Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Comic 700: Goddamn Batman

You know, in all honesty, I feel like I really should've enjoyed this comic. Let me be frank - I am a massive Batman fanboy. I saw The Dark Knight seven times in theaters (twice on opening night). The parking spot I use at my house is labeled "Batman". Clearly, I am down with the Caped Crusader. I also happen to love ridiculously contrived set-ups for elaborate jokes, both verbal (I love a good shaggy dog story) and visual (my favorite episode of Black Books is a 20 minute build-up to a Dr. Frankenstein and Igor parody). Not only that, but my expectations of this comic being either a sappy, "thanks for reading guys" 700th episode special, or (worse) another fucking poster, were pleasantly incorrect, and it was instead just a normal comic. Normally, I wouldn't congratulate someone for doing what they are supposed to do on a regular basis, but kudos to Randall for making this an actual comic and not another money-grab. You'd think this perfect storm of unusual circumstances would've led me to actually be amused by xkcd #700.

You'd be wrong.

To be fair, it did not inspire me to rage uncontrollably, nor did it make me feel like Randall was phoning it in, or reusing a tired, old joke. It just made me feel kind of...apathetic. My reaction was something like that. "What? Batman? What the he-oh wait. Two Face. I guess that's kind of clever." And that was it. The end. In the vocabulary of the online world, it was a very "meh" comic. To me, that's almost as sad as him just making a straight-up terrible comic. Why? Because, this time, it seems like he was honestly trying to make something original, interesting, and funny, and yet all it managed to inspire in me was apathy. I wish it had been terrible, because then I could rage about how much of a shitbox Randall's comic is. Hell, I wish it had been fucking amazing, so I could at least feign outrage and have a good laugh and rail against Randall for not putting out great work all the time while feeding him small compliments throughout the course of the post. Instead, I feel...nothing. I use anger as catharsis, but I have no rage within me with which to...cathart...but the reason this comic - which I really think had a lot potential - fell flat is painfully obvious:

The art.

This joke relies entirely on visual cues. Unless the visual similarity between Randall's self-insertion fanfiction version of himself and the actual DC villain Two-Face is uncanny, the joke will lose a lot of its humor. I'm not talking about instant realization of the punchline. I think it's fine for it to take a little while for "the funny" to sink in - delayed reactions can be hilarious if they're properly done. However, such a delayed reaction is only funny - especially in the realm of the visual - if said realization is accompanied by a strong image. Look at the following picture:

Hosted by

Does that look like Two Face to you? Even though the only distinguishing features are a column of red dots near the center of his face (not clearly to one side) and a coin being flipped (that is not two-headed and scratched on one side)? The mass of random dots in the middle of his face remind me more of Rorschach. The simple truth is that Randall did not clearly portray the two most iconic features of Two Face, the very villain about which he was trying to create a joke. I understand that the stick figure is supposed to be looking up and to the side (hence the "centering" of the "pimples"), but with the lack of any other facial features it makes the image less clear, and the joke is further diminished. The fact that I even had to think about why the acne looked like it was centered ruins the joke - if you have to spend time thinking about what the fuck it is you're even looking at, then a joke whose punchline is primarily visual is going to suck.

So, sadly, as good of a joke as this could have been, it is ruined by the fact that Randall is the one who made it. If he had sold this idea off to someone with even a modicum of artistic talent, it might have been funny. Instead, it just falls flat. Thanks for nothing, Randall.


I'm sure all of you have been inundated by links to Axe Cop already, but in the off-chance that any of you have yet to discover it, it is pretty much the best thing on the Internet and you should go read it immediately.


  1. The off-panel "YOU!" seems superfluous to me.

    Also, what's the point of randomizing who gets what if it isn't a double blind?

    Also it's probably not a good idea to ask two of your female friends "Can I test medicine on your acne"

    (this is a humorous remark and not in any way indicatory of any male chauvanistic mindsetor analogous atavism vis-a-vis feminine vanity)

  2. You know, until reading this, I didn't make the acne/Two-Face connection. I just thought it was a non sequitur where a guy flips a coin and gets hit by Batman for thinking he's Two-Face.

    So +1 for the art ruining the joke (which is actually quite good otherwise).

  3. The randomization is totally unnecessary, except to make it so the guy flips a coin.

    This is what TVTropes calls refrigerator logic, I believe. It makes sense until you go back and think about it and realize that the entire scenario was contrived just to make the joke possible.

    That sort of shit might fly in absurdist fiction where the characters are railing against the fact that they are in a contrived universe, but in XKCD, nobody seems to notice that they exist in a world where conversation only exists to reach a predetermined punchline. There is no freedom, no self-awareness. Randall's characters are faceless creatures with only enough characteristics to define them for the purpose of his jokes, and then discarded, forgotten.

    The woman in 508 only exists for that moment. Her hair is only red so someone can ask her if the carpet matches the drapes. She exists only to deliver the punchline. Is that the entirety of her existence? Does she exist beyond these moments, feeling empty and unfulfilled? Does she think of freedom, or wish she could have done differently? Does she ever long for defining features?

    A name? A face? Perhaps she could have had a pretty smile--the sort that you remember forever. She could have been remembered for her smile. But she is nothing. Does Randall even think of her anymore, or has his pen moved on to other women, now that he has discarded her like a cheap trick?

    Still, what more can she do but wait? She was created for this. She knows nothing else. One day her time will come.

  4. I actually went to the forums and that's where I found out it was supposed to be Two-Face (and surprisingly, a lot of people on the forums didn't get it either).

    Poore is right though. This is the kind of joke that requires some level of artistic talent, and Randall doesn't have it. Even if it was a good joke, it was told badly.

  5. Rob, I can only think of a few examples of shows or comics or whatever where the characters routinely acknowledge how contrived everything is. And half the time it comes off as trying too hard.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with contrivance, as long as it's done well. Like, there's a great episode of Arrested Development where the entire "A" plot is basically one long setup so that GOB can deliver the line "Gilligan killed the Skipper! Uh, stripper." But it's still hilarious.

    Had there been more of a shaggy dog aspect to this (and if Randy wasn't such a lazy fucking hack when it came to drawing) this could have been an actually Good Comic. And I chuckled a bit, so it's pretty good for current xkcd.

  6. Also, 'sup Poore, what you up to this semester?

  7. I also like the unnecessary graph. It's like he thought "OH SHIT NO GRAPH!" and put it in.

    Plus, clearly as someone as scientific and nerdy as the guy in the comic would flip a coin to randomize a decision.

  8. I was expecting this to be another one of Randall's "isn't math cool" comics- it's got a graph, a coin toss, Megan and Blonde Ponytail Girl... it felt like he would end the comic with a "I wish I could do this science experiment" vibe. But no, it's just "batman punch" which didn't even make sense, and I had to read the comic thrice to get the joke.

    Why? Because Two-Face's two faces were the result of (depending on which origin story you are following) a splash of acid, or fire. Acne looks like neither of those things. Batman, the world's greatest detective, should be able to tell the difference between permanent facial disfigurement and the ravages of adolescence.

    Also, Mr. Poore, please please please become a regular here.

  9. harrsion, I am co-oping this semester so I work all day writing Java and then come home and drink

    Anon 4:28 - I almost commented on that as well. Batman would never mistakenly identify an acne ridden manchild as one of his greatest foes. He is just too good.

  10. By the time I got to the last panel, I completely forgot about the acne setup. When Batman appeared, I thought the entire crux of the joke rested on the coin flip, which made everything even more pathetic to me. The fact that Poore had to remind me that Narrator's face was supposed to be half-covered in acne says something about the presentation of the comic.

  11. I don't like all this "good for a recent xkcd" business. If something is crap, then it is crap; if something is "good for a recent xkcd" but still sucks, then it just sucks.

    That said, I understand why people have said it in the last post's comments and this post's as well. I don't really have a good reason for disliking it, I guess, but it irked me and I wanted to rant.

    Anyway, I liked this comic. I've never cared if a joke is contrived, as long as it's funny; and the first time through, I didn't see the punchline coming. It took me a minute to get it - it was a "joke grenade," if you will - and it made me laugh.

    The art, I thought, was fine for the joke. From panel 2, I assumed that he had only half his face covered in acne. But, at this point, Randall has had years to make an effort in his "art," and hasn't. I don't care if it's the xkcd "style," if he wants to do more elaborate jokes, he should make more elaborate images.

    The alt-text felt really unnecessary to me. Also: judging by the position of the coin in panel 5 as compared to in panel 4, Batman moves at, like, light-speed (but that's just a silly nitpick).

    This post turned out longer than I expected it to...

  12. "if he wants to do more elaborate jokes, he should make more elaborate images"

    truth there.

  13. Also, something else to consider about Randy's art:

    When he has to draw something distinguishable, like Batman, and it's only in one panel - the last panel - supposedly the punchline panel, you can see it coming a mile away. Batman wasn't a surprise. I saw what was going to happen before I even read the first panel.

    Yet I still managed to completely gloss over the half-acne being important.

  14. Thank you Poore for illuminating why this comic didn't work for me.

    I didn't recognise the guy in the last panel as Batman (apparently my Batman recognition levels are below par) or that the acne made him look like Two Face so all I got at first was "some dude is conducting acne experiments and gets punched in the face for no reason" and that moment of WTF ruined the joke for me. Better art would have made it genuinely funny.

    Also: severe acne *does* leave scars that look similar to old burn/acid scars years later. But that would require a ridiculously elaborate setup of adults talking about their acne experiences years later.

  15. My first thought as I was reading this was: "Hey! Randall is finally protraying his target demographic! I wonder how many people in the echo chamber he is currently pandering to: ' I have acne too! AMG LOL! Randall get out of my head!'"

  16. "Rob, I can only think of a few examples of shows or comics or whatever where the characters routinely acknowledge how contrived everything is. And half the time it comes off as trying too hard."

    I'm not talking about the characters saying it with that knowing little writerly nod, "We know this is bad writing but we're going to tell you it's bad." No, I'm talking about an absurdist struggle against the fabric of the narrative. Not just sitcom characters remarking "gee, it's like I'm in a bad sitcom." This is the characters fighting in vain against the inexorability of the story, striving to find meaning for themselves when their only purpose is as a bit character in someone else's plot.

    Acknowledging that an event is contrived is something that I do in real life (which is terribly implausible at times). Striving against its horrible contrivance, trying to stake out a name and an identity when for all the story cares you don't exist beyond the four frames necessary to make a joke--and doing it well, not just for the cheap laughs that Randy would do it for--this just might redeem your horrible, contrived comic.

    "I don't think there's anything wrong with contrivance, as long as it's done well. Like, there's a great episode of Arrested Development where the entire "A" plot is basically one long setup so that GOB can deliver the line "Gilligan killed the Skipper! Uh, stripper." But it's still hilarious."

    Randy doesn't do contrivance right, though. He doesn't make it so that the contrivance itself is part of the humor. He just contrives things, and then tries to disguise the fact that it was contrived. Too long for Dick, too short for Richard, as it were.

    Poore: You aren't at Northeastern are you?

  17. Some guy on the xkcd forums pointed out that there was an "acne Harvey Dent" joke in this video: (at around 50 seconds in), which came out on the 8th. I'm not up on YouTube celebrities, but the guy seems pretty popular, and with the timing of this comic, it seems kind of suspect. No idea if it's an intentionally stolen joke or not, but still...

  18. I actually completely agree with the "meh" thing. This joke wasn't really funny, it didn't really suck, it was just...I felt bad about it.

    It's like when you see a stand up comedian suck, but they don't suck bad enough they booed, they just suck enough they're not funny, and it's REALLY awkward. You feel kinda bad at how much they're embarassing themselves.

    That's how this comic made me feel. I actually came here hoping to find some rage to negate it, but apparently that's all anyone feels about it.

  19. Rob, no, I am not at Notheastern. I am a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech, though I am not, in fact, a hell of an engineer.

  20. Have you guys seen the video of all the internet (and one or two real) celebrities singing the xkcd version of the discovery-channel song?

    ... hope that's right, I had to type it in manually.
    hat strip always bugged me and seeing it sung by people I recognise and in some cases respect is annoying.

  21. whoops, its actually

  22. Nice concept, horrifically flawed execution. 0/10.

  23. I just heard a guy claim that he likes the art more this way because it leaves more to the imagination.


  24. If simple art is better because it leaves more to the imagination then that would mean Minimalism Sucks is the greatest comic in the world because there is no art.

    Actually that reminds me of some thread somewhere on the internet where some guy inserted random people as the characters in Minimalism Sucks and it was pretty funny. I guess I'll spend an hour or so trying to find it again.

  25. man that show seems like a knock off of the show with ze frank

  26. Sure, the art sucks, but I got the joke immediately. I thought it was funny, so I laughed.
    Really, the art sucks, but it didn't keep me from getting the joke in this case. Maybe I'm just better than everyone.

  27. @Nate - I think the minimalism in art thing only works along the same lines as the iceberg principle. Something minimalistic can get the imagination working, but does it actually *have* those hidden depths, or is it just floating along a little ice cube hoping that people will be fooled?

    For most webcomics the answer is obvious.

  28. I thought this comic was really funny, best one in a long time (and maybe first in the past hundred or so to make me laugh out loud). It's a shame that some people don't get the joke right away just cause of Randy's style... but I get that it's hard to think "Two-FACE" when the characters don't have faces.

    So I drew this:

  29. Actually, this comic was funny. It shows teen Randall hanging out with girls! How hilariously absurd!

  30. Drambracer, you draw one awesome punching-Batman.

  31. Hoshit, xckd fangirl here:
    I actually didn't get the whole joke when I read it first; I thought Batman punched the guy because he was flipping a coin. I thought it was delightfully absurd.
    And then I realized that he was supposed to be a "Two-Face". So I reluctantly agree with this blog, that the quality of the art has affected the punchline, while I still think the comic is funny without the complete reference.
    TBH, I think you guys take the comic too seriously most of the time, see 692, and 693.
    Okay, commence flaming the fangirl.

    Oh yeah, and props for Black Books. :D


    I will fight you to the death AS SOON AS I GET DONE OUTDRINKING POORE



  34. That's it. Enough is enough. This comic is the one that sent me over the edge. I've been following this blog for a while. The anger is funny - funnier than XKCD, to be sure, but not an anger that I fully embraced. Until this comic. It was fucking terrible. It was like having amazing sex with a beautiful woman when she pulls out a dildo and asks to use it on you; a long and convoluted build up, full of mystery and a glimmer of hope, that crashes into a sea of disappointment. Upon reaching the end, I said to myself, 'Self, I'm kinda lost. All of that work, just to end up with Batman randomly punching a high schooler?' Of course, it took a bit for Self and I to realize where Randall was going with this, at which point disappointment and bewilderment turned into distilled rage. Randall, I'm tired of your shitty comics, I'm tired of seeing them pop up everywhere, and my friends sharing them with me, and I'm tired of the pseudo-intellectual pretentiousness it instills upon people. It makes me want to punch a baby. Carl, I lend my sword to your cause.

    My father told me the other day he found about XKCD, and how funny he thought the comics were.

    I cried.

    I hope he only saw the first ones, so I don't have to disown him, but my resolve is firm. XKCD must die.

  35. Hello, Hauptjaeger, the link you set as your name seems to imply that we go to the same school. Have you ever noticed that they sometimes have xkcd on the LCD TV on the first floor of the SAS hall, doesn't that fill you with rage?

  36. This would have made a funny SMBC.

  37. I think I'm the only one who thinks the joke is NOT supposed to work as a visual joke, because making a visual link between Two-Face and a guy with half of his face full of acne is pretty much inviable. It wouldn't work. The similarity between both is purely theoretical, and I think it works because it makes Batman look like a jackass. And I love it when superheroes are put in their proper place.

    Second reason why I like this a fair bit is because it turns NOT to be a science-y joke, thus ruining the day of the kids who go "ooh look at me I like maths and science I am SO COOL".

    But mostly that's only my personal interpretation of the comic, so it's not worth much.

  38. I especially agree with Fernie's second point - I groaned when I first read the "flip a coin" line, thinking it was a superfluous addition that only served to make the comic seem more scientific, much like the graph in the first panel.

    The fact that all the science bits (aside from the graph) not only make sense on their own (you can imagine that if you were to conduct such an experiment, it would be conducted in that way), but are actually integral to the joke is what makes it a good comic.

  39. Rob, were you not there that time when we figured out that Poore lived basically 40 feet (and a year or two) away from me? Whatevs. What-EVS.

    uncivlengr, I know I'm committing the intentional fallacy here, and I know it's totally because I'm biased, but I don't think that Randall wrote it with the whole "hey this looks like a regular stupid science comic! OH WAIT BATMAN" thing in mind, so I can't really appreciate that aspect of it.

    Timofei, you are Armond White and I claim my five pounds.

  40. I, too, did a double take on this goddamn comic. I thought the Batman punch came out of nowhere (c wut i did thar) until I actually had to go back and re-read the comic. So XKCD not only angered me with its rampant non-comedy, but also tricked me (whether intentionally or not is another debate) into repeating the experience. I had to look at at least 40 minutes of porn to make it up to my poor eyes. Not even AMATEUR porn, at that.

  41. The drawing seemed completely clear to me. This is probably one of the biggest nitpicks on this site, ever. And that's saying something.

  42. ^The style cripples the joke.


    btw Drambrarcer, I liked the Batman strip already but it sure does work better being able to see the face. Nice job.

  44. Rob just because you have DDD manboobs does not mean you are a girl.

  45. DON'T

    He has a blue waffle :((((

  46. Drambracer: nice work, sure shows how the comic should have been done. but seeing it with what it lacked being filled made me realise yeah once the art is fixed it's actually a pretty dumb average-webcomic quality of a joke.

    it's like how some of daniel johnston's songs sound really interesting cos it's just his weird voice and a badly recorded piano, and you imagine how yeah this is a real pop song it could totally be fleshed out and made better.
    but when you hear a well recorded nicely sung cover, you realise wait, this is just a dime-a-dozen pop song.

    wabi-sabi type thing going on with it i guess.
    which is obviously totally what randy was going for.

  47. I'm on a boat, muthafucka, take a look at me
    straight sailin on a boat on the deep blue sea
    bustin five knot, wind wipping out my coat!
    You can't stop me, muthafucka, cause I'm on a boat!

  48. I actually
    kind of
    liked todays?


  50. were we supposed to laugh at today's because... I can't think of a reason why I should

  51. I thought comic 701 was very funny. Am I evil?

  52. so im guessing randy either just got dumped or asked out a girl and got rejected.

  53. Put me down as actually liking today's Valentines xkcd. The broken heart is pretty clever. The panels leading up to it have too much text, but not obnoxiously so.

  54. really 'cause it caused me untold fury

  55. Same here, Rob.

    It reads like a xanga journal entry written by a "scientist."

  56. I want to punch Randall in the face for 701

  57. I don't like it pretty much because it's two graph comics in a row. Both graphs are in the first panel too. And the whole concept of applying scientific method to everyday things is pretty much the same.

  58. Who the fuck decides an "impromptu study" of acne is a fun-filled way of spending the day? Randall, apparently, according to the alt-text. Just because you think it's interesting doesn't mean anyone else gives a flying fuck, Randall.

  59. 701 came across to me as Randall saying two things:

    1. "Being a Scientist is important and amazing."
    2. "I'm not a hack who draws graph comics, I'm a Real Scientist, dammit!"

  60. 701 was pretty bad.

    Why? Because it's pretty much a straight lie.

    Randall makes comics because they're cute and funny. Mind you, I'm using his description, not my own. His scientific aspect has been all but eroded, and I've seen more sciency things on comicjk lately than here. (Well, pretty much everyday at comicjk is science day.) Anyway, the last comic that even had a remote concept I couldn't understand regarding science (And I'm not very sciencey) was 687, so if approximately 7% of his comics are science-based... he's not showing he's a scientist.

    I suppose it comes down to Randall's position for your take on 701. If this were written in a Science blog, or from an actual scientist, it'd be better. Not from Randall Fauxscience Munroe.

  61. Oh holy fuck I just looked at today's. What a disgrace. The entire thing assumes love is quantifiable, an absurdity I might go along with if one of the best xkcds didn't flat-out contradict that.

    Also, looking at the detail in panel 1, the character is breaking up with someone he's engaged to. I mean, wow. What a way to break it to 'em, stickfiguredude. Graphs. Then again, I guess that's the only way Randall can get a point across anymore since he lost control of the English language.

    Not to mention the entire premise of the comic appears to be "science > love," which, again, totally contradicts #55 in which just the opposite happens.

    And in regards to panel 4: Randall, you make graphs because you think they're cute and funny. xkcd is high school math and science. There is no way in fucking hell you are a scientist.

    oh my god this comic is so fucking stupid I can't even look at it again

  62. I can't believe I said "totally contradicts [...] in which just the opposite happens". I need sleep. Bad.

  63. Dr Skullhumper, then you shouldn't read the comic.

    Instead, you should read THIS comic (which is pleasingly topical, about Valentine's):

  64. I've never seen the "maybe you shouldn't read it" applied specifically to a single comic that someone has already read.

  65. I object to 701 also for the reason that it presents a pretty naive/disingenuous picture of how science actually works in real life. a) Experiments and results are inevitably skewed in myriad ways, they are purely objective; and b) Conscious, deliberate massaging/skewing of results happens often.

  66. damn, 701's off the charts.

    And xkcdexplained seems to be beginning to crack, too ...

  67. Urgh, comic 701. Urgh.

    Randall, get this: you draw charts because you THINK they're funny and cute, and you think that because you're a jackass and a hack. Charts CAN be funny if they're clever and thoughtful. They're not funny, much less "cute", by default, and maybe that's why your chart jokes tend to suck so hard.

    This thing is just more self-indulgent pseudo-geeky faux-science wankery. Randall, since you turned this webcomic in this pile of puerile high school garbage (which you favoured over working at NASA), you have NO credibility to talk about science (except with your fanboys, of course); both when you make fun of it AND when you defend it, it comes across as fake and forced.

    Oh, so the joke here is "lol man scientist trused science more than his feelings and broke up in an all sciencey way". Big fucking deal, Randall; there is no consistency in your point of view (look at comic 55, which is one of the THUMBNAILS in the main page). This doesn't read like the joke of an actual scientist who can laugh at himself, but as the emo whine of a sad, brokenhearted wanker in denial.

  68. It's a good thing Randall reserves Valentines Day for whining about his lack of relationships, because lord knows we wouldn't get enough of that otherwise.

  69. On one hand, the character claims that you can't "publish" results you know are wrong, yet there's obviously no problem with "publishing" fake graphs of love and happiness graphs in a webcomic.

    "But uncivlengr, it's just a comic, it's not actual science!" Exactly, and it's just a valentine, not actual science.


  70. Hey, I've seen Ed plugging that comic on two completely different blogs as well. What a twat.

  71. So he's engaged, but he didn't realize he wasn't happy until he graphed it?

  72. >>The broken heart is pretty clever.

    Whoa. I feel as if I may have enjoyed the comic slightly more than I did (i.e. not at all) if I had any idea that the graph line on the last panel was supposed to be similar to a broken heart.

    Maybe it would have made more sense if, oh I don't know, the two halves were separated at all?

    Honestly though I think the quoted Anon saw a flicker of goodness where there wasn't one, and the graph over the heart was meant to be a graph over the heart.

  73. "Do I make graphs because they're cute and funny, or am I a scientist?"


  74. Latest comic: not bad if you're willing to provide xkcd the typical allowance of suspension of disbelief. You can fridge logic it to death, but the pacing and storytelling are alright, even if the subject is tired.

    The alt-text, however, is clearly filler, and condescending filler, at that. Randall has never talked down to his audience so directly before, and what he's saying is already clear in the subtext of the comic.

    If there's nothing to say in the alt-text, why put anything at all? Or, do what Dinosaur Comics does, and ramble on about some other bullshit instead. That's good, too.

  75. To be frank, xkcd has run out of juice. Shut 'er down.

  76. I think Randall is jacking off in 701's next-to-last panel.

    You can't unsee it.

  77. So from the graphs included in #701 we can infer that Randall is a goddamn tool. Trust me Randall, I don't need you to reiterate how alone you are, I was able to deduce that from all of your whiny, pandering, god-awful excuses for comics.

  78. Anon 5:55

    Aaaahahaha, stick-dick.



    Fucking hack.

  80. Oh, yes, the broken heart was "pretty clever", indeed. SEE HOW HE USED THAT JAGGED DESCENDENT LINE AS IF IT WAS A CRACK ON THE HEART? AWES0M3!

    ...Seriously, this is one of those XKCDs that keep me stalled in one nitpick. This time, it's the graph on the first panel.

    What is the horizontal axis supposed to be? I'm assuming it's time, and I'm not even gonna try to guess the scale... but is it StickRandall's life, or it starts on another point of his life? And why is there a gap on the Love line before he met this other person? How could he love her before meeting her? What the heck is that supposed to mean?!

    Also, StickRandall's pose in the fourth panel. It's simply confusing. And, again, why does his arm touch the chair and his back doesn't? What's the point of making your stick figures float over surfaces so the lines don't overlap if they'll overlap anyway?!

    All in all, worst awkward break up comic ever seen. Even "Brontosaurus" was better, and we all know it surely wasn't good...

  81. 701 is horrible because Randall is trying to prove that the reason why his comics aren't always the best is because he is a SCIENTIST and SCIENTISTS focus on SCIENCE, not writing. This was the only comic in months that made me scream at my monitor "RANDALL MUNROE YOU FUCKING HACK". Really? A Valentines day comic where for once he tries to argue that he doesn't make "cute" and "funny" webcomics (he doesn't), but his way of arguing is that he is good at science, not humour? Randall, maybe you should just stop making fucking comics if this is really your point of view. I know it isn't, though, so instead, why don't you stop dwelling on the past? This comic can't possibly be about a relationship Randall has recently had; we would've seen proof of this in his comics. sakjfgasjfasd

    and on top of all of this, his fucking graphs. I'm no scientist but RANDALL is certainly no scientist.

  82. >> Dr Skullhumper, then you shouldn't read the comic.

    Thumper. Thumper. If I had a hollowed-out skull for every time that's happened to me, I'd have some nice Halloween decorations next year.

    Yes, I'll go back in time and warn myself not to read xkcd #701. This makes sense.

  83. Fuck #700. When the punchline of a comic has to be explained to you because the art is too shitty to make it self-evident, it's a bad comic.

  84. WAIT.

    stickman narrator of 701: you . you total prick! are you serious!?

    you are engaged. it is valentine's day.

    i don't care how little you think of the holiday, you gotta know that 'valentine's day break-up' is short for 'heartless prick who never really cared in the first place'.

    so breaking up on valentine's day? to your FIANCEE? and in a fucking VALENTINE'S DAY CARD!?
    (actually, hell you can't even pretend you don't acknowledge the holiday, since you got a bloody card.)

    you heartless little ballbag.

    * * * *

    in a funny horrible way, i am reveling in the fancy that 701's narrator represents randy's own thoughts because of how it inadvertantly reveals him as the massive sack i've been denouncing above.

    edit: c!nt gets editted out if i put in the u? huh.

  85. eh looks like it was still editted out :(

  86. 1. At first I thought the answer to the second-to-last panel (comic 701) was "Yep, I draw pseudo-science stuff because I think it's funny". That actually made the comic not suck, or at least less.

    2. Consider that potentially any Anon could be female.

    3. Yeah, well, about Anon 5:55's comment... I guess the comic would somehow make more sense to "men of science" then.

    - Anon 11:11

  87. The xkcdexplained for 701 is amazing

  88. 700: Best one since the woodpecker.
    701: Steaming pile of crap. I take that back. It's so diarrheal that it can't even form into a pile.

    Are the authors of xkcdexplained turning into haters? I don't read it unless someone else directs me there, but there's a more sarcastic tone in the newer posts.

  89. No one else commented on the dialog in the fourth panel?

    "Ok, call it. Heads she gets the -"

    Who's supposed to call it? He's already telling that what will happen if it's heads.

  90. Yeah, I think Randy thinks "calling it" is just pointing out what it lands as. So if it landed heads someone would shout out "HEADS!"

    ...or something. I don't know.

  91. The point is that he IS a heartless bastard who's cold enough to break up with a girl after considering that he's less happy than he was when they first started dating. Look at the first panel, the line marked with a "heart" ends before he even met her.

    That said, no matter how many little nuances there are to notice, it's still not funny... The punchline comes in 4 pieces and none of them seem to be the point at which the "oh I get it haha" clicks. The absurdity of the situation is instead presented in the second to last panel, where he actually considers the results a convincing reason to end the relationship... But that isn't the punchline. There may have been a way to make this joke work... but this certainly wasn't it.

  92. I find Randall's quirky relationship comics smug and irritating, but what's the deal with the quirky breakup comics. First 698 and now this. It's like he somehow managed to combine smugness ("I used science, so I'm OBJECTIVELY CORRECT!") with emo whininess. It's gone beyond annoying to downright depressing. It's gotten so bad, I almost wish he would go back to his only sorta-bad comics like 648 or 634.

  93. Re Rob's first comment.
    Are you being intentionally dramatic?
    You must really really HATE comics like The Far Side I guess... is that true?
    You ever read Pearls Before Swine? You know those pun strips he does occasionally? Although the pun itself is entertaining, the real joke is the setup the cartoonist had to come up with in order make the pun work. The fact that it is so absurdly contrived is part of the joke.

  94. Everything I do is intentional, darling.

  95. I don't believe you do.

    Though w/r/t your "part of the joke is how contrived it is," I have covered that elsewhere in this thread, I believe. Randy doesn't do that. He is just badly contrived. The contrivance is just terrible, never funny.

  96. This comic came out the day after this video. This guy is one of the most-subscribed on youtube. In the video he makes a joke about breaking out on one side of his face, and calls himself the "Harvey Dent of acne." The DAY AFTER this video is posted, XKCD posts a comic using the same joke.

  97. In sheer drawing capability, I think Tim from CTRL-ALT-DEL would've been able to pull the graphical quality off a lot better.

  98. I have a question for the site creator. Why would you create a website for something you hate? I mean, a LOT of people hate a lot of things but why would you make an entire website about it?

  99. hi, Carl here, site creator, long time reader, long time writer. Can I give you the answer "because I have fun with it" and be done? Or do I have to explain more? OK, you were nice, so I'll give you a second one: "because it forces me to keep writing on a regular basis, helping me become a better writer. included in that skill set is the ability to put abstract ideas into words, a skill useful to all but one which I particularly desire to have."

    is that ok? or do I need better reasons?

  100. Wow. I never knew Munroe had this many fans.