Comic 1279: Reverse Identity Theft
This is a good idea, ruined by bad execution. I would have liked to see a multi-panel comic in which someone with an email address in the format of firstname.lastname@ gets a deluge of emails from services he/she never signed up for, and eventually pieces together the puzzle at the same time as the reader does. But instead, this skips to the conclusion of the story. Randall gets paid by the poster, not by the panel.
B+ for idea. D+ for timing. D for wall of text. D- for essay length alt text. F for general laziness. And DETENTION for Gizmodo repost.
You may think I'm being too harsh, but I have noticed a lot of xkcds lately that fall flat because I don't actually realise what they're about until I read the punchline, and then I have to re-read the rest of the comic to complete the joke. It's sloppy. Someone brought up this same point about 1271 last week, and I have to agree.
Comic 1278: Giraffes
Now this is what I prefer to see from an xkcd comic. Simple yet effective. It's science-y, but not confusing or intrinsic. B for humour, which is enhanced by an A for standalone value. A for delivery - you don't need to overcomplicate a joke like this, and he didn't. C for the 'my hobby' format, which I feel it didn't really apply to this comic as much as some of the others.
Comic 1277: Ayn Random
I don't want to admit that I liked this comic. So I'll just get the grades out of the way first. F for people sitting at computers. D+ for stilted dialog. D- for White Hat as the obvious straw-man. F- for the external reference that will confuse many readers.
For those who don't know, Ayn Rand is an author who wrote some very preachy (and boring) books, most notably Atlas Shrugged (which Randall once referenced in comic 1049). He basically said that people are better when they work on their own and don't try to help each other. He explained the amount of unfairness in the world by saying that some people are intrinsically better than others. There. You've learned something. Did that make the comic funnier? No. You had to know that BEFORE you read the comic.
Fortunately for me, I already knew that. AND I LAUGHED MY FUCKING HEAD OFF. And it was an annoyingly high-pitched laugh. You haven't heard my laugh, but it sounds just like British comedian Jimmy Carr's famously annoying howl. It is the sort of thing that can't really be described in mere words, but this video will do:
I feel dirty now. I'm not sure if I can carry on as an Xkcd reviewer with the knowledge of this out in the public. Please tell me in the comments if there are any other Xkcd comics you laughed at, but shouldn't have. It might make me feel better.