Maybe you didn’t know, but I was inspired to do these commentaries by the (far funnier and better at his job) Mark Reads Twilight/Harry Potter, which were uproariously funny (at least the little of it I read before I came up with this, which summarily took over my life) because he had never read either and reacted quite hilariously to each – Twilight with revulsion, and Harry Potter with apprehension and then all-encompassing love. This is a very long way of saying YAY, we’ve finally gotten to something I’ve never read before!
Okay, that’s kind of a lie. I’ve been linked to one Xkcd or another over the years, and my reaction is usually slack-jawed awe for about two minutes, but I’ve never taken a serious archive crawl through it. From what I can guess from what I’ve seen so far, it’s a comic about nerdy observations and also stick figures. I make nerdy observations, but am not a stick figure, so it might halfway be a good comic. 8D
So let’s see how this’ll be done. I’ve arrived here: http://www.xkcd.com/1/ The website design is blue and inviting, and the bottom of the page promptly informs me that:
This comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).
And then something I can’t read about an algorithm. Sounds like a party! So let’s move into this comi-
1. –c? Hm, this is…a little different than I’m used to seeing from the Xkcd I’ve seen before. For one, that’s a boy and he has hair. He’s breaking all the stick figure rules! Still, though, it’s probably going to take a while for the art to develop. For now, I like this comic in a wistful way – it’s sort of sad.
2. Wait – what? Trees? With a start I realize that Xkcd was a FAR cry different in the beginning...I’m not sure whether to raise a stink about it or not…well, maybe not now. This is a very pretty picture, after all! Judging from the title, I can guess it’s a picture of baobabs on Le Petit Prince’s planet. D’aww, I loved that book C:
3. It’s…an island. On graph paper. So many colors…I see no strong language or unusual humor yet, but I can be patient…
4. Hm, a little less color here. It’s a pretty picture, still…but I feel like I’m leafing through someone’s math notes rather than someone’s math jokes.
5. And then as if to spite me the comic slaps me in the face with a math joke! If I really have to explain it to you you need to go back to third grade. But I very much like it…it’s cute. C:
6. The comics are creeping in little by little, though they are indeed very different than I seem to remember seeing. At first I was like “WHAT” looking right at the wasteland, but then I looked back at the title and was like “oh…um, okay if you say so”
7. Never mind, we’re back to pictures! Someone must’ve been really bored in Spanish class C: I can hardly see the girl’s shirt straps. I find myself find of wishing I could see her face. But, such is life. How odd.
8. I-I-I’m disturbed. Red spiders? Why couldn’t it be red butterflies? D8 Intriguing, to be admitted, but…so many spiders…
The mouseover text now tells me that the spiders are six-legged. This makes it all better.
9. Oooh, stick people! At first I was like “wtf is Serenity?” Then I looked it up. It is most likely this! I’ve never seen Firefly but still I smiled. 8D Still, I do not like things that are this obscure…
10. Okay, this, this is adorable! Must be a neat way to remember pi. I wonder if the letters match up with digits of pi, and the continuation goes on from there…*checks a pi site* Holy crap, I think he did! o____O
11. Hey, it’s the barrel kid aga-
Barrel Kid: None of the places I floated had mommies.
12. *tilts head*
I, uh, really don’t understand this at all. Poisson? As in French for fish? Moving on…
13. Well, I really don’t know how to react to this. It’s a beautiful picture of a canyon, but the comic doesn’t seem to have a direction…I think I’ll just look at the pretty reds in the canyon and smile. :]
14. Huh. Even though one part of my brain is like I CAN’T UNDERSTAND THIS the other part is like TREES. No comment on copyright laws. That’s all there is to say.
15. !!!! SO. CUTE. OH MY GOD. I WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH THIS FELLOW AND RIDE AROUND WITH HIM ON A DINOSAUR. ALFSLJFSALJLFJS. I forgive this comic’s early tendency to defy my expectations; the strange man made it ALL better.
16. So, here’s how my reading of this comic went.
Panel 1: LOL, KNIGHTS WHO SAY NI. I LOVE THAT MOVIE. NI. NI. NI.
Panel 2: Well, thank you for not explicitly deriding us, but, yes, where are you going with this?
Panel 3: Wait, what’s this
Panel 4: Wait, no, no, what happened –
Panel 5: D8. D8. D8. WHAT HAPPENED
Panel 6 and 7: …I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now.
17. Even though this was made four, almost five years ago, the first thing this reminded me was the photoshop circle trick. (I’m not linking you to it, you know what it is.) But then that got kicked right out of my mind, because it’s about the uncertainty of love and AWWWW. *hugs both of the stick figures* Be happy with each other, okay?
18. To be fair, I didn’t laugh at the last panel. I read the fourth and fifth, then the second and third, then the first. I’M NOT EXPLAINING IT~
19. Come to think of it, these are kind of like the ones I saw, except they’re drawn on graph paper instead of on clean white Internet. I don’t know who George Clinton is (relation to Bill Clinton?) but I have to say I admire that he was able to color in black around all of those little mathematics numbers.
20. Wait, this is actually super sad! Stick figure #1 is crushing stick figure #2’s dreams! D8 YOUR FERRET CAN FLY, STICK FIGURE. I BELIEVE IT CAN FLY.
21. I think there’s a joke in the name “Kelper” I have missed the pop-culture knowledge to understand.
*looks up* There’s a 17th century astronomer named Johannes Kepler. Don’t get what he has to do with cleaning stores. D8
22. And now we revisit the boy in the barre- DON’T GO INTO THE WHIRLPOOL. YOU’LL DIE. YOU’LL DIE.
23. The fact that I have seen some of the T-shirts whose slogans are printed near the top is not the saddest thing about this picture. Poor fellow. Maybe if he was a little less adamant about pushing people away he wouldn’t be so alone. I want to give him a hug. But only a little…why am I such an awful person
On another note, the author was wittier than I ever was in 11th or 12th grade. Again, I just discovered there is mouseover text. Woe is me for forgetting these things.
24. Oooh, this comic is pretty big! Let’s read all of it. I’m finding myself having introspective thoughts in the first three panels without direction for them. Oooh, I like this one quote –
Socrates couldn’t imagine the Internet, but people don’t change.
That’s a very good point; helps me understand the last few panels.
Wait, what just happened? I can’t read anything, there was a landslide! D8
Wait, I think I understand the title. It’s three styles attached to three different names. I think I like the last one the best. It’s the cutest. And there’s the couple again. C:
NO. WHERE’S THE KID. WHERE IS HE? WHERE WHERE WHERE DON’T LEAVE ME LIKE THIS D8
26. Oops, I’m not mathematical enough to understand this. Poor kitty. 8/
27. A WHOLE COMIC FULL OF PUNS? MY LIFE, IT IS COMPLETE. THOUGH I WOULD NEVER WANT TO EAT ANY OF THESE THINGS. MICE KRISIPIES.
28. Clearly you get a small, horny elephant.
29. This reminds me of Hitler’s Time Travel Exemption Act. This states that if you go back in time and kill Hitler (or even just accept him at art school), something even more horrible will rise up to take his place, possibly because what happened in Germany was not the fault of one man as it was an expression of German frustration at the time as channeled through one f***king insane psycho. 8[
Am I allowed to say that this is a path that logic might take, even though I hate it? Also, I do not know who Aram from Men in Hats is, but he must be pretty unpleasant.
The More You Know.
31. Omg. HE LIVED! HE LIVED! This makes me happy and I don’t know why. And THE FLYING FERRET CAME TO SAVE HIM! THE FERRET FLEW! SUNSEETTT!
I’m elated now. Now the ferret better bring him to a mommy or I’m not going to believe he can fly anymore.
32. I have often wondered this, like perhaps if colors are all tinted one color for someone based on the color of their eyes. But the last panel was great. Doug, you rock.
33. In response to this comic of self-reference I will proceed to summarize it and make obvious and unfunny remarks. Continue to read something that will have no effect on your life.
34. It may not be a comic, but I love this flower picture! Something about the black background just makes it all shiny and neon-y and fffawesome. Seriously, super-pretty. Inversion is awesome then.
35. Does Randall Munroe Dream Of Electric Sheep?
…I’m sorry, I had to say it. If you missed it on the site, Randall Munroe is the author and artist’s name. I must say I’m liking this comic so far, mostly…
36. “Sometimes, Science cannot solve everything. Love, Religion.”
…I’m sorry, I had to say that too.
37. I broke out into a wide grin when I read this, because all of a sudden I REALLY WANT TO DO THAT, TOO. Not just move the hyphen, but make fun of the nuances of language. Ass-car. Heeheehee.
38. DAD, WE KNOW. WATCH COMMERCIALS.
39. This boy looks like the barrel-boy. Perhaps remembering his time at sea? Anyway, this comic sobers me a little, makes me sad. Also makes me hope the ship sinks first.
40. My lovely friend Ben describes some of Xkcd’s earlier strips as “lovey-emo.” That fits this comic perfectly – I want to send it to someone I love RIGHT NOW. Bygod *gives everyone in that strip a hug* Also, I am in total awe at the simple pencil-shading in this comic. Simple, but beauteous.
41. Indeed, the tree stumped him. And why would people snoop through his stuff? To get to his pictures? I’d totally do that!
42. That’s…one way to go about it, I guess? Or you could switch to Geico and stay out of prison. That also works.
43. Wait wait. What are the red spiders doing. They’re building something THEY’RE GETTING IN THROUGH THE WINDOW OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT D8
44. Why would this one make you wince, mouseover text? Because it’s kind of pointless love? To be fair it’s the best I can say about love, but not the best xkcd has ever said about it, from what I’ve seen of what xkcd can say about love. See strip #40.
S’also worth note that this is the last strip dated “January 1, 2006.” I’m going to guess Mr. Munroe put the earliest stuff up all in one batch and then started actually updating day to day. So it could be said that it is here that the strip actually starts. Am I right? Probably not?
45. Wait, perhaps I was right about a change – I don’t see any random graph paper lines anymore! Even if it does still look a little different and rougher than other strips. I love the way this one works, though, with the Schrodinger logic. To be fair, I did giggle. Does that mean the cat is dead or not? D8
46. Aww, this strip is adorable! I went to look up who Kurt Halsey was, and he was not on Wikipedia! So after I thought INDIE CRED, I looked him up on Google and OMG THIS GUY IS AWESOME. His style reminds me of strips like #40 (though to be fair it should be the other way around). Fffflsjf. Distractions.
47. Why do I feel so triumphant looking at this? I feel like grabbing a stick and joining them is what I feel like. GO, GIT THE SPIDERS
Their love seems so simple and sad, this way…they are very profound standing fellows.
49. I started smiling wider and wider with each panel, loving this sort of love, and then I got to the fourth panel and was like “humans.” Thanks, xkcd, for always putting me in my place. 8P
50. A STRIP THAT UNDERSTANDS ME! As those of you that have read either Penny Arcade (I just realized I have forgotten thus far to link to webcomics I namedrop, which is very mean of me) or my Penny Arcade commentary know, much of Penny Arcade is incomprehensible unless you have played every game the Penny Arcade boys have played. Clearly Munroe was either not happy or wanted to be referential. Probably the latter, based on a strip I saw later and which we will eventually get to…
51. I’ll say. And that’s all I have to say.
52. This is quite possibly the best quote I have ever seen, in my entire life. I think I’m going to make it my wallpaper, Hipster Potter be damned! The mouseover text tells us that no two adjacent circles are the same color. But what about the WHITE circles, Mr. Munroe? Eh? Eh?
53. Stick figures have a lot of hobbies, I see. I think this stick figure should stick with saying “ass-car” D8. And, obscure video game references? No matter how many times you make fun of Penny Arcade, YOU CANNOT ESCAPE ITS INFLUENCE.
54. I cannot identify the science in question. Sorry, Mr. Munroe, I’m a English/Humanities person, not a science person.
This is probably Xkcd’s most famous strip, and also its most beautiful. I’m going to post it twice because it’s that awesome. Forget #40, I’m going to send this on a card to everyone I know. Even the people I don’t like because it’s that awesome. It’s just so…sweet and sad and nerdy. It’s nerd emo love. Which is the best.
56. As soon as I saw this I typed “Friday I’m In Love” into Youtube so I could try and guess what “Clocks” might sound like if sung by him. LOL, I love this one. Munroe’s facial skills are okay.
57. This one started sad, then got sadder, then got pretty ridiculous. In the end I couldn’t decide if it was a romantic “please stay near me” comic or a terrifying fluke. A HILARIOUS one, though!
58. Why do these comics start out sweet and then have a twist in the end? Because it’s funny, I guess. These almost make me wonder what turned Munroe’s heart from math jokes to love jokes…
59. I don’t understand what “opening dialogue by Scott” means. But, ANYWAY…I love how this is not only a commentary on modern American twentysomethinghood, but ALSO an excuse to show off a beautiful illustration of a coast and lighthouse! I want to hang out in a lighthouse, but at the same time I am pressured to go to college. Huh.
60. I absolutely agree with the mouseover text. And I too only watch for the half. But I am the smart one – I only watch HALF of them before losing interest! HAH!
61. So I stared at this comic for about thirty seconds, slack-jawed, and then my head exploded. If you don’t get the joke, you were never eleven. (Also, if you WERE never eleven, please stop reading this D8) He has a point, though. If I saw a single mom acting the way Stacy’s mom did in the music video, I’d be pretty worried…
62. I confess I know nothing about Karanaugh maps. But the words I know through metaphor, and they are perfect. Aww. So many potential valentines.
63. Ah, Xkcd knows all sides of love. xD As pithy as this is I can never help but laugh at it.
64. Is this the same guy in the hat as all the other strips? Because if so, he’s a bitch!
65. I am of the continuing belief that this is what every conversation between males consists of. Including the last line. Especially the last line.
I read the mouseover test and literally could not stop laughing for a year. If the commentary is late, it’s not just because I rediscovered Flash Flash Revolution!
66. Sometimes, Xkcd makes me feel smarter. Today, it has done me the honor of making me feel stupider. (To be fair, I CAN find Orion. I just can never find the Big Dipper.)
67. I don’t understand this strip much at all. Is Nerd Girl blaming male nerds for her own social ineptness? Forget her, I love you!
68. The fact that these comics were done at 5:30 AM makes me wonder about the context. I shall write one sentence about each panel.
I would totally go to an 80s night at a club. Seems like a huge non-sequitor. That guy has a sword. 8D I verily agree. Daylight savings often gives me this feeling. THOSE FACES. MATH. Considering a male mermaid is a merman, does this mean there are only lesbian mermaids (and on that occasion, are married mermaids mermatrons?) Uh oh. What? No, wait, this makes perfect sense.
69. How appropriate that this is a sex joke for #69. And I don’t know – I think if someone was thinking about intense math or science in bed it would be immensely awesome. Do I have a date yet?
70. THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING CONCEPT ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET.
71. The trick to being a successful storyteller is to tell the same story different ways. Munroe has pulled this off quite amicably.
72. I have to admit – this guy really IS a classy asshole! If I was a bit more of an asshole I would be inspired. Though I must say, children will usually choose to eat rocks on their own. So I say, well played, author, well played.
73. I cannot decide what joke to place here. Should I say ADVENTURE TIME!, or Good heavens, just look at the time? Tell me.
Nerds. Gotta love ‘em.
75. I must agree with the mouseover text, LANGUAGE IS AWESOME. Especially used in this manner. I wanna try, I wanna try. Uh… your cousin is a f*cking tosser!
76. At first I found myself thinking that the first two panels were sad in and of themselves, because they described a relationship plateau rarely seen in movies. Then I read the fourth panel.
Why would this fellow be with a woman he doesn’t like for years? Answer, because it’s a joke, guys, chill out.
77. That mountain is gorgeous! And despite the antiAesop at the bottom, it is indeed good to walk around the world every once in a while.
And I giggle at the mouseover text. I wonder what it means. Does it mean Randall Munroe walked around the world all the time and now spends his life on the Internet? Or did he associate everything in his life with Livejournal? Curiouser and curiouser…
78. This is probably the best Garfield comic I have ever seen in my life. (And to be fair it WOULD be awesome if a comic suddenly switched gears for the heck of it. Like…Baby Blues suddenly going post-apocalyptic. Or Calvin and Hobbes returning to print.)
Also, the mouseover text is bitchin.
79. This guy’s myriad hobbies make me go :3. I like how this one is subtle, but still a nerd win. And the fact that he can do it on the fly…even though he is a stick figure, I must say, damn!
81. Ah, asshole revenge in comic form. Usually if it goes outside comic form you get a year or so in prison. ;D
…I…I can’t stop staring at this. It’s like a beautiful, beautiful train wreck. It’s grabbing at my eyes…
83. Yes, girlfriend, lighten up! That WAS incredibly sweet. And having a boyfriend with mannerisms somewhat insensitively termed “gay” can sometimes be kind of awesome.
I really want to play Katamari now. Too bad I do not own the game. Or a Playstation.
84. Panel one, I see a conversation that can only go in bad directions. Then in panels three in four it went in absolutely awesome directions.
85. HOLY CRAP, I CAN KIND OF UNDERSTAND THIS MATH. I wonder if mathematicians think this way all the time. If they do that’s kind of awesome. And also attractive.
86. As they say in the world of irony, burn.
87. HAHAHA. LAAAME. Though it does remind me – Dinosaur Comic does not have velociraptors. It does have a utahraptor. But it’s not the same.
88. I kind of want this bracelet. Also, if you have that twist in your gel band, you’re f*cked.
He said yo momma.
90. I am very, very surprised that I have never had this conversation. I need to have it. Now. Quick, someone, ask me where their f*cking jacket is! (Should I keep censoring that word? I feel like I have to…)
91. I don’t really understand the difference between a RPG and an adventure game. RPGs are not necessarily multiplayer, so…uh…yeah a text version of any of these is not a good idea
92. The first panel, especially as paired with the mouseover, is beautiful, thought-provoking, even wistful and lonely. The bottom panel, with all the people dancing at night, just seems to contrast it. Too much has been written about clubs, too little about mornings.
93. So, Mr. Munroe, you hate on us that have Holy Grail memorized, yet you’ve memorized The Lion King? Wait, no. I can’t hate that! And I’d love to have Scar doing all my lines. Though, you get first dibs.
94. I’d say the xx’s on AIM names are annoying, but as I happen to have them wait no they’re still annoying. Anyway, this is an almost perfect representation! Inside jokes annoy me because they tell me nothing, livejournals are neat, and AIM tributes to significant others? Cute as long as they aren’t…not cute.
96. Why do I find myself wishing I could have this conversation? On either side, I believe. But I can’t decide which. Do I want to be awesome, or know someone that awesome? I think the latter.
97. Ah, Simple Plan! I haven’t thought about them in years! Funny thing was, back when I did like them at age eleven or twelve, I liked them not only because I knew they were serious, but because they were more serious than anything else I’d ever heard and also they narrated my life. Such funny things I thought when I was twelve and attended Catholic school at one of the nicest towns in America…
98. Why are so many of these so sweet and so sad? ;_;
99. I don’t think I have enough friends for all these valentine-worthy strips!
100. Not the most perfect Family Circus parody I’ve ever seen but a pretty fantastic one.
And there’s the first hundred Xkcd strips. You know what? After reading one-hundred Xkcd strips, some of which weren’t even strips at all, I feel something like I do after reading one hundred Dinosaur Comics in that I feel smarter, but something unlike I do after reading one hundred Dinosaur Comics in that I am not exhausted, but smiling and waiting for more to come my way. I don’t think I’m raving yet, but I’ve seen enough lovely connections of logic to be thirsting for even more.
So, I do think that Xkcd commentaries will be a fun thing to do, yes they will. C: Anyway, let’s take a look at what else is on the site! First it would appear that the author has a blag, though the first entry is in October of 2006 and we are currently in May of 2006 so you may have to read ahead a bit for relevance. There is also a store. Like many great webcomic artists, there is a published collection of Munroe’s work, with selections from the first 600 comics. There are also prints and posters, but as they are of comics I have not reviewed yet I don’t want to spoil myself and thus I will highlight them at the appropriate times. But the mousepad is still awesome, as is the shirt based on comic #55, and also this shirt based on comic #23, and also this shirt I wish I could wear everywhere.
And that’s it for Xkcd for now! We’ll let it sit for a week or two as we rejoin the boys at Penny Arcade this Friday as they experience the horrors inherent in the turn of the centry! Love you guys! I hope you enjoy what I’m doing!