Announcement

Died in a Blogging Accident has lived up to its name and died... in a blogging accident. That is to say it has concluded. You can still re-live the magic by clicking here to start at chapter 1. For genuine criticism of XKCD, please click the top link to the right (XKCD Isn't Funny).

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Short post goodbye

You may have noticed a distinct lack of updates for the last month. I cannot speak for everybody (though I will in just a few sentences), but I myself feel like there's nothing new to be said about xkcd. I have talked about all the qualities that make it consistently horrible in my past reviews, so this blog, and the comic itself as well, are stagnating. Plus (and here we go), I don't think people even care about xkcd sucking anymore. It's been over five years and 1100+ strips, we're gonna have to live with the fact that it's here to stay.

So here's what I have come here today to say: I am officially retiring from being an xkcd reviewer. I don't know what's going to happen with the blog after this. Maybe Gamer will finally start receiving guest posts, or maybe some of the other reviewers will become more active. Or maybe the blog will wither down and die. Only future will tell.

There is, however, one final thing I want to talk about. It's not about xkcd itself, but it is related. For the last few months, Mr. Munroe has been producing a weekly feature on his site, called "What If?", which focuses on answering questions about various hypothetical scenarios, like "What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?" or "How much Force power can Yoda output?" You know, the standard geek discussion stuff. To this date, there have been 15 segments, including one "Short Answer Roundup".

And believe it or not, I actually like what I see here. The overthinking of various scenarios is what I believe xkcd was supposed to be about all along, and focusing on reader-submitted questions provides the much needed limit to the art. The scenarios outlined in the answers are equal parts interesting and informative. Even elements obviously taken from the comic work much better here. The simple stick-figure art style fits the illustrative diagrams and the stupid jokes actually liven up the presentation and are much more tolerable when they're not "the main focus of the evening". In short, I believe that Randall should stop churning out his tri-weekly xkcd comics and instead focus more on his new creation.

Well, that's just about it from me. Xkcd sucks, What If? rocks, the end. See you in another fandom, guys. It's been fun.

Friday, August 31, 2012

1102: Black hats on sale


Alt-text: I lead a small but extraordinarily persuasive religion whose only members are door-to-door proselytizers from other faiths.

I love how today's comic came out just three strips after 1099, since this is basically Mr. Hat's response to that one. So what exactly is Mr. Hat's character? Is he a murderous sociopath, or just kind of a dick? Neither, actually, since as I wrote in the last review, there is no single Mr. Hat. The black hat itself is just a prop that signifies a character trait, in this case that the person wearing it is "not a very nice people". So yeah. There are no recurruing characters in xkcd, no matter what anybody says.

The comic itself deals with a common criticism of one of the claims made by, ahem, a certain lawsuit-happy "religion" based in the Wang of America. And that is also its biggest flaw. The comic just reiterates an argument against something without adding anything to the discussion. It is absolutely unnecessary and not at all funny. Plus I think the argument has been floating around the Internet for a long time. Yeah, I'm adding the "dated reference" tag.

The alt-text is kinda amusing, if divorced from the comic and presented as an out-of-context joke line. Like a bash.org entry, I'd say.

Well, this was short, but hey, it's not like I haven't already said all of this in previous reviews. We really need a glossary of xkcd's recurring flaws instead of the review blog format...

Friday, August 24, 2012

1099: You do realize that anybody can buy a beret, right?


Alt-text: Try our bottomless drinks and fall forever!

Today's joke is a play on the term "endless wings". For those of you who don't know and are unable to use Google, "endless wings" is a promotion by the Hooters restaurant (and probably other places as well) where you pay some amount of money and then may eat as many chicken wings as you can stomach. Now, someboy could make the observation that "endless" means the same thing as "infinitely long" and draw a comic about that, but who would go with such an obvious and thought-less joke? Oh, right...

Besides, why would Beret Guy even have infinitely long wings? Is it because he's a mutant? Or the last member of a long lost race? No, it's because Randall thought up a joke that nobody else would find funny. And because the idea was kind of wacky and non-sensical, he just slapped Beret Guy in it without any sense of reason.

We have been led to believe that even though all other characters are basically one-shots with similar hair styles, Beret Guy is the same man in every strip. Now that I think back to it, though, I don't think there has ever been any indication of this in the comic itself. And that makes sense. Why is Beret Guy's (and Mr. Hat's, for that matter) character so inconsistent? Because it's not the same character. Beret Guy is every Cloudcuckoolander in xkcd-land. The beret is not an indication of the character, it's an indication of the chracteristic. Mr. Hat is not one guy who is a kind of a dick. Mr. Hat is every guy who is kind of a dick. It is laziness of the highest caliber, equal to declaring "everybody who wears glasses is a brainiac" and just expecting the audience to run with it.

It is laziness that is Randall Munroe's biggest sin. He is capable of drawing beautiful landscapes, detailed vehicles and even recognizable human beings, but he creates a stick comic because otherwise he'd have to put work into drawing it. He often goes with half-assed, unfunny jokes, because otherwise he'd have to put work into writing them. He never grows as an artist, because that means challenging himself, i.e. work. Randall Munroe's laziness is the reason why xkcd sucks.

----

P.S.: There haven't been any reviews for a long time, because even if I do usually find something to say about a comic, I can't muster up any energy to write a review, especially since all I really need to do is point at some past reviews and say "these things that were wrong with the past comics are wrong with this comic, too". I have come to the conclusion that xkcd isn't really conductive to the "strip by strip review" blog format and that it would be more effective to just create a wiki that would mainly focus on the many, many flaws of the comic (see the tag list on this blog) - something like Rob's Rants on the non-hyphenated cousin.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

1086: It's not a comic until you draw something worth looking at.


Alt-text: Ooh, another one. Uh ... the ability to alter any coefficients of friction at will during sporting events.

Oh come on! This isn't even a comic. How far up your ass does your head have to be to think that to be labelled a comic, all your creation needs to be is made by hand in a drawing program?

Yep, it's another one of those and I guess it's my duty to demonstrate how this execution is the single worst one that Randall could've chosen. First, it is essentially a dumb joke about meta-wishes (who hasn't made one of those?) interspersed with shotgun humor, and as we all know by now, neither is funny, especially when done by xkcd. The shotgun wishes especially could be used as setups for a series of comics, depicting the effects of said wishes, but no, all we get is a list of ideas.

What really ruins the comic for me is the format. Presuming the existence of a magical wish-granting bureau is a) something so typically xkcd, and b) a dead horse already. You could've drawn this as a log of a clinically insane man and you wouldn't even have to change anything except for the header.

Also, including a picture of Mr. Hat in the log does not count as featuring a recurring character.

Friday, July 20, 2012

1084: What is this I don't even

Hey everyone! Sexy Online Retcon Critiquing Funnies Sometimes (SoRCFS) here after a long absence/silent lurking to pop back into my favorite stick-figure-based-webcomic criticism community hosted on Google Blogger.

Since I'm not yet over to criticizing the most recent Xkcd, I think I should also take up some space thanking the other authors of this blog for posting far more frequently than I have. Props especially to T-Jack for finding things to say about comics that are hard to criticize because they're more Garfield-level bland than actually bad. Regarding my own lack of posts: while I want to blame it on some things (including getting my own comics published semi-professionally). Really, though, I can always find time to complain about things. I think it's that aforementioned blandness that's kept me from really trying to write anything. No strips really riled me up the way I reacted to, say, 972 or 980.

UNTIL NOW.

So now I'm going to write something obscenely long in an attempt to A) make up for almost 90 strips (30 weeks!) since my last post, and B) clarify the things that I as a published cartoonist think are wrong with this strip.

So! After that long and tedious header that 50% of all you Hypenators (which is to say, 3 people) skipped, here we go:

Title: Server Identity; Alt: Protip: Annoy Ray Kurzweil by always referring to it as the 'Cybersingularity'.

I think humor's a weird thing. What is funny varies between contexts, cultures, and levels of dignity. On the other hand, there's still some sort of science, system or what have you about how funny things are delivered. Stand-up comedians, for example, probably that it's plain out dumb to try getting your joke out while the audience is still in the middle of their pretty consistently-timed laughter. In most cases, it's better to wait for the audience to calm down instead of fighting them while trying to deliver the next part of the routine. I'm pretty sure there are conventions that dominate good joke delivery, the unsurprisingly simple explanation for that being that said conventions work.

One thing I've observed with great interest in this entire system is the role of referential humor. You know the type: you crack a joke to your friends and it's only funny because of how Fluttershy ate Edward Cullen in the season 8 finale of Smallville. Or something like that. Basically, the kind of joke where the receivers need to know some pop culture (or, even worse, the in-jokes of a social group,) to actually find it funny. Failure to understand referential jokes followed by puzzlement and, occasionally an understanding party's attempt to explain the joke.

And then you turn purple and lose the ability to hold newspapers.

Generally speaking, I think these jokes are less humorous. While I'm pretty sure there's no serious metric out there for measuring how funny things are, but it's an objective fact that parts of pop culture fall in and out of the public eye pretty quickly. This effect has only gotten more pronounced in the age where computers are connected by a series of tubes. As such, people looking at a joke based on referential humor from the past will often throw a proverbial nullPointerException and fail to understand the joke. Cue the lack of humor.

A textbook example (if you could cram this stuff in credited college courses) would be the Disney movies Treasure Planet and Chicken Little. I'm pretty sure that Chicken Little totally trumped the spacified Stevenson story in raw box office numbers. On the other hand, Chicken Little was basically Disney trying to be Dreamworks and cramming their movies full of pop culture=based referential jokes. As such, it hasn't aged nearly as well as Treasure Planet or any other film in the Disney Animated Canon.

So, where have I been going with these last 4 paragraphs and single caption? Basically, 1084 relies pretty heavily on referential humor. In fact, it's so heavy that it not only kills the humor, it is capable of yanking out of the comic any person who is not privvy to the three or so different things that were running through Randall's mind at the time. Which, as I have so cleverly determined from my totally unbiased test population of me, me, and the first few people to post on the forums, is most people.

Here's my list of referential jokes or parts that lead up to jokes, in order of increasing severity. Surprisingly, (or maybe not) they ascend with the panel number and the intended humor.
  • Panel 2- "~#ls": I'm going to assume that's a server command or some Linux thing that falls outside the purview of my personal nerdiness. Since Xkcd panders to a tech-savvy crowd I think the audience would come to basically the same conclusion I did, which is that whatever the long haired character is doing probably leads to the stuff in panel 3. This is only a problem for those of an over-curious mind.
  • Panel 3- all that crap: As far as I can tell, the joke of this comic is that the guy was trying to do something ridiculously convoluted on mutually exclusive platforms (Adobe and Android don't like each other, from what I hear). While the specifics of the joke are somewhat esoteric, I think that the intended audience and increasingly tech-savvy world should contribute a little to a better understanding of it. Failing that, there's a much simpler joke of "holy crap this is so idiotically complex" which most people should get
  • Tooltip- Ray Kurzweil: I'm not sure exactly how obscure the singularity mentioned below is, but I know about it and not this guy (who is apparently a futurist). Somehow I doubt that referencing an obscure author involved with this obscure theory is a great way to make something funny.
  • Panel 4- the singularity: The technological singularity is some obscure futurist theory about how technology will become infintely complex or something at some point in time (if you actually know the theory proper and bother trying to correct me, I'm totally going to laugh at you and not correct this post). Anyway, the theoretical comical payoff (the second one, really,) comes from the idea that this guy is so bad at computers that he would be better off waiting til computers are smart enough to correct his idiocy. This is pretty bad, because if you have to look up what the singularity is then you've just been pulled out of the comic and been distracted from the already confusing humor of panel 3. If you do manage to get the joke, then it still feels like post punchline dialog because of how it goes on longer than any witty retort really should.
So yeah. That's my bit on the problems with referential humor and analysis of how it detracts from the comic. While I feel that pop culture references can be put to good use as background easter eggs (check out what Disney's up to right now), what Randall did with this strip was rely far too heavily on them and have inappropriate faith that his readers would know what the hell was going on. What we're left with is an ineffective comic that makes sub-savvy readers stop reading it to understand what's going on.

Long story short: Randall's inability to actually bother with the flow of reading the comic is something that makes me want to write long rants and after I'm done with that, drop the name of this blog as a simple statement: Xkcd sucks.
 
That post was depressingly long. Here's a kitten to cheer you up!


Monday, July 16, 2012

1082: Cartoon sex is not an adequate substitute for the real thing.


Alt-text: That's a gneiss butte.

This one will be short, mostly because I'm not a geologist and I'd mainly like to confirm whether what the sticks say in the comic makes any sort of sense. Remember, Randy is not a geologist, either, and his knowledge of the subject has probably come from Wikipedia.

So geology has a few terms that, to a layman, might sounds as some sort of double innuendo. So what does Randall do? Why, make a sex joke about it, of course! First off, ew, and second, how desperate do you have to be that a couple of technical terms will turn you on? While at work?

Another "just dumb" comic. Not much to criticize or get angry about, but definitely not something that really needed to be put online.

Friday, July 13, 2012

1081: If you're arguing over the Internet, you've already lost.


Alt-text: Really, the comforting side in most conspiracy theory arguments is the one claiming that anyone who's in power has any plan at all.

Oh, those wacky conspiracy theorists. Aren't they all just so dumb? I mean, they believe some weird pages with inconsistent text style more than our beloved Wikipedia and then they call everybody who doesn't agree with them "sheep".What is wrong with them?

In all seriousness, this is just another instance of Randall's "intellectual elitism" - anybody who believes something that I know isn't true is wrong and therefore stupid - and this is only aplified by a Randall stand-in being the one who "wins" the argument against a hairy loser. This actually makes me wonder how different this strip would be if the two stickmen's hairstyles were swapped. After all, since hair is only used in xkcd to differentiate between characters, it shouldn't matter who has what hairstyle. Right?

I feel confident in marking this review with the "no joke" tag, since the waterslide gag reads like Chris-chan's patented Random Access Humor (if you don't know what I'm talking about here, consider yourself lucky and don't, I repeat, don't search for any of that). When is Randall finally going to understand that non sequiturs are not funny on their own? Also, doesn't the hair in Panel 2 remind you of Doug from Scrubs?

Now that I think about it, there are many xkcd comics, in which the characters are doing this, which makes me wonder if it's a common thing to do for Randall. I believe that if you argue with every idiot you meet online, you probably aren't as smart as you think you are.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

1074: Forgetting to title your blog posts is always a good idea


Alt-text: Ok, so Spirit and Opportunity are pretty awesome. And Kepler. And New Horizons, Cassini, Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity, TiME, and Project M. But c'mon, if the Earth were a basketball, in 40 years no human's been more than half an inch from the surface.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Stick Figure #1 reads something on the internet and tells Stick Figure #2 about it. Stick Figure #2 comments on it with a you-wish-it-was snappy one-liner. Familiar? Gee, how could that be?

Remember when I said that Randall will never grow as an artist because he doesn't challenge himself? This is a classic sign of that. There are so many ways to make a comic about Something Someone Said On The Internet™, but he will hold on to the tired formula simply because it is easier than coming up with something new every time.

Not that the comic itself is much better on its own merits. All the usual flaws are here - walls of text with little to no action, post-punchline dialogue, you name it. I'd like to note that stick!Randall turns his chair around between panels 1 and 3, just so that he can be shown as facing Megan in the final panel. Apart from the obvious question of "Who does that?", this just shows why even stick figure comics need faces. So that they can look around without moving their whole body.

Some of you may be wondering why I said that the comic contains post-punchline dialogue. Isn't that "deorbited" line the punchline? Actually, no. I have to admit, I don't really get it (maybe because I'm not so well-versed in rocket science), but I get the feeling that even if I did, it still wouldn't be funny. No, the real punchline here is the first line in panel 3. On top of being geuinely funny (though that could be just because I'm a big fat jerk who likes to put everyone down), that line is what the strip is really about, as even the alt-text is building on it. Granted, the alt-text sucks, but the point still stands. I guess this comes to Randall trying hard to be funny and failing, and just being funny somewhere ese by accident.

So, yeah. This would be a great blog post material, but as a comic, it sucks.

Monday, June 25, 2012

1073: People who hate Mondays don't know how to use weekends


Alt-text: Of the two Garfields, you wouldn't think the cat would turn out to be the more compelling presidential speechwriter, but there you go.

Well, it's that time of the year again, when I finally have something to say about today's comic, although I'm going to address more the general xkcd suckiness than this particular one. You see, a lot of the strips lately have followed a similar formula, which was "stick figures take something far too stupid far too seriously" and they were all so bland and dumb for the same reasons, so there wasn't a lot to say about them individually. And that is one of the reasons why xkcd sucks (title drop WOOO): It doesn't evolve. While other webcomics change over time, and become better (or, in some cases, worse), Randall still draws the same shit over and over three times a week and somehow expects to be paid for it.

But back to that formula. Some of you may have noticed that it kinda resembles the formula the Monty Python's Flying Circus has used, and they are right... mostly, since that show would use the word "silly", not "stupid". What's the difference? Well, whereas the Monty Python troupe was inventive and imaginative in their choice of things to be serious about (to name just a few examples, the Ministry of Silly Walks, the Cheese Shop bit and, of course, the famous Dead Parrot sketch), Mr. Munroe is... not. Seriously, common snark and a cheesy pick up line?

Though I do have a couple things to say about today's comic as well. Some indication towards what kind of speech this is would be nice, and no, a throwaway line in the alt-text does not count. And, on the topic of the alt-text, only Randall would consider this speech "compelling", instead of what I presume would be the listeners' reaction, "I think an asylum somewhere is missing a patient".

I have complained about this before, but I think it bears repeating. After a few dozen reviews there is nothing new to comment on about xkcd. That is why people write these reviews, and it is also why people stop writing these reviews. We can only hope that this is because Randall's trying to make his webcomic as review-proof as possible, because the only alternative is so much worse.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

1061: Bad timing

xkcd presents
Earth Standard Time
(EST)
A universal calendar for a universal planet
EST is…
simple • clearly defined • unambiguous
free of historical baggage • compatible with old units
precisely synced with the solar cycle • free of leap years
intermittently amendable to date math

Units
Second:1 S.I. second
Minute:60 seconds
Hour:60 minutes
Day:1444 minutes

(24 hours 4 minutes)


Month:30 days
Year:12 months

Rules
For 4 hours after every full
moon, run clocks backward.

The non-prime-numbered minutes of
the first full non-reversed hour after
a solstice or equinox happen twice.

EpochTime zones

00:00:00 EST,
January 1, 1970
= 00:00:00 GMT,
January 1, 1970
(Julian calendar)
The two EST time zones are
EST and EST (United Kingdom)
These are the same except that the
UK second is 0.944 standard seconds

Daylight saving:
Countries may enter DST,
but no time may pass there.
Narnian Time:
Synchronized ✔
Year zero
EST does have a year 0.
(However, there is no 1958.)


Title: EST; alt-text: The month names are the same, except that the fourth month only has the name 'April' in even-numbered years, and is otherwise unnamed.

Greetings, hyphenators (all 6 of you). Jon Levi posing as Capn here, and reminding you now that I still have the power to post reviews.

1061 was, in my opinion, so uniquely bad among xkcd, I think a cartoon vagina might have actually improved it. It's so bland that the pretense of setup and punchline have lost all meaning.

Instead of a setup, we get this very dry description of a universal time system that is (upon closer inspection) obviously absurd. I didn't notice how stupid it was supposed to be at first, because I didn't realize it was meant to be funny.

The closest thing we get to a punchline is a joke about there being no 1958, which is kinda funny, but not punchline material. It's a throwaway joke, like the little landmarks in the Online Communities maps. Now it has become the main joke. Oh how Randall has fallen since then.

1061 has no semblance of a framing device. It's not set up as the argument between two stick people about timekeeping. It's not a wacky new system that some country's government forced people to use. But instead the timekeeping system is presented as is.

The reason I typed it out in HTML is because it loses nothing of it's original meaning. In fact it's better that way, because you don't have to look at Randall's stupid, stupid handwriting. And the small text is actually legible with the naked eye.

Webcomics are a visual medium, which this comic just wasted. If a joke can be told with only text, then why bother making it an image? It's like watching radio on the TV, or one of those stupid Youtube videos that's just a slideshow of images. It's a webcomic that contains only frigging text. That's so bloody lame!

This isn't picto-blog material. This is barely blog material.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

1056: LOL, Cats.

Felidae
title: "Felidae"; alt-text: "'Smilodon fatalis' narrowly edged out 'Tyrannosaurus rex' to win this year's Most Badass Latin Names competition, after edging out 'Dracorex hogwartsia' and 'Stygimoloch spinifer' (meaning 'horned dragon from the river of death') in the semifinals."

File:The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis - Dracorex skeletal reconstruction.jpg
Totally a Real Thing
I'm posting this review because I couldn't find anything funny or clever in this comic. I'll be honest; I read it once and didn't get it and then came back later and tried again and noticed where it says "THE OS X PROBLEM" down at the bottom there for the first time.

Randall has arbitrarily arranged some feline names and then pointed out that OSX doesn't use the same arbitrary arrangement that he would have and that they will soon run out of awesome sounding names of powerful cats. OK... maybe the joke is in the alt-text... nope, unrelated comment and a attempt to get me to got to Wikipedia to find out if 'Dracorex hogwartsia' is a real thing.

So, were're back to Randall trying to be clever and failing. I get that Apple is running out of awesome cat names... but why is that funny? Also... why is this a comic at all? Do you really need an illustration to say "What happens when Apple runs out of cat names?"... I supposed he was going for humour density here... if you break it down there are a lot of sub-joke attempts in there... but really... a stick figure looking at a box labelled "OS 10.13 Housecat" would have probably gotten more laughs.

Friday, May 4, 2012

1051: You, sir, have too much free time on your hands.


Alt-text: I hate when I read something like '... tension among the BASE jumpers nearly led to wingsuit combat ...', and I get excited because 'wingsuit combat' is underlined, only to find that it's just separate links to the 'wingsuit' and 'combat' articles.

Oh look, it's another Wikipedia comic. This time it even features Randall's admission that he spends a lot of time reading the wrong Wikipedia articles. Hey, asshole, I have a solution for you! Use that time to do something more productive! Better comics, maybe? Well, at least it is drawn in such a way that the fanbase will have a hard time incorporating this one into the real Wikipedia. As far as I know, no historical figure fits the description.

From the way the article fragment is written, I first thought that the joke was about the completely unnecessary details and that it was a parody of Wikipedia's writing style (which, admittedly, would make this a better comic, really), but no, it's just written that way because Randall needed set-up for his stupid punchline. And that's terrible.

On the other hand, though, the alt-text is kinda funny, which is a rare sight, at least for me. It needs rewording badly (just hire that editor already), but other than that, it's observational humor done relatively well. Too bad it's coupled with a dumb, dumb comic.

----
P.S.: Autoerotic asphyxiation. Because if I didn't mention it, someone in the comments would.

Monday, April 30, 2012

1049: Pot, meet kettle


Alt-text: I had a hard time with Ayn Rand because I found myself enthusiastically agreeing with the first 90% of every sentence, but getting lost at 'therefore, be a huge asshole to everyone.'

Before I get to today's abomination, let me just quickly address the last comic: Boo hoo cancer. Who even cares at this point?

Today's comic is horrible in all aspects, except maybe that it has decently drawn bookcases. First, it's an Ayn Rand bashing, so another reference that's late by, uh, lemme see... *A quick Google search later* HALF A CENTURY??? Geez, talk about dated. Also, way to go after the easy target, Randy. This is why you haven't grown as a creator.

So what exactly is happening in the strip? I can see that the guy tries to take Atlas Shrugged from a bookshelf, but it spins around like one of those secret passages in ye olden movies to show him a very special message. Makes sorta sense, I guess, but why does he keep holding the book? Does the bookcase just spin 360° in a single motion or does it stop on the other side to let the guy read the message on the wall? If so, does it spin back again by itself, or does he have to pull on the book again? Oh, and that's a very smooth transition between the third and fourth panel. Okay, I guess I'm just nitpicking here, but details like these really kept me from understanding what was exactly going on here for a while, and that's bad when this is not even the main focus of your strip.

Also, way to pick on people, who want to buy the book for any reason that is not "I like Ayn Rand's books". For instance, they can buy it because they want to know what the big fuss is all about, or because they want to review or analyze it. But I guess the reason just doesn't matter. If you buy Atlas Shrugged, you have a terrible taste (almost sounds like a review Randall would actually write).

The alt-text, oh man, way to call the kettle black, pot. ("Ooh my god, T-Jack, you said black, you're racist!" No. Fuck you.) Because, you know, it's not like Randall has ever needed a reason for being a complete and utter douchebag before, right? (That's probably not the best example I could've used, but eh, I'm too lazy to look for a better one.)

Now that I think about it, this comic isn't that horrible, it's merely bad and stupid. Randall fails hard to stay topical and offer any new argument to the Ayn Rand debate, or rather, any argument at all. For any criticism to have any real weight, you need to say what exactly is right or wrong with the criticized work and then support it with evidence taken from said work, you can't jump straight to the rating. Of course, this strip isn't about that, it's just about a new and wacky way to shame fans of a bad book. And I guess that's why I hate it so much.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

1044: Randy Satirist



Alt-text: Charlie actually delivered the Medicare line almost verbatim in the 1971 movie's Fizzy Lifting Drink scene, but it was ultimately cut from the final release.

I have to start this review with an admission: I don't live in the United States. I'm a European, so a lot of your political statements only make vague sense to me, and I have no idea who most of the well-known American politicians actually are. In other words: Ha ha, you are all dumb because you live in a different country than me!

So there are these "quizzes" that usually compare their authors' unfavorite politician to either a cartoon character or a hisorical villain (guess who the most common one is) through a list of quotes by both, that is supposed to show that said quotes are difficult to connect to the correct figure, and therefore the things they both said are basically the same.

Of course Randall, being who he is, immediately though that it would be unconventional to the point of Hillarity to do the same thing, but instead of comparing someone named Mitt Romney (seriously, who IS that?) to Adolf Hitler, use a fictional child, say, Charlie from that chocolate factory flick.

Do I even need to explain why this is stupid? Okay, here's the thing: Political satire usually tries to convey a message. It may be stupid, or even wrong, but it still says something the author deems significant. Here, the only message I can see is "The former Massachusetts governor is completely different from a child character from a kids' movie", to which I can only say "Well, DUH."

And that's the problem with today's strip. It has no meaning when it should. It is satire that satirizes nothing, except maybe for Randall's inability to come up with a good comic.

Oh yeah, and the alt-text is dumb. Heard that joke a million times, and a million times better at that.

Monday, April 9, 2012

1040: On the Origin of the Merchandise


Alt-text: James Cameron has said that he didn't know its song would be so beautiful. He didn't close the door in time. He's sorry.

Oh, look, another poster comic. Someone needs more money. Hint hint.

Sarcasm aside, since there's not much to review about today's comic, I'd like to talk about why exactly Randall's practice of creating these "merchandise bait" comics seems so reprehensible to us xkcd haters (or at least to me, anyway), and I'll use... hmm, let's say The Spoony Experiment, as an example.

So, here's how internet merchandise usually works: A creator introduces an element to his work that the fandom really enjoys, usually to the extent of becoming a minor meme in the fandom. Now, either a fan posts on the forum "I want to have X on a T-shirt" and is meet with approval of his peers, or the creator himself thinks "Gee, they really enjoy X. I better put that on something". The important part here is that said element wasn't created with its merchandising in mind. That only came about later as a way for the fans to support their favorite work and get something they'd enjoy in return. Take TSE's "Giant Dizzy Gillespie". That comes from the time when Spoony intorduced his figurine of said musician in a couple of gags and it completely stole the scene. "I heard that, Curtis", "You're in my way, sir" and "Fuse Box #42" are various running gags, "Doctor Insano" is a recurring character on the show, and many more relate to various works The Spoony One has reviewed.

And that's why I hate comics like this one. Merchandise should be introduced because the fans want it, not because the creator thinks he should have more money. And yes, I do realize that some (or most) of the stuff in the xkcd store fits the description of "merchandise done right" above, but does that really excuse this poster bait?

Friday, April 6, 2012

1039: Ja, das ist Super!


Alt-text:Bruce Schneier believes safewords are fundamentally insecure and recommends that you ask your partner to stop via public key signature.

Aren't the SM folks strange? They just treat someone like crap for whatever reason and when that other person has had enough, they say a "safeword". Man, wouldn't it be funny if someone had wacky long safeword? Like chemists, they do have super long words, don't they? Man, this is comedy gold!

No.

No, it isn't. It's not even remotely funny*. Look, there's a difference between chemistry jokes and jokes about chemistry, the distinction being that the former is what a foolish person would expect from xkcd and the latter is completely dumb.

What baffles me is the unseen context of the comic. Is the SM couple in another room, or are they in the other half of the same room? Why are they doing their thing in the vicinity of Randall and Megan? Or, rather, why don't Randall and Megan mind them? What the fuck is going on? I mean, judging from the armchair and the computer, this is happening at someone's house, which means that they're doing whatever they're doing either while they have visitors or while they're visiting someone else.

Das ist nicht normal.

----
*Mistyped as gunny at first; I first considered leaving the typo in, but the comic actually is gunny, as in I'd like to shoot someone in the face.

Monday, April 2, 2012

1037: Well played Randall


Title:  Umwelt ; Alt-Text: "Umwelt is the idea that because their senses pick up on different things, different animals in the same ecosystem actually live in very different worlds."


So yesterday I went to the xkcd.com site and saw a comic (this was April 1st) and today I went to xkcd.com while connected to my office VPN and saw a comic with the same title and alt-text... but a different image. I clicked back and forward and refreshed a few times and then decided it was time to check the forums...


Forum Thread Discussing the "Gag"

We now know why xkcd has sucked so blandly in the recent past... never quite bad enough to incite rage or good enough to love. Randall must have been working on all the variations and scripts to generate a unique xkcd experience for every visitor... frankly I can't help but giving kudos to the guy... he really HAS been screwing with us and now we know WHY!



Thursday, March 15, 2012

1029: Randall sucks at drawing


Alt-text: Screw these 36-degree angles. I'm converting to Judaism.

Oh look, it's another of those "something goes awry, accompanied by wacky commentary" strips. Remember when those used to be funny? Neither do I.

So not only is Randall unable to draw a pentagram, he apparently doesn't even know the word "pentagram". And the alt-text confirms that what he calls a "star" is indeed supposed to be the holy symbol. Either he's stupid or trolling me, but given his past record, I can't eliminate either option.

All in all, it's a pretty boring comic, in the simply-dumb category. And now you know why I usually don't review strips like this.

Monday, March 12, 2012

1028: What have I done to this comic?


Alt-text: Anyone who says that they're great at communicating but 'people are bad at listening' is confused about how communication works.

Oh, look, it's me again. Shocking, isn't it?

Today's review will be a bit different, because understanding this comic and its intended message requires thorough panel-by-panel examination, so this is what I'm going to do here. Keeping the alt-text in mind will be necessary, because it spells out the message, and therefore helps uncover just how much the comic fails in communicating it.

The alt-text states that some people are bad at giving information to other people, and while that's true, Randall seems to have gotten stuck at the term "communication protocol" and therefore thinks that people are like computers in this regard. Badly programmed computers. What do I mean by that? Well, let me show you:

Panel 1: White Hat Man (WHM) sees a hole in the ground and notes it.
Alright, so far so good.

Panel 2: WHM encounters Short Hair Guy (SHG) and tells him about the hole. SHG notes WHM's presence.
Panel 3: WHM continues warning SHG about the hazard. SHG continues thinking about WHM
Okay, hold on for a second. Really? Saying "Watch out, there's a big hole in the ground that way" takes two panels? And the recipient is still too dumb to understand that? Oh gods, these are strawmen, aren't they?

Panel 4: WHM leaves, thinking about SHG. SHG shrugs, thinking about WHM.
What is this, some shitty romantic comedy? "Man meets guy, they can't stop thinking about each other"? Also note that WHM has now completely forgotten about the hole. This is why I said that people in this comic are like badly programmed computers. Apparently, inhabitants of xkcdland are incapable of remembering more than one thing, which seems to be the most recent event they've experienced. They can't even assign a priority level to more important memories!

Panel 5: WHM encounters Token Woman (TW) and tells her about SHG. TW tells WHM about another hole in the ground.
This is where the comic completely falls apart. Why would the hat man tell her about the guy instead of the hole? There's only one reason and that's because he has a LIFO memory structure with the size 1. This is why you should never make an argument using strawmen.

Panel 6: WHM leaves, thinking about SHG and TW. TW leaves, thinking about WHM.
Okay, maybe I was wrong. Maybe he only told her about the guy because he wanted them to get together. Hey, remember how the last comic was about how you should never be sexist? Yeah, neither does Randall. And don't tell me it's because of the bad memory. If that was the case, WHM would only be thinking about TW.

And all that was only the first row. There's two more to go. Mommy...

Panel 7: TW meets SHG, both are thinking about WHM.
Apparently, since meeting hat man, the guy didn't move a centimeter from where he was standing. Further proof that xkcdians are not real people, because real people are perfectly capable of thinking about weirdos and walking at the same time.

Panel 8: TW and SHG tell each other about WHM.
Heyy, nice moves, bro.

Panel 9: TW and SHG walk towards the first hole, still talking about WHM.
Now he's walking! Why didn't he move before the chick caught up with him? Was he waiting for her? Is he trying to pick her up? Make sense, Randall!

Panel 10: Off-screen pain and two curses.
Gee, what could've happened? Durr, I don't know!

Panel 11: SHG and TW are stuck in the first hole. Off-screen pain and one curse.
Okay, how did they miss the hole? It seems big enough to notice. Hell, the hat guy noticed it, and he's intended to be the weirdo of the comic. Maybe they were too busy talking about him to pay attention? Okay, that would explain this, but then...

Panel 12: WHM is stuck in the second hole.
It doesn't explain this! He noticed the first hole, how did he fall in the second one? Was he too busy thinking about the soon-to-be happy pair he arranged?

And now, the great finale. Yeah, it's going to suck.

Panel 13: Beret Guy (BG) sees a hole in the ground and notes it.
What the fuck? Where did he come from? Is that the same hole that the hat man found? And if so, where are the man and woman who were stuck in it? Are... are they under the panel's border? Ye gods, what are they doing in there?!

Panel 14: BG walks away from the hole, not thinking about anything.
Oh, wait. Does that mean that his memory queue is empty or that its contents are "too hot for xkcd"? Was I right about SHG+TW??

Panel 15: BG encounters Randall's Author Avatar (RAA) and tells him about BG and RAA holding hands (meant to symbolize "follow me"). RAA thinks about BG.
No, every hairless stick figure is a Randall stand-in. Shut up. Also, it cracks me up to imagine the Beret Guy saying "Come with me if you want to see a guy nailing a chick in the sickest way possible" in a thick Austrian accent.

Panel 16: BG is leading RAA towards the hole. RAA is thinking about BG surrounded by deadly question marks.
Replace BG with Randall and RAA with Megan. You now have an accurate idea of how their date went.

Panel 17: BG and RAA have arrived at the hole. BG is pointing at it.
So he's capable of saying "come with me", but he can't say "look, a hole"? No, wait, he's totally not telling him about the hole. He's showing him the depravities going on inside it and is silent because he doesn't want the happy couple down there to notice him. Geez, what have I done to this comic?

Panel 18: BG and RAA are walking away from the hole, both thinking about the hole.
Or, y'know, about its contents.

This comic's intended message seems to be "Don't tell others about dangerous situations, take their hands and show them first-hand", which is both wrong and undermined by general strawmanotisis. It is clear that Randall only drew this to make himself feel superior to other, more stupid people, but, well, that does not a good comic make. So I guess if you're only going to take one lesson from it, let it be "if you see a guy nailing a chick in the sickest way possible, do not keep their location for yourself, but instead share it with as many bros as possible".

Friday, March 9, 2012

1027: The Hat in the Hat


Alt-text: Son, don't try to play 'make you feel bad' with the Michael Jordan of making you feel bad.

Did you know that there are these men who call themselves "pickup artists"? What these guys do is that they go to bars and use these methods to, y'know, pickup women, and it apparently works. This is of course very offensive and so Randall, a self-admitted feminist, simply had to address it in his comic. He of course did it about 7 years late (as a quick Google search tells me that the term has "entered the popular lexicon in 2005").

The topic is handled with the usual grace and subtlety we've come to expect from xkcd, so the comic's target is presented as a run-of-the-mill loser who only knows the "art" from reading about it on an internet forum and who backs off immediately after being "confronted" "with" "the" "sad" "truth" "about" "his" "pitiful" "existence". So, you know, like every other man in xkcd-land except Mr. Hat and Beret Guy.

Oh, and don't get me started on Mr. Hat. Whoops, nevermind, too late. Mr. Hat's presence in this strip is totally pointless, and in fact uncovers another glaring flaw of xkcd's premise as a stick webcomic. You see, because nobody has any distinguishing body features in xkcdland, except for women's hair and, well, their sudden human anatomy when viewed from close up as evidenced in The Strip We Don't Talk About, the only way we can recognize recurring characters is via external characteristics. For some it is their headwear, like the Beret Guy's beret, or Mr. Hat's, well, you know. Mr. Hat's girlfriend, though, has no such thing, therefore the comic needed to waste a whole panel extablishing that it was in fact her. That's right, Mr. Hat has become his girlfriend's hat. And the worst part is, this whole ordeal actually has no point to it, since when it comes to being asked out, all xkcdland's women are pretty much like this. The only reason why it needs to be this particular character is for the alt-text to make sense, and it sucks anyway.

The reason why I'm writing this, though, is because it directly ties into one topic that I'd wanted to discuss for a while in a separate post (and didn't do because that would basically be emulating the non-hyphenated blog's "Rob's Rants"), which is xkcd's almost complete lack of both style and substance. The reason why I said "almost" is that the comic sometimes contains both hints of style, like the recent 1021, and substance, which is actually present in today's comic.

You see, the comic could be vastly improved by cutting out all the stupid pickup artist crap and only leaving the fourth panel in, and maybe changing the Girlfriend's dialogue into something more appropriate. The reason is that this panel, and this panel only, contains some worthwhile substance - character building. It offers us a sample of how Mr. Hat and the Girlfriend spend their free time. Plus it's a classic Mr. Hat moment.

I know it sounds stupid to talk about character development in such a plotless comic, but don't you think that it would make xkcd better? I do.

Monday, March 5, 2012

1025: How's that working out for you?

Tumblr
Title: Tumblr; Alt-Text: "Dot Tumblr Dot Com, on the other hand, would be an awful name for a band, if only because of how hard it would be to direct people to your band's website."


I get that some people out there feel like criticizing someone else's creative work is sour grapes but today's comic is a good illustration of what is so often my motivation to do so.

Today's comic is just mildly disappointing in the grand scheme of things but I expect better from a guy who has so many adoring fans. I'll grant that no one is perfect all the time but I can't help feeling cheated when someone who has proved his ability to entertain me in the past fails to do so in a given instance. I can't help feeling like I have been denied something despite Randall not owing me anything.

I imagine myself in this comic as the long haired fellow on the left. I'm at a party and trying to tell an interesting anecdote to my friend who thinks he's clever and instead of him empathizing with my plight and helping me laugh at the human condition because it's the only thing that'll make it stop hurting... he tries to be clever and then goes on to drive the conversation into his own wheelhouse making lame follow up jokes.

I haven't done an edit in a while but any time a comic can be improved by someone getting punched in the face I feel... stirrings...

So, if I were to do this comic... after the fellow on the right says "...DOT TUMBLR DOT COM." the long haired fellow on the left would say, "How's that working out for you?" and then the fellow on the right would say "What?" and then the long haired fellow on the left would punch the fellow on the right in the face.

All that said... divorced from the context of being a terrible follow up to a weak joke... that Alt-Text has a pretty good point... but now I want to start a band called "Would be a Good Name for a Band".

Incidentally, the last band I was in was called "176½".

Friday, February 24, 2012

1021: Return of not-lazy art


Alt-text: The investor elevator pitch is "Wheeeeeeee! Elevators are fun!"

Another two weeks have passed and here I am, writing another review and hoping that this will not become a trend. Now, to be honest, I actually was going to write about several strips that came after 1016, but I only had, like, one or two things to say about each at most, and I didn't want to give you guys lackluster reviews. Though I guess I could talk about them now, before I get to today's comic: 1017 was just a picto-blog entry designed to give the "nerdy" xkcd fans something to rave about, 1018 was just a dumb non-joke that had been done much better in Black Books and 1020... well, I'll just respond with this and leave it at that. With that said, let's get to the matter at hand.

As has been already said in the past, it is a position of the xkcd-sucks blog that we give credit where credit is due, and, well, this is what got me to write this in the first place. 1021 is really damn good. The first thing you'll notice is that it hasn't been drawn on a computer, but rather using the good ol' paper and pencil – just like in Ye Olde Days of xkcd. And it is drawn well, too. Not only did Randall convey the scene of a beach beautifully, he did so that his trademark stick figures don't stick out in the detailed environment like a bare ass in the bushes. This comic proves that he can draw well, he just usually chooses to half-ass it instead, like his fanbase is not worth the hassle.

The comic is also handled well content-wise. Not only are Beret Guy's latest wacky shenanigans something that, at least in my opinion, fits his character, but they're presented without a single line of dialogue, something that we don't see all that often in xkcd, and almost never done right, but here it works. I'm not sure if I really get the joke properly or if the punchline is really just "Haha, Beret Guy, you're so silly! You can't sell gulls!"; a quick Wiki search tells me that the word "gull" can mean a type of a sailing dinghy, but that term appears to be rather obscure. Nevertheless, the joke seems adequate to both the scene and the character of Beret Guy.

The alt-text is kinda stupid, but this is the kind of strip that would best profit from not having any alt-text at all. After all, this is a strip that manages to be good with almost no words. Best keep it that way.

This comic is both satisfying, because it is a really good one, and infuriating, because, well, the other ones aren't. For the longest time I had been wondering how could Randall make a living off of something that he obviously didn't even put any real work into most of the time (yes, I am a little jealous). However, I would understand it had every xkcd strip look like this one. This style simply looks better than the sterile computer-aided drawings, and it fits the stick drawings better, too. Maybe we could get such strips more often? Please?

Monday, February 13, 2012

1016: Nerds being awkward


Alt-text: The worst resolution to the Valentine Prisoner's Dilemma when YOU decide not to give your partner a present but your PARTNER decides to testify against you in the armed robbery case.

St. Valentine's Day is coming, which means that many webcomics, especially those that don't follow a storyline, will have a Valentine themed strip, like here or here (NSFW). And whaddya know, xkcd is one of those webcomics, too. So buckle up, this is gonna be on bumpy ride.

I really hate this comic, and I'll get to why in a second, but first let me take care of the usual: This is not a comic strip, it's just a script in a drawn form. Show us that Megan has her hand stapled to her face, don't tell us! Randall, you're not an artist, because you fail at art!

With that being said, there are three points in this comic that I would like to address. The first is the old, old "joke" of criticizing Valentine's Day. Yes, we all know that it's trite and clich├ęd, yes, we know that it's been commercialized to hell and back, but guess what? Literally everybody on this planet has already made the joke, and in much better ways at that. Also, fuck you.

The second point is the old, old "joke" about nerds overthinking the simplest of things, especially if it's wrong. Ignoring stick!Randall's attempt at figuring out the correct value of the gift he should give to Megan (also an old joke, done much better, for example, in The Big Bang Theory episode "Bath Item Gift Hypothesis"), we have the part where Megan's realizes that she has been caught up in a Prisoner's Dilemma, and then proceeds to panic anyway. We have that shit figured out! We know which choice to take in this scenario, and all you need to know is whether you want to maximize your reward or minimize your risk.

This ties directly into my third point which is not an old, old "joke", but rather the comparison of Valentine gift buying to the Prisoner's Dilemma. That's actually pretty clever, and even if it has been done before (which it probably has), it should have been the focus of your strip. Lose the wall of text, lose the stupid, stupid, characters and build on game theory. You're writing a nerd comic, ferchrissakes, the least you can do is analyze and algorithimize holidays.

But hey, at least Randall is being topical for once.

***

A little off-topic note: What I really like about the Oglaf comic linked above is that it's not only making fun of Valentine's Day, but it also offers a pretty cynical message about only professing one's love out of obligation. That's more of an xkcd comic than the actual xkcd comic.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

1011: OHMYGODHE'SBREEDING


Alt-text: I've been trying for a couple years now but I haven't been able to come up with a name dumber than 'Renesmee'.

I'll be brief this time, because there's not that much that I want to address. This is another shotgun humor strip, though I think it should rather be called "an Imperial Army humor strip", because when you shoot a shotgun, you actually hit the target.

It is clear what gave Randall the inspiration to puke up this godawful abomination; the Munores must be expecting a baby girl, and putting aside that we know exactly how Randall is going to name his daughter, he though it would be hilarious to put down a list of stupid ideas for a name. And, true to his spirit, it is full of references, jokes that weren't funny five years ago and some of Randall's patented creepiness. No, you don't get to brag about how none of the names you came up with are worse than the terrible name from Twilight, when your list includes Ovari and Eggsperm! And that is all I have to say.

Friday, January 27, 2012

1009: If you're annoying enough...

Comic 1009:
Sigh
title: Sigh; alt-text:"If you're annoying enough, you can get them to respond with an involuntary second sigh and get a rhythm going."

This comic managed to inspire me to make another post... just because I got to use a piece of the alt-text as an appropriate blog entry title. Sorry for the brevity.


Friday, January 20, 2012

1006: You're a douche and I don't care


Alt-text: Roger Ebert once called you directionless and unwatchable.

Hello, dear readers, I'm back after two long weeks of no posts. Yay. The reason for this absence is that the last few strips were pretty meh and I couldn't find anything the least substantial to say about them (and apparently I'm the only one who posts reviews here anymore). Not today, though, because we have a doozy that needs to be taken care of.

So this comic is Randall's commentary on the countless "if they made my life into a movie" jokes, as well as a standard "smart female pwns dumb male" strip. It's strange that the person delivering the verbal smackdown here is a man, but on the other hand since the Featureless Stick Figure screams "author avatar", I can't help but wonder if Randall has unwillingly gotten into a conversation where this line has been said and he only thought of a snappy comeback a few hours later, so he turned it into a comic. See? That's what happens when you draw such a minimalistic comic; people fill the blanks with their own theories.

Although I called the comeback "snappy", it's pretty weak when you think about it. Nobody in movies talks like in real life, and for a good reason, and that includes movies based on real stories. Furthermore, it's ironic that this comment made it into one of the few xkcd strips that actually contain somewhat realistic speech.

The alt-text only reinforces my belief that there actually is a real short-haired, goatee'd man that should feel insulted by it. As it stands, it's decent (for once), but Randall just comes off as a jerk. For that reason, I offer an alternate one: "They probably should've left this scene out."

Honestly, this strip might've been good, but the problem is that the only thing I had been thinking after reading it was "You're a douche and I don't care". That, and it's not that funny, clever, or original.

Monday, January 9, 2012

1001: The real 1000

SinbadEV said...

1001 is hilarious... still laughing at it. Sorry, I'm sure there are ways it could be criticized but I'm not gonna look for them.

Don't worry, man, I got this.

***

Alt-text: 'ARE YOU TURNED ON YET?' 'I DON'T THINK SO--ARE YOU?' 'MAYBE A LITTLE!' 'OK, FIVE MORE MINUTES.'

Okay, as SinbadEV said, this is actually a pretty decent comic. It does have a fair share of problems, but it's still an appropriate "real 1000th strip".

What I like the most about it is its perfect pacing and execution of the joke. The first three panels depict the consequences of a stupid decision (a man and a woman spinning on a bed a bit too fast) and the last panel reveals the decision itself (to build said rotating bed at home after seeing one on TV). Randall even managed to avoid all the usual pitfalls. No post-punchline dialogue, no banner that says "PARTY", no unrealistic speech. Well, okay, it seems a bit stiff to me, but not nearly enough to ruin the comic for me.

The art is pretty good, too, at least for xkcd's standards; I have to point out the ripples in the sheet and the screams of "AAAAAAAA". On the other hand, it isn't very well depicted that the bed is, in fact, spinning, apart from a mediocre blur effect, and the big faceless heads in the first two panels really seem out of place, like in just about any other well-drawn xkcd strip ever.

The weakest past of the comic, though, is the alt-text. It's not funny, it's just really, really stupid. Shame, especially since there are many things that the alt-text could say that would fit the comic a lot better. Here, let me try: "An unidentified flying object has been sighted near Boston. One of the passengers of the circular spinning vehicle has been reported to say 'WHEEEEE!' ".

All in all, this is probably one of the best strips Randall has drawn in years, and I'm glad that it has come right after the horrendous 1000 "comic". Please keep the quality up, Randall.

Friday, January 6, 2012

1000: Why?


Alt-text: Thank you for making me feel less alone.

Today is a big day for Mr. Randall Munroe. His influential webcomic has just hit the big 1000, and he's celebrating it big style - by drawing a big number 1000 comprised of stick figures that represent the past strips, plus a lame "programmers only know 1024" joke.

...

Alright, I'll try to keep this short, so that the others can state their own opinions. To be honest, I was kinda hoping that Randall would come with something big for his 1000th comic. You know, large format, colors, all the recurring characters (all two of them), maybe a return to the very first strip... But instead, we get this. I have never seen an anniversary webcomic strip this self-congratulatory. Sure, many webcomics love to celebrate regular anniversaries (see every 100th episode of Order of the Stick, a vastly superior stick comic), but this is the first time such a comic basically says "Ooh, look at me, I can shit out a crappy drawing three times a week for six years straight, aren't I a cool guy?"

Acosta02 said in the comments for the last article: "XKCD number 1000 can literally only be interpreted as a self-parody, right down to the title text." I wish I could say that I agree, but the way I see it, there is a very real possibility that Randall meant this comic completely seriously.

P.S.: I'm only including the "Mr. Hat" label here because I found him included in the second zero (he's on its 2 o'clock). I didn't find Beret Guy, but I'm sure he's there somewhere, so I'm including him, too.