Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Comic 592: Drama Is The Opposite of Comedy

Dramatically sucks more like

I told myself I was going to try to find something I like about every comic, just to do something new and maybe slightly more constructive. It would be a good way to think about things. But then I read this comic and I was like, "Well let's wait a comic before getting started...." because 592 is just awful.

Now it has some of the usual problems with xkcd that we see all the time - "boo hoo, I struggle with relationhips constantly" with a healthy dose of charts as well - but there's crappiness of a nature exclusive to this strip as well.

Probably the worst thing is that this is an old fucking idea (as well as, ahem, an old 'fucking idea' ZING) with an old established outcome that is somehow presented as being clever and insightful. Probably the best, best-known, and most similar to the xkcd example I can think of is the Seinfeld episode that wikipedia tells me is called "The Deal" Seriously, read their synopsis of it - it's the same fucking thing (as well as the same, ahem - ha ha, nope).

But it's an older idea than that. Hell, the idea of having a friend with whom one has sexual relations yet with whom one is not romantically involved should even have a name! Something like "Compatriots with advantages," say, or "chums with perks" or maybe "mates you mate with" or "comrades with values" or "partners minus costs" or "friends with benefits" or something to describe this situation Randall has created. I don't know, you guys pick something.

Now I know some people have said this comic reminds them of a Dinosaur Comic but honestly I don't really see it - maybe in that qwantz has a way of saying "woah, here's a problem with the world, why hasn't anyone fixed it?" and then in the next panel the problem has been fixed. But honestly I didn't really see a connection.

In conclusion: This idea is old, don't throw your fucked up relationships on us, you sucks, stop graphing things it's why no one likes you, i hate you, the end.

And I swear I am going to be more positive in the future! SWEAR

205 comments:

  1. Cuddlefish PrimeJune 3, 2009 at 9:21 PM

    Like others have mentioned, I definitely got a Dinosaur Comics-esque vibe from 592, or at least from what 592 attempted to be. And since I like Dinosaur Comics, that's the one positive thing about 592 that I can think of.

    Unfortunately (and predictably), it fails at even this. Not least because the "joke" would still be really stupid and unfunny even if it were T-Rex saying it.

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  2. You guys, I started a webcomic review blog after my webcomic failed miserably. It's viewable in my profile, and Rehoboam told me how much it sucks (he's right). Actually, the failed webcomic was an attempt to satirize and simultaneously exploit the audiences of webcomics like Dominic Deegan or CAD or something. I was (and still am) incredibly jealous of authors like that, but unfortunately unbridled rage and minimal talent is a fucking shitty foundation for a webcomic, so yeah.

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  3. This one has no humor. It implies that something funny has happened, and seems to hope that the reader will fill in the blanks.

    What a lazy and craptastic approach.

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  4. Yaaay! Now I have more reason to like xkcd sucks! It's not just criticism now, it's pointing out good stuff! (I, uh, enjoy reading both xkcd and this blog, so you are permissed to dismiss me, as not really the target audience, I think, guys.)

    Now, regarding that Dinosaur Comics vibe: guys, I think maybe it comes from the use of the word "guys"? Maybe also from having the most visible character fail at interpreting life and have that failure become evident to him.

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  5. To me, it felt like the entire comic was equivalent to the first two panels of a typical Dinosaur Comics strip. The first panel is T-Rex announcing that he's going to change the rules of sexual intercourse, then the second is LATER: "Guys, people are COMPLICATED!" and then the next four are actually building on the humor of that idea.

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  6. Hi guys. I really like 592. The consensus seems to be "unredeemable shit", but still...

    1) I am interested in challenging prevailing social structures.
    2) I know several people in the UChicago branch of "nerds for polyamory"
    3) I have dated one of them.
    4) I have used thew word "drama" in precisely the sense used here.
    5) One of my more normal friends has responded with "Life is drama," and I found this entirely appropriate.
    6) "People are complicated," is one of the basic social truths I fall back on.

    So... I found this both accurate and funny. Why the fuck is everyone so hostile about it? Seriously, y'all know I accept reasonable counterpoints. Have at it.

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  7. @Ken: gorram it, did you learn nothing from the noodle incident? Trivial details are best left to the reader's imagination.

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  8. a graph in place of real drawings of story

    great

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  9. @Pat: Not sure if the details are really trivial, but w/e. If they are trivial, maybe he should've actually included LESS information than the graph, which fairly explicitly details that the entire world became an order of magnitude more dramatic based on the ramblings of three nerdy latecomers to the 60s.

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  10. Cuddlefish PrimeJune 3, 2009 at 10:08 PM

    Oddly enough, I thought Randall's DC parody from way back (145) was spot-on.

    I'm not sure what that type of humor is called, actually. It's wacky and surreal, but not in an irritating cheese-monkey-ninja LOL SO RANDUM Hot Topic sort of way. You know? Anyway, there's gotta be a word for it.

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  12. @Pat: Well, Carl needs to criticize, as per the title of the blog, and the only CERTAINLY unimpressed comments are Ken's and Cuddlefish Prime's. I don't know about Malethoth, but I recall seeing Ryan North say something about using the first two panels of Dinosaur Comics as business cards, and I thought that would be pretty funny, so I could see his comment as being either positive or negative, depending on what he thinks of that idea.

    Mine was positive, though.

    (edit): Ah. Sounds like you didn't like this one, Malethoth. Sorry.

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  13. Not really! Like I said yesterthread, there are some things I DO approve of. Emulating Ryan North is an entirely noble aspiration for webcomic guys, POSSIBLY second only to emulating Chris Onstad. I actually think that the graph is better than, say, 523, as in 592 it's actually kind of relevant and a slightly superior alternative to simply tedious exposition.

    However, sadly, a few somewhat trite observations and an incomplete attempt to be Ryan North do not make for a good comic, and its flaws (most notably the nonsensical content of the chart, to my mind) weigh it down greatly. I don't think it's unmitigated awful, but it's certainly not really good.

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  14. "gorram"?

    GET OFF MY INTERNET IF YOU CAN'T TYPE "GODDAMN."

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  15. @Joel: well, most of the comments I refer to came in the previous thread. The consensus seemed to be that it had failed to properly emulate DC... granted, I tend to presume hostility here. Carl has been willing, every so often, to admit he likes a strip. This adds to his credibility, I feel.

    @Malethoth: okay, whether the details are trivial probably depends on how close you've been to a similar situation. The Seinfeld "Why can't Jerry and Elaine be fuck-buddies?" episode has a similar premise, for reference. Mainly, what it lacks is nerd and a chart.

    And for the record, I thought it was clear that the drama chart referred to whatever local community these nerds affected. You know, because I tend to work on context. Because maybe it's a chart of the number of theatrical dramas produced, but that would be PRETTY FUCKING DISINGENUOUS, no?

    (Sorry for the CAPS, I just like to emphasize things, you know?)

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  16. @Anonymous: If you don't like Firefly references, you can GET OFF MY BOAT.

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  17. @Pat, re: chart, I'm not sure what context there is to infer that it's just their local area, but even if it were it's still ridiculous and also arrogant for Randall to think he has that much clout.

    That's kind of a recurring problem, where Randy thinks he is poised to give Life Tips to people (what their romantic feelings will be like for all eternity, how to spend their time in school, what makes for a satisfying life, how revolutionary his sexual ideals are) when he's just, you know, a nerd in his twenties who did engineering and then a webcomic.

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  18. Well, now we know why Pat likes xkcd ... because random Firefly references are SO AWESOME!!!11!1! The first rule for making references: appropriateness.

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  19. @Anonymous:
    fine, you want to play it that way? Random Firefly references are HARMLESS. There's no need to base a webcomic off of them, but in random conversation, it ain't hurtin' nobody. If you're going to be needlessly hostile, you can GET OFF MY INTERNET. I leave it to you to prove whether it is more my Internet or yours.

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  20. @Malethoth: Well, you may be right, about the context of the chart, anyway. I've had this argument before, but well, here's my thing: it isn't necessarily a chart of worldwide relationship drama either. If there are two possible interpretations, and one of them makes the author an unrealistic character, I think it's best to err on the side of sense. I mean, if we're going to complain about unrealistic characters and all.

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  21. "There's no need to base a webcomic off of them, ..."

    Do you see the irony?

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  22. In which case it's a smaller scale of ridiculousness, and also poor communication on Randy's behalf.

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  23. @Anonymous: yes, that was entirely my point. Randall has based too many comics on references. I don't love every xkcd unconditionally, after all. What do you take me for?

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  24. Pat: I take you for a fatty. :(

    Seriously though. Maybe I just dislike it because I feel like it's trying to make some sort of profound statement about human nature, but the statement is entirely unclear. And though I admire his attempts to be more like Ryan North, it falls short.

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  25. Where did the MATH xkcd was built on go?

    4chan?

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  26. Holy Shit.

    Guys.

    Airplane food sucks.

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  27. @Pat

    What exactly is the point of making Firefly references, especially in the presence of people who probably didn't watch it. Randomly inserting pop-culture catchphrases into your sentences for absolutely no reason just seems unimaginitive.

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  28. Does not. Them little peanuts are delicious.

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  30. @Anonymous:

    Well, I reckon that folks reading this blog are somewhat familiar with Firefly references. They are, after all, indirect readers of xkcd, and this blog is quick to point out when it contains unnecessary Firefly references. Perhaps I did misjudge the audience -- but riddle me this: how is using a reference-spelling any less imaginative than using the commonly accepted spelling of the term? And you did understand the meaning of "gorram," so communication was not seriously hindered.

    I think that it would certainly be imaginative to spell "comedy" as "khamedggxheee", but not particularly useful. "Imaginative" is probably not the right term (presuming, of course, that we mostly agree on the definition of "imaginative").

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  31. Listen, guys.

    It is a Firefly reference, that is commonly used by Firefly fans, because it was commonly used on the show. It is like when fans of BSG use the word "frak."

    Does it serve any real function? No. Is it worth arguing over? No. Let's get back to the real enemy here: Randall "Fucking" Munroe.

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  32. "Well, I reckon that folks reading this blog are somewhat familiar with Firefly references. They are, after all, indirect readers of xkcd, and this blog is quick to point out when it contains unnecessary Firefly references."

    I don't watch Firefly and therefore expect this blog to point out when Randull makes references in lieu of a real joke/decent writing.

    "Perhaps I did misjudge the audience" - yes, you did - "but riddle me this: how is using a reference-spelling any less imaginative than using the commonly accepted spelling of the term? And you did understand the meaning of "gorram," so communication was not seriously hindered."

    Das stimmt! Why even bother speaking English as that's so unimaginative?
    Some things may not be 'imaginative' but are nevertheless cromulent - I know you said earlier that you are "interested in challenging prevailing social structures" but that doesn't mean you have to try and revolutionise being a nerd to the extent of making Firefly references (apparently that's what that is) part of everyday speech; I didn't know that gorram was supposed to mean "God damn," but I do know that I thought it looked stupid and probably a reference to something, perhaps some kind of inbred upbringing or severe mental defect (not that the two are mutually exclusive).

    "I think that it would certainly be imaginative to spell "comedy" as "khamedggxheee", but not particularly useful."

    'Imaginative' or 'retarded'? Okay, your pedantic whining because someone called you out on a shitty reference is bordering on pathetic, so kindly change your goddamn diaper and get back to trying to make your piss-poor points about xkcd so we can refute them, already.

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  33. "gorram"?

    You got a speech impediment, Pat?

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  34. "Does it serve any real function? No. Is it worth arguing over? No. Let's get back to the real enemy here: Randall "Fucking" Munroe."

    Exactly. Getting all bent out of shape because someone used a daft word is pretty stupid but getting defensive about it is pretty rediculous, too. Hopefully both sides will stop this bullshit and get on with what is important: arguing.

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  35. Arguing? On my internet?

    It's more likely than you think.

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  36. I hate "frak" too. Such words only exist because the writers aren't allowed to have their characters really swear. In that sense they aren't a "genuine" part of the show because they probably weren't part of the original vision, but were tacked on as an afterthought to get past the censors. Now if you want to swear in Chinese that's fine by me.

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  37. I also hate frak, and think gorram is a little too fanboyish. But this arguing is distracting from the more interesting arguing, so shut up.

    Rehoboam: thank you so much for knowing how to use the term 'in lieu.' Most people seem to think it means 'taking into consideration' or something and I WANT THEM ALL TO DIE.

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  38. Also, this:

    http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/7571/xkcd.jpg

    A link! Linking a link! The quality went arse even at maximum quality, fucking jpgs.

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  39. @Anonymous: Not a "genuine" part of the show because it is a change from the original version? Isn't that the ENTIRE POINT of EDITING your work? Because I don't know about you, but my first versions of stuff I write suck. If you want to dislike fake swear words, try "they feel out of place in the show because" any of "they are not used with the same conviction as real swear words", "they do not come from a social taboo and sound like nonsense", "they are recognizably unfamiliar to the actors", or whatever reason rather than "they weren't exactly what was in the very first version of the script". Trust me, not much is EXACTLY that. Or, if you feel like linking tvtropes, call it executive meddli- SHIT I SAID TVTROPES NOW MY CREDIBILITY IS ZERO

    In the interests of transparency of bias, though, I think the BSG example works because the actors get into it. I still think having only one swear word is unrealistic, but it's the best example of this I've seen.

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  40. Or I would, but I neglected one tiny element, which I have now added in. Considering this particular comic I feel ashamed to have missed it, but here we go:

    Spot the difference. (Other than it being a png, now.)

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  41. This one reminded me of 9 Chickweed Lane, which is a newspaper comic about people fucking all the time, and is reportedly used as masturbatory aid by its author. Except Randall can't draw as well, so we're getting charts instead. Well, maybe he masturbates to charts, I don't know.

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  42. What kind of asshat actually uses "gorram" in a non-firefly related context?

    Anyways, 592 sucks. PROTIP: Truisms aren't funny by themselves, they need an actually joke to propel them. Maybe someone should tell that to Randall when he gets moots dick out of his whore mouth.

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  43. The new and improved xkcdsucks! I like the idea of positivity, but as Carl said, there is NOTHING about 592 that's even remotely funny.
    I didn't even really have a reaction to this one. It's just...there. Sucking hugely.
    Malethoth K. is spot on when he says that this is like half a Dinosaur Comic. This one would require more after panel 4 to fill in exactly what hilarity ensued when stickman went out to tell everybody that he's changing the rules of sex.

    ...Where the fuck did Randall even GET this idea?!

    Actually I think I'd rather not know.

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  44. Ok, I think everyone's kinda missing the point with this one. This isn't just unfunny, or half a dino comic. This is an abomination of the word "webcomic" altogether.

    @Pat from way up above:

    You mention a few reasons why you liked this comic: "I am interested in challenging prevailing social structures" and "'People are complicated' is one of the basic social truths I fall back on."

    In defense of the concept of the webcomic, your reasoning really doesn't hold any weight. So what you're saying is, for a webcomic to be considered good all it needs to do is make an obvious and poignant social reference? For God's sake all he fucking did here was write "Sex is complicated, lets change sex. Wow, people are actually the ones that are complicated."

    I could write 100 of these in a few minutes. "Work is boring, lets change work. Wow, I need money to survive". There's another one, Pat. Does this one strike you as good because you go to work? Or that you use money? No. It's just a stupid basic social commentary.

    I hate XKCD because it destroys the tenets of the webcomic. Comic strip comedy is an art form. You have a few panels, very little dialogue, and a few pictures to elicit a reaction out of the reader. All he did, and all I feel he ever does is take something him and his friends were talking about, draw some stick figures, and try to pass it off as the next greatest cartoon. It's lazy and fans of his should feel disrespected.

    This is not funny, this is not poignant, it is not witty, it is the scarred outward flesh of a webcomic that died years ago.

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  45. COVIZAPIBETEFOKYJune 4, 2009 at 7:23 AM

    Rehoboam:

    I spotted it I spotted it OMG OMG!!!1!


    Do you, by any chance, dislike graphs?

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  46. Well, you appear to be 11 so I'm going to ignore you until you start making valid points. How will I know if I'm ignoring you? Simple: if people are responding to you other than to say "shut up" then you're making valid points.

    Now why don't you do the people here a favour and go back to asking retardedly simple questions on the xkcd forums.

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  47. @Mike:

    Damn yeah, son. I agree with you completely.

    Unfortunately, we will now have to deal with the backlash from the "webcomics don't have to be funny" people clamoring to assure you that Randall was trying to make some deep insight into life with this comic and you just didn't understand it. Or they will claim that xkcd is not a webcomic that focuses primarily on humor. Or any number of other retarded claims that excuse Randall's unfunniness.

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  48. @Mike: well, what I was saying is that my familiarity with the situation allows me to "fill in the gaps" in the comic, which is admittedly a bit abstract. I'm not arguing that the comic is objectively "good"; I'm offering the context in which I liked it.

    Also, most basic social truths are funny. People are strange (complicated, even). Randall adds more detail than that, though. It's specifically a nerd self-deprecation joke. If the chart had been replaced by a few panels showing things going wrong, I expect that would have worked for more people. God help me, I find charts expressive.

    @Everyone who hates "gorram":
    Alright, fine, I used "gorram" because I was feeling drunk and colorful, and because in my mind it has slightly more interesting connotations than "god damn." Attempting to be idiosyncratic on the Internet is, of course, doomed to failure.

    Still, when people are lazily hostile to me, there's no end to the pedantic bullshit I'm willing to put them through.

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  49. David Carradine hanged himself on June 3, 2009.

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  50. "Alright, fine, I used "gorram" because ... in my mind it has slightly more interesting connotations than "god damn.""

    and

    "God help me, I find charts expressive.

    Seek help.

    "Attempting to be idiosyncratic on the Internet is, of course, doomed to failure."

    Only if you're shit at it.

    "Still, when people are lazily hostile to me, there's no end to the pedantic bullshit I'm willing to put them through."

    Put us through? You think we care beyond rediculing you for doing the verbose equivalent of crying in front of a room full of grown men. We're aware that grown men cry somtimes but right now you are crying because you tried and failed on the Internet and everyone saw it. Give up; move on. You'll look like a better person for it.

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  51. Dude, you're doing this wrong. I'm not upset. If I didn't enjoy arguing, I wouldn't be here.

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  52. Jesus Christ, enough with the argumasturbation.

    This comic sucks. There's no real joke -- it's basically saying "Hey, something funny happened! Wasn't that funny?" -- and to top it off it's Randy bragging again that he's sexually active.

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  53. You're arguing? 'cause all I saw was your first post which basically summed up to "a bloo bloo bloo this comic validated my opinions stop hating on it :( a bloo bloo bloo" and then every subsequent post was you stumbling and farting to defend your use of the word "gorram" or whatever it was. Which, as stated, is the wordy equivalent (see: internet equivalent) of crying in public over unimportant shit. It might be because actually arguing here would have you out of your intellectual depth. The closest you got to arguing a point was, "Well I like graphs!"

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  54. First off, shit, there's two Mikes on here now? That's gonna make life confusing. Second, stop bagging on Frak! It's a perfectly fine word! Hell, even gorram is good, as it's more gutteral than "god damn." God damn is sorta spitty, if you say your "d"s correctly, but you can growl the "r"s. It's no different from the variations on crap. There's different levels, and connotations, and emotions to the words, even apart from their use as references.

    As for the comic itself, it could have been funny, except for the fucking graph. This is a case of "Dude, fucking SHOW IT." We see glimpses of his ability to draw, occasionally, and this would have been a great time to show it. Give some clothes that are ripped, over-turned cars, looney-toons-esque dustclouds with people fighting in them, something! Not just "LOOK DRAMA!"

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  55. Frak is sorta ok; gorram is just retarded. The "d" is everything.

    @poore: Unfunny webcomics can be good; xkcd is just not one of them.

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  56. Frak is fucking monstrous; gorram makes you sound like what you are: a Firefly fanboy. Just say goddamn. It's so perfect. You can emphasize either of the words, or neither, or both! It's one of the more eloquent vulgarities in our language.

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  57. I actually hear "frak" more in Warhammer 40,000 novels than Battlestar Galactica, although I'm sure they appropriated the term from BSG.

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  58. Hard to say. Games Workshop is proud to be derivative, but 40k has been around longer than the new series of BSG.

    (I didn't know anyone read the 40k novels, are they terrible)

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  59. no they're completely awesome and wholly appropriate to the setting

    dan abnett and sandy mitchell are both great and a few other authors are tolerable

    basically they are tales of human incredibleness in the face of unrelenting nightmare horror

    v. extreme, i like reading them

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  60. 40k is a good universe for that I suppose

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  61. Bloody hell. Evidently awful comic begets even more awful thread.

    I mean, seriously? "Ha ha, I'm saying you have a severe mental defect, because that's funny"?

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  62. How about an automatic system for post generation? For every new xkcd page you get a new xkcdsucks post.... or, how about making a hundred in advance? no, that will flood the rss readers.

    An automatic system will be better.

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  63. @Anon:

    Of course 'unfunny' (though I would say 'serious' is a better word, as unfunny is a word typically used to describe situations where humor falls flat rather than a simple lack of comedy) webcomics can be good. I enjoy Ordinary Comics, and it doesn't try to be overtly funny at all.

    I agree, though, that xkcd is no such comic, and even Randall's attempts to be serious suck. I was merely commenting that Randall's rabid fanbase often uses the "xkcd can be serious" argument to defend xkcd when it fails to be funny (which is quite often).

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  64. I think my favorite part about that argument is that it's so obviously self-deceptive. They don't seriously believe that the ones we don't think are funny were intended to be serious--they are just saying that as a catch-all defense. "If you didn't think it's funny it wasn't meant to be and if it wasn't meant to be funny and you didn't laugh then MISSION ACCOMPLISHED Randall is great."

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  65. @Mike: Ha yea two mike's. I'll be Mike G. now.

    @poore: Yea I agree. It's like, if he has a pretty funny cartoon they clamor about "Funniest xkcd evar!" If he does something nerdy but not funny "Classic xkcd!" If he does anything fucking else its "Oh xkcd can be serious, Randall is a genius".

    God I fucking hate how self-aggrandizing that first panel is. Him and his two friends sitting oh-so-casually talking about the intricacies of sexual relationships. It's only this fucking complicated when you've waited till your early to mid 20's to start one.

    You know what's gonna be interesting.. where this piece of shit webcomic is 1 or 2 years from now. Or what Randall is doing 1 or 2 years from now.

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  66. On the "stickmen look like fucking shit" argument against xkcd, I'll say that it's probably better for Randall to stick with them. Ha ha ha! Get it? Oh fuck you.

    Here's why though, if Randall ever tries to "upgrade" his art, ala Abstruse Goose, xkcd fanboys will while louder than a civil defense siren.

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  67. FRIENDS PLEASE. This thread is hostile.

    Meanwhile, Mike (G.) is my new favorite poster. I also wonder where we'll be sitting a year from now. I remember like a year ago when I first found out about xkcd via Digg at my old job and sort of liking it at the time, yet here we are. I wouldn't be surprised at all if xkcd was running strong in 2 years, because Randall, being the hack he is, would have no problem continuing to churn out crap and let the masses fatten his wallet. I say that because he has no problem doing it now.

    I have to wonder what Randall himself thinks about his comics lately. He's lazily leaving scribbles and more in, and the writing is the laziest it's ever been, so I have to wonder.

    On an unrelated note, I brought up my unbridled distate for xkcd with my brother recently, who seemingly reads a lot of webcomics and loves xkcd. I suggested the Race series as an example of why it sucks lately, and his response being "I love Firefly". THIS IS THE PROBLEM RIGHT HERE and why Randall so easily gets free passes. Though for what it's worth I reffed PBF as an actual good webcomic in comparison, to which he claimed he didn't like it. So he just has terrible taste or something.

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  68. I feel like debating the merits of "gorram" and "frak" as words is seriously undermining the credibility of this community. In particular, it makes it seem like you're not actually above xkcd on the scale of 'loser-dork', you're below it.

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  69. only if you are arguing in favor of their usage.

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  70. John: He likes XKCD but hates PBF?
    Disown him. Disown him NOW.

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  71. @John haha. no offense but i don't know if I can trust the opinion of someone who doesn't like PBF.

    But you're right. Liking Firefly and liking xkcd are two different things. perhaps thats why he resorts to including firefly, twilight, 4chan, etc to get favorable reviews and steady hits to his site.

    To be honest, you cannot be a sane human being without realizing to some degree that your cartoons are sucking more and more. However, i think we're dealing with someone so grossly wrapped up in themself that to him he shits diamonds. He's probably completely oblivious to it.

    If there's one thing I know, this isn't sustainable. He may enjoy another year or so of success but shitty content catches up with you. This blog and its userbase itself may be the first nail. And it's not like you can really really fault him. nearly 600 cartoons is an incredible feat and he should to a degree be applauded.

    But cut the shit and cut the arrogance randall. put this beast to sleep.

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  72. @Bill

    David Carradine hanged himself on June 3, 2009, after reading xkcd #592.

    FTFY

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  73. People are talking about the comic lacking "humour" as if there is exactly one kind of "humour" for a comic to have. So the "funny" stuff was replaced by a chart? I wonder what is the "funny" stuff supposed to be: pies to the face? Crotch kicking? Lame insults followed by two minutes of canned laughter?
    Maybe the reader could just accept that the graph is there because the actual happenings are not the point; and then he realises he doesn't find it funny because that kind of humour just does not suit him. It's so simple, you know: you just cut off the shit, take the basic facts and reduce the drama--
    ... ... oh, crap, I just applied the comic's logic to humour (and I admit, it's much more interesting to see it applied to comedy because all this incessant sexy talk on xkcd is REALLY turning into irritating bragging. GET OUT OF YOUR PENIS, RANDALL).
    Also, this talk about Firefly references reminds me of xkcd strip 307.

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  74. Cuddlefish PrimeJune 4, 2009 at 5:50 PM

    RIP Grasshopper.

    LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE RANDALL >:|

    (Also we don't yet know for certain if it was suicide, but I'm sure xkcd had something to do with it in any case)

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  75. "People are talking about the comic lacking "humour" as if there is exactly one kind of "humour" for a comic to have. So the "funny" stuff was replaced by a chart? I wonder what is the "funny" stuff supposed to be: pies to the face? Crotch kicking? Lame insults followed by two minutes of canned laughter?"

    Your point would be valid if the chart were funny at all.

    Unrelatedly, I have mentally started calling you "xkcd apologist."

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  76. Fernie: It's not that Randall left out the happenings, it's that he essentially left out the reactions. A graph telling us that drama has increased tenfold isn't a reaction. People throwing things through the window, parading the group through an angry mob in chains, etc *is* a reaction, and truer to the spirit of the Noodle Incident trope.

    What makes a true Noodle Incident isn't the removal of details, it's the ludicrous reactions/results to unremarkable details. For example, "Impersonating a cleric of the CoE" being a high crime worthy of death (and a grin from Jack Sparrow). Or Zaphod Beeblebrox's ancestors being his descendants thanks to a contraceptive and a time machine. Or the fact that Calvin probably did cause those sirens around noon.

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  77. I looked up "Noodle Incident" on TV Tropes in order to understand that. The thing is, maybe that's NOT what Randall intended to do at all? In my reading, the chart was there just to illustrate something that was obviously expected and that the reader would be astute enough to imagine -- whether he succeeded or not is debatable, I agree, because we see there are differing interpretations here. Some readers imagined the whole world going down in flames, while I interpreted the "drama" as being restricted only to those three characters (which seems to make more sense and makes the strip more readable), and I can't come up with any arguments to show either one is right or wrong.
    I think this comic is in line with the "Holy crap, it's the 21st century" one, in which is a completely "duh" thing if you look at it cynically, but it exposes something (certain) people often fail to realise. I take it as a criticism on people with high ideals that only work in a world in which all people act in a perfectly logical and collaborative manner -- and if that sounds too farfetched to make sense, well, that's pretty much what Socialism is about, isn't it?
    (no, no, I'm not suggesting this strip is a work of genius that makes a never-seen-before political comment. I just think there is a solid message that maybe is not delivered successfully. People who just don't like xkcd -- nothing wrong with that -- will just struggle to make up any ludicrous reasons to say the strip is "unfunny", though, and THAT is drama)

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  78. I really don't think "incompetently expresses trite, unoriginal social commentary" is a particularly ludicrous reason to think XKCD is unfunny.

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  79. @Paul: "Noodle Incident" was my reference this time around, and I must say you make a very good point. We are given something in this strip, but it's the reaction to the reaction -- the posture of the character who says "people are complicated!". He's braced against the door, as though he's just rushed in ahead of an angry mob (or whatever).

    It's a nice touch by itself, but it's very little to go on, and I'll concede it needs more to be a proper "Noodle Incident".

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  80. I remember seeing Malethoth K on Soloman's blog.

    Those where the days.

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  81. dan abnett sounds like dagnabbit

    "Work is boring, lets change work. Wow, I need money to survive".

    Heehee. I was amused.

    Wilhelm, my pun-brother, he has sort of tried. I remember one of the really emo (re: shitty) comics, where he used some sort of gradient, and another where he like made the stick figures have shadows or whatever, and the LJ feed was just bursting with "omg such great art, so poignant" and I was like um what ANYWAY I think if he upgraded his art his readers would still support it. And it's not like he can't draw, we've seen him draw velociraptors and ducks!

    how can you know someone who doesn't like pbf, that isn't even possible

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  82. It was boring, even if it did hit the mark a few times.

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  83. @Paul - I fell into the middle of your paragraph and read the line "an angry mob in chains," which was an amazing picture in my mind! I wanted to tell you this. I pictured a bunch of rioters, faces contorted with rage, all trying to go different directions and they can't because they're wrapped in chains.
    Unrelatedly, it has bothered me this whole time, but there is no X or Y-scale for the graph. I know the point is meant to be that there's an uptick at the end of the graph but I can't let go of how it lacks context for meaningful conclusions :(

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  84. Scene 1:

    "We have so many leftover noodles."
    "I can't believe the amount of noodles which I am looking at."

    Scene 2:

    "I have a devious idea. We could use the noodles for... mischief!"
    "Ah hah! That is a cunning and devious idea!"

    Scene 3:

    [exterior; sirens]

    Scene 4:

    "Wow, what an incident that was!"

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  85. Cuddlefish PrimeJune 4, 2009 at 9:25 PM

    New one isn't horrible. At least he's finally made a joke about language, which is supposed to be one of the four pillars of xkcd.

    The ponderous wall of text is getting dangerously close to Tim Buckley territory, and "glossolalia" is misspelled (also, I think the term only applies to spoken language). Other than that, it's okay.

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  86. Once Randall introduced fisting to his platonic female friend who he wants to have sex with, things got a lot more complicated.

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  87. What ever happened to the days when xckd was just more than Randull and Megan? Seriously, no other background characters now? (BHG is Randull so he don't count.)

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  88. FUCK YOU 593. FUCK YOU.

    Seriously. It was good, up until the last line. Assume they're playing Dungeons and Dragons, it doesn't make sense. They don't operate on points systems. They don't work like that. And then assume they're LARPing or something. That doesn't work out either. Losing points for not knowing the miscellany? The Dungeon Master would tell you in that case. And it looks like they're LARPing, sure, but why the fuck would it operate on a point system then? The whole point of points and dice is to abstract what is not happening, which you don't need to do when you're actually pretty much doing it. Fuck you, that's not the game.

    Furthermore, the alt text is a sin. I mean, what the fuck. Druids and Dicotyledons? Do you know what you're saying ever, Randall? Fuck you. Fuck you to hell. That is bullshit. I can get jokes, ones about D&D or whatever too. I'm not outside of your target audience--well, yes, I am, I'm not a fucking moron.

    You set this one up okay, and the punchline was okay too. You're just a fucking moron for that last line and the alt text, and it ruined the ENTIRETY of your joke. You made a sandwich with everything worth eating on it, then you SHAT ON IT IN FRONT OF US and then told us to eat it. Fuck you too, Randall.

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  89. best. metaphor. ever.

    captcha: packicre, what that sandwich is now called.

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  90. All of your synonyms for "friends with benefits" make my fucking day. Or, if you like, make my "fucking day." Either way.

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  91. @Anonymous
    Fuck, I'd give anything to see John Solomon's blog updated. We must've scared him away somehow. Too many sycophants, too much faggotry, maybe he just stopped giving a shit, who knows? I know it's sad, but I still checked his blog every so often for about a year after that, waiting for him to return.


    I guess just love it when people mock shitty webcomics. Especially if they have a large devoted fanbase. I almost get off on it; my hatred for the worship of mediocrity is that deep. All my CompSci buddies adore xkcd and it just pisses me off to see them laugh halfheartedly at mediocre shit like xkcd or CAD or whatever the fuck they're doing instead of work, then looking at me wondering why I'm not laughing with them, as if it's a prime heresy to find xkcd generally unfunny.

    "Oh that must be because you didn't get it! You see the gamma function is..." "No, I get it, but there's no joke." "But it's math/internet culture/nerd reference, man! WHAT'S WRONG YOU?"

    Keep up the fine work Carl. Your blog always puts a smile on my face.

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  92. I think Alex has mixed feelings about 593

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  93. Wilhelm: I totally understand. And I get the added bonus of "well it's probably because you're a girl, you just don't get this stuff." And then these guys wonder why they are alone.

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  94. 593 isn't too bad. Too long, though, and it straddles the line between affection and mocking that can matter a whole lot.

    And Glossolalia is misspelled. Probably be fixed, soon, as I assume most people had to look it up.

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  95. The noodle incident was funny because of the sort of reverse-dramatic (not to everyone: "dramatic" refers specifically to performance or portrayal of ficiton, not real life) irony, Bill, not the incident itself. Just saying "Something happened; it was zany!" is not, by itself, particularly funny, and it's something Randall has done already, several times. It was good in Calvin and Hobbes because of the allusions the characters made to it, and how that reflected the disunity of themselves with the reader. Plus, Calvin and Hobbes were genuinely likable characters; Randall has few characters, none likable.

    ...

    Dammit, I'm starting to sound like a deconstructionist.

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  96. Cuddlefish PrimeJune 4, 2009 at 11:02 PM

    @Amanda

    That's kinda funny, since Randall's all about the "HEY LOOK GIRLS CAN BE NERDS TOO" thing. And he's not exactly subtle about it. So the idea of xkcd fanboys insisting that a girl, by dint of gender, can't understand a computer joke makes me lolwut a little.

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  97. I feel like Randy is /too/ heylookgirlscanbenerds. I dunno how to explain that... also I should consider that I might be oversensitive. I guess it just seems patronizing, or something, cuz the girls that are nerds are like "dream girls" that exist only in xkcdland or something. If that makes sense? I am very tired. Good night, all!

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  98. I kind of liked 593. But then I probably would've liked anything after the spewing enema bag that was 592.

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  99. On 593, am I the only one who read it and was thinking, "The xkcd archive?", on panel 5?

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  100. Evilagram: ZING!

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  101. ...there was a joke in this one? *squints* Oh, there it is, huddled in the corner in fear.

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  102. I thought 593 had a decent amount of humour in it.

    The premise of "what if this ancient manuscript was actually just a meaningless DND book" has merit.

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  103. The new one pisses me off tremendously. It is an INCREDIBLE stretch to even imagine that the Voynich manuscript looks like what a 16th century D&D manual would have looked like. It doesn't have any tables, the closest thing to 'lists' are paragraphs marked with a bullet (which -might- be recipes) and there's no telling if it has "long dry descriptions of nonexistent worlds" because NOBODY CAN FUCKING READ IT. How does stickman know the text is dry? Where did 'descriptions of nonexistent worlds' come from? I mean, the only thing the manuscript has in common with a D&D manual are things Randall -imagined- are in the manuscript.

    "Hey, I wonder what the Voynich manuscript is all about."
    "Isn't that obvious? Look, it's page after page of romance, sarcasm, math and language, surrounded with a lot of crappy drawings."
    "Dear lord, it -is- obvious!"
    500 years earlier: "Forsooth, if I deconstructeth the intricacies of sexual relations then Megan might still love me."

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  104. I was really holding out for a Tolkein reference in 593. DnD seemed like a cop out to me. My thoughts on why 592 was almost a good comic that was FUCKING RUINED BY THE GOD DAMN CHART! YOU MAKE A STICK FIGURE COMIC HOW HARD IS IT TO JUST FUCKING DRAW SOMETHING YOU DUMB CUNT!
    *deep breath*
    ..can be read on 591's comment thread.

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  105. No, you see, what you've done there is calm down rather than get angry for very little reason. Evidently you're new to the internet. Take a number.

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  106. 593 irks me for the sole reason that modern D&D manuals are written in English. Not some kind of crazy mystical language people made up! Maybe if it was some kind of joke about Tolkein (as K said) Elvish would've made more sense.

    As it stands, I say : "WOW IF SOMEONE FROM THE FUTURE FOUND A D&D MANUAL THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO TRANSLATE IT BY DINT OF IT BEING IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE SURROUNDING CULTURE : SO PEOPLE CAN READ IT, NATCH"

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  107. All I have to say for this "comic" is... WTF?

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  108. Ouch, the new xkcd; Voyncih, is up. Once again its Randall being omnipotent in the most lame way. Claiming it is ancient D&D while making a slight at tabletop roleplaying (which, by the way, is slighting about half his target audience) and once again failing to be in the least bit funny.

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  109. Check the edit war on Wikipedia 593 caused on the Voynich manuscript article.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Voynich_manuscript&diff=294515929&oldid=294515330

    Finally ends by someone protecting it due to 'excessive vandalism.' Heh.

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  110. CARL OPEN UP THE 593 THREAD PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO GO OFF TOPIC!!!

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  111. COVIZAPIBETEFOKYJune 5, 2009 at 5:40 AM

    OMG SRSLY?

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  112. I initlally really liked comic 593, but now reading the comments of people who are taking it literally, I absolutely love it.
    I'm starting to enjoy xkcd as a way to piss people off.

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  113. Re: Wikipedia edit war: I think the ass sucking morons who run into Wikipedia to edit every single topic the latest xkcd strip touched on should fuck off and die. You guys are LAME, LAME, and probably the worst aspect of the xkcd fanbase (which is actually a tough competition).

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  114. I love how "You're taking it literally" is the new defense against any sort of criticism now.

    Also, regarding Wikipedia, this made me laugh: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Glossolalia&oldid=294535656#In_popular_culture

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  115. Maybe the Voynich guys are losing hit points, or something, and Randall is just being ludicrously unclear despite having a comic about language.

    I really agree with the point that he completely read all that stuff into the manuscript, and there's nothing to indicate that any of it is what he says. Obviously if people had that kind of information about its contents, they wouldn't have as much trouble parsing it.

    It's the problem of breaking reality to make a joke that simply doesn't click. If the premise is "The Voynich manuscript is completely incomprehensible, but haha it's because the linguists overlooked an obvious nerdy explanation" then maybe you shouldn't spend an entire panel dumping false information about how much of it IS comprehensible.

    Have any D&D or other role-playing books been written in an invented language? I mean, I've read core rulebooks for like six systems, and they've all been in English (unless Dark Heresy is actually in Low Gothic).

    Someone other than me should get mad about his Ye Olde English in the last panel.

    I didn't rage at the alt text because I was too lazy to look up dicotelydons.

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  116. OK, but seriously. The "olde english" is really really REALLY quite obviously for humourous effect. Yes. Really. 1) If it was genuine old english it would probably be more difficult to read ("oh, but it's a comic about language! whine whine whine"), 2) it's not as if this is some Big New Development in the field of humour that people don't 'get'. There have been places named "Ye Olde Tea Shoppe" for yonks. It has a frickin' TVTropes article. Observe, from the writings of Dave Barry:

    "To determineth the amounteth that thou canst claimeth for depreciation to thine cow, deducteth the amount showneth on Line XVLIICX-A of Schedule XVI, from the amount showneth on Line CVXILIIVMM of Schedule XVVII... No, waiteth, we meaneth Line XCII of Schedule CXVIILMM... No, holdeth it, we meaneth..."

    OOTS!

    "Ye Olde Crime Scene - Do Not Crosse"

    Moonlighting!

    Petruccio: "...Knoweth what I mean?"
    Lucentio: "No-eth."

    Heretic!

    "Bringest them oneth".

    THE FRICKIN' BBC TITLE CARD DEPARTMENT!

    "Desygner Livinge"

    Sorry for the tl;dr, but I was going to say earlier "Well, at least no-one is complaining that the English in the last panel is wrong", but then I thought, "Come on, the people here are intelligent enough to realise it is being used for humourous effect." But I was wrong! So wrong!

    "... dave barry needs to do the research next time."

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  117. Well, see, I just don't think Ye Olde Englishe is that funny. Okay, it was funny when Venture Brothers lampshaded it.

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  118. That's reasonable - it's hackneyed. But it's not something to complain about, it's just something that's there.

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  119. I'll complain about xkcd using a hackneyed ancient joke without any sort of twist or update or anything if I want to D:<

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  120. re: wiki

    wtf man what kind of fan can't even spell Randall's name

    and how is this a theory at all? jesus christ

    also glossolalia article lol

    k back to bed, i just woke up to pee and how did i get so distracted

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  121. For the lazy:
    Dicotyledons are seeds that have two seed leaves, basically seeds you can split in half, like acorns. Randall needs to lern2biologykthx. Completely unrelated to druids, and picked because it is a science word and starts with a D.

    Ye Olde English is stupid as piss, but semitolerable.

    And losing two hit points for not being able to concoct a potion and thinking of making it is COMPLETELY ILLOGICAL. In context, he basically said "I'm going to make a sandwich, but I don't have bread, so I am mildly injured." If he lost two hit points that is. If he lost, say, two agility points, somehow he was partially immobilized by this lack. They appear to be LARPing or something since they actually have implements and are standing up and there's no dice or whatever, even though he's mocking D&D and knows nothing about it. I mean, shit, Randall. Maybe if Randall wasn't such a fucker he'd have thought that joke through.

    See, I'm willing to assume that shit got written down in an invented language. I'm willing to assume things that don't require a complete break with logic, because a super ultra mega nerd might write a campaign set in Middle Earth in Elvish. And honestly, the joke of "simple, ridiculous explanation for hopelessly difficult problem" is not a bad one! I almost laughed! But seriously, Randall, fall in a well and die. You insult the intelligence and hobbies of your readership, and you expect these fuckers to lap it up.

    Goddamnit, you suck Randall.

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  122. Just further proof that Randall only tangentially cares about nerd culture; just enough to pander to it.

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  123. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  124. And losing two hit points for not being able to concoct a potion and thinking of making it is COMPLETELY ILLOGICAL. In context, he basically said "I'm going to make a sandwich, but I don't have bread, so I am mildly injured." If he lost two hit points that is. If he lost, say, two agility points, somehow he was partially immobilized by this lack. They appear to be LARPing or something since they actually have implements and are standing up and there's no dice or whatever, even though he's mocking D&D and knows nothing about it. I mean, shit, Randall. Maybe if Randall wasn't such a fucker he'd have thought that joke through.

    That's a completely valid reason, and one I didn't bother to think through, but honestly I only meant to say that D&D does HAVE points in it, just not the sort of character progress points you'd find in GURPS or something.

    Because I feel like some FanWank: Maybe the guy lost HP because without wolfsbane, the potion he created was some sort of poison, which the wolfsbane nullifies.

    Wow. I'm kind of embarrassed to have thought that up.

    Does Randall have an entire section of the forum dedicated to having his fans figure out all the retarded shit in his comics and posting unlikely explanations? If so, does he use it as an ad hoc editor? He should.

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  125. Actually, wolfsbane is poisonous itself. You loseth two points.

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  126. From the forums:

    "Glossolatia ... may be a genuine mistake ... or another example of the characters not being 100% perfect, the (presumably) female one pronouncing this rarely-heard word wrong."

    Wow. Just. Fucking. Wow. Especially the fact that this person theorises that misspellings have happened intentionally before.

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  127. Well, there goes THAT theory.

    OBVIOUSLY they're actually playing D&D: SPORTZ, in which teams gain and lose points based on their encyclopedic knowledge of the Voynich Sourcebook, Second Edition.

    RE: the LARP/RP situation, I think they might actually be using tactical miniatures, as in Dark Heresy or Star Wars D20. Note the little... doodads? On the ground. Doesn't explain why they're standing, though, or what the hell the girl is holding, so there. At least miniatures would still use dice and HP and stuff to abstract stuff like health and combat.

    Christ the more I think about this the more I realize Randall has no idea what he's talking about. I'm reminded of his Gary Gygax eulogy, where he showed that he has NO IDEA how D&D is actually played, because he portrayed it as a GM-vs.-PC exercise in rules lawyering.

    Okay, fine, that is how it can actually be played, but it sucks that way.

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  128. How could I not laugh at the word SPORTZ? I am, evidently, unsophisticated, but hey. SPORTZ!

    And it's a naffly drawn sickle.

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  129. Thank you, Ann, for getting me to look up "naff." I think I'll have to start using it.

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  130. Wilhelm: "Fuck, I'd give anything to see John Solomon's blog updated. We must've scared him away somehow. Too many sycophants, too much faggotry, maybe he just stopped giving a shit, who knows? I know it's sad, but I still checked his blog every so often for about a year after that, waiting for him to return."

    He will never restart it, as the retarded comments and whiny sycophants did indeed got on his nerves. Being given that Encyclopedia Dramatica article also ticked him off. A long while back he also stated "Since you morons want me to update so much I'm never going to update again just to troll you."

    But hey, he might change his mind, but it's highly unlikely, last time I saw him talk about the blog he just said it was boring.

    haha, my captcha is "spite me"

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  131. 593 doesn't work for me for a few reasons.

    One, he has to spend a panel explaining what the Voynich manuscript is. I already know what it is. Since when does xkcd have to explain its references?

    Two, the manuscript in question is nothing like he describes in the fifth panel, thus the joke doesn't work at all. It looks nothing even remotely close to a D&D manual, there aren't tables and lists, etc.

    I guess the comic works if you don't know anything about it.

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  132. "I love how "You're taking it literally" is the new defense against any sort of criticism now."

    "Any" sort of criticism? Well, I already knew some people here just made up random shit to read in between the lines in order to criticise the comics, but please, don't do that with the comments here. It's not witty and it's not snarky, it's just a lazy way to please the anti-xkcd crowds.
    And, well, people ARE going wild with 593 with "OMG BUT D&D DOESN'T WORK LIKE THAT!!", when it would be pretty ludicrous to think the comic is saying Dungeons & Dragons already existed 500 years ago in exactly the same for as it is today. We're already leaving the realm of criticism and breaking into sheer desperation already.

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  133. The final panel is the equivalent of someone adding "And it's funny because..." right after telling a mediocre joke. Who knows, it might even have been slightly funny if it had just consisted of panels 1, 3, 4 and 5.

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  134. Well, see, GIVEN that the entire joke is that it's basically Dungeons & Dragons, and he includes a roleplaying game abbreviated D&D in the alt text, then, uh, yeah maybe it's not that unreasonable to expect it to play like an RPG.

    ALTERNATIVELY we could get mad at Randall for trying to cram an entire new role-playing game system into a single panel with three lines of dialogue rather than simply adapting an extant one to Ye Olde Historicalle Times.

    There are so MANY ways we could float our boat.

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  135. There are plenty of ways that a character can lose two points in an RPG, for example: in the World of Darkness RP universe, willpower is referred to as points and is used to either enhance actions, resist or preform an exorcism, activate certain powers, and can be directly attacked by certain supernatural abilities.

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  136. "And, well, people ARE going wild with 593 with "OMG BUT D&D DOESN'T WORK LIKE THAT!!", when it would be pretty ludicrous to think the comic is saying Dungeons & Dragons already existed 500 years ago in exactly the same for as it is today. We're already leaving the realm of criticism and breaking into sheer desperation already."

    Except that the criticism there isn't that D&D doesn't work as described in a 500 years old manuscript, it's that Randall is pandering to his fanbase with stuff he apparently knows little about.

    But hey, if you want to stay in the realm of criticism, then lets continue discussing the way he asserted that nobody knows what the Voynich manuscript contains, two panels before he magically explains what the Voynich manual contains. And by that I don't mean a D&D manual, I mean the stuff from panel 5.

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  137. The newest, the D&D one, would work if not for the self-insertion character. As is, that character forces the setup just for a punchline, and it is very weak as a result.

    The comic would be immensely better if it just shows one or two characters confused by the script. And STAY confused, because no one is represeting Randall-who-knows-all-and-is-the-sole-source-of-wisdon. Then flashback to ye olde D&D, and let the flashback BE the punchline.

    Even if that still didn't work, it would surely be an improvement. And what really bugs me is how obvious this is. If I can see it, Randall should.

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  138. To be honest, losing hit points because you failed to make a potion sounds exactly like something 2nd Edition DnD would do. I remember that to become a lich you had to prepare a "poison of extreme toxicity" and then make a system shock roll when you drank it - if you failed, you retroactively made the potion wrong and you died.

    It should have said what the "points" were, of course.

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  139. It's really not clear what "points" refers to. Of course, convention holds that when Randall is ambiguous, we should assume the worst. But if we want to get picky, the character making that statement doesn't even appear to be the GM (sourcebook-guy, I'd assume). If I were to say something stupid and a friend remarked "you lose two points," I would not start an argument about the rules under which I was penalized.

    Is this a hopelessly anachronistic and complicated interpretation? Well, yeah, but so is saying "RPGs don't work that way!" based on a D&D-specific interpretation of ambiguous dialogue.

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  140. Guys. They are not playing D&D. They are apparently playing some RPG, but complaining that it doesn't follow D&D rules is ridiculous. Go back to the OotS forums to complain about that crap.

    I haven't seen any complaints about 593 that don't come off as complete nitpicking. Most of the complaints boil down to "It was almost really funny but then Randall did something and it sucks completely." 593 is the best xkcd in weeks. I know this is the xkcd sucks blog, but can we at least acknowledge that some xkcds are suckier than others? 592 is a complete suckfest.

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  141. Panel 5 contradicts Panel 4. How hard is it to make a consistent one-off gag six-panel comic featuring no recurring characters?

    Randall-Sue stickfigure's obviously choosing his words in panel 5 very, very carefully so as to make the comic seem like it might make sense at first. But it's so blatant that you can already predict what panel 6 will be like half-way through his speechbubble.

    HACK.

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  142. "One, he has to spend a panel explaining what the Voynich manuscript is. I already know what it is. Since when does xkcd have to explain its references?"

    How soon people have forgotten the terrible beginning to "The Race."

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  143. First time as a Cuddlefish, but I have to say that the phrase 'mates you mate with' is startlingly hilarious.

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  144. I haven't seen any complaints about 593 that don't come off as complete nitpicking. Most of the complaints boil down to "It was almost really funny but then Randall did something and it sucks completely." 593 is the best xkcd in weeks. I know this is the xkcd sucks blog, but can we at least acknowledge that some xkcds are suckier than others? 592 is a complete suckfest.

    Well, when the thing that he did completely invalidates the entire premise of the joke (made a big brouhaha about how incomprehensible the Voynich manuscript is, then talks about how much he knows about its contents), that's really not reaching.

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  145. "Guys. They are not playing D&D. They are apparently playing some RPG, but complaining that it doesn't follow D&D rules is ridiculous. Go back to the OotS forums to complain about that crap."

    My real complaint is that it's fucking incomprehensible, and at the very least, this alt text implies it is like D&D, although Druids and Dicotyledons is a retarded, retarded, retarded name he invented for the sole purpose of making a D&D comparison possible when criticizing this bullshit, but not tenable, since any idiot can go, "Oh hay guise it is diffurent can you nt tall?" And it is NOT D&D, it's just confusing, since he leads you to that assumption then messes with it because he's apparently too lazy to make it work? It honestly would have been funnier if they were playing a full-blown game with boards and miniatures and dice and all that 500 years ago.

    But seriously, I have no fucking idea what they're doing in the last panel besides playing an invented, nonsensical RPG.

    So all he's done is confuse me by leading me down the road to think it's D&D, and insult the group that reads XKCD and plays tabletop games by calling their hobby a giant shitpile.

    So yeah, Randall is, and remains a fucker.

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  146. You know, this is the first comic that actually made me rage. It's like at the end of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, except I discovered a new, bottomless pit of loathing instead of gaining super strength and Christmas Spirit.

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  147. I think the greatest thing about 593 are the posts of everyone on the XKCD forums.

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  148. Alex: The alt text does not imply that it is like D&D, it implies that it is abbreviated D&D. It's a hefty leap to go from there to "it must play like D&D." Is the alt text dumb? Yes. Does the alt text make the entire comic dumb? No.

    Is "Your druid loses two points" an odd thing to put here? Yes. Does it completely invalidate the rest of the comic? Apparently so, if you're a complete nerd. Is it completely out of the question to imagine that a 500-year-old version of D&D would have different rules?

    "But seriously, I have no fucking idea what they're doing in the last panel besides playing an invented, nonsensical RPG."

    Yes. That is exactly what they are doing. This is the whole point.

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  149. "I think the greatest thing about 593 are the posts of everyone on the XKCD forums."

    You lied. :(

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  150. Randall Munroe = Virgin

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  151. How inspired. How moving. It almost brings a tear to the eye... such poetry...

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  152. It could be the first line of the worst Haiku.

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  153. Adam: if he didn't wanted to imply the game was similar to D&D, why the hell would he choose words so that it would abbreviate D&D.

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  154. I don't think the fact that they're doing it wrong is relevant to the humor. I knew what the voynich manuscript was, but it still doesn't hurt to explain it to those who don't (Also, I might not have known had he just mentioned the name). The important point here is that he felt the need to make, as someone up there put it nicely, "randall-sue" be all knowing and solve the mistery that no one else was able to solve. I agree that it would have been better/good if he had not done that.

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  155. The thing about explaining references is that Randall could very well just expect his supposedly-Internet-savvy audience to Just Fucking Google It. Plenty of other intelligent strips make oblique references all the time without hand-holding.

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  156. Oh man, I've now posted twice. The first time I said something like, 'debating fake swears is lowering your credibility'. This whole debate over D&D means the core audience has definitely moved from people who originally like xkcd before it started to slide, to people who are too lame to like anything besides nitpicking over role-playing games. This is sad, because the blog was funny before every comic got 100 hits of banal criticism trying to out-nerd randall.

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  157. "Adam: if he didn't wanted to imply the game was similar to D&D, why the hell would he choose words so that it would abbreviate D&D."

    Again, you'll have to point out to me what part of this comic shows that they are playing something extremely dissimilar to D&D.

    Also, neeeeeeerds

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  158. You are commenting on a blog that exists only to propagate hatred against a harmless webcomic.
    HYPOCRISY.

    And yes, I do hate XKCD.

    I'm going to call any know-it-all (or blatant wish fulfillment character) XKCD character "Randy-Sue".

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  159. Cuddlefish PrimeJune 6, 2009 at 12:40 PM

    Remember back in the old days when Randall could use phrases like "Poisson distribution" and "dynamic typing" without further clarification? Now we get long-winded explanations of the Voynich manuscript and "Mal from Firefly".

    I think Randall's starting to realize that anyone who's still stupid enough to read his comic probably doesn't know how to use Wikipedia.

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  160. http://tinyurl.com/lp2g5n
    JESUS CHRIST.
    Has to be like, the most obsessed and deluded XKCD fanboy ever.

    Or a parody.

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  161. I basically agree with Adam here.

    I mean, I hate xkcd as much as ya'll, but this whole comment thread is strange.

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  162. Long time lurker, first time commenter.

    Carl, this strip is not about friends with benefits. It's about sex mores. There's a difference.

    Here's what I take from this comic: Some people think that social 'rules' are pointless or arbitraty, especially people who live outside the system, such as recluses (read: geeks). In reality, seemingly obtuse customs are the product of long adaptation to 'complicated people'. Randall is basically saying 'You may think you have all the answers, but you don't know jack shit.'

    That's something I've personally found to be true. Whenever you think you have people figured out, you're only scratching the surface.

    Now, as for the graph. What would you prefer? Xkcd always does graphs. Especially to describe social situations. Would you like it to be a different webcomic?

    You seem to have completely missed the point of this xkcd. What's more you seem to be approaching recent stips with your mind already made up that you dislike them. I've read every xkcd, and I've read all your critiques. You and Randall seem to have something in common - you're both getting worse. Actually that might not be true. I think Randall might be plateauing.

    PS: Dinosaur comics is not all that great. I've read all of it as well, and it's getting repetitive in structure, and possible subject matter. It has it's moments, but so does xkcd.

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  163. Pretty sure that Randall's idea of reducing the complexity of the sexual mores he's familiar with is just a nerdy way of trying to get emotionally simple sex i.e. fwb.

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  164. 171 comments, including mine! Carl, you are growing in popularity so fast...

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  165. @Dan:
    "Here's what I take from this comic: Some people think that social 'rules' are pointless or arbitraty, especially people who live outside the system, such as recluses (read: geeks). In reality, seemingly obtuse customs are the product of long adaptation to 'complicated people'. Randall is basically saying 'You may think you have all the answers, but you don't know jack shit.'"

    ...In other words, he's not saying anything new or even particularly interesting. Anyone who doesn't understand that society is complicated because people are complicated is either extremely naive or, apparently, an xkcd fan.

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  166. "Randall Munroe is drinking GIRL DRINKS :O"

    This is a direct quote from Jeph Jaque's (a talented webcomic artist) Twitter.

    I felt you should know.

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  167. Jeph Jaques is a girl's drink.

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  168. Cuddlefish PrimeJune 7, 2009 at 1:57 AM

    Your FACE is a girl's drink.

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  169. "Carl, this strip is not about friends with benefits. It's about sex mores. There's a difference."

    Not particularly sure how that's important but okay.

    "Here's what I take from this comic: Some people think that social 'rules' are pointless or arbitraty, especially people who live outside the system, such as recluses (read: geeks). In reality, seemingly obtuse customs are the product of long adaptation to 'complicated people'. Randall is basically saying 'You may think you have all the answers, but you don't know jack shit.'"

    Wow that's incredible it's like "GET OUT OF MY HEAD RANDALL" or something. Some people know jack shit? About relationships? Really?

    "That's something I've personally found to be true. Whenever you think you have people figured out, you're only scratching the surface."

    Shit, man, people are complicated.

    "Now, as for the graph. What would you prefer? Xkcd always does graphs. Especially to describe social situations. Would you like it to be a different webcomic?"

    Doing a graph for a graph's sake is Cargo Cult Comedy, and it seems that Randy-boy is not aware that drawing a graph and running around it in his tribal gear making "ugga unf unf" noises does not always work.

    "You seem to have completely missed the point of this xkcd." ahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahaha "What's more you seem to be approaching recent stips with your mind already made up that you dislike them. I've read every xkcd, and I've read all your critiques. You and Randall seem to have something in common - you're both getting worse. Actually that might not be true. I think Randall might be plateauing.

    PS: Dinosaur comics is not all that great. I've read all of it as well, and it's getting repetitive in structure, and possible subject matter. It has it's moments, but so does xkcd.
    "

    Man you are the shittest troll ever. You've just come along with the most whiny argument and haven't said anything that hasn't already been said by people who were able to back up what they said, and even then they had to concede that this comic is the worst attempt at it ever. If you're going to come and try to white knight this abortion of humour at least try and make someone with a valid opinion feel it's worth responding to you. And yes I know full well what I just implied.


    Honestly what's with all these people who basically just come here and leave the wordy equivalent of just crying as their 'comment' which does, however, always end with some kind of "pee pee doo doo Carl is shit" comment with no reasoning behind it other than "that meanie doo-doo head called Randall stupid a bloo bloo bloo"?

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  170. @Dan:

    You're complaining that Dinosaur Comics is getting repetitive in structure? Man, I think the entire comic just flew over your head.

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  171. I like the Wikpedia debate for the Voynich Manuscript caused by this story.

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  172. Anon above me:

    http://xkcd.com/446/

    Delicious irony.

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  173. Yes, that is always cited by Wikipedos in the inevitable back-and-forth volley which happens after every single comic that makes a reference to anything, thanks to xkcd's inexplicably rabid fanbase.

    In this case, the revert war was the tamest part of the debate - check out the talk page.

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  174. omg, where is the empty thread for new xkcds we have been promised?

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  175. @Steve
    He's saying something I knew, and he's something something you knew. On the other hand, just because we know it is it not worth saying? Nerds/geeks/whatever can be pretty damn stupid, especially the type who beat their chest about being a nerd/geek/whatever.

    @Adam
    yeah, I get the challenge of making a comic with the same art every day. But if Ryan North fails to make it actually interestingly varied in CONTENT and conversational STRUCTURE then he's not making anything of value. Handicapping a racer and having him win the race says something. Handicapping a racer and having him lose a race does not.

    @Rehoboam
    Well I think it's pretty damn important that the comic isn't about friends with benefits since Carl's entire fucking post IS.

    I sort of understand what you're saying about cargo cult comedy, but you're saying it in a really stupid way. It's irrelevent, though. My point was that the graphs are a hallmark of xkcd, just like Mr. Black Hat, which you guys seem to fap over. If you don't like the defining features of the webcomic, what is the point of trying to critique it? I mean, I don't like romantic comedy movies. If I were asked about one I would say "it sucks, its a romantic comedy", but I wouldn't start a goddamned website about them. Every single post would be the same and HEY - that sounds a lot like what I was saying about Carl getting repetitive.

    Ehhh...the rest of your post is pretty much just a bunch of words with very little substance (and before you reflect that one, let me remind you that I am rubber and you are glue). So congratulations on making a post where you whine and drone on and on about people who whine and drone on and on. Who's the troll, again?

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  176. This is just pathetic. xkcd fanboys who can't even be funny and unrepetitive.

    Go back to watching your Firefly and watchmen shit.

    Last time: If you're going to troll, at least use the link to his profile. If it's not orange, yeah.

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  177. "glossolatia" still hasn't been fixed

    it actually sounds a lot like "fellatio" to me, but that might just be me and my pervy head.

    Dan, I feel like Carl's repetition is okay because he's only repetitive cuz Randy's committing the same webcomic sins all the time now. It's not that Carl hates all xkcds, whereas you claim to hate all romantic comedies. So of course you would be repetitive if your reason for hating a romantic comedy is because it is a romantic comedy. Carl is hating xkcd not for being xkcd, but for being sucky as of late, and they are all sucking in the same way (in that they are all references LOL and SEX).

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  178. Wait Dan, is your point at steve seriously
    "it's okay that the message is stupid because xkcd fans are stupid"

    and your point at Rehoboam
    "he's made funny charts before so he can make bad ones now"?

    because uh, those are pretty silly points.

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  179. Wow, Wikipedia talk pages about xkcd are as lame as xkcd comics. I'm still reading it and it's like... well... like reading the Voynich Manuscript.

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  180. You are all retarded. Let me break it down for you:

    The comic sucks shit for the same reason most xkcd's suck shit - Randall has terrible comedic timing (read: panel order, placement, structure, and content), subpar artistic skills (or, at least, artistic skills he's too lazy/arrogant to employ), absolutely no skill for writing believable conversational dialogue (which makes all his jokes feel contrived and stale when they aren't horrendously telegraphed), and a fundamental discontent from the true pulse of the Internet community.

    That paragraph sums everything that is wrong with this - and every other - xkcd. Thanks for reading. I hate all of you. Have a nice day.

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  181. "Discontent" should be "disconnect."

    Alcohol is a pretty cool guy, huh?

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  182. Al Cohol? That S.O.B. owes me five bucks, that guy.

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  183. @poore: Come on, guy, you have to take it further than that. You've got Rehoboam on your tail for the role of resident misanthrope; you can't allow yourself to be overtaken.

    This may be the only time in your life that you desperately need to get more drunk. Cherish this opportunity.

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  184. How fucking dare anyone out there make fun of Randall after all he has been through!

    All you people care about is… readers and making money off of him.

    HE’S A HUMAN! What you don’t realize is that Randall is making you all this money and all you do is write a bunch of crap about him.

    LEAVE HIM ALONE! You are lucky he even performed for you BASTARDS!
    LEAVE RANDALL ALONE! Please.

    Scott Kurtz talked about professionalism and said if Randall was a professional he would’ve pulled it off no matter what.

    Speaking of professionalism, when is it professional to publicly bash someone who is going through a hard time.

    Leave Randall Alone Please...
    Leave Randall Munroe alone!…right now!…I mean it!

    Anyone that has a problem with him you deal with me, because he is not well right now.

    LEAVE HIM ALONE!

    (Yes, I was the guy who impersonated Carl)

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  185. Is this a parody of that Britney Spears fanfag?

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  186. No, you weren't.

    I am.

    Fuck you.

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  187. this is all so very interesting

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  188. @Anon
    Yeah, actually, those are my points. If you've decided that the fans of something are stupid, you can't really complain when that thing tries to educate them. It's like complaining when Barney sings the alphabet, instead of talking about advances in modern medicine. Basically, you can EITHER complain that xkcd fanbois are all retarted OR you can complain that xkcd is teaching obvious lessons.

    As for the second one...let me do an allegory. Ahem-
    So hey, I've decided that garfield is getting worse now. It used to be golden, but now it sucks. Let's look at a recent example. this strip works off Garfield being both fat and lazy. That's a shitty technique, shame on you Garfield writers.
    See the problem with that is that Garfield jokes have ALWAYS been about the eponymous cat being lazy and fat. So all I'm doing is saying "Here's something about the strip I've never liked". What Carl SHOULD be doing is saying "Here's why the strip is shittier than it used to be".
    And before you misinterpret my point, the chart is not the joke, it is the vessel for the joke. So you can no more complain that charts get old than that Mr. Black Hat's cruelty gets old, or that T-Rex's silliness get's old.

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  189. Over 200 posts. Time for a new thread, people. Just hold off.

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  190. 200 comments, but how many are trash?

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  191. Actually, it CAN be a problem when even good material is overused, which can cause it to be less funny, less meaningful, less clever (Mr. Hat is DEFINITELY less clever now than when he first showed up), or whatever. So, yes, repetition of jokes CAN be a problem, independent of how funny the jokes were when they began.

    So, the critique "Randall has been using old favorites without any understanding of what made them funny in the first place, and is diluting their humor by including them in shitty strips, and is becoming lazier as evidenced by his constant reliance on icons he now simply displays rather than imbuing them with purpose and hilarity" is perfectly legitimate, and not simply one along the lines of "One of the basic building blocks of XKCD, present since its inception, sucks."

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  192. i can't believe there are two pages' worth of comments, has that ever happened before on this blog

    poore this may be the first time you have excluded me from your list of hatred. =O

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  193. You use the same poor grammer for two posts in a row. FAIL.

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