I think it's because this comic acts like it is really clever and took a lot of hard work when it clearly didn't. Especially if you read the alt-text ("...The graph of panel dependencies is complete and bidirectional, and each node has a loop..."), he's trying to act like the fact that he made this is somehow impressive. Now he's made impressive comics in the past, but this isn't one of them. for one thing, he has his usual habit of not labeling his axes (where the hell did he learn math, anyway?). "Fraction of this image" in panel 1 is not a fraction at all, but merely a piece of a pie chart (and while we're at it, it's a total copy of the Pac Man thing). He could have at least called it a percentage and included a label with a percent in each segment.
Panel 2 could also be labeled better. I mean, ink can be measured (either by volume if we are still pretending this is real ink on real paper, or area). I mean, there is no "amount" anywhere in there. A line is not an amount.
Panel three is the least clear; I think he just wanted to include images of all the panels, including a tiny little version of panel three itself (even this concept is not new to Randall). Why are there 0s at the beginning? What unit does that represent? I guess it's distance in each direction, in some kind of unit. I think what annoys me is that such a graph is meaningless - a chart is supposed to organize data into a useful (well, ok, sometimes) form - a chart that represents its subject by recreating it is missing the point. It's just a replica; it doesn't tell you anything you can't figure out from the original.
Also, saying "this image" in the first and last panels is unclear; it could refer to the panel or the comic as a whole. In this case it is the latter, still, using the word "comic" would be nice. Or even make it one big panel/image, then you wouldn't have the problem. Thought I guess that would invalidate the bar graph, so never mind.
Lastly, the alt-text. It's another case where I think he had two different ideas and just figured, the hell with it, I'll include both. The first was trying to make this whole thing seem fancier than it is, as I mentioned above, and the second was trying to work in a comment in the alt-text about the alt-text. I was disappointed that he went for counting characters, though, since i think that's a bit too easy (for example, he could replace two hundred and forty-two" with "220" and it would also work). That's especially true given that he has more content in the alt-text than just the description of itself, so if it had added up wrong he could always change it to "two hundred and forty-six" and just add four more characters somewhere. Not terribly complicated.
I was hoping he would go for the more challenging variant of listing how often each letter occurs, like so:
This sentence contains three a's, one b, three c's, two d's, thirty e's, two f's, two g's, nine h's, nine i's, one j, one k, one l, one m, twenty two n's, thirteen o's, one p, seven r's, twenty one s's, twenty three t's, three v's, eight w's, and five y's.(this sentence comes from here, see way too much of this nonsense over here). That would actually take effort, unless a website exists just to create such a thing. Does it?
Of course, the best irony is that the whole thing is utterly wrong; there is also lots of gray ink all over the place that is not accounted for anywhere. here, look:
Just look at all that gray surrounding the black! it's not in the pi chart at all. Next time, try aliasing, randall.
Also, this. Also, this.
PS - reading that Randall Munroe guest strip on dinosaur comics makes me feel so very weird, with my least favorite writer putting words into the mouths of my most favorite comic's characters. It is perhaps the closest I will ever get to the Capgras Delusion.
PPS - what?
PPPS - ok, this makes up for it.