AnnouncementDied 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).
Friday, February 24, 2012
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
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 clichéd, 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
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.