Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Comic 521: An XKCDsucks Christmas

xmas time is here

First off: Merry Christmas! I hope you are all enjoying yourselves, and not drinking yourselves into oblivion because this comic has brought you more despair than you can handle this holiday season. As my Christmas gift to you, I present you: It's A Wonderful Webcomic, a short story by yours truly.

Randall Munroe was a webcomic, authoring a niche comic that was increasingly less funny. Desperately, he tried to insert geeky references into his works, trying to service as many fans as possible in attempt to save his comic from the dark oblivion. Then, disaster struck. Christmas approached. He was unable to decide on a single internet-based joke for Christmas, and he didn't have time for a whole Christmas story!

Even if he did, his ideas had grown too disparate, too crazy to connect in a coherent plot. He needed a plan. So, late at night, Randall Munroe went out into the lonely bars of Cambridge, drank, and doodled on napkins. He was getting nowhere. He was doomed to write a comic that did not inspire vapid comments on his forums.

His pen broke. Ink started filling one of the panels--one where he had drawn the waitress telling him how she wanted to go ice skating on the Charles river. The resulting comic made no sense--and it was perfect. He immediately thought of a suitably nerdy pattern with which to black out the panels. He told the waitress he loved her, and ran home to write his Christmas special. He could make 12 panels look like 32! He could make the story completely nonsensical, just nerd reference after nerd reference, and everyone would think that was part of the genius!

It was the best Christmas ever. THE END. Happy holidays, loyal fans.

UPDATE: I am going to just make a list of better Christmas comics than this one. Feel free to suggest your own and I will add them, unless they suck, in which case I will cry.

COMIC THE FIRST: A Softer World - Oh, A Softer World. I love you.
COMIC THE SECOND: Cat and Girl - A++ would buy again
COMIC THE THIRD: Kate Beaton - As of this writing, the most recent one. Scroll down until there is Santa.

UPDATE AGAIN, INDEPENDENT OF THE FIRST UPDATE: ugh I forgot to complain. Randall. It is not 'the yggdrasil'. It is Yggdrasil. Just Yggdrasil. You are DOING IT WRONG.

STILL FURTHER UPDATE, RELATED TO THE SECOND UPDATE BECAUSE THAT STILL BOTHERS ME: Yggdrasil means "Ygg's Horse." Ygg means Odin. The Odin's Horse makes no sense. RANDALL FAIL.


  1. Well, yeah.

    I really like your coal joke.

    BTW, did you know Santa was once a fierce Norse warrior, arguably the archetype of all fierce Norse warriors?

    I plug this wikipedia bit where ever I can.
    Already wrote about it here:

  2. Oy, the comic I was linking, with Santa, the Krampus and Skadi, the Norse warrior, is here:

  3. Cue Carl getting all angry about the use of 'Friggin'' in the seventh panel because that's what Ryan North did today!

    Man I still don't know how to put links in the text. Here are some comics, though, you decide whether they're better than this one:

    Cat and Girl


    Kate Beaton
    (it's the first one on the page at the moment but her layout is not conducive to linking, curse you Beaton)



    and pretty much every Count Your Sheep posted in December, especially this one:

    There is some reading material for Christmas!

  4. Added a few more to my list!

    Oh man, you guys need to watch The Hogfather. And read it. It is the best Christmas story ever. Seriously.

  5. Wow Rob in the time it took me to read the post and the comments, you already commented. I applaud your quick commenting abilities!

    Anyway, DoubleBlackbird--links are html fun! You see how it gives you HTML tags below the comment form? That last one is the one you use for links. So if you want to link something, you type:

    <a href="http://whateverlinkylink">type whatever you want the link to look like here</a>

    So let's say you want to link to xkcd:

    <a href="">this is a terrible webcomic</a>

    and it will look like this is a terrible webcomic.

    Hope that helps!

  6. Why would the penultimate panel have the message wishing everyone a merry Christmas instead of the last one?

  7. Because the last panel is the conspicuously-absent punchline.

  8. Because Randall did not think this through.

  9. Because the last panel is the girl saying "I'm leaving you."

  10. Oh man this comic was so sad. "Oh man i have the best excuse for putting random stuff together! I don't have to think of anything logical! wooooo" and of course he gets to add the totally unneeded prime number thing into it, just to show that he knows about math!

    It seems like there is stuff that we miss in between panels 2 and 3, also. He clearly just made some random story and didn't think about the logic of it.

    Fun fact: this is the original version of this comic - you'll note that it has one row fewer than the current version, and that panel 27 (ie, panel 3*9) has a part of the story. And so Merry Christmas was at the bottom separate from the story. So, he realized his mistake, added another row, and because he also needed panel 31, made Merry Christmas part of the story. And added the happy couple because xkcd is a comic about romance, after all!

    DoubleBlackbird - Man I love Achewood but this week has been even more depressing than usual. Good god. Those are some good links, though.


    except you randall

    oh, happy winter to you too, who am i kidding

  11. About the Yggdrasil.

    It's a damned tree. The fucking tree of life. It is not Odin's Horse.
    Odin's other name is Yggr, which some speculate may mean that the name came from odin tethering his horse at the tree.

    I just get annoyed when the religious beliefs of friends of mine are pretended to be understood.

  12. I dunno. I kinda liked the last panel. At least Black Hat Dude's actually doing creatively evil shit again instead of Randall just telling us how creative and evil he is.

  13. It's christmas, everybody! :) When is nostalgia and self-reference as acceptable as it is during christmas. Some random references is all I want on christmas eve. Nothing exceptionally clever, just simple fun. I actually do enjoy that "screw you"-mentality shown by not caring that the Merry Christmas wish isn't in the last panel.

    Escalating stories seams to be a new xkcd theme (349, 445, 456, 475, 518 and today, at least). I enjoy them all, except 445.

    Merry Christmas, XKCD lovers and haters!

  14. God thank you. I found this blog googling about the Yggdrasil thing to make sure I wasn't crazy. The etymology is honestly kind of irrelevant, though -- what is relevant is that it is a NAME, not a description, and names of that kind just don't take definite articles in English. In any case, wtfwtfwtf.

  15. First Anonymous: Your friends are idiots. (As are you.) Tell them I said so. Show them the post, if necessary. Tell them I want to hear from them. I want to teach them how not to be idiots. Please send them to me.

    But perhaps you should develop some basic literacy. Yggdrasil means 'Odin's horse.' I did not say it was a horse, merely stated the etymology. Yggdrasil means 'Odin's horse.' I do not bother myself with what some idiot wannabe pagans think it means, I am more concerned with etymology. Yes, it is the world tree. Yes, I know it is not actually Odin's horse. But do your fucking homework before you try to go all elitist.

    Second Anonymous: Yeah, for a nerd Randall sure dropped the ball on this one.

  16. No, dude, his friends are vikings. Modern-day Thor-worshiping vikings. I bet they have swords on their walls and everything.

    Mess with them and they'll gut you.

  17. oh shit. I just fucked with the vikings.

  18. Robbbbbb I thought we were calling them cuddlefishies now. /whine

    I have no idea what this whole Yrrr thing is. I guess I should keep my neck out of it, though, as it appears Vikings are involved.

  19. oh man you are SO. IGNORANT. Cuddlefish #1 is going to have his friends CAST VIKING SPELLS on you. They will have a fairy revel and he will wear a costume of LINK from THE LEGENDS OF ZELDA and he has a real athame and can draw a REAL RITUAL CIRCLE with it, and the Vikings will totally hang you from a tree as a sacrifice to ODIN.

  20. I think I would be more threatened if I knew what all those words meant. As it stands, your usage of capital letters has me alarmed enough.


    well not really

  21. Also, it will be an ASH TREE.

    You are so doomed. :(


    P.S. - Happy winter to you, too, Carl.

  23. I SUPPOSE I can fight the Viking magician hell demons for you.

  24. I leave for a week and you've gotten NORSE GODS to reign a fiery death upon us?? THANKS A LOT, ROB.

  25. It's all cool, I am fighting them off. I am an expert at battling hell demons etc.

  26. Commenting far too late to be relevant, but I only found this blog this week and have been catching up on the archives.

    What bothered me the most about this comic was the (once again) unnecessary introduction text ("Due to the slowing economy...").

    It isn't even internally coherent as a joke. How would the economy prevent Randall, I'm sorry Randall & Co. as indicated by the "we", from posting the complete comic, let alone, just prime numbered panels. It is a cheap justification to throw in a cheap throw-away geek reference.

    Let me put it this way:
    In the novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, the main character, Christopher, who is autistic and the fictional author of the book, has chosen to use prime numbers only as chapter numbers. It is part of the over-all texture of the book and character, justified because it is written by someone who is autistic.

    I think Randall means us to take the blacked out panels in the same way, just part of the over-all texture of xkcd. But why then try to excuse it with a lame and non-sensical "due to the economy". Oh yeah, because as you have pointed out over and over again, he sure is on top of those gosh-darned wacky current events.

    As a montage of xkcd in-jokes and wacky unrelated scenarios, it is sub-par, but it he has already told us that that we're not going to see the rest of the comic and we can fucking assume that what we will see will be oh so wacky and inexplicable and... Jesus, he has really just stopped trying. He couldn't even throw in a smarmy I love this comic and reiterating the same jokes over and over again. Instead our Christmas present was a great big:

    I love being lazy.

    Fuck you Randall.

  27. I'd just say it's... an experiment. He WANTS us to wonder about the missing story.

    Plus it got a great alteration in xkcd slightly worse.

  28. are we still fighting about this?

  29. No, since I've settled the "argument" with an undeniable fact.

  30. Ok, as long as no one disputes you...

  31. Jesus Christ! You like *a softer world*? Well, that explains everything. You just have no taste.

  32. well I don't like it, Rob does. It is one of his few flaws.

    In any case, isn't that one of the small number of comics xkcd links to?

    WHY YES, yes it is. WHAT NOW, BITCH

  33. I don't expect you to understand, Cuddlefish. It's intelligent. It requires basic reading comprehension skills to understand.

  34. "what some idiot wannabe pagans think it means"

    ... Norse. Mythology.
    I'm a fan of this site - sometimes. You raise some valid concerns about xkcd that have changed my perception of it - but you WHINE and BITCH so much. It's a webcomic. Its not perfect. You complain so often that "Oh noez, randall only works 3 times a week to write a load of crap." How is that so different from what you do? You write 3 times a week about how you think someone else is doing a crap job. You made a good effort to redeem yourself with xkcdcouldbebetter, even though I didn't really enjoy that so much.

    What I'm saying is that I like this site. I like what you do here. But do not be a jerk. Don't say "Yggdrasil means 'Ygg's Horse.' Ygg means Odin. The Odin's Horse makes no sense. RANDALL FAIL." if you don't know what Yggdrasil is. Okay, i'm fine with this at first - you made a mistake. But when people point it out, ADMIT IT. Don't bitch more and insult people more because you were too much of an idiot to actually look it up.

    Whine more please.

  35. If you were literate you might notice that I do, in fact, know what Yggdrasil is, and am, in fact, referring to the fucking etymology of the word--as any dictionary or encyclopedia will tell you. But you aren't literate, so I will leave you to figure out "literacy," and give you this parting comment:

    You are a fucking imbecile and an affront to the human race. Your death will be unmourned, and you will be forever unloved.

  36. Okay but see the difference is that Randy makes money off of writing crap three times a week.

    Are we really still fighting over Yggdrasil?


  38. Rob look now, the Norse gods are so pissed off at you, what have you done

  39. listen Amanda I read American Gods

    NORSE GODS ARE JUST GRIFTERS. LIKE KARI FERRELL. and maybe I am Baldr or something, whatever, I will kill them with my zombie wife

  40. I can honestly say I have no idea what you just said to me.

    but ilu anyway <3

    CAPTCHA: "blideb"--what you just sounded like to me.

  41. listen Amanda you need to read American Gods

    also this:

  42. okay maybe someday

    and Rob i want you to throw a hot dog down my hall.

  43. you can be my korean abdul-jabar any time

  44. you realize that when someone comments on an old post we three are the only ones who hear about it so it just ends up as us talking / you talking and me reading? it's a little weird.

  45. Yeah I know. I have high hopes that he will come back in another four months and say something else stupid! Should I start ignoring them? (then how will i ever have amanda tell me about her hotdog/rob-related fantasies?)

  46. Oh fuck. Sorry Rob - i misread your earlier comment. When you said "I do not bother myself with what some idiot wannabe pagans think it means," even though that was a jerk thing to say, I thought you were saying that, "No! I don't care what's true! I'm gonna say its damn Odin's horse cause i want to be right! *cry*." Honest mistake, sorry.

    (although, if you do know what Yggdrasil is, the least you can do is not insult Randall just because the etymology means something different than the actual word meaning itself)

    You are a fucking imbecile and an affront to the human race. Your death will be unmourned, and you will be forever unloved."

  47. Weren't you anonymous before? YOU CANNOT DO THIS TO ME

    i will forgive you this time, mostly.

    Still, Randy does not know how to use proper nouns. It is very infuriating. It's like saying "The Boston Common" or "The Harvard Yard" or "The Pike Place" or "The Park Slope" or etc. I mean, there are proper nouns that take definite articles but Yggdrasil is not one of them.

  48. "Weren't you anonymous before? YOU CANNOT DO THIS TO ME"

    Oh, and i completely agree that it should have been Yggdrasil instead of the Yggdrasil. I'm not as infuriated by it as you are, but i recognize it as a mistake.

  49. "Okay but see the difference is that Randy makes money off of writing crap three times a week."
    Point taken. I still like this blog, even though I complain about it. <3

  50. Also everything we write is UTTERLY BRILLIANT

  51. well Carl you have to realize that when we make it BIG all the bitches will be scrollin' through the archives, aren't they?

    Maybe not. But the possibility exists!

  52. I'm still going through the archives, Amanda.

    Come to think of it, I'm not sure how i found this blog... wasn't by typing xkcd sucks into google...

  53. SWEET

    Hello dragon2041 and welcome to our humble abode.

  54. Grr, i'm trying to figure out how i found this blog. I've narrowed it down to first finding it on April 10... I think. But unfortunately firefox's history section doesn't show chronologically, but alphabetically. Oh wait, found out how to sort.... but unfortunately, sites i have visited more thna once disappear from earlier in the list. =\ \=.

  55. Hm. I found xkcdcouldbebetter first. bleh this is annoying

  56. "Due to the slowing economy we could only afford to produce the prime-numbered panels..."

    The first panel is black but one is a prime number. The second panel is 'produced' but two is not a prime number.

  57. Liz: unfortunately, not true