Friday, November 28, 2008

Comic 510: Egging The Question

I don't have much to say about comic 509. I found it boring and stupid, and I still don't know what the fuck is up with Mr. Beret. I guess his new thing is that he's really gullible? What the hell?

And anyway, the next day Dinosaur Comic made a waaaaay better comic about dangers to the earth's magnetic field. But moving on....
Look Randall. We all love the high school or earlier comics. But it's starting to get to be too much. We had elementary school geography lesson in this comic, we had ha ha classes are boring (funnier if you weren't out of school already Randall! ) and of course, we had oh man guys I have made the most witty and original observation about standardized tests EVAR.

So now we get jokes about elementary school science projects. What is the deal here? Have you been thinking of this joke since 6th grade? Have you gone back through all your old Notebooks O' Fun until you got back here? Can we expect "Ms. Lee Smells Like Poo" comics next?

And I'm also sick of the single-panel wordless comics. They aren't comics! they're just odd little ideas that you draw up in five minutes and put online. Look, let me show you something. You see this? That's the newest Subnormality comic. Read it. Look at how many words there are. Look at how much the artist drew. Look at how many jokes are jammed in there. Now hit back a few times. Notice how every single comic is like that. This is a weekly comic. It comes out once for every three xkcds. And it takes, it would appear, about 20 times as much effort. This from a cartoonist who does not do this full time, unlike you, Randall. This cartoonist does not just go "huh, remember back when in scicence class we had to make a contraption to protect an egg when we dropped it yeah well what if the egg hatched??" and call it a day.

Think about that.

update: OK what do you guys think of this idea for a more "complete," so to speak, comic based off this idea:

First panel is a broad view and shows a whole classroom working on their separate projects. Lots of little speech bubbles asking for various supplies (paper, tape, cardboard, string, etc). Next panel is a close up of one dude in particular, staring intently at his project. He asks for more bizarre stuff - a heat lamp, for example. Or a glass dome. Stuff like that. People look at him like he is crazy. A few panels of this, then a handful of him furiously working. Then you see all the traditional people dropping their cardboard shit, and they all make fun of him and are like "ooh hey what does Mr. I-need-some-glass have for us?" and he confidently drops his incubator, and it very quickly incubates and hatches the egg, and the baby bird flies out. Incubator crashes to the ground and is destroyed. Bird flies away. Student is silent, and smiles. End.

This is a much better comic, no?


  1. Careful what you wish for-- extremely wordy comics can be bad too. Take Ctrl-Alt-Delete, for example, which is a pretty terrible comic that can almost always be at least somewhat improved by cutting out 80% of the dialogue.

  2. "Take Ctrl-Alt-Delete"


  3. No, XKCD shouldn't have more words because then you'd have to stand really close to the wall to read the posters.

    Dangit Carl, you are ruining XKCD for me. Both this one and #508 raised a chuckle - not quite a LOL, but a chuckle nonetheless, and that's all I ask from a webcomic. But when I read this blog because it also makes me chuckle (I do seem to chuckle a lot more than is healthy), I go back to the comic and think, "Wait, he's right. That isn't funny. Aww. :("

    Is XKCD overrated? Yes. Of course it's overrated: it's the internet's most-read webcomic despite its frequent use of Garfield-level humour (try replacing the final text of #505 with 'I hate Mondays'). Does XKCD suck? No, no it doesn't. I think. But I'm not so sure of that anymore.

    That said, I disagree about the wordless comics, although your recurrent touting of Dinosaur Comics - really more of a funny blog with dinosaur pictures than a webcomic - as Ultimate Perfection makes it rather pointless to argue this. What words would you add to Egg Drop Failure that would improve the comic?

    (I would, however, make it multi-panel, and add a beat panel and then one of the wee birdie poopin' on the bottom guy's head, because POOP = HILARIOUS.)

  4. Man, I've disagreed with you in the past, but now it is really starting to suck. This last month or so has been awful.

  5. Re: update: no, that's not much better at all.

    For a start, your comic suffers from the same problem as you claimed that #505 did. It isn't funny! Of course, not all comics have to be funny, but you can't claim the opposite and then propose something like this. And what's your comic about, anyway? Well, fundamentally, it's a guy trying to prove how QUIRKY he is. Quirky, unfunny. Given that your comic falls into two of your big four Halls of Shame for sucky XKCDs, it's not off to the best of starts.

    Even if you take the hatching bird to be the 'joke' (and really, if the guy actually meant it to hatch, how can that be funny?) then all we have is the original XKCD + some unnecessary words. If I saw your comic on the main XKCD page tomorrow, my first thought would be 'Randall, are you trying to be Copper? Because you ain't Copper.'

    I'll keep my thrice-weekly dose of a comic that sometimes sucks, thanks. (Heck, I read Dominic Deegan, despite how laughably bad it is, because hey, daily updates. You can't argue with daily updates.)

  6. Carl, you have this wonderful "I am pitching a movie idea" style when you are describing your theoretical comics.

    I like yours better but it doesn't work as a comic, I don't think. That, to me, screams 'stop motion short,' and I think it has potential to be pretty awesome.

    (Captcha: phingsy. I am getting some awesome captchas lately.)

  7. Anon, I assume you mean xkcd is starting to suck, not me? I can read it either way and I like the way that says I don't suck...

    Doubleblackbird, my proposal wasn't supposed to be a better joke than comic 510, it was supposed to be a better way of presenting the same fundamental joke (egg hatches during egg drop).

    While it's about a guy who is quirky, that is most assuredly not one of my Halls of Lameness categories. There's quirky relationships but that is not at all what I have here. At least I hope he doesn't have a relationship with the bird.

    So...yeah, while it's still not the best comic idea, I hope you understand the limitations I gave myself when writing it.

    Rob - agreed, I suppose...but I think it could still work as a comic. Probably not as well as an animated film though. Now we have to find someone who can make it.

    I regret that due to how I sign into blogger, I never have captchas. They are always a source of fun. Oh well. I'll just live vicariously through yours.

  8. I have to agree with DoubleBlackbird on this one. When I read the comic, I thought: "Wow, way to simple joke. That's lame. Randall makes it easy for Carl today". But no. Instead we get a long rant about the execution of the joke, an execution that IMHO was about as good as it could be when the joke was that weak.

  9. Got to agree, that alternative would take all the surprise out of it. Plus that would rely on the student in question knowing for sure that he had a fertilised egg. This way presumably he just went for a regular egg drop, and the just-happened-to-be-fertilised-and-ready-to-hatch egg hatched and flew away part way down. Quirky, not the funniest xkcd comic around, but an obscure way of looking at something we all did in school.

    Plus I have to say, I really don't get your infatuation with dinosaur comics, hassling xkcd for its artwork, and then praising dinosaur comics strikes me as somewhat hypocritical. Also it is often harder to make the gag without words than with lots of words. I couldn't read that subnormality comic, it was far too much, I'd take the egg-drop over that any day.

  10. Well I guess my proposed version of the comic was way less popular than I had hoped...oh well.

    Obviously it would not be realistic. Just like it's not realistic that an egg provided by a physics teacher for a project would hatch at all, as in xkcd.

    You do make a good point with the dinosaur comics. I just happen to really like the style of humor that it has. Obviously every single xkcd with any pictures at all has more effort in terms of art than any dinosaur comic (part of why I was surprised that when Randall did his own dinosaur comic he just used the regular art, unlike the other guests that week).

    I should clarify: I don't think Randall Munroe is a bad artist. He's demonstrated many times that he is actually very good. My problem is that occasionally he doesn't use his skill in a way that enhances the comic, as I think happened here. I don't really care how "hard" it is to make the gag, as you put it, I care about which way is funniest.

    Subnormality was merely to show that Randall puts much less effort into his comics than some people.

  11. I agree that single-panel wordless comics suggest a significant lack of effort, but Subnormality is at the exact opposite end of the spectrum - it's FAR too wordy. It's unreadable.

    Personally, I don't think that reading a webcomic should ever feel like a chore, and that's exactly what Subnormality feels like to me. As a rule, if a comic looks like it's going to take me ten minutes to read, I automatically assume that it sucks and that the author probably knows nothing about visual media.

    Someone should tell whoever does Subnormality that he's writing a webcomic, not a fucking novel.

  12. >I still don't know what the fuck is up with Mr. Beret.

    There are no ongoing "characters". Everyone is a projection of someone Randall is or wants to be. He just draws some with hats because he has no talent to make people look different.

  13. holy crap I love that comment

  14. I think Subnormality and xkcd both equally suck. In fact I have yet to see a web comic that doesn't suck. I guess that's why I like going to here, Your Webcomic is Bad and You Should Feel Bad, Comics Curmudgeon, etc. Because these blogs and webcomics illustrate one thing: the difference between being a humorist (I disagree with you not being an artist, you are quite the artist with your mastery of the satirical critique) and putting up a bunch of "pithy" (lol) drawings with observations only a douche would make.

  15. damn, hard to please. at least you can admit that subnormality puts in a shitload more effort than xkcd, and gets less recognition for it?