. I thought it wasn't terrible but it had some bad elements about it.

    Vlad, I agree that it was a joke, but somehow it still feels like he means it. I mean, those three of four things are all things he probably does do, right? I think it's more that he he decided "oh it's 3/4 autobiographical, why don't I list three things I do and one that I clearly don't."

    Previous guest comics have omitted the lovely Ms. Dromiceiomimus - like this one and also this one. Neither follows the traditional format so much, of course. There may be others - look around, it's a good excuse to read hundreds and hundreds of those comics.

  7. You can argue as to whether xkcd is as good as it used to be, but even that strip makes a creative joke of an aspect of Google.

    Compare that to User Friendly. Aside from its "moderately-promising 14-year-old still showing too much influence from the Teach-Yourself-Cartooning book" drawing style, User Friendly has always relied on its geek-friendly subject matter and viewpoints to flatter the audience and obscure the fact that it's neither creative nor funny.

    Here's a good example:-

    There's nothing creative about this. The "news" was a real-life item reported in many tech outlets about a year back. The strip itself is just a lazy excuse to let the audience laugh again at that story- it adds nothing to it except an audience-pandering but uncreative aside.

    xkcd has a long way to go before it gets *that* lazy.