Sunday, October 19, 2008

xkcd takes over Dinosaur Comics

So here we are - the much anticipated Randall Munroe guest stint at Dinosaur Comics. And I will say first that it was not as bad as I had feared. With xkcd, there are those comics I don't particularly like and there are those that actively make me mad (and, if go to the old ones, the third category of those I actually like).

So the first thing that jumps out at you, if you've been following the other guest week comics, is that Randall did not re-draw the traditional Dinosaur Comics panels in his own webcomic's style, as the other four did. I was actually really looking forward to this, but apparently he was perfectly happy to just type some words into the ordinary template and hit copy and paste and resize and bunch of times.

This is a tiny point that probably only bothers me, but - it really irritates me that T-Rex refers to telling a "dinosaur comics story." None of the characters ever refer to they are in a comic so it doesn't sound like "T-Rex" as much as "Some dude impersonating T-Rex" but since no one else probably noticed this I'll move on.

Let's see - we have the traditional "my concept of 'the sexy' is filled with sadness" that we've come to know and love so much, so that's reassuring. We have the odd notion that T-Rex "got closer and closer to" telling his story when he did no such thing (I mean you never get closer than 'It starts like this' which you just get to read over and over again) and just in case you missed it you are reminded that Randall has channeled Zeno's Paradox which is a mathematical concept that Randall knows about, you see. Even if this comic only relates to the paradox in terms of the rectangles getting smaller and smaller each time; the story does not, I think, get closer and closer to anything. Or lose a race to a turtle.

on a totally unrelated note, I love the current chainsawsuit comic.

Update: Reader Ariel points out that this comics recursiveness is rather reminiscent of the very first Abstruse Goose. Not saying Randall copied it, just something to remember when all the Munroe Fanboys are all like "ooooh that's so creative no one has EVER thought of that it has like literally infinity jokes omg omg omg" and then also I would add that this comic does, actually, approach an ending in a Zeno-like fashion, unlike the xkqwantzcd comic.


  1. This post was lonely.

    It was not a bad comic, but I think it tried too hard. His parody of A Softer World was much better (long ago). This was amusing but unmemorable and unremarkable.

  2. I really liked his Softer World parody as well (more than 99% of Softer World comics). Heck, I liked his first parody of dinosaur comics. a lot too. Especially its alt-text. That was spot on.

  3. A Softer World is the sort of comic I would make if I had talent. It feels like something you have to be kind of like me to appreciate, though.

  4. Damn, Ariel, I should have thought of that one! At first I was all like "dude I totally already read Abstruse Goose" but then I realized you were referring to that specific one. Yeah, that is pretty close - and I'll point out that that one does, in fact, approach a climax without ever reaching it.

  5. I agree that is a very sad, soon to die, horse, but Dinosaur Comics is not in a better shape. At least Randell draws his own sucky comics instead of doing what you describe as "just type some words into the ordinary template and hit copy and paste and resize and bunch of times".
    Both comics are dragged on the dirt like if only we could find a vet they could make them all better again.

    A thought: Maybe, instead of publishing on fixed schedule, they could just concentrate on publishing good art?
    Another one: There is a reason why many artists have a drawer to keep their doodles and doodies locked. Some art should be published... err... well, maybe they should just decide what is the best and put all the others in an internet, open access, drawer. That in alternative to wasting all of our time...

    Carl, BTW, when I first found your blog I was relieved because all of my friends still think xkcd is not a very sad skraggy horse with one foot in the grave.

  6. I can't argue that any art at all is better than Dinosaur Comics art, and when he puts his mind to it Randall is a pretty cool artist. But I do still love Dinosaur comics...It's cool if you don't, I recognize that it happens to be a style of humor that particularly appeals to me (I just think much the T-Rex does, and probably like Ryan North does).

    It's kind of like the movie Walk Hard. I thought it was one of the funniest new movies I've seen in five years, but I understand if you don't. But let's concentrate on those things we can agree on: xkcd sucks hard! yay.

  7. Um... I guess what makes Dinosaur Comics so unpallatable for me is that it is 99.999% text. I need more visual stuff.
    Take for example's Subnormality - it has TONS of text but has visual art so it makes it much more pallatable for me. Am I too lacking in concentration to read it? Sure am. :'-(

    I did like it for a long time now... Sometimes I still go back to and read one or two strips, although they do keep pilling up... (;_;)

  8. The thing that I hate about the DC guest comic was how painfully the last panel explained the rest of the joke. Randall's insufferable "True love means wallowing in angst" is bad enough, but then he wheezes out an exposition that says "In case you didn't get it, here's the most awkward explanation."

    Also, I kind of hate Subnormality (and the spinoff Abnormality), since it seems to channel the worst of Randall's pretentiousness, only all the time.

  9. perhaps - but at the very, very least, he puts waaaay more effort in than Randy. He has tons and tons of words (too many, for lots of people) and tons and tons of pretty good art. Randy is crap with just stick figures and "ha ha, ur mom"