The Webcomic Overlook #100: xkcd

wco-100a

Ah, 100 reviews.

This is truly a milestone in the annals of The Webcomic Overlook lore. True, I’ve also written 20+ smaller reviews, which are actually longer an more elaborate than the earlier Webcomic Overlooks. Plus all those reviews I wrote for ComixTalk and Comic Fencing (all lovingly catalogued on this very site).

Still, 100 reviews and 500k page views is a hell of a milestone. So a big thank you to all the readers who have been following The Webcomic Overlook all this time. I seriously would not be writing these columns if it were not for you, your input, and your enthusiasm.

Now, let’s get past the valedictorian speech and on with the review. To commemorate the 100th, I asked you, the readers, on the Twittersphere — and if that term hasn’t been coined yet, I’m totally going to claim it — which webcomic I should review: xkcd or PHD? In an awesome demonstration of my Twitter prowess, I got four whole replies. One vote went to PHD, one vote went to Girls With Slingshots (automatically disqualified because it was not one of the options), one vote went to xkcd, and one vote went to something called kxcd.

Yay me?

I think the latter was written by bRYAN NOORSOOMAIKXCD. (And yes, that reply WAS from Sarah Zero writer Ace Plughead.)

I had strong inclinations to do a review of PHD. It’s a curious, long-lived webcomic in its own right, attracts audiences beyond the typical webcomic spectrum, and yet doesn’t typically get much attention when discussion turns to webcomics. I may still review it some day. But I decided to settle on Randall Munroe’s xkcd after all. Because deep down inside, I really am a glutton for page visits.

philosophy

Why would I do this? Hasn’t everyone and their brother talked about xkcd already? I typed “xkcd review” in Google and got some 533,000 results (though only about 2,700 if I enclose it in quotation marks — which is probably more accurate but nevertheless still impressive from a webcomics standpoint). Why, this is more reviews than for, say, the Partridge Family! And who doesn’t love the Partridge Family? So really … does the world need another xkcd review?

For one, the power of this webcomic fascinates me. It has an audience that other webcomics cannot come close to touching. Let me tell you something about myself. In real life, I am an aersopace engineer. I work in a fairly large engineering department. Yes, seriously! And like any office environment, sometimes people print out comics strips and post them at their desks. The most common, is, unsurprisingly, Dilbert. It’s like sticking it to the man, only in a socially acceptable way. There’s also no shortage of Far Sidebooks and day-by-day calendars. Habitual coffee drinkers (an typically office assistants) put up an Adam@Home toon. There’s even a weirdo (i.e., me) who puts up the defunct They’ll Do It Every Time.

There’s also xkcd. In fact, xkcd is the only webcomic anyone in our offices ever puts up. (Well, except for my desk, which, in addition to my previous example, also sports a Savage Chickens comic.) xkcd is patronized by people who have advanced engineering degrees and folks who spend their days hunched over their computers and typing long strings of code. They are what the outside world calls “smart people.” I don’t know if they read xkcd regularly or if they’re aware of the existence of any other webcomics. My suspicion is “no.” Yet the comic speaks to them like Dilbert spoke to the masses of misbegotten cubicle dwellers scattered in artificially-lighted offices all across the land.

A comic this popular, which is perhaps THE most read webcomic on the internet, is bound to attract a lot of playa haters. Mention xkcd anywhere online — like say in an interview with Neal Stephenson — and you’ll find comments like “Randall Munroe is a creepy sperging manchild who built a goddamn chuck-e-cheese ballpit in his living room in place of a sofa and in any sane society would be looked down upon as the human garbage he is.” Ouch. Elsewhere, there’s an xkcd sucks blog dedicated to the full time hating of xkcd. xkcd even has an entry on the bad webcomics wiki, which sneers: “this comic is the very picture of Asperger’s disorder.”

And yet, none of that stops the xkcd juggernaut. The comic gathers readers like it’s going out of fashion.

cryptography

But first, let’s get into the legend behind xkcd. Randall Munroe, the creator, has a degree in physics from the Christopher Newport University. He worked as a programmer at NASA in the the Langley Research Center before his contract lapsed and he decided to take up doing webcomics full time. I have, by the way, a high degree of respect for people who abandon respected fields in science to follow crazy messed-up dreams that most people would ridicule. (Other heroes: Peter Adkinson, a former Boeing engineer who founded Wizards of the Coast and David Morgan-Mar, a Ph.D. graduate who also creates webcomics — which I reviewed here and here — and writes RPG manuals.)

xkcd, according to its subtitle, is “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” And what do the letters stand for? Is it some sort of obscure axis system only known to people with advanced physics degrees? It is a name of one of the less heralded sub-atomic particles? Or is the word some sort of Linux command that inspires peals of laughter in programmers? Again, Wikipedia, aggregator for the wisdom of the masses, has the answers: “He had originally used xkcd as an instant messaging screenname because he wanted a name without a meaning so he wouldn’t eventually grow tired of it.”

That’s fairly clever, actually. I’m pretty much doomed doing a Mexican luchador gimmick for all eternity. Oh, if I’d only picked out a more nonsense moniker… like “Lady Gaga”, for example. Surely I would’ve conquered the internet singlehandedly by naptime.

So here’s how the typical xkcd joke: setup, obscure nerd reference, and punchline. It’s telling jokes to a subset of people that don’t usually hear humor targeted at them … in much the same way gaming comics found popularity in the early days of webcomics. I mean, before Penny Arcade, was anyone really making jokes about, say, Team Fortress? In the same way, xkcd is telling jokes to a subset of geekdom that’s even nerdier than gamers: programmers, physicists, and engineers. The only reason that imitators haven’t really followed in xkcd‘s wake — and I mean in the sense of content rather than aesthetics, since the webcomic world is not exactly lacking in lazy stick-figure webcomics these days — is that the barrier to entry is high: there are few are as comfortably conversant and keenly humorous about physics and computers as Randall Munroe.

blockbuster_mining

I don’t think Munroe has ever claimed that his comic was only going to be about physics, math, and programming. Here’s how he describes xkcd in an interview with the New Yorker: “a webcomic about stick figures who do math, play with staple guns, mess around on the Internet, and have lots of sex. It’s about three-fourths autobiographical.” Assuming that “have lots of sex” was the one-fourth non-autobiographical, that still leaves two-thirds of the comic about being a giddy manchild. It doens’t matter, though: xkcd is basically saddled with the reputation that it’s the smart webcomic with obscure physics stuff.

I did a random sample of 20 comics, though, by clicking the site’s random button. (Disclaimer: I didn’t read the entire comic before writing this review. However, I must’ve read 50% of it and frankly a lot of it is the same.) Only 2 could really qualify as obscure physics-based jokes. There were 7 jokes based on obscure computer commands, so I guess that can count as smart, but those are typically divided between “the punchline is Linux” jokes and “look at me I am applying video game logic to everyday life” jokes.

So, how about those 11 other comics? The “romance” ones don’t get much play. They only appear 2 times, and they’re clearly the weakest of the bunch. More on that later. The rest are split out among nerdy pop culture references, nerd fantasies acted out, and things that look like they were written by, er, a “creepy sperging manchild”.

In fact, once you expand the sample size, you get a fairly clear understanding what xkcd really is. It’s not a webcomic about math and physics. For the most part, it’s a nerd’s whiny journal comic. Like when Munroe goes on about how much he hates DRM protection. Or when he rants about the Federal bailout and talks about a strawman issue that no one in the world was even angry about. (Long story short: he thinks people were mad at “billions” as opposed to “millions.” This puts severe doubts about Munroe’s status as an egghead.) Or one of the many times he epically rails against society by publishing a furious and ill thought out essay:

The infinite possibilities each day holds should stagger the mind. The sheer number of experiences I could have is uncountable, breathtaking, and I’m sitting here refreshing my inbox. We live trapped in loops, reliving a few days over and over, and we envision only a handful of paths laid out before us. We see the same things every day, we respond the same way, we think the same thoughts, each day a slight variation on the last, every moment smoothly following the gentle curves of societal norms. We act like if we just get through today, tomorrow our dreams will come back to us. And no, I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know how to jolt myself into seeing what each moment could become. But I do know one thing: the solution doesn’t involve watering down my every little idea and creative impulse for the sake of some day easing my fit into a mold. It doesn’t involve tempering my life to better fit someone’s expectations. It doesn’t involve constantly holding back for fear of shaking things up. This is very important, so I want to say it as clearly as I can: FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

Uh huh.

freemanic_paracusia

You know, Randall Munroe might not know it, but he’s inadvertently provided pretty solid evidence that us nerds deserves to be shoved into lockers. And given wedgies every day. If our extremely knowledge-based culture was responsible for bringing about a rant that sounds like it came straight out of the mouth of “a creepy sperging manchild,” then we deserve that punishment as atonement for our sins and much much more.

And, Jesus Christ, if I have to hear one more Browncoat talk about thier obsession with Summer Glau and/or Firefly, I’m going to have to join in on the locker-stuffing shenanigans myself.

Worse is pretty much any strip that dwells on the “romance” part of equation. I think I speak for many readers when I say that xkcd would be much, much more tolerable if he’d left “romance” out completely. One of the most famous xkcd strips is “Angular Momentum,” a strip that’s hyperlinked straight from he main page and which gave the world: “Spinning counterclockwise / Each turn robs the planet of angular momentum / Slowing its spin by the tiniest bit / Lengthening the night, pushing back the dawn / Giving me a little more time here / With you.” No doubt many of you readers find this particular sentiment to be sweet. I, however, am firmly in the camp of the opposition, who finds its very nausea-inducing. My BS-meter only goes so high, you see.

There’s also Munroe’s incessant white knighting. Does he white knight Twilight fans? Oh yes he can! You can count on Randall Munroe to clumsily protect the maiden honor of girl geeks everywhere from weird and creepy nerds like … well, you know. (Noted xkcd critic Kris Straub addressed this issue far more succinctly.) Overall, romantic xkcds are either pathetic and kinda creepy or unfunny and kinda embarrassing.

grownups

Despite all that, I don’t think xkcd is a bad webcomic.

When Munroe does have a hit, he smashes it out of the ballpark with a force unmatched by other webcomics. There’s a reason why many would rank xkcd as the best webcomic of all time. One of my personal favorites included an Ender’s Game vignette and the likely result that the Locke-Demothenes would have on today’s world. This is the inside baseball stuff that I alluded to earlier, catering to nerds because, hey, look at me, I get the reference! But you know what? I laughed. The comic showed keen insight into Ender’s Game beyond the superficial. At that moment, I understood why Firefly fans might love the Firefly strips so much.

I liked his recent tribute to Geocities, where Munroe converted the site into a confusing morass of tables, animated gifs, as ugly wallpapers. I thought his map of online communities was fun, especially trying to mentally catalog all the sites I was familiar with. A similar strip mapping space from a logarithmic scale was, despite all the cutesy nerd references sprinkled throughout, was pretty damn fantastic at illustrating the magnitude of the universe. And he gets the romance thing right once in a while.

As for the art… yes, nothing to write home about. It’s guilty of convincing thousands of webcomic creators out there that they don’t actually need any modicum of artistic talent to do a webcomic. When you think about it, though, could xkcd have been done any other way? I tried imagining what xkcd would look like with slightly stronger art — say, clip art — and it just wouldn’t work. If xkcd incorporated anything aesthetic, it would be simply distracting.

With stick figures and minimal art, the writing becomes the focal point for the reader. Most stick figure comics are total failures because the writing isn’t great either. With xkcd, though, the writing will at least provide something interesting, whether it’s a humorous twist on a textbook equation or whether it’s Munroe being a “creepy sperging manchild” again.

In the end, though, this review is probably the most superfluous that I’ve ever written. Anyone who has ever read webcomics knows about xkcd, and they know whether they love it with the passion of a thousand suns or hate it with the fury of a thousand storms. I’d actually like to hear from you.

For xkcd?

Against xkcd?

Who cares?

100 episodes!

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

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About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on November 14, 2009, in 3 Stars, comedy webcomic, stick figure webcomic, The Webcomic Overlook, WCO Big Review, webcomics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. Nice Review. There is nothing I can say against it.

    While I would probably end up going on forever about how you would be wrong in giving it only three stars, I completely see your point here. When I read the comic I think that not only did I find more strips that stood out to me than you I also overlooked the ones that didn’t and pushed them from thought and memory. I imagine that if I were to write a review they would have given me an issue. It’s a comic where you will run into things you don’t get at some point or another, but if you are the slightest bit nerdy you will find plenty for you, and quite a few will hit you real hard.

    I like it for what I liked of it and that’s all there is to say about xkcd.

  2. Often when xkcd gets bad reviews, it’s obvious to me that the reviewer is someone outside of xkcd’s intended audience who hates it because it’s too nerdy, which is unfair. It’s not trying to be a popular-interest comic, it’s catering to a very specific niche. It’s nice, therefore, to see someone who is, at least to some extent, in that audience look at it more critically.

    Personally, I like xkcd (with the exception of the romance episodes and serial storylines). Where else could I go to read jokes about Linux commands? Nowhere, that’s where.

  3. I dislike tightly focused niche comics for a variety of reasons and this one wears all of them like a badge. So put me in the “Don’t believe the hype” camp.

    I’d say your 3 star rating is fair. I wouldn’t call it horrible, there is much worse out there. But the comic does not appeal to me.

  4. I don’t have a problem with this review as a whole, let me make that clear, but I don’t understand a lot of the comics you’ve used as examples.

    I don’t understand why depicting social awkwardness, like the guy who is playing Ice Ice Baby to woo a girl and shouts “I’m not very good at this!” is actually “kinda embarrassing.” It’s not like Randall did this himself (did he?) And how is the Twilight strip “White Knighting?” It’s more of an insult to Twilight fans than anything else (and it certainly doesn’t say much for the author either, depicting her as vengeful, petty, and keenly aware of how stupid–but powerful–her books are). How is a goofy comic about The Matrix the work of a “creepy, sperging manchild?” This is all just pleasant absurdity to me.

    Different strokes for different folks will take you so far, but these don’t feel objective to me. Some of the strips you’ve mentioned are, like Grey said, ones I had forgotten about, but some of them had me rolling. I can see the Hammer Walking girl not being funny for some, but some of these others, I just don’t understand your view at all. Maybe I’m a much bigger nerd than I thought? (And I almost never get the math and physics jokes!)

    • Those are fair questions, Michael. I’ll address the issues I have with those strips here.

      1.) The “kinda embarrassing” remark on the “Ice Ice Baby” strip — I don’t think it was the punchline I had an issue with. It was more the wish-fulfillment nature of the set-up. As in, a) some girl would find the whole lifting a boombox outside a window thing to be charming (I imagine it would be more awkward than anything), and b) that the nerdy stick-figure guy would even have the guts to pull that sort of stunt. To me, drawing a scenario where a girl swoons over some dumb thing you do is fantasy wish fullfillment. That’s the “kinda embarrassing” part.

      2.) The Twilight strip — if I remember when that came out, this strip was strongly embraced by Twilight fans. So I don’t think it’s insulting to Twilight fans at all. The strip was really more a slam against 4chan and their petty grudges. The scenario isn’t very plausible, since groups have attempted to attack the 4chan boards before and haven’t been able to work out the dream scenario depicted in the comic. In fact, the reverse if often true. The wikipedia entry on xkcd shows that Munroe himself blocked registration on his message boards out of concern that his boards would be spammed over the strip. Did Munroe even think his own strip was anywhere near plausible?

      So my conclusion: he’s “white knighting” Twilight and Stephenie Meyer by telling snarky 4chan posters that they possess the power to destroy their boards for their childish anti-Twilight sentiments should they ever have the inclination.

      3.) The Matrix strip — “creepy sperging manchild” are very strong words, I agree. I guess I shouldn’t have applied that here. Instead, I should’ve probably made mention as to how unfocused this strip seemed. I guess it perfectly captures the attitude of a nerd babbling about his favorite movie, but I get to play the role of the disinterested listener who has to listen to a nerd babble on about his favorite movie.

      • Thanks for the clarification. I still like ‘em, though. ;)

      • 1) I rather got the impression that she WAS embarrassed in the boombox strip, rather than impressed. You could almost see her pinching the bridge of her nose with a sigh as she sees the weird kid with a crush on her for the eight millionth time.

        2) We have already established that (most) Twilight fans are idiots. I don’t see how their reaction can (necessarily) reflect on the intention of the strip itself. They didn’t realize they were being insulted, and instead held it up as a blow against the enemy or some such. Also, it’s not supposed to be plausible, just amusing.

        3) Yeah, that was kinda weird.

  5. I don’t like XKCD.
    I’m all for nerdy jokes once in a while, but seriously; stick figures? It’s insulting to peoples’ intelligence to say you’re a comic when you’re not willing to bother to draw anything past stick figures.
    He does it to get more attention really, how many people would read a blog with nothing but nerd jokes in raw text form? Probably not more than what the comic gets.

    I really don’t even think of XKCD as a comic. I don’t like any comic that doesn’t embrace visuals to tell a story or joke, but instead avoids them.

    • I’m all for nerdy jokes once in a while, but seriously; stick figures? It’s insulting to peoples’ intelligence to say you’re a comic when you’re not willing to bother to draw anything past stick figures.

      Well… you’re wrong. The point of a comic is to communicate movement, and tell a story. Stick figures often do this better then very polished art. I mean, simplification makes for easier identification, so a stick figure comic is just carrying that to its extreme conclusion.

      Also, while you would think that anybody could draw a quality stick figure, you would be wrong. And on the other end of the spectrum, here’s Matt Feazell’s Amazing Cynicalman. Leaving aside the politics, what you have there are three instantly recognizable stick figure caricatures, which is no mean feat. Stick figures doesn’t have to mean lazy.

      Munroe’s stick figures are well proportioned and easy to read. Good for him, I say.

      Anyway, so. I don’t understand people who say you have to be excessively nerdy to get xkcd. I just went through the last twenty-odd strips and there was only one I didn’t get. To me it seems like mostly they’re more like this one. You don’t really need to be a nerd to get that joke, do you? If I was an electric engineer I’m sure it would be funnier, but you don’t really need more then a high school science level to get the crux of the joke.

      I think Munroe actually does a really good job of making his humor accessible to people who are only a little nerdy.

      If anything, xkcd isn’t nerdy enough. Munroe’s great at the nerd humor, but the strips where he tries to be sincere or romantic or profound are just fucking embarrassing crap that he should have grown out of in high school.

      Maybe he’s not doing that so much any more; I don’t read xkcd that often, so it’s possible he stopped when I wasn’t looking.

      • What in god’s name happened to all my paragraph breaks? I swear I had some!

        • Paragraph breaks are forbidden. FORBIDDEN! Or they don’t really show up in this WordPress theme I used. I have no idea how to fix it. Curse you, you popular, easy-to-use blogging software!

      • Well… you’re wrong. The point of a comic is to communicate movement, and tell a story. Stick figures often do this better then very polished art.

        Very polished art

        Stick figures

        I don’t disagree with your position on the importance of clarity in comics. The second half of your statement isn’t really true.

      • I’ve actually shown this comic to a decent number of non-nerds and still gotten laughs. If your aren’t a geek, you miss stuff, so it might not be your favourite webcomic, but… Funny thing is I’m right in the target audience for the comic (Engineering, Math, Computers, Linux), and I still miss some of the jokes. Of course, my reaction is generally to search Wikipedia for it.

  6. I love xkcd. I’m sort of in the niche, and my husband is a high-energy physicist so he explains some of the more obscure ones (“sudo get me a sandwich”). But I really think the writing is dead on—when Munroe is in the zone, he’s really fantastic. Of course, there are a lot of mediocre strips, because you can’t be that good three times a week, but Munroe hits them out of the park fairly often.

    I’m with you on the romance strips, but the Twilight one made me laugh out loud. You left out the best one of all, though, the one that defines our generation: “Someone is wrong on the internet.”

  7. I don’t mind XKCD. I read it for the once in a blue moon jokes that I get– the one about ender’s game, for example, made me laugh a LOT. And this: http://xkcd.com/657/ was just. amazing. I mean it’s ridiculous, time consuming and kind of horrible if you think about it– but it’s also TOTALLY AWESOME. The nerdy part of me is wheezing with delight.

    He does fall back a lot on linux jokes and other…things, but that’s kind of his shtick, I guess.

    As for the twilight joke– I didn’t really see as white knighting Stephanie Meyer… It was just a scenario that, if it actually happened, would probably horrify 4channeres. Similar to how Boxxy and gaiafags enrage them. Instead of being like “Oh poor stephanie meyer”, I laughed and went “oh god that WOULD be horrible…”

    Meanwhile I’ll stay tuned. Not all the jokes amuse me, but the ones that do /really/ do.

    And did you look at that map. I mean seriously. Seriously.

    AWESOME.

    • Oh– and I know the joke in that one was pretty weak, but like. If you’re looking for the joke instead of frothing joyously at the gorgeous graph then you’re doing it wrong.

    • For the record, that xkcd list you posted almost made it on the review of the ones I liked. I agree — it is pretty amazing. It’s just that I’d already posted a link to one map and one logarithmic scale; I didn’t want it to look like the only xkcds I enjoyed involved a chart of some sort. :)

  8. Nice review. I can see where your coming from even if I don’t agree with you 100%.

    But did you really have to keep repeating the ‘creepy sperging manchild’ comment. Some of us creepy sperging manchildren have feelings too.

  9. This is an old post, but I still felt the need to comment.

    His “furious and ill thought essay”? It moved me. His embarrasing romantic moments? I found them sweet. In fact, those are usually my favorite strips. I don’t know if it’s because I’m still too young, or if it’s because I’m a girl, but this comic has often spoke to me in a way no other media has.

    But everyone sees things differently, I guess.

    You’re absolutely right, it’s sort of a love or hate deal, and it’s really rare (and pleasantly surprising!) to find someone who still tries to approach with a more objective critique than the others.

    So, thank you for taking your time to review this -and all the other comics! I’m finding about all sorts of awesome webcomics that I knew nothing about.

    • Well, thank you for your considerate reply! I really don’t mind if people don’t agree with my reviews. I am, after all, coming from a point of view, and other readers are coming from other point of views. The important thing is that you know why you love, hate, or are different about something.

  10. Three stars? I wouldn’t have guessed based on all the bashing you gave it. Most of the time it sounded like you think the author thinks he’s too smart. There’s some bad eggs amongst the xkcd strips, no doubt (I’m not praising xkcd as the best webcomic or whatever), but e.g. the Angular Momentum one could be considered so “sappy” that it’s actually hilarious.

    “It’s not a webcomic about math and physics.” Like you mentioned earlier, no one’s said it’s supposed to be.

    “it’s a nerd’s whiny journal comic” And you say that like it’s a bad thing. I think it’s all about the delivery.

  11. I for one sometimes relate to the “romance” parts of xkcd. It bothers me to hear people on their high horses say that he’s a creep, what he convey through at least some of those strips are thoughts that I think are quite common to people in love. And most people fall in love. Love is not something some old poets made up because they were bored! And in a way love makes you creepy, the mechanism of love makes you “sexually possessive” (nice way of saying jealous) and very obsessed with a person. People should be able to relate to that when they read instead of saying “this is creepy, this is bad”. It’s creepy yes, but it’s also more than that and for those who can’t relate to that I think they’re either psychologically defect or maybe they just haven’t had any life experience.

  12. The Far Side will always rule them all, and he could also draw funny.

    I like xkcd but Mr.Munroe is the exception to the rule, i don´t buy brainy excuses for weak art and that includes retard humor.
    Some very good writers limit their potential to create a truly stunning piece of comic art by not investing in some drawing skills or teaming up with talented illustrators.

  13. I think you’ve missed the point of the billions/millions thing. It’s a specific example of how the phrasing chosen by media outlets influences the way we emotionally absorb facts.

    I also liked the essay – sure it lacked subtlety but sometimes a sledgehammer is refreshing when you’re in a rut.

    I suspect a lot of the YMMV is that Monroe is cynical, but he’s a ROMANTIC cynic. Readers of a more pragmatic bent probably find him a bit too idealistic…

  14. “I liked his recent tribute to Geocities, where Munroe converted the site into a confusing morass of tables, animated gifs, as ugly wallpapers. I thought hismap of online communities was fun, especially trying to mentally catalog all the sites I was familiar with. A similar strip mapping space from a logarithmic scale was, despite all the cutesy nerd references sprinkled throughout, was pretty damn fantastic at illustrating the magnitude of the universe. And he gets the romance thing right once in a while.”

    You missed a space in there, between ‘his’ and ‘map’

  15. “I’M GOING TO DRINK MEGANS BREAST MILK!” THAT WAS NOTHING SHORT OF PRECIOUS!

    5 STARS, HOW DARE YOU DEFILE MY PERFECT WEBCOMIC!

    Fucking spergers.

  16. I realize that you didn’t invent the term “creepy sperging manchild”, but I’m an Aspie, and its copious use in the review made me a little uncomfortable

  17. ObviousDeception

    I’ve become really disillusioned with xkcd more recently (ie. 4 years ago), but hey you get it. In this review, you kinda summed up all there is to love and all there is to hate about the comic.

    Good job.

    Only thing I’d add is, Randal doesn’t really seem to always grasp how to tell a joke without it just being a reference to something nerdy. Sometimes he gets it, sometimes he doesn’t.

    That and he needs to drop using the name Megan in breakup or troubled relationship comics, or comics with disturbingly creepy sex jokes (like the one with power tools and dildos).

  18. I wish it to be known that I read this entire review in the voice of Morgan Freeman.

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