Monday, July 19, 2010

Comic 768: Progress

1996 was the craziest year. DO YOU GUYS REMEMBER 1996? how CRAZY it was?
[Alt: College Board issues aside, I have fond memories of TI-BASIC, writing in it a 3D graphing engine and a stock market analyzer. With enough patience, I could make anything ... but friends. (Although with my chatterbot experiments, I certainly tried.)]

FINALLY, a comic that is not horrifically crappy to break the chain of comics that are horrifically crappy. Heck, he even went all out and gave us FOUR panels! that's the first time in two weeks!

It's true: This comic contains, deep within it, a funny joke. TI graphing calculators are basically the same product, for the same price, that they have been for years. Lots of other stuff has either dropped in price or gotten better, and the ol' TI is doing its thing. There may be good reasons for it, that I don't doubt. And I suppose that inflation means that the "same" price is really a lower real price. But it still is funny when you first think about it, like TI is this pathetic thing that just hobbles along while every other company is leaping into the future.

That said, there are better ways to have done this. For one thing, there's an awful lot of text in the first two panels, and it's a little hard to read. I understand it's necessary, to show all the different specs that have changed. That's why the suggestion is simple: Make the panels bigger. Same text, larger font. problem solved.

And that last panel is not important at all. The joke is clear from the end of the third panel (to anyone who is ever going to get the joke at all, that is) and the last panels just hurts it. But the girl's line is moderately funny, so my solution here is also simple: make her joke the alt-text and scrap the stupid alt-text you gave us. (you may want to append a "zing!" to the end to show that you are just poking fun at a beloved childhood device)

Oh, what I would give to have Randall let me edit his comics...alas.


  1. Nice.

    Yeah an imperfect comic, but it did have a set-up, an idea, a punchline.

    So kudos for not just tearing into because It's Xkcd And So Is Always Irredeemably Bad.

    I don't know why it was set up as a real world encounter, as opposed to say a 'flashy advertisement' promo or a 'wonders of technology' bit.
    The dialogue's unrealistic, and not so much due to any phrases ("Do me without a condom" style) but due to the whole context of the conversation. It's a bit...d'remember the scene in the Truman Show where his wife starts talking about the coffee?
    ...Yeah. It's a bit like that.

    Also, yeah, too wordy.
    But again, if it was done in flashy bubbles beside a series of images of the products in question, it'd seem less "This boring person is talking boring why even bother making it to panel 4?"

    Randy needs an editor.
    Also, as a note on the decline in quality of late: it's been AGES since there was enough joke to scrape out of the comic to say "Randy needs an editor" as opposed to just "The hell is that!?".

  2. Interesting idea: How 'bout the xkcdsucks community makes a site consisting of xkcd comics edited to be better? I really liked the suggestions in this post. Comics like this one would be an edited image with a possibly edited alt text; comics that are unsalvageable would be listed as such.

    And if you go back far enough in the archive, the link would head to xkcd itself ;-)

  3. we sort of did that in the form of "XKCD: Could Be Better!" on the sidebar, but that didn't take off. not because it's a bad idea, but because you can't just move a community.

  4. and it quickly turned into a Megan/rape joke fest

  5. I've lurked here for a while, and I don't usually post, but here goes nothing. So basically I like xkcd, but I also end up enjoying this site as well. Sometimes I think the people here are anal or just followers, but sometimes xkcd just doesn't hit the mark, quality-wise. Just wondering, but is that common? I feel like I'm in the middle of an argument and liking it, which seems like the wrong reaction.

  6. I emailed Carl with that very comment. He said he gets a lot of that. So we are not alone, Sam.

  7. Randall really needs to start carrying around a tape recorder so he can listen to how people actually talk. Like many writers/comic "artists"/etc. he ruins what could be a good concept with flawed execution. Stilted dialog has derailed many a comic, and this latest strip from Mr. Munroe is no exception.

    P.S. yes I am drunk, and I'm back, deal with it

  8. some of the best commenters here are the ones who like XKCD and like the blog. they tend to be the ones who have something interesting to say instead of 'I DON'T SEE YOUR WEBCOMIC'

  9. Editing the comics as a community is never going to work. 30 different editors is as bad as no editor at all.

  10. I also like both this blog and xkcd. I visit both frequently.

  11. I liked this comic - though, I'll admit, I have NO IDEA what the alt-text means.

  12. I like xkcd. But then I stumbled on this blog and realized I still like xkcd, but that many comics could be improved. However, it seems to me that many of your critiques WOULD make a 'better' comic, but not necessarily a better xkcd. Examples:

    *Increase the size of the panels: yes, this would solve the font-size problem, but it would require either a deviation from the four-in-a-row panel style or a change in the page layout. Both probably unwarranted in the context of xkcd.
    *Remove the 'lame' alt-text to accommodate funnier jokes: would do - but isn't the alt-text simply Randall's personal commentary? Is the writer supposed to strip his work of any personality?

    That said, I'm not just here to argue because I DO value and enjoy your criticisms. It seems on comics that don't have any particularly large problems, you feel like you have to find something to criticize, which I certainly hope isn't true. That this hasn't just devolved into a personal vendetta instead of constructive criticism. I can understand however, if it has.

    At any rate, keep up the good work. I don't know your history, but perhaps one day I'll know why you seem to hate Randall so much. =P

  13. Re: panel size--a site redesign can improve a site a lot. It's not like Randall keeps himself to a specific panel layout ever. He uses however many panels he feels like on a given day. It's not like it would be hard for him to change it up. And maybe a refresh is just what he needs.

    The alt text is, in most comics in which it's used, basically an additional, hidden panel (cf. Dinosaur Comics, A Softer World, Overcompensating). And Randall uses it that way often enough that it's not just his personal commentary space.

    He could just as easily add a small text field below the comic for his personal commentary. He does not. He doesn't utilize this space consistently, and it's annoying.

    More often, though, the problem is that the alt text is actively unfunny. It either explains the joke, or it says something horribly offensive, or it just saps the humor in some other way. He doesn't know how to utilize the space, but he feels obligated to put something there, and it very frequently distracts.

    Basically, I think Randall has constrained himself to being shit. He has trapped himself in a corner of shittiness, and he doesn't think he can leave that corner, because that's what he is known for. So he just keeps making more shit, because that's his thing now.

    What he needs to do is step out of his shit box and write something new. He needs to impose new constraints on himself--make the alt-text part of the joke instead of just his 'whatever he feels like' field, or his 'throw another joke at them in case the first one doesn't fit' field. Change the layout. Write only three-panel comics. Write only comics where the art is necessary for the humor instead of just being an excuse for the humor to be shitty.

    He has gotten lazy, because he can make a living putting in (and I am being very generous here) maybe three hours a week of work. The rest of the time he can just hang out on Wikipedia and bask in his internet glory. He's got no reason to do anything different. His thought patterns, his art, everything, are stuck in this rut.

    And if he shakes something up--something, anything--maybe he'll actually start making something interesting. Maybe he'll at the very least be able to go out in a blaze of Dadaist glory.

  14. @Anon 1:44 - Might I suggest you drop the "Anon" and stay a while? =D

    However, a warning. The longer you linger here, the less and less you'll find yourself liking XKCD. Like Rob said, the most interesting people are the people who don't agree with us, but actually have something to say, rather than "Don't you have anything better to do with your time? That used to be me! I swear it was. 4 Months later, and now I hate XKCD just as much as anyone here.

    The more critiques you read, the more and more you'll realize why we don't like Randall. I didn't understand it at first either. I mean, hate the work, not the man, right? The main reasons why people here don't like him though, are that he is an elitist, and that he's lazy. You may not agree with me on these points, but stick around long enough and you'll probably start to see it. I'd say both of those are valid reasons to not like a person too. But that's just me.

    At any rate, feel free to stay a while. =D

  15. actually that's how I started too. first it was "randy is just having an off week" then it was like "okay maybe an off month" then finally "RAAAAAAAAANDAAAAAAAAAAALL"

  16. I find it hard to imagine YOU of all people defending Randall. I mean that in the nicest way possible of course.

  17. Wait. wait... I think I see your point now. There really is less to object about the work than the man himself. At times I read the comic and have a slight chuckle. But then I think about it in the context of the entire history of the comic and see Randall sitting there writing it and I think "WHYYY is this necessary?"

    And ok. I'll stay a bit. But I'm going to try and stay positive. =P

  18. it was a dark time in my past

  19. I made a blog for the very purpose of commenting here. Cheers.

  20. yes he once said blag earnestly three times in one comment thread

    i came here already disliking xkcd
    thank god

  21. actually, that's basically the story of why I stopped being religious, also. I had a friend I'd argue with about various elements of religion for a while, and I always felt at the end of the night like my position was coming up short. this, combined with the theology class I was taking (this was high school), eventually led me to renounce my faith.

    the moral of the story is: there is no more strident opponent of a cause than one who has been converted after (if not as a direct result of) defending that cause with conviction.

    (in my defense w/r/t the blag thing, I mostly just thought it was a funny word that made fun of a word I still think is terrible. this doesn't make it okay, but at least it wasn't done just because it was an XKCD reference. I've never been the sort of person who does things exclusively as a reference.)

  22. For me, I fell in love with XKCD about 3 1/2 or 4 years ago. Not for funny, but for the cuteness of it. For example, the one about spinning to counter the earths spin to add an infinitesimal amount of time to your time together.

    Then about 2 years ago I started really getting frustrated with it; even stopped reading for a while. I don't like going out of my way every other day to try to enjoy something I used to enjoy very much, just to walk away disappointed. And that's what started happening. While I never rage out as much as this blog does, I certainly look at the comic and think "This is not funny, clever, interesting or entertaining."

    And even the "good" ones give me that feeling, although it's much more mediocre. Like this one. I read it, and then clicked my SMBC bookmark without really a second thought. But at least I didn't stare blankly at my monitor for a moment and wonder why I wasted my time.

    I still read XKCD religiously, if only to read this afterwards.

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Rob: the moral of the story is: there is no more strident opponent of a cause than one who has been converted after (if not as a direct result of) defending that cause with conviction.

    Couldn't agree with you more. If there is one thing that frustrates me, it's someone who won't defend their own position. I don't go into arguments/discussions trying to win/change the other persons mind. I go in trying to make all the points I can, compare them with all the opposing points, and come out of the argument either with stronger conviction, or with a changed mind. When people aren't willing to defend their position against my own, it is very frustrating. There is no growth for anyone, if we both just keep our separate opinions to ourselves. (This is why people who like xkcd, but aren't just rabid fanboys, are welcome here.)

    I think that's why a those who have been converted are more strident... because they aren't just being stubborn on behalf of their own camp. They were willing to stake their opinion against others, found it to be insufficient, and changed sides, to what they thought to be the stronger argument.

    On the religious note, I started out an Athiest myself, but as a teenager attended a Christian youth group. I wasn't really content to not hear out what the other side had to say. After about 2 years of going to a youth group for bible study, I was more confident in my athiesm than I was before I went.

  25. yes, exactly. when I actually engage people in a discussion (instead of just insulting people and hoping they will go away) it is for learning and educating people.

    part of the stridency is that you have used the very arguments your new opponents are using against you, and found them wanting--but still they try to come up with new variations of the same old arguments you used back when you were in their position.

    but the problem is you came up with those same variations. they are basically just saying the same shit you used to say. it rings hollow and dishonest at that point.

    this is, admittedly, more common when dealing with religious people than with XKCD fans. it's hard to defend XKCD--I'm not saying it's indefensible, but there are no really good arguments in its favor. most of the shit we say on this blog is pretty basic. we say things like 'Randy is excessively verbose,' 'Randy is bad at pacing,' 'Randy can't write dialog for shit,' and it's all pretty much true. people who are intellectually honest don't argue that these things are false--they argue the degree to which it matters. and there's no good stock answers. that's why we have such a high conversion rate. the smart ones start to feel like they're asking that we only give it 20 lashes instead of 30--"yes, this one sucked, but maybe not quite so hard as you say?"--and eventually they realize that they're still saying it deserves to be beaten, and at that point does it matter how hard it is?

  26. That's why most of the time people don't come here and defend xkcd. They usually attack the blog for it's existence before attacking the position or points the blog states. This makes for very dull conversation...

    To continue the religion analogy, it would be like a Christian quoting a bible verse to me and me telling them I am an atheist. They then proceed to come to my "gathering" of like minded friends, and rather than discuss the existence of god with us(as they would be welcome to do), they say "Why would you spend all this time to gather together to talk about this!? Don't you have anything better to do?" The irony of them doing the very same thing every Sunday is of course lost on them, just as the irony of people coming from the xkcd forums to decry the time we spend here is lost.

  27. I kinda liked this one too, just for the reasons already given. It had a set up and a punchline. Alt text doesn't bother me much at the moment - but thats cause I'm using IE (Work - our super old CMS only works with it :() and I have about 0.2 seconds to read them so don't even bother to try.

    I've been reading XKCD for a few years, not really sure when I started. I thought it was funny - but was that beasue I was told it was funny or beacuse it actually was? I know I don't find it that funny any more, so why do I still read it?

    Simple - it gets updated often. Thats it. it's become part of my "sites I check first thing in the morning" list. A habbit more than anything else.

    Such is life :p

  28. I think one topic that has failed to have been addressed is how XKCD made itself popular.

    While we continually argue among ourselves the various qualities that make XKCD suck - like art, dialogue, context, and structure - we rarely ever talk about why the people on the XKCD forum are eating it up.

    Has XKCD declined in quality? Or has it always been crap but this blog just enlightened us to it? If it is the former, then the forumites (Now synonymous with XKCD supporter) should be declining in number.

    If it has, on the other hand, maintained it's quality, there is some aspect that makes XKCD so much more popular than hundreds of other webcomics.

    Perhaps the popularity snowballs upon itself, and people come to XKCD misguided by friends and they are misled from the outset.

    When I started reading this comic, I liked it. It had the appearance of being witty, occasionally topical, and humourous. That impression has changed, every single XKCD comic I read now has the ugly sheen of minimalism coated on top. When I look back on the comics that I used to find funny... it's strange, they're still funny to me. Flipping to a random page, I got to comic 250, and looked at all the comics around it, they were all decent.

    This leads me to believe in the declination of quality. It's strange though, XKCD never had a shark-jumping moment. I think I recall a time when Randall updated 4 times a week, almost a year ago. For a comic like this, that schedule is pretty lenient. I think he's ran out of creative ideas, and resorted to mockery, fan-loyalty, and wikipedia to maintain his status.

    Why aren't the fans decreasing in number, though? I think the supporters are changing, actually. Before, many of them seemed intelligent. Socially awkward, strange, and quirky, but definitely intelligent. Now I think they're just socially awkward people who abuse acronyms.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Andrew - it's funny you brought up that spinning comic because it was one of the first comics I read and which got me hooked.

    As the comic progressed, it became less lighthearted humor and more bitter monologue. It's still interesting to read these ideas tentatively called "comics." But ultimately the issue with the series is that "funny" is simple yet profound. A comprehensive lecture on the latest news is not funny.

    EDIT: TheMesosade - I posted before I got to read your post. Those are my thoughts exactly. And the fans aren't decreasing in number...likely because of the snowball effect you pointed out?

  31. My theory is that the comic started off as honestly as it looked, Randall and his random musings. It progressed into Randall's random thoughts on life, and when he ran out of honest ones, he started to make them up. It's when this happened, the quality declined, but it was hard to notice it right away.

  32. The declination of quality shouldn't come as a surprise. Countless other continuous works are guilty of the same, victim to diminishing inspiration, motivation, ideas... Perhaps Randall, too, has changed through the years?

    One other thing I'd like to note relates to TheMesosade's observation on what sets xkcd apart from the others. Honestly, to rate any work is to compare it to the rest. And compared to the average, you can't really say xkcd "sucks." Unless, of course, you note that most things nowadays "suck horribly," and there are very few jewels out there. =/

  33. @Rinnon:

    If there is one thing that frustrates me, it's someone who won't defend their own position.

    Agreed. I can't stand debating with someone who finds out that I happen to be something they were attacking and bend over backwards to talk about how they didn't want to "offend me." First off, it's not that easy to offend me, and secondly, at some level, arguments are supposed to get the blood flowing.They're supposed to be about things that matter. It cheapens the discussion when someone is craven enough to spend half their time arguing and half their time apologizing for holding a position.


    Welcome! Good to have you here.

  34. I read an interview with Joey Comeau once, and they asked something like "do you ever worry you'll run out of ideas for the comic?"

    His answer went something like this:

    "Well, the comic is basically us writing about things that excite us and interest us. If we ever run out of things that excite us, we have a lot bigger things to worry about than whether the comic is still going."

    There was more to it than that--both on the question and answer. Essentially it talked about how the comic changed with them, and why that was a good thing for the comic--they had new interests and did new things that excited them all the time, and that's why they could keep doing the comic forever.

    I think Randy's problem is he has basically run out of things to do that excite him. There is a profound sort of laziness that happens when you know you don't have to do pretty much anything in order to be successful--here defined as "making enough money to live comfortably," though it could mean anything. What use does he have for exciting things? He's got a nice cush 3-hour-a-week job that gets lots and lots of praise.

    He pretty much never has to leave home. When he does, it's probably mostly just to hang out with friends--not to go on adventures. Do you notice he doesn't seem to do many comics about how exciting the world is anymore?

    This is, naturally, sheer speculation, but it would explain most of the decline in quality: he's lost his joie de vivre and doesn't know it. He's mistaken being content with being satisfied.

  35. (satisfied is totally not the word I want there--happy? fulfilled?)

  36. To me, XKCD is like Tim Burton's movies. When I first discovered them they were semi-obscure and different, with weird, appealing quirkiness. Then at some point something happened to Burton and Munroe (With Burton it's after the amazing Sleepy Hollow and the awful Planet of the Apes, with Randall it's kind of uncertain. Those weird quirks and ballsy against-the-grain traits of their work became a cliché that they just churned out with every new installment, and bizarrely, that was the exact moment the masses jumped on both of them to declare how awesome they were.

    Incidentally, this phenomenon is being twisted by TV Tropers as "It's popular so now it sucks", which just goes to show what an abysmal people they are.

  37. that page pisses me off

  38. "the moral of the story is: there is no more strident opponent of a cause than one who has been converted after (if not as a direct result of) defending that cause with conviction."

    Interesting. I actually was Christian, converted to Atheist (in college), then realized that all of my well-reasoned arguments against God didn't actually work in the real world when applied to real people.

    So now I'm an ardent Christian.

  39. "Do you notice he doesn't seem to do many comics about how exciting the world is anymore?"

    Indeed. And yet he still has that patronising "ENJOY LIFE" attitude with comics like that awful "tornado hunter" one.

    I think you've got a point there, Rob... but then again, what were the things that have interested Randall during xkcd's lifetime so far, aside from computers, science and (arguably) sex? Lessee: Firefly, raptors, ball pits, kites, Mario Kart... and that's pretty much that.

    Not that I am a profound well of interesting and awesome stuff, but I don't go around obsessing over completely trivial, mundane stuff only to hit a dead end after a while. It seems Randall is always trying to find a "trademark", something unique that's his own mark, but nothing sticks.

  40. /me huggles his TI83+ :(

  41. ugh wtf is all this meta-discussion about the comic and the blog and man this is what happens when you guys update on time :/

    Going all the way back to the first comment by Keep: a flashy-advert style wouldn't work, because he'd have to somehow preface it with "ads from 1996!" and throw in an awkward "OH WAIT" after the TI ad for 'idiots' like me who haven't really been keeping up with the whole calculator technology scene. I've been too busy taking fake courses in writing and cultural anthropology to bother with anything important like math!

    See, this is why I like this joint: it's nice to be able to vent my unmitigated anger at Randall's holier-than-thou educational elitism.

  42. CARL!

    Can't you see what you've done?

    You updated on time and your blog has descended into madness! Boring, everyone-agreeing-with-each-other madness!

  43. all joking aside, seriously rob: where is your web comic? if its so easy, make a funny one. You too carl! why not?



  45. I really liked XKCD. One day someone I was talking with said "But don't you think it's not nearly as clever as it thinks it is?"

    Once it was pointed out I wondered how I could have missed it. Within a very short space of time I couldn't stand the thing. Interesting how things go when something becomes a legitimate object of serious criticism.

  46. emily: rob is the esteemed creator of the critically acclaimed Boston and Shaun

    check it out. it's some good shit

  47. Cuddlefish 5:42, that was so cute!

  48. I was actually a fan until somebody linked me to this site.

    Not until I read Carl's post, but until I actually saw the link. I was never really a diehard fan, and I always did kinda dislike the Firefly references and sickening "romance" comics. I just always identified as liking the comic in spite of those things. But then I saw the URL and thought "you know, this guy probably has some good points". And I read a few posts, and he did.

  49. @TheMesosade:

    There isn't any rapid exodus because it takes us marginally less time to look at his comic then it probably takes him to write it. If we get any remote joy out of it, then our 1-minute investment is worthwhile.

    That said, XKCD's viewer numbers are starting to stagnate, and show signs of actually having peaked 3 months ago.

    Captcha: Ingshin. As in Mi Ing Shin, I guess? [I do not know what this is]

  50. Pretty sure webcomic views naturally go down during the Summer.

  51. This would be a better comic had it come out 5 years ago when there really hadn't been any change in TI's line of calculators -- now they've got fancy touchscreens and much better resolution.

    in 1996 the best computer you could get cost $2000
    in 1996 the best pda you could get cost $200
    in 1996 the best graphing calculator cost $150
    in 1996 a decent watch cost $100

    all of these are still true -- you're not buying a calculator because it is fast, you're buying it to find the max value between x=1 and x=2 of some formula on a test.

  52. Ahhh... Post-Punchline Dialog. Classic.

  53. do you not have anything better to do than hate on xkcd
    Carl you are probably just jealous of Randall's success
    everyone who posts here is bitter and likely mentally challenged

    @anon6:13 this post is dedicated to you I hope it was satisfactory but tbh my heart was not in it

  54. and by post I obviously meant comment

  55. Dammit what is with this (relatively) deep and meaningful discussion on the internet

    My origin story is quite boring. I was a follower of xkcd until 631 (a day which will live in infamy) blew my mind with its shittiness. I mean, I'd kind of noticed a steady decline in the number of comics I found funny before then, but it never really registered. 631 was the moment when xkcd jumped the shark for me. I went to the xkcd forums (for the first time!) to see if anybody could figure out what the fuck the joke was supposed to be, and one of the first few comments I stumbled across was someone mentioning offhand that "xkcdsucks was having a fit over this one". Intrigued, I googled xkcdsucks...

    And found this place. I read most of the 2009 posts to get a feel for the site, and (this sounds like blatant self-aggrandizement, but it's true) immediately recognized the tongue-in-cheek tone here for what it was, as well as the valid criticisms made. I lurked for awhile, then started posting a bit without an account, and eventually now I'm a regular.

    Also I found 10$.

  56. I like this site because it's just so fucking new media. It's basically a whole website dedicated to trolling! I mean, one of you once said you didn't like Shakespeare! HILARIOUS!

  57. Hay guys, remember back when hard drives cost roughly $1/GB?

    Or a few years before that, when they held less space than a DVD?

    Good times, good times.

  58. I'm proud to say I hated XKCD from the start. Freinds of mine would sometimes mention it. Then I was shown a strip. It was ok but something about it irked me. Anyway after hearing about it a couple more times I decided to check the site. I was looking forward to soemthing great. I started reading from the start of the archive. I grew bored (and hate filled early). However I kept reading for a couple of hundred comics constanly spurred on by the knowledge that this HAD to get amazeing soon because all I ever heard was that it WAS amazeing. Years later I found the blog and knew I was home. I rarely post as I tend to agree with exactly what has already been said.

  59. @anon 7:37
    "do you not have anything better to do than hate on xkcd
    Carl you are probably just jealous of Randall's success
    everyone who posts here is bitter and likely mentally challenged"

    Your inane comments are typical of the fanboys who stumble in here, and as such are answered in the FAQ.

  60. @Sarge

    Disliking Shakepseare isn't really that difficult of a thing to do. As someone who enjoys literature, I can certainly appreciate the effect that he has had on writing as a whole, at least for the English-speaking world. However, in the intervening centuries, his stories have been retold, parodied and ripped-off thousands of times, making the "base" story in which they are created off of seem uninspired. Not to mention, a lot of the comedy can only be derived by being familiar with slang that's been out of date for centuries, or political situations so old that only Randall would find them topical.

    Not to mention, it's often difficult to find groups actually preforming Shakespeare with any real skill (at least, around here), I haven't found a movie adaptation I particularly enjoy, and reading a play is already vastly inferior to watching one preformed.

  61. @Emily: Did you ever watch Siskel and Ebert and wonder "Where's THESE guys' movie?" No? That's because they're critics, not movie makers. They didn't tell you making movies was easy, they just told you which ones were crappy. The idea that you have to make something before you can criticize other things in the same field is profoundly confusing. We'd have a lot less game review websites if that were the case, I can tell you that.

    Besides, I don't recall seeing Carl or Rob say making a web comic was easy, they just say that Randall is doing a crappy job of it and that he doesn't put in very much time into his work.

    So on that note, where's YOUR blog? If you think Carl is doing such a bad job of blogging, why don't you go make your own? (See how easy it is to make a point when I just pretend you said something you didn't?)

  62. RE: Shakespeare

    I've read a handful of his plays. His stories are shit.

    His writing, though, is incredible.

    I think it's a situation a bit like xkcd: yes, some aspects of the work were amazing, other aspects were godawful, but the fanatics only focus on the former and pretend the latter doesn't exist (or, hilariously, claim it as a strength).
    Also the really obsessive ones are deeply unsettling people.

  63. "No? That's because they're critics, not movie makers."

    IIRC Ebert has made some bad porn films

    Captcha: Prattess, a lady prat

  64. rinnon, stfu, no one was talking to you!

    I GUESS I have a few points to make though in response, even though I don't really care to.

    1) Roger Ebert did in fact help make a movie "beyond the valley of the dolls" - it is a cult classic apparently (though I have never seen it). I believe he also wrote a screen play for a sex pistols film.

    2) I was somewhat joking when I asked Rob for his webcomic, but I was also being serious and not in the "if making web comics is so easy, where is your webcomic?!?" but more in the way of... "why not create a webcomic so when people ask 'where is your webcomic then, huh?' he can say, 'my web comic is right here, at URL:' enjoy!" and actually the comment was really inspired by the end of today's blog post by Carl that said "Oh, what I would give to have Randall let me edit his comics...alas" - it made me think, well hey, Carl actually does understand what Randall does wrong most times, a teaming of Carl and Randall might actually produce a much better product than Randall alone, too bad Randall HATES Carl so he can never work with him. Then I thought, hell, Carl should just make his own web comic. I was actually even going to offer to do the art work for it. Notice I posed the question: "why not?" at the end.

    3) i have a blog, but i wouldn't share it with the misanthropes here :P

    4) dear rob, i am at work, the comment window is small and i don't care about grammar or spelling on a blog comment board so please don't pedantically attack me for misuse of words, etc. sincerely, emily.

  65. Emily is stupid.

    Emily accepts that she has a blog, and knows what a blog is.
    Emily understands that you can make open comments on a blog.
    Emily also understands that most blogs that have regular commenters, like Rob, there are ways of having a private conversation. Email, for instance.
    Emily disregards that, and tries to make a private conversation on an open blog.
    Emily gets upset and angry when someone comments on what she says.
    Emily knows full well that this can happen.
    Emily's stupidity is derived from a negative outcome coming entirely and holistically from her lack of brain usage.
    Emily is stupid.
    Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

  66. I'm not upset at all, I was just clarifying my position. I really think you are overreacting and reaching here, TheMesosade. That said, I value and appreciate everyone who makes contact with me, however brief, so thank you for taking the time to write your post. Have a wonderful afternoon! :)

  67. Then you've failed at communicating.
    "rinnon, stfu, no one was talking to you!"
    If that doesn't sound upset and weepy to you, I'm afraid you live in a world far different from my own.

    Regarding my own position, well you can't leave any steps out of a proof :P.

  68. Well, communication over the internet does present certain hurdles that must be compensated for in order to accurately convey the ideas and messages we intend. In that sense, I agree, I did fail. When I wrote my original post I foolishly did not plan for scrutiny and cross-examination and thus did not take the steps needed in order to get my point across.

    I was typing it with a smile on my face and did not mean it as a weepy "stop being mean to me rinnon!!!" but instead as a flippant, "i've read rob's rant about it and was intentionally pushing his buttons, so stfu lol" - I realize my intention was lost in translation and fully take responsibility for my failure. This has been a humbling experience and in the future I will endeavor to give the full context of my emotions and thoughts so that you can interpret them properly.

    Thank you for your time again, TheMesosade!



  69. I've come to the sad realization that most (read almost all) of my ideas for posts can be considered trolling. Ergo, I write this post to inform you all that I have enjoyed reading all your comments, but having nothing un-trolly to contribute (I've noticed trying to discuss religion in an open format like this invites shit slinging madness -- if people get all flamey (new word (nested parenthesis!)) over a mere web comic...). Nevertheless, reading this have (has!) made an otherwise boring day of pretending to work (any text on my screen looks like work to the people who have no understanding of what I actually do around here) that much more interesting.
    Keep up the good work, honest critics, cuddlefish, and all those in between. Remember to keep your world view glasses clear of smudges!

    ([In fashion] Captcha: genulo - a description of the average IQ of [insert target group])

  70. Very well, I didn't see the subtext.

    And forgive me, but any take of kindness from a stranger on the internet automatically seems somewhat insincere to me. And in this case, moreso, 'cause I'm being mean, and receiving complacency and acceptance isn't what I expected. So I'm gonna shut up 'cause now the controversy is gone.

    Also, shrub, if you can't do anything but troll, there's probably something wrong with you. We actually like controversial opinions, we dislike people who are ignorant and like it that way.

    *leaves until ignorance shows up again.

  71. Wait, TheMesosade wasn't just playing along with a complete lack of sincerity? Shit man, he sure is stupid. Good thing he's gone so he won't hear me say that.

  72. "Pretty sure webcomic views naturally go down during the Summer."

    They didn't in 2009, according to that link.

  73. rinnon, stfu, no one was talking to you!

    Oh, you were asking a Rob a specific question and waiting for an answer from him and him only? I'm sorry, I thought you were asking a rhetorical question to the board, directed at Rob for context! I hope you'll forgive my misunderstanding, jumping in and replying to a comment that was not directed at me was very rude, I was clearly in the wrong here.

    2) I was somewhat joking when I asked Rob for his webcomic[...]

    I'm sorry! I wasn't able to extrapolate that from the 23 words you provided in your previous comment. Had I spent a little more time re-reading them, I might have figured out you were joking, and not made my comment at all, avoiding this whole mess! Again, I hope you'll forgive me for this misunderstanding.

    I GUESS I have a few points to make though in response, even though I don't really care to.

    Oh, don't let me twist your arm here! If you don't care to make a response, please don't feel like you have to on MY account! It certainly was kind of you though, taking the time to write out a response to me when you clearly had absolutely no interest in doing so. It was appreciated and I thank you for it!

  74. UndercoverCuddlefishJuly 20, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    @anon11:32 no u

    also i decided to use a name from now on to make it clear which pointless sarcastic comments are mine I hope you all enjoy them

    oh since everybody is telling their xkcd story here is mine

    once upon a time i liked xkcd despite the fact that it was obvious nerd pandering i guess because i am kind of a nerd and being pandered to is fun for at least a little while

    at some point (i do not remember when) i realized that the pandering was getting out of hand and the comic was starting to suck more than is acceptable

    as is the norm for me i sought validation from a community of like minded individuals so i googled "does xkcd suck" to see if anybody agreed and have been lurking here ever since

    also part of that story is a lie and also punctuation is for chumps and also capitalization

  75. @Gamer_2k4: I'm pretty sure he's taking the catastrophic webcomicking summer of 2008 and extrapolating this as all summers. Sorta like how every summer the USA officially enters a recession. I'm an economist, I can tell you that this is how extrapolation works.

    That or he's making a reference to that XKCD comic with the dozen husbands in 12 years or whatever? Ah, you know what I'm referring to.

    Captcha: Blating. It's like Baiting, except more obvious.

  76. Okay, here's mine.

    I used to really like the xkcd stuff. It really interested me. Intelligence without pretention. It embraced the good parts of nerd culture, without the stereotypes. It made it, dare I say, even cool to be a geek.

    And something went wrong. I don't know. It just became a drag on my time and the there were all these sycophants constantly talking about it like it was more than what it was, you know? That really pissed me off. So I stopped caring about it.

    And then it just dropped. It wasn't insightful or witty or intelligent anymore, it was just pander pander pander. No originality but uninspired reference after reference after reference. xkcd no longer embraced the positive side of nerd culture... It tried to, but it ended up just flogging the bad parts as if they were something to be proud of.

    So now I hate xkcd. It sucks. I want it to die die die die die. It is terrible. Truly awful. I wish I could stop wasting my time on it. I really could. That I could just click X on xkcd and be rid of it forever and everything would be ok.

    But I like the money.

    -Randall Munroe

  77. 3:24 that is gold, however you missed out the part where he assumes a fake name and starts xkcdsucks.

  78. What the fuck is wrong with you? You're standards are all sorts of fucked up. It's like having vaginal sex with the sexiest woman on Earth and going, "Eh, it was okay but I can only get off to anal".

  79. UndercoverCuddlefishJuly 20, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    @anon3:24 if you really wanted us to believe you were randall then you would have made that a lot less funny

    besides it is not like the ten minutes he puts into it thrice a week could realistically be considered a drag on his time

    @anon4:21 what are you on about

  80. See Rinnon and Mesosade, this is what happens when intelligent compassionate people come together on the internet. Instead of shouting expletives and being rude, we were able to turn an ugly situation around into something we were all able to learn from. This, my friends, is the future paradigm for the internet: sincere kindness to strangers for the benefit of each other and the world. I'm glad we could be here to experience this together.


    Draw a best-fit line on that graph, and then tell me that xkcd is on the decline.

    And then stay way, way away from the stock market and the global warming debate.

  82. It sounds like I share a common "origin story" around here. 631 baffled me so I went to the xkcd boards to see wtf was going on, left just as baffled, and somehow found my way to xkcdsucks.

    For a while my attitude was like: "well, xkcd can still be really good most of the time, but man, this blog has some good points, Randall just gets a free pass from his fans no matter what he does!"

    So I ended up reading xkcdsucks regularly. Then over time, I realized I get a lot more fun out of snarking on this blog than from the comic itself.

    It took me longer to buy into the criticisms of Randall himself, cause harping on the creator instead of the creation feels a bit cruel to me. But then the anthropology fiasco happened so now I think: "Where the fuck does he get off when he's more of a slacker 'artsy' type than anyone he makes fun of, if that's how he's gonna be, he's got this shit coming."

  83. 5:42: That's the path C.S.Lewis took.

    Origin story: I first saw 123 (Centrifugal Force) and started reading some of the other ones. I liked what I saw, so I kept up with it. A couple years later I saw a link to xkcd sucks (or "xkcd overrated" as it was called) and realized that I wasn't really enjoying the comic at that point and was just reading it out of habit (like I had with 8-Bit Theater, which took me longer to let go of because I had to come to the realization all by my lonesome).

  84. @Adam: I will not repeat myself, but I will draw you a perty picture I'm sure you can appreciate. Did I ever once say that over the course of 3 years XKCD has not increased in popularity overall? Reread my previous post. Tell me how this picture corresponds to my previous post, and you get a lolly. ...Well, no you don't, but you also don't seem capable of basic (??) reading. But this IS the internet, so I forgive you.

    I bet you thought the economy was in grand old shape in 2008, eh? Look how much progress there is between 2002 and 2007!

    But all this is irrelevant; the lag is at this stage most likely an odd coincidence. I was using the "Randall has added a new reminder on the front page that he has a shop with things in it!" meter, which is off the charts!

    Captcha: Ditibaro. Like that Australian bird from the song.

  85. Origin story time:

    (disclaimer: I lurk here regularly and often post, but I don't think I'll take a name)

    I was introduced to xkcd back at comic 74, I believe - the binary sudoku one - by a TA in one of my compsci classes. I liked it a lot, and the more I kept reading the more I liked the absurdly geeky stuff. I didn't like the first 20 or 30, but chalked them down to Randall saying "I've got to fill up my archives so people will think I have content". I'm okay with that.

    Then, somewhere around the 300s? 400s? 500s? I noticed that he had stopped making clever jokes about math and science, and that the times I enjoyed xkcd were mainly browsing the archives. There was a thread on the forums called "no more classics" or something about a year ago, and I remember seeing a couple of forumites talking about how glad they were that Randall, now having a larger audience, was evolving beyond geeky jokes. To me, that was the whole point of xkcd, so I was a little disturbed to consider this.

    I decided to watch xkcd closely for the next month or so, and I realized that he had really lost his base. I got bored with it, sadly took it out of my bookmarks one day. Ironically, I still tried to hang around the Programming and Math sections of the forums, hoping that some fellow-minded geeks were still to be found (they weren't, only HILARIOUS ANTICS by the Mods). Now the closest I get to xkcd is here and xkcdsw (which seems to be down, unfortunately). Aside from that I try my best to pretend I don't know about it to my pretentious cuddlefish friends.

    (Regarding xkcdsw, I would recommend that Randall take a look at comic 78 again. It meant something, once)

    Ironically, I think the quality of art back in the good old days (100-200 or so) was a heck of a lot better than even the attempts at art made nowadays, because Randall seems to have taken it unto himself to create a new art movement, and he isn't actually that good at it.

  86. Not relevant to the current comic, but I just found this:

    Does anybody else find it absolutely foul that the man was asked to do a guest comic, and decided that the comic should be all about how amazing, clever and wanted he is?

    xkcd is just a mindset. It's a tool, even, for people who are desperate to assert their nerd dominance. Like most empty things this is achieved by backslapping and soulless, wholesale adoption of memes and whatever culture is identifiable as nerd culture.

  87. As far as humor goes I have pretty low standards, but to me this punchline didn't even evoke a chuckle.

    So a the price of piece of electronic equipment has remained stable over time, what is the butt of the joke? I see three possibilities:

    1. The one presented in the comic (TI have crappy engineers). However, if a company is able to keep a piece of electronics not only on the market for over 14 years, but also maintain a demand such that there is no price drop I would say that is an excellent product and some excellent engineering.

    2. However, a more logical source of humor would be to say that the people supplying the demand for TI calculators are stupid. Personally, I've used my TI calculator since high school and haven't had a complaint, and in general I haven't observed that people buying TI calculators are idiots. However, if I'm wrong on this account I'd love to hear why.

    3. This is really a reverse slam on all the other electronic device that had dramatic price drops over the course of the past 14 years. If it is the comic doesn't really set it up very well and it doesn't make me laugh.

    Maybe it's just me I used to like xkcd I'd hit the random button a few times to get me through the day, but when I look at this comic all I see is a graph comparing the price of electronics over the past 14 years and Randall highlighting the TI anomaly and laughing. As far as I can see that's the only punchline that there's an anomaly in the price of electronics haha.

  88. What is with the new comic? Creepy stalker guy in a war against the girl he's stalking? That's not funny, it's just awkward.

  89. hey guys. all's fair in love and war. get it? GET IT?!


    ...unless we get blown apart.

  90. oh god, someone call 911 cause it looks like some of the forumites are gonna have a brain aneurysm cause they can't tell if there's a reference in the new comic or not

  91. Hm, just this little touch of color in the new comic improves things quite a bit. Maybe it's because Randall had to pay extra close attention to closing the shapes properly before he hit the paint bucket, but everything looks a lot smoother and less sloppy than usual. (Compared to 768's scribbly stick girl who looks like she hasn't washed her hair in two weeks)

    As for the content, it seems like it could be an interesting scene as part of a larger story, but as a one-off strip, it's so devoid of context I'm left just going "huh, okay".

    That's a problem I find with a lot of Randall's strips. They're these little seeds of ideas that could have been interesting in a certain setting, but Randall doesn't give us a decent context, or doesn't develop it enough for us to least infer a decent context. Sometimes people try and compare the odd xkcd strip to The Far Side, but even in just one panel, The Far Side could (usually) fill in enough detail for you to successfully grasp the joke, or the rules of the bizarre world you're peeking into.

  92. Well I suppose I'll give my story about finding xkcdsucks since it's different from all the others.

    Essentially I was reading another comic's forums when someone mentioned an interview with someone (god only knows who) who didn't like xkcd. Now I had never heard of xkcd but the people at the forum were not at ALL pleased. Basically, the majority of the criticism was against the art. Accusing Randall of being a lazy bastard.

    Now, if this opinion could stir up so much hate from the forum users than it clearly must be good. So I went and found xkcd, started reading around the hedgeclipper and space elevator thing. Didn't much care for it but I started at 1 just to give it a second chance.

    I did actually get quite a few chuckles from 1 to around 500ish wherein I just stopped. I didn't laugh anymore and yet I was unable to move on. I am an extremely passive person and I've never hated or disliked anything externally and I have a hard time coming to terms with things internally.

    For all intents in purposes I was addicted to something I didn't like.

    One day I searched xkcd and scrolled down the google links. Xkcdsucks was among them and, despite the fact that I clearly was not happy with xkcd, I was appaled that people would hate it.

    Eventually I looked around the site but I was still uncomfortable. After about a month it grew on me and I stated making MST3K cracks at xkcd instead of just viewing it.

  93. Ex-ambivalent said... That's a problem I find with a lot of Randall's strips. They're these little seeds of ideas that could have been interesting in a certain setting, but Randall doesn't give us a decent context, or doesn't develop it enough for us to least infer a decent context.

    I would argue that this is the MAIN problem with xkcd. As of late, I would say that I don't like Randall, but I still don't think he is a stupid person. He DOES have some clever ideas sometimes and I DO think that he's capable of fleshing out these ideas into something funny.

    However, with his 3 comics a week setup, he never lets anything sit. He gets a grain of an idea, puts pencil to paper (so to speak) and posts it. He doesn't play around with it in his head ever. This is probably because he is lazy, and doesn't really put as much time into his comic as he should. Some of these ideas would benefit from a few weeks on the back burner, Maybe looking at them again every few days with fresh eyes and re-writing some dialogue, expanding them, etc. If he had a backlog of comics written, like maybe 20 of them that were "ready to go" and each week he actually just looked over them, pieced them together, re-wrote them, etc. I think the comic would be a lot better than it is now. As it is, I think he's just flying by the seat of his pants each week.

  94. I would argue that this is the MAIN problem with xkcd.

    Yeah, an analogy I like to think of is this time when I was trying to tell a friend about this awesome song and humming part of it for them, and they said to me (basically):

    "Listen, in your head you can hear all the whole thing, with the rest of the backup parts and all, and it sounds awesome, but I can only hear you humming and it sounds like shit."

    Maybe even 631 could be funny in its proper perfect context... some drunk friends are goofing off and someone says "Hey, let's look up PENIS on wikipedia!" A short wiki-walk later, while they're joking about the quality of the photos, someone blurts out: "Damn, this one looks like she was like, just sitting there in the middle of her meal at TGI Friday's when all of a sudden: 'Oh Brad? I just remembered, I need to get that beaver shot for my wikipedia article! Can you hold the camera for me?'"

    In that very immediate shared context, right then, hearing someone say that on the spot, that quip might have been mildly funny. Communicating this idea to other people, though? Going to take a LOT more effort than whatever the hell he did for 631.

    captcha: fines. What Randall should've received for publishing 631.

  95. I'm not an artist. I would happily make a webcomic if I had an artist to work with, but I care about quality and I'm not going to make another shitty stick figure webcomic.

    The writing, now, a cat could write better than Randy, and I do, routinely. Anyone who wishes to do a little bit of research can find my writing pretty easily. But while there are many reasons I don't link to it, I have no interest in posting a link to it just so the cuddlefish will come back and say "yeah it sucks."

    Which is to say, they have already decided that I suck. They aren't going to enjoy anything I throw at them. They want me to suck, so that they can show the world that my criticisms are invalid (because my writing sucks, obviously).

  96. Rob is just holding out hope that an artist will go illustrate his lesbian hipster webcomic idea.

  97. kirk you are helping with that or I am hunting you down and murdering you

  98. My mind is blown, guys. In the latest comic, the woman is being outsmarted by the man. This is unprecedented!

  99. Rob it still needs an artist either way.

  100. Comic 767:


    I know that there's a joke in there somewhere. Can somebody help me find it?

  101. I read the latest one as a creepy delusional stalker. I still think it fits better that way, apart from the grenade bit.

    Oh, and alt-text suggests it's the Bakery guy.

  102. Speaking of lack of jokes, where's the joke in the latest SMBC comic, with the plasma force field?

    I mean, the US paid billions for a force field to protect the flag on the moon? Because that's... constantly under threat, or something? Is that supposed to be the joke?

  103. Ugggggghhhhhhhhh. This newest one is painfully unoriginal. Hell, he's ripping off one of his own jokes.

  104. @ Fred: The joke is that the only way that a valuable research project like that can get proper funding is by appealing to mankind's baser, jingoistic instincts.

    And this new Xkcd is really, really bad.

  105. Also @ Fred: Another aspect of the joke is that the forcefield essentially makes the flag a permanent fixture on the moon (unless someone cuts off power, or just removes that entire piece of the moon... not Weiner's best work, but there is a joke).

  106. Why is it, by the way, that when nerds write love letters, they always write them in that semi-poetic revering style that makes them sound like they're some Victorian gentleman trying to woo lady Perrywinkle with his cultured and sophisticated demeanor?

  107. Because it's a hilarious juxtaposition. Like the last time he decided to write about shooting your loved ones through a scope (xkcd 101).

  108. You guys, in the SMBC comic, the flag is on the sun. Which makes the joke a bit better.

    In other news, wasn't this xkcd like a shitty movie with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie back in the day? Answer: Yes. Yes it was.

  109. how can you smbc guys not tell the flag is on the sun

    what is WRONG with you

    p.s rob or whoever does this blog, i don't pay attention, please review the new overcompensating book if you weren't going to already please thanks huuuugz <3

  110. Carl does the book reviews around here, but I have it on good authority (ie gchat) that he plans on reviewing it. I'm not literate so I can't review anything.

  111. I... /sorta/ liked the new one? I mean, it's a clever mix of two subjects... but has the problem of that mixing those two subjects makes no sense whatsoever, so I was a little confused.
    Also, actually having colour and some detail this time made the comic look a lot better than his usual levitating-stickmen-in-an-empty-void "style".

    Oh, and for those of you who missed it in the Alt-Text: that guy is Beret Man.
    I still have absolutely no idea what his personality is supposed to be. The only thing I can get from it is that he's supposed to be a guy who's sometimes psychopathic... which we already have... and a guy who can't take anything seriously... which describes just about every male character in the comic already.

    Edit: oh eff you Sprachgefuhl, why did you have to point out how unoriginal the new one is? Now I can't like it anymore!

  112. Also, what the hell SMBC-convo guys? Why would you ever think the moon is yellow and swirly?!

  113. Frankly, SMBC's color scheme is so erratic that the yellow didn't even register with me. My bad I guess. But the swirliness? Looks a lot more like craters to me. Couple that with the iconic flag in the surface image and you get moon, moreso than "yellow = sun". I don't know, it registered that way. If the art was less crappy it would've been clearer, I guess.

    It's a slightly better joke now that it's the sun... but still pretty bad.

    Re: beret man, why is it beret man? What does making the guy beret man add to the joke?

  114. hahahaha "lithe and supple" jesus christ

    why is randall such a fucking loser

  115. it mainly sounds like a phrase a pedophile would use

  116. Read the alt text - HE'S BLACK HAT GUY!

    The guy in the new cartoon, that is. In the war. He's the black hat guy, in a helmet.

  117. E M I L Y

    Link to your blog! I'm not a misanthrope- and I think it may be interesting.

    Additionally- this is one of a few SMBCs It took me a good amount of research to "get". Maybe Randall's lack of pacing, exposition and and audience empathy are rubbing off on Zach :O

    The new XKCD doesn't make any sense to me. It's just a juxtaposition of two things with not a lot of build up.

    I also got irritated by the fact that he was writing in "real time" (the boolets you shot) so by the time she recieves this letter she'll be "what bullets? what position?"

    Perhaps randall's spent so much time on IM and forums he's forgotten about non-electronic communication.


    Also- didn't read the alt-text, but if it is the beret guy then I shall brew with rage.

    (In XKCDland the perfect disguise os to cover your head, so nobody sees your SINGLE DISTINGUISHING FEATURE; also, WORLD MOST INCONSISTENT CHARACTER)

  118. I don't get the new one, is it another cultural reference I'm missing? How is he going to get the letter to her? Why is he writing it as if it were an IM 'a splendid effort'? You dont write letters like that, referring to real time events as they happen. WHERES THE JOKE?

  119. It is quite cringeworthy.

  120. The latest XKCD is a play on the metaphor that "love is war"

  121. Way to blow my fucking cover, Rob.

  122. UndercoverCuddlefishJuly 21, 2010 at 5:47 AM

    @anon5:11 well you see the usa is currently involved in a war in the middle east so this comic is pretty topical

    especially by randalls standards

  123. Maybe the joke's on us.

    Maybe Mr. Beret isn't supposed to be a traditional character, with consistent personality traits and whatnot. Maybe he's an intentional deconstruction of this concept, an anti-character, if you will, whose only consistent trait is that he makes no fucking sense as a character. The punch line to this comic is in the alt-text. We wade through the actual comic, gasping for some semblance of a joke, and then we get the to the alt-text. Surprise! There WAS no joke! It's Mr. Beret, he doesn't HAVE to follow your rules! Comedy gold!

    CAPTCHA: quart. Will the next comic have Randall bashing that hated English system?

  124. >I don't get the new one, is it another cultural >reference I'm missing? How is he going to get the letter >to her? Why is he writing it as if it were an IM 'a >splendid effort'? You dont write letters like that, >referring to real time events as they happen. WHERES THE >JOKE?

    That is the joke. It's the non-sequitur that's supposed to drive the humor here.

    For what it's worth, I think this is comic is a definite bright spot in the darkness of xcds decay into crapulence.

  125. Hmm if this is supposed to be beret guy in WWI or WWII wouldn't that make him really really old?

    This makes all those "Come explore the future with me" featuring him really really creepy...

  126. Guys.

    I just realized something.

    It doesn't really have much to do with this comic, but look at these two comics:
    (Sorry I am dumb and don't know how HTML works or these would be hyperlinks)

    Do you notice something strange? I did. And that is, Barack Obama is portrayed just like most other males in XKCD, as a plain stick figure. I thought this was kind of weird. Randall usually tries to put some effort into distinguishing famous people. But then I thought of something: what if ever clean-shaven, bare-headed character in XKCD is, in fact, Barack Obama? It kinda changes the whole comic, no?

  127. that should be *"Come explore the future with me" comics*

  128. Ex-ambivalent: the best way to color xkcd comics is not paint bucket, but the "Multiply" layer effect. Although the thought of Randall using Bucket Fill in MS Paint to add a little color to his strips is rather amusing.

  129. I think the comics would be mildly funnier if they were chatting to each other over their cell-phones. Modern technology (which nerds love) meets old-fashioned war romance, with a twist!

  130. Maybe Mr. Beret Dude does have some sort of mobile phone device with texting (that's not a word yet?) via a touch screen and handwriting recognition software. That'd be kinda cool, if not slightly convoluted.
    Still tho, this "comic" elicited a furrowing of my brow in frustration rather than whatever reaction accompanies delighted amusement (a smile?). It might have been better if there was a Mr. Hat hat on top of the helmet... or squirrels exploding... or something.

    Captcha: rebuti - the plural of rebuttal. (ie. There will be many rebuti directed at this post.)

  131. On the xkcd forums they call beret guy the "Existentialist", so there's his personality, you dumbfucks.

  132. irt. Rob, about webcomics and collaborations:

    Sharing the workload and better talent management are very good reasons for a prospective comic creator to seek a collaborator. And there's even another one!

    In a writer-artist team, both have an editor. The other person.

    It's very easy to write/draw anything, anything at all; with enough self-promotion, it's possible to find 100 random strangers to like it. Nay, it's possible even to assemble a horde of adoring fanatics on teh interwebz. I'm sure we can all think of examples of such.

    It's a bit more difficult to write for one person specifically, it can raise one's game a little. Also, the dialogue between writer and artist can really help ideas grow. The writer imagines a scene, the artist puts their style on it, this nudges the writer somewhat etc. It can be an interesting process.

    (Speaking from very limited experience, as I'm hopefully not too far from putting a websomething collaboration online. The next Watchmen it ain't, but had I gone at it alone it would have been infinitely crappy.)

  133. Okay, re: SMBC... I realize SMBC is admired around here, but I'm gonna go ahead and say I've never found it even remotely amusing. Artwork aside... if we had a plasma forcefield we could put a flag on the sun? Ha ha? It's funny cause, you guys, we used rockets to put a flag on the moon, and the President might give an inappropriately-titled speech! (Do presidential speeches HAVE titles? Common-use names, if they're notable, sure, but titles? Like term papers?)

    Don't get me started on the "erection vivisection" one. I'm honestly lost how people can hate xkcd #631 with such passion and still enjoy really quite poorly-done attempts to create Dr.-Seuss-y rhymes, only with BONERS YOU GUYZ. What is this, middle school?

    And DUCK SEX WHAT THE HELL. Jesus, why did I start reading back through the recent comics again?

    Seriously, this is NOT better than xkcd. They're both infesting some rank pit of godawful webcomics that think if you put a random thing with sex it'll be funny.

    But then I read QC so I probably can't talk.

  134. No, you can't. QC is mind-numbingly bad and somebody needs to write an angry post about it.

  135. "On the xkcd forums they call beret guy the "Existentialist", so there's his personality, you dumbfucks."

    He has been shown being existential (and even that's tentative) exactly once, unless you think wackiness counts...Eh.

    That is his whole personality. Wackiness. And an odd (and completely unfunny) bakery fixation.

    Anon: IIRC Ann has actually written a post about QC and sent it to Carl. Expect it to be published sometime during the next five years.

  136. The existentialist works because he was existentialist once. You could also call him the time traveller, because he did that once, too. And you could call him the drill gifter, because that's what he did exactly once as well.

    Or you could just say that he has no personality, because he does everything, once, which would be the most accurate.

  137. What is going on with the absolutely horrendous sentence construction in 768's alt text?

    "College Board issues aside, I have fond memories of TI-BASIC, writing in it a 3D graphing engine and a stock market analyzer."

    It reads like it was written by an intermediate ESL student.

    "I have fond memories of writing a 3D graphing engine and a stock market analyzer in TI-BASIC"

    Behold the power of a basic grasp of the English idiom! But I guess things like readability are only important if you happen to be a liberal arts student, rather than a real scientist like Randall.

  138. If what happens on a forum counts as official continuity, then every character in Homestuck is involved in a gigantic incestuous underage gangbang.

    Regarding the present comic, the timing is right off. The indication that the soldier is writing not to a lover, but a stalking victim (or possibly a foe, but that's not how I read it) should come after the onomatopoeia. Cut the bit about the telescopic sight, put the interruption after "may have found -" and it provides the proper jarring contextual switch which activates the "absurdity = laughter" synapse in the reader's mind. As it is I'm just like, oh, he's creepy and she's shooting at him.

    And as long as we're telling our origin stories, I was looking for that one edit of the Spirit Rover comic where the rover is all "FUCK YEAH I ANALYZED THOSE ROCKS BUT GOOD" and I found this site instead. srsly.

  139. @Gray: Randall, as an Expert Scientist in Every Discipline, including Linguistics, only sees language on the level of phonemes and graphemes, and isn't beholden to common intrusions like syntax and grammar. In fact, being host to the Ideal Brain, his own mind is the standard for all universal grammar.

    With regard to the new comic, the gentlemen-nerds and the Reddit crowd, who like to speak to each other as monocle-adorned Victorians, will undoubtedly adore it. They understand that modern women have been corrupted by things like feminism, independent thought, and the like; a True Woman profoundly appreciates the luscious succor of a white knight, hanging on every Dorito-scented "Sir", "Madame", "Good Sir", and "M'Lady".

  140. Anon 1225: you're a QC fan who's criticizing another comic for boner jokes? Are you commenting from the USS Hypocrisy or something?

  141. i know the rule for guest comics is that they're usually terrible but have you seen the qc ones?

    i mean cripes
    worse than the real thing

  142. actually pretty sure the last one's supposed to be a stealth parody

  143. Blandy: yes, I like collaborations because they can create something that is better than the sum of its parts.

  144. RE: latest xkcd comic
    Positive things-
    I liked it. The colorization was a nice touch, and the subversion of expectations caught me pretty hard. I was expecting something along the lines of "NERDY GUY IN ARMY SAYS NERDY THING LOLOL" but fortunately this wasn't a pander comic.
    Even better, this doesn't fit a particular xkcd trope- awkward, borderline-explicit dialogue aside, it's not quite a sexkcd (which is the closest trope I could think of). Yes it was a ripoff of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, but it's not a near-word-for-word retelling (which is what "Parody by R. Munroe" usually means).

    Ohhhhhh jesus god the alt-text. Seriously, randy? seriously. Hire a goddamn writer because this is pathetic. "Quirky" isn't enough to make even a 1-dimensional character, and yet that's the only bone thrown to Mr. Beret Guy. I'm sure you were far too busy doing Important Hard Science to ever learn anything as silly as basic writing skills and character development (two qualities that are, oh I dunno, mildly important for writing a webcomic?), so maybe I'm being too harsh in expecting you to not be a complete fucktard when it comes to writing the comic that puts food on your table.

    That's what's so frustrating about xkcd these days- randy has potential. He just doesn't have the effort or the skill to do anything with it. He's an amateur, and a bad one at that.

    RE: QC
    Jeph needs to break free from his apparent contractual obligation to include jokes in every comic. Not only is it completely unnecessary, Jeph is a really shitty writer. He can't come up with decent banter (like Bill Amend would do for FoxTrot), and he keeps resorting to sex jokes as his punchline, and that stuff gets old reeeeeeal fast. I'm not saying the story is enthralling (it ain't), or that his characters are exceptional (they keep lapsing into one-dimensionality), but the fact that he tries to be funny and fails so horribly pisses me off the most of all.

    Now, art-wise, QC ain't bad. Certainly quality artwork, even if it's ruined by the shit-filled bubbles that pop out of their mouths.

    And the guest posts for QC I think are intentionally designed to be so freaking terrible that they make regular QC look masterful by comparison.

    Captcha: Sperru. What is the air speed velocity of an unladen sperru?

  145. wait a second
    qc has jokes?

  146. Try not to approach it from the perspective of "are these people saying anything that is funny"

    but instead from the perspective of
    "If one were suitably terrible at writing jokes and felt obligated to do so anyhow, would the diseased ejections from their failure pits, when recorded on paper, look like this"

    To me it is clear that Jeph is trying to include jokes in his comic. Not succeeding, but trying.

    Also I forgot to mention it earlier but I guffaw (yes, guffaw!)ed at today's Penny Arcade. Felt very Louis CK-esque.

  147. Gryffilion: Anon 1225: you're a QC fan who's criticizing another comic for boner jokes? Are you commenting from the USS Hypocrisy or something?

    Anon 1225 here.

    First, two words: Duck sex.



    (What? This is basically the approach the comic took.)

    Okay, now that I have that out of my system, a couple other relevant points:

    -Today seems to be Genuine Appreciation of Criticism Day in the comments, so: First, I'd like to thank you and Other Anon for letting me know that QC isn't very good and contains lots of boner jokes. I hadn't really noticed that, so it never occurred to me to temper my criticism of SMBC with the observation that I, too, sometimes enjoy bad comics containing lots of boner jokes.
    -Tagging along on that point's heels, I'm not a "fan" -- I said I read it. "Someone who started reading the comic several years ago when it was more tolerable, and still reads today out of habit, and because once every month or two JJ will stop to think about what an actual conversation between his characters might sound like and write something mildly amusing" would be more accurate, tho I realize that's a bit long.
    -Wait, I thought I was making the "Hello, you're criticizing this comic for containing sexual material while extolling this other comic which contains comparable material" remarks here. Put another way: Lots of people here hate xkcd's sex jokes but apparently have no beef with SMBC's duck.
    -Seriously, I said that I read QC specifically to let a little air out of my little rant. I even said flat-out that that's what I was doing. It's not some fact you independently discovered on cross-examination. It is not the dead chicken of my shameful hidden hypocrisy. If I were to offer a pitiful, weeping defense for reading QC and still being annoyed by SMBC's boner jokes, though, it would go something like this:
    -At least when QC does boner jokes it makes some over-arching kind of sense -- the characters are a bunch of twenty-somethings who hang out together all the time, and boner jokes happen under those circumstances. Which is a little different in my book than a comic consisting entirely of "HAY GUYZ WHAT IF DOCTOR SEUSS WROTE ABOUT PENSISESS." If you feel that boner jokes are good under any circumstances, or if you hate them under any circumstances, great! But I laugh at them sometimes and not other times, and I don't feel like we're talking oranges and oranges exactly.
    -Which, yes, of course, does not make QC a good comic, or that its boner jokes are not overworked, tired, and limp.

  148. I must approach xkcd comics way differently than other people. NOTHING comes as a surprise or feels like a subversion of anything. I always get a feeling (sometimes vague, sometimes strong) of "oh, that's familiar/boring/stupid" and never "WHOA I DIDNT EXPECT THAT!"

    Perhaps its a failure of writing and pacing. Or maybe its panel layout. Or maybe I'm just a terrible reader or entirely too jaded.

    Whatever the case, this comic didn't surprise me as it surprised others. It just came off as a "love is a battlefield" cliche taken literally, a cliche that is made terribly apparent by the "war is hell" ppd.

    Pat Benatar did it better.

  149. I bet if there were any QC fans in here they would write reaaaally reaaaally long messages that nobody would really read 'cause that's just how they are

    oh wait

  150. I also didn't see any humour in today's comic. And the problem with it, to me, is that it's WAYYY too wordy and really overexplains the joke; so with THAT MUCH explanation going on, it feels like the joke is actually hidden somewhere else. But it isn't: Randall really IS that much of a bad writer.

    Oh, yeah, and the ONLY hint that the character is Beret Guy is in the alt text. And even better: that revelation does NOTHING to the joke.

  151. A better comic:

    Soldiers passionately kissing one another.

    No text.


    Get it? Get it?!

    Thing is, I would have laughed.

    Captcha: Cyantin. Prescription cyanide.

  152. UndercoverCuddlefishJuly 21, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    @anon3:42 i think the overarching problem is that xkcd extols itself as a "webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language" so the frequent sexual undertones come across as a little disconcerting especially because it seems more and more that randalls definition of "romance" is "going down on a woman"

    also when was the last time that xkcd was sarcastic instead of infuriatingly revealing about randalls worthlessness as a person seriously "zing!" is not sarcasm it is simple ass clownery

    anyway back to my original point which is that a webcomic establishes a certain set of expectations for its audience so while smbc has made a name for itself by being often juvenile and inappropriate the same humor is not really acceptable in xkcd which tries to sell itself as some highbrow ode to intelligence

    maybe it is silly to expect anything approaching consistency from a guy who has difficulty even establishing a single coherent character

    maybe we should stop caring altogether

  153. Re: SMBC.

    I really like SMBC, I think it kinda took over what xkcd was supposed to be in _some_ aspects.

    That said, I don't think it's been really that good since Zach got married. I think he's got too much going on now in his life, and should consider retiring while he's still got credit, or maybe move to a PBF update-whenever-the-hell-i-feel-like-it approach.

    As opposed to Randall, who has _nothing_ in his life but xkcd AFIAK. Seriously, it pays his bills, talks to his friends, everything.

  154. Look_at_me_I'm_a_total_douche_who_refuses_to_believe_it's_not_1998_anymore_and_that_there_are_ways_of_putting_emphasis_in_text_without_looking_like_a_tool_because_having_to_acknowledge_that_I'm_not_15_anymore_would_literally_drive_me_to_suicide_won't_you_please_love_me?___

  155. I love when people freak out over /emphasis/ _like_ *this*. it is probably the most hilarious pedantry on the internet.

  156. Really it's only underscores that bother me. No idea why.

  157. @UndercoverCuddlefish

    Thanks for passing over the quality of my comment, which was not high.

    i think the overarching problem is that xkcd extols itself as a "webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language" so the frequent sexual undertones come across as a little disconcerting especially because it seems more and more that randalls definition of "romance" is "going down on a woman"

    Well, I'm not saying xkcd is good. On the whole I'd agree with this.

    also when was the last time that xkcd was sarcastic instead of infuriatingly revealing about randalls worthlessness as a person seriously "zing!" is not sarcasm it is simple ass clownery

    Also true.

    anyway back to my original point which is that a webcomic establishes a certain set of expectations for its audience so while smbc has made a name for itself by being often juvenile and inappropriate the same humor is not really acceptable in xkcd which tries to sell itself as some highbrow ode to intelligence

    Enh... True, but that doesn't preclude sex. Lots of smart people have sex and/or find sex amusing. Unlike, as I recall, most people here, I found the sex-dice joke reasonably funny in potentia, if somewhat incompetently executed. Which is not to say that I'm especially smart or the joke especially highbrow, but I think it could have been clever enough to pass muster in better hands.

    Besides, that doesn't make SMBC's erection-vivisection joke funny. This is the other half of my problem with the comic in general -- it's not actually funny, it doesn't represent some peak of quality that xkcd should strive toward. I'd be just as happy, personally, saying that Jeph Jacques creates an expectation of half-witted pseudo-banter between a bunch of hipsters with mental problems passing as personality traits, so therefore it's okay that that's what the strip continues to deliver.

    I mean, take today's SMBC. What, exactly, is it trying to say? What is funny about it? "Imagine if we developed a plasma forcefield, but the only way to get funding for that was if we were going to put a flag on the sun!" And this one is better than most because you could at least derive a strained, whimpering undercurrent of commentary on the effect of geopolitical competition on scientific funding.

    I dunno, to me they all read like the author has a spreadsheet containing a bunch of unconnected ideas and picks two or three at random to make a "joke".

  158. I usually prefer the slashes, but mostly because they represent italics. Underscoring is depreciated, and when it's used it basically means "set this in italics, please." But still, it's just that little bit easier to do than setting up HTML tags.

  159. Ves, I always respected you until you blathered out QC wasn't bad art-wise. Such a letdown. :(

  160. I still don't understand why everyone hates QC's art so much. it isn't spectacular but at worst it's middle-of-the-road. it's really only remarkable for its unremarkability.

  161. I'm really sorry Rob, I had no idea you were blind.

  162. Mr Lostman-

    Please explain, explicitly, how QC's art is terrible-oh-god-burn-it-now.
    Jeph has come really far and his art is acceptable at this point. It's not fantastic, but it's not terrible either.

    Also oh noes I have lost someone's respect on the internet my life is over.

  163. On the SMBC thing, Zach Weiner at least has some sense of self-awareness. When he makes a dick joke, he usually owns up to it in his voteys, which are pretty funny, if repetitive. I mean, you can imagine the fictional Zach Weiner sitting around, satisfied that all he could come up with was a joke about a character's penis, and that's kind of funny. When Randall makes a crappy joke, his alt-text usually further explains the joke in an attempt to make it funnier, which fails. SMBC definitely has a lot of crappy comics, but it is usually much funnier than xkcd.

  164. @Ves:

    Goddammit, stop saying stuff with which I completely agree. It's getting old. Okay, seriously: agreed, Jeph is a terrible writer, and yes, his art isn't terrible. If QC had mediocre writing, I'd probably never notice it. It's the godawful, unrealistic, stilted, childlike--and yet still overtly sexual--hipster-babble that really makes it stand out as the pile of tripe that it is.

    As an aside: do you think, perhaps, that the writing is so terrible that people believe, and/or convince themselves, that the art must also be terrible? Like when we hate someone so much we convince ourselves they possess negative attributes that they actually don't have?

  165. I'm pretty sure that's what it is. I am kind of particular about my art, and QC is really not bad.

  166. This comment has been removed by the author.

  167. Gryffilion: thanks.

    your aside: Hey, it happens with things that people enjoy- why wouldn't it also apply to things we hate?

  168. I was going to mock Anon 1225 some more, but then I realized that he/she probably suffers from anatidaephobia and that I should be more sympathetic.

    Don't worry, Anon. We can help.

  169. Well, at least you can always say that Questionable Content's art quality is showing an upwards trend. The writing.... well, he's making a living off of it so I'm sure he's alright keeping with what's sure.

    I used to follow it regularly, probably for the SMBC excuse of "Well, at least it updates often".

    RE: Latest XKCD comic... Blegh. It sits in mediocrity for me because I'm not sure what went through his mind when he thought, "This will make a good update to my XKCD comic this Wednesday". Because he thinks to himself in such expository sentences (or at least I can only imagine he would).

  170. I'd just like to completely derail these comments some more and talk about slashes and underscores to those of you that have problems with them. Some people, myself included, actually use non-graphical browsers on a daily basis (elinks was here, w3m is dumb). Some of us still use IRC as our primary method of communication, and we send all email in plaintext. Our life is quite as fulfilling as yours, except that our web pages load faster. So get off my lawn.

  171. I donno guys, I always treat things like QC and Misfile as the soap operas of new media, so while I know they are terrible, I get a certain sense of enjoyment from reading it still, even if it is heavily mired in schadenfreude.

  172. The XKCD was kinda (completely) nonsensical on account of he was writing a letter, but changing it to reflect what was going on in real time. Also, it was unfunny. Also, it was derivative from other unfunny sources (though to be fair, I've seen maybe one or two versions of the joke/situation which were chuckle-worthy).

    QC is maybe not actually that funny, and could definitely do with, I dunno, someone skilled at writing who could help Jeph lay out dialogue and characterization without completely taking over for him. The art is fine, in my opinion - better than most print comics (or at least the ones in my paper >:| ) and about as good as most of the funny-times comics I've seen on the internet (if somebody knows a better drawn one, please direct me to it! This is an earnest request).

    Lastly, I would like to point out that it is good that Faye no longer talks like this. It is not good writing, or even a good gimmick; it is not good, period. I am glad that she no longer talks in this manner. (Although it was always fun to pretend she was a Terminator...)

    Captcha thing says "Birdn". This is a euphemism for DUCK SEX QUAAAAACK! Quack.

  173. The art in QC always looks like the most mundane clipart you could find in the 'realistic' folder of a 1999 Corel clipart CD-ROM. It's entirely bland and emotionless. There's absolutely nothing (Yeah, fuck you slashes and underscores!) interesting about it, it solely functions to let you know who is saying what, and what general mood they are in at the time. I couldn't say that it's bad, because it isn't horrible. It's just the most sterile artwork I've ever seen, almost as if it is designed specifically so that it doesn't offend anyone's particular taste.

    The rest of the comic is some of the worst stuff I've ever seen.

  174. @anon 8:17 Let me be the first to welcome you and your troglodyte brethren to the year 2010

  175. anon 5:32: I'm glad you think I'm a channel op.

    {text and/or image resembling a grin that implies I am joking, not pictured here because I'm not sure if it would offend you.}

  176. Really I just find the underscore symbol really really aesthetically unpleasing. That and like Rob said, underlining is just for when you want to italicize something but can't.


    "XKCD is without exception a brilliant and often soulful exploration of the human condition. Anyone who feels the need to belittle it to advance their opinion isn't its target audience anyway."

    where are these people getting the idea that xkcd is intelligent?

    haha, love is war. ti calculators are still expensive and crap. mr rogers was a really nice guy unlike mel gibson. i am going to distract you and hit you over the head with this and then steal your car. homeopathy is dumb. tribal cultures have different numeric systems. non-geeks cannot use computers very well. sixth grade simile lesson. people can get sidetracked. the dwarves dug so deep they couldn't get out! the square root symbol looks like the division symbol. haha, what if the velociraptors were small. air horns are annoying.

  178. @ R.
    "The thing is that XKCD is focused on mathematics, programming, physics, etc. most of the time, thus, to understand it you need some education in those fields.

    The Oatmeal on the other hand is general humor, nothing specialized, which makes it comprehensible (hence funny) to anyone. A lot of people don't find XKCD funny because they don't understand."
    What an arse.

  179. I don't find XKCD funny precisely because I *do* understand.

  180. Greatest defense of xkcd ever (from that This or That page):
    The Oatmeal has a broader reach, as you don't need to know (or don't care to know) any science or math or programming to get the humour. xkcd is cooler, because he doesn't care if he writes about something you don't understand. How many people get the Cory Doctorow jokes? Russell doesn't care.

    So... apparently xkcd is written by Russell Munroe?

  181. So I need to know physics mathematics and programming to understand why ranDull pastes vagina(e?) in his comic?

    I do, but I don;t understand. Maybe I need to learn another REAL SIENS before I can grasp the Divine Ways of RanDull

  182. lol you guys have nothing better to read than a blog about how bad a comic is? xkcd is a saint. and no i didnt read any of your comments or blog posts. i have better things to do with my internet.

  183. i was going to give anon 7:07 a hand job but apparently he's already taken care of himself.

  184. anontroll is adorable. can we keep him?

  185. And the lamest attempt at trolling award goes to...

  186. Liking everything is called being "uncritical". And that is bad. So the opposite extreme must be good. Therefore, a good critic is someone who dislikes everything.

    ISTM that all the people hatin on QC for its art are making exactly that mistake. Nobody has said *why* the art in QC is supposed to be bad, or what they think is wrong with it.

    Its certainly better than XKCD - though that is of course damning it with *very* faint praise.

    Granted, the writing could probably benefit from getting input from someone with a little more worldly experience than JJ. Though he is at least aware of his limitations and writes about what he knows. Unlike a certain web comic beginning with "X"... oh, but Im doing it again.

    The trolls will probably accuse me of being a "QC cuddlefish" for "defending" it in this way, but I dont care. As far as I am concerned, QC is a slightly contrived, slightly whiny soap opera that is occasionally hilarious (eg or ). I read it for that, and for the odd name-drop of an indie band that otherwise slipped under the radar.

    And because I like the art. :D

  187. Can I take anontroll's hand-jay?


    I'm so lonely

  188. I read it for that, and for the odd name-drop of an indie band that otherwise slipped under the radar.

    dear god why

    it smells like hipster in here...

    Jeph's characters are awful and (with the possible exception of Faye) completely one-dimensional. Steve is Insecure. Cosette is Clumsy. Tai is Lesbian. Dora is Bisexual.
    The list goes on.

  189. I jerk off to QC every morning.

  190. I'd forgotten about The Oatmeal and so I read that as "What's better: XKCD or oatmeal?" And I was waiting for the, "Well, one is bland, mushy, and depressing, while the other is edible."

    That said, I am enjoying this Oatmeal. ^1.

    Captcha: Southed. The stick figure southed her, if you know what I mean.

  191. "it smells like hipster in here..."

    See, this is why I prefer usenet. In a word: killfiles.

  192. Ves, I am pretty sure that calling it a soap opera implies that the characters are all stupid exaggerations of a one-dimensional descriptions.

  193. From as linked to by nonny above:

    "Metal foot! Metal array!"

    What the fuck? Who would say that (Shatner or no Shatner)? Consider being hit in the face by a football:


    Unless Metal Foot happens to be the guy's codename and he is radioing in to 'Mantenna Array'. "Come in, Mantenna Array. This is Metal Foot. Do you read?" That's the only interpretation I have for that dialogue that makes any sense. The use of 'mantenna array' and 'Shatnerian' is cringeworthy in itself.

  194. everyone who dont likes xkcd is a boring adult with a fat girlfriend.

  195. Or a fat girl with a boring boyfriend?

  196. "The use of 'mantenna array' and 'Shatnerian' is cringeworthy in itself."

    But thats why its funny!

    I cannot understand why you seem to think that dialog has to be 100% "realistic" before it is acceptable to LOL at it. Who are you afraid is going to be judging you?

  197. it's stilted and unfunny

  198. Wow...lots of meta about "Why I left XKCD". I came here because I like looking at opposing viewpoints. I don't think I ever really *loved* XKCD per se (although I enjoyed a few of the comics people here hate). So as XKCD became worse and worse (and especially as Randals retarded sexuality got more overt) I just found myself checking it out less and less.