1. Becca says

    Making Light has links to the original Discovery Channel ad, the original xkcd cartoon, and an animation of the original cartoon, too.

    there’s also a wonderful blog-centric pastiche at comment 96 that, with a few changes, could apply here, too.

  2. plien says


    Are there people who do not love xkcd? The horror! Won’t somebody think of the lines….

  3. Becca says

    There’s a new Mr. Deity in my podcasts, too. Life is good, in spite of this terrible cold I’ve got.

    (Thou 386sk, please go to and read through the archives – you’re missing some great stuff. Make sure to read the popup text that appears when you hover your cursor over the cartoon, too.)

  4. sammywol says

    wave to the making light guys!

    and yes PZ, thanks for asking, this new registration is working much better for me than the previous incarnation.

  5. Carlie says

    But it’s been quite mediocre to bad for some time now.

    If the one about the Range Rover didn’t rip your heart out, you have no soul. Nyah.

    I played this all day yesterday. It’s such a stupid little song, yet makes me so inexplicably happy.

  6. Carlie says

    …and of course, I meant the Exploration Rover, not the Range Rover, because although I have a soul, I apparently have no brain.

  7. cocker.splodie says

    I have to admit to being another former xkcd fan. It hasn’t done anything for me for a while.

  8. says

    @Carlie: Yeah, that one was one of the rare good ones (and there I disagree with the writers on xkcdsucks, who ripped it to shreds) :P

    Still, comics where I’m not thinking either “Meh, not funny” or “Ewww, creepy” are few and far between.

  9. frog, Inc. says

    Drmccoy: There are more people who feel like me, too:

    The question is, is xkcdsucks at least as funny as xkcd? Cause that’s real pathetic when you’re a humor critic who isn’t as funny as your target — and not just someone with a one off criticism, but a long-term commitment to criticizing.

    Like being a professional AGW denialist who’s never actually run a simulation yourself. Gag.

    Compare “Garfield vs. Garfield” to a sucks posting.

  10. skeptical scientist says

    I assume Cory Doctorow was the guy in the cape and goggles? It sort of defeats the purpose of having all of these geek icons if you can’t recognize them. I did think that aspect was pretty cool though.

  11. says

    @frog, Inc.: Humour critics have to be funny now? That’s bullshit. O_o

    Newsflash: To be able to criticise something, I do not have to be able to do better in the criticised field. I do not have to be able to do stand-up comedy to say someone sucks at doing stand-up comedy. I do not have to be able to write novels to say someone write at a 2nd grade level. I do not have to be able sing well for criticising someone who’s completely tone-deaf.

  12. Sastra says

    There were some people who looked familiar, but the only ones I recognized were Phil Plait of course, and — I think — scooter.

    Nice, but it’s no Narwhal Song.

  13. Andyo says


    Posted by: Author Profile Page |
    February 9, 2010 12:24 PM

    @frog, Inc.: Humour critics have to be funny now? That’s bullshit. O_o

    Newsflash: To be able to criticise something, I do not have to be able to do better in the criticised field. I do not have to be able to do stand-up comedy to say someone sucks at doing stand-up comedy. I do not have to be able to write novels to say someone write at a 2nd grade level. I do not have to be able sing well for criticising someone who’s completely tone-deaf.

    But you are wrong when you tell something’s not funny to someone who’s laughing.

    It’s not that it’s unfunny, that blog is pathetic. What’s kinda funny though is the “Trimester” “criticism”, where the guy calls people who say the Demetri Marti joke is different, “retarded”, and then proceed to explain a completely different joke than was made in the comic.

  14. Rey Fox says

    Xkcd. Dunno. I used to find it too smug and cute, then I read some strips that were actually pretty funny and clever. Just not quite enough to make me want to follow the comic.

    So I don’t “love” Xkcd. But I can’t quite imagine starting a whole blog dedicated to ragging on it. I mean, it’s nice to see that you’re not alone sometimes, and that there’s a place you can go if you don’t like something that a lot of other people do like (crashing their party is kinda rude), but a whole blog updated daily? Too much negative energy, man. It shows when you read the post criticizing Xkcd for supposedly ripping off a punchline from a standup comedian. That’s a stretch.

    (And despite being a fan of Life In Hell and Dinosaur Comics, I think the web has resulted in too many comics with little-to-no effort expended on the art.)

  15. SaraJ says

    Rey Fox @25

    I definitely “love” xkcd, I’ve even bought my boyfriend some of the shirts (“science, it works bitches”, “Stand back I’m going to try science”) but I can see why others might not like it.

    That being said, I totally agree with you that the blog that is just ripping it to shreds is weird. Are you really going to spend that much time and energy on actively hating something like a silly web comic? It just seems a tad over-the-top. And what happens if the blog creator actually LIKES one of the comics one day? Is he going to make fun of it and hate on it simply because that’s what his readers want him to do?

  16. jennyxyzzy says


    Yes, I had the comic with Spirit as my Facebook status message last week – it made me cry every time I read it – poor lil rover, left alone up there on Mars, and he had tried so hard and so faithfully to do what his masters wanted. :-(

  17. Tulse says

    I’m super-impressed that Neil Gaiman not only reads xkcd, but would also appear in a video praising it.

  18. ShaneD says

    Trigger control fail at 0:28; one of the fundamentals of gun safety. That, my friends, is how you “accidentally” shoot someone or yourself in the face.

    Of course, he probably had it unloaded which is a violation of one of the other fundamental rules of gun safety: always treat a firearm as if its loaded (different handling practices with loaded/unloaded firearms creates complacency).

    As someone who handles firearms fairly regularly it just makes me cringe. It is very uncomfortable to be around some amateur with sloppy gun handling skills.

  19. toth says

    Was that MC Frontalot I spied?

    Sidenote: One of my friends from high school’s cousin is the author of XKCD, and she’s roommates with the guy who runs the business side of the comic of something. True story.

  20. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    xkcd is like many comics, it’s usually funny, sometimes it’s awesomely funny, sometimes it’s unfunny.

  21. llewelly says

    I have to admit to being another former xkcd fan. It hasn’t done anything for me for a while.

    There’s no such thing as a humor format which works forever. Inevitably, the brain develops a tolerance for it, and higher and higher doses are required to make the user reach the perceived level of amusement reach in the early days. Eventually, a joke that would make a new reader roll on the floor with laughter, will make a long time user think “when did this comic become so boring”? The only answer is to stay away from the format until you’ve nearly forgotten what it felt like. Then, for a little while, it will seem new and be funny again. And then you’ll need to take another extended break from it.

  22. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    For those of you who didn’t care for the xkcd song, here’s something you might appreciate:

  23. Sili says

    I still don’t know who (most of) those people are.

    I recognised Richard Wiseman, but I don’t think I’d have notice HWil Hweaton if Phil Plait hadn’t told me to look out for him. And I only know of Corry Doctorow, because xkcd tells me he dresses in a cape – he wasn’t floating in a balloon, though, so perhaps it was a cosplayer.

  24. Stogoe says

    I have to admit, writing a blog dedicated solely to throwing rocks at somebody else’s webcomic takes dedication.

    Stupid, arrogant, dickwad determination, but determination all the same.

    I don’t get it. But then again, I don’t get 4chan or encyclopediadramatica, either.

  25. JJ says

    While I agree that xkcd isn’t as funn yas it once was, I still enjoy it. I’d imagine it get’s tought to keep pumping the high-quality stuff out.

    My favorite of all time, as IS database nerd is:


  26. says

    JJ@46: My mom manages a tech support team for a company whose software works in coordination with school databases. That was her introduction to xkcd – but I wasn’t sure at first if she was going to laugh or cry.

  27. Andyo says

    Here’s a scientific question. I wonder if the “used to be better” assertions are just us remembering the hits and forgetting the misses.

  28. SaraJ says

    drmccoy @35:

    I still saw plenty of criticism in that blog post. The guy can’t simply get away with saying something nice about xkcd. He has to find something to criticize, even in a comic that he finds “impressive”. I stand by my first point.

  29. jrsutter says

    On the xkcdsucks blog.

    That person is obviously seething with jealousy. I don’t know their story, but to target a particular comic and just rail against every update says more about the author of the blog than it does about XKCD.


    No, if you want to critique something, you don’t need to be an expert. However, if you are going to target a specific comic/musician/web artist/whatever and devote your time to constant criticism of just them in a public format such as a blog, you should be funnier. What is the value in reading something that updates 3x a week how much something sucks if its A. not funny and B. certainly less funny than the object it attacks. I read through it and it was all just a bunch of nerdrage. Its embarrasing for the author that it exists.

    XKCD is more popular than he could ever hope to be, and he knows it (I assume it was a dude from the tone and style). That is a point you can’t argue.

    Anyway, you can not like XKCD. Im sure lots don’t, but lots of us enjoy it. You not liking it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to us. If you are going to express an opinion it should contribute in some way to something. Just railing against something that irritates you because it achieved a level of popularity you couldn’t ever hope to (or whatever comic/thing you are a fanboy of hasn’t achieved) is only going to hurt you. Its a waste of time and energy.

    That guy needs to get over it.

  30. Cerberus says

    Holy shit, that xkcdsucks thing is like a doctorate level thesis on petulance and pathetic devotion to investing oneself in hatred.

    Honestly, I don’t get the attraction of investing oneself in hatred. The author darts between various justifications of why it sucks owing to the vast diversity of offerings on hand, resists any attempt to notice positive things in order to fulfill a dark world where each new posting is somehow a new level of affront to himself personally. And his postings on the aspects “he used to enjoy” kind of reveal himself to be a complete idiot on the aspect he’s decided to pin his nascent self-esteem on making himself god-king, that is to say humour.

    See, if you’re going to deride someone for being an insult to comedy or having lost comedic appeal, one does not need to be say personally humorous or satirical. One can be openly pedantic, prone to over-analyzation, or adopting a wholly formal critical voice.

    However, one does need to understand comedy at some aspect, the literary theories of comedic creation, why things can be funny, etc… Or at the very least, if they are devoting an entire blog to a premise that is: This used to be good, now it isn’t, one must have a reasoned understanding and a compelling consistent narrative defending this case.

    See the things this author thinks he’s trying to be. The one-off criticisms of newspaper comics for instance such as the brilliant takedowns of why Garfield has lost the edge and surrealism that made him initially much more intriguing to read. They take a premise and defend it, consistently, and have a full and deep understanding of the comedic arts to draw on.

    This guy, owing to the diversity of the source material, ends up schizophrenic. He has to deride vast varieties of comedy and when he tries to defend “the good ol days” his tastes reveal him to be, well, humorless. I mean this in regards to his open fetish for graphs and recursion as wholly being of his subset. He disdains any form of surrealism or pattern breaking, despite the fact that two things to set a pattern, one to break it is the baseline of almost all humor in humanity. Furthermore, he makes it clear that he probably wasn’t ever really the right audience (because he has no sense of humor first of all, by which I mean he’s a serious minded geek which isn’t really a crime, but it does mean that one would take his opinions on comedy about as seriously as Ben Stein on anything).

    Frankly, we see the real reason for the emotional investment in stark unfortunate terms.

    Flip through the archives briefly stopping on the latest emotional breakup one, then stop at his list of “ten good xkcd strips” (his pathetic attempt at defending his grudge). Note its commentary about women on both aspects. Despite the one he chose in the good strips being a genuine masterpiece (wow, girls suck at math), his reason is hollow (it shows, doesn’t tell) and in order to note that this is a feminist cartoon masterpiece, he goes on a paragraph rant about feminists forcing things on him. The last emotional breakup one is even more revealing. He goes on a rant about how emasculated the man is and how he’s now a woman and that makes them children and how it doesn’t make sense, but the man in the comic is a fag, grrr.

    Yeah, gee, wonder why when Randall Munroe started including some genuine defenses of the fairer sex, this blog author suddenly decided that he needed to take his perturbed shallow enjoyment of xkcd and devote large sections of his life to pre-hating everything he ever did.

    Sure, it doesn’t make since in a sane world, but speaking as a member of the fairer sex, it makes an unfortunate amount of sense. Thanks to how masculinity is defined in our society by our society (as a toxic masculinity at odds with the positive aspects masculinity can provide, often defined by its violent opposition to anything deemed feminine to ward off potential loss of it), men see it as crucial to their being to defend their masculinity above and beyond the call of duty. Basically, to devote huge swaths of time and effort in distancing oneself from the feminine or trying to savage it in order to raise one’s profile in the ranks of other men who are scared that not playing the game will mean someone will talk away their masculinity and they too will be women.

    In short, the blog seems to exist as a giant extension of fragile geek masculinity of a shallow fan trying desperately to strike back at the poisoning of his bodily fluids by the newly “feminine-dominated” Randall Munroe.

    Which is kinda sick, but also fails at its purpose, because like with most things born out of illogical animus, it doesn’t have enough consistency or depth to be either illuminating or entertaining.

    It is in even shorter, sad, just sad.

  31. Cerberus says

    Sorry for the long post, but it’s interesting to me trying to figure out the real origins of animus when they lack intellectual consistency.

    I mean I hate the religious right wing, but I have a host of documented reasons why including a reason why I would bear long-lasting grudge (they actively seek to undermine, persecute, and out and out destroy people in several subgroups that I am a part of). But it also is in a context. I wouldn’t spend my entire life trying to personally make every one of them suffer and hoping to needle them personally. I call them assholes, I debunk their shit, I hate them in contexts where they are unavoidable.

    But the all-consuming hatred that dominates one’s life, takes it over, especially when it is something that doesn’t impact one personally. I mean the closest a hack can come to impugning something personally is if one is a member of the same community of the hack and hate how they are dominating one’s community with their bad ideas or how they are a let down to the craft of the community and even then it’s better as a one-shot or a grudge rather than devoting an entire book or comic strip or blog to it and having that hatred eliminate one’s own ability to form anything of their own in the community.

    And it is fascinating in its own way. Not in the obviously illuminating sense a genuine take-down can produce (say Fred Clark’s Left Behind takedowns which provide a full history and sociology lesson into the rapturist cultists that end up dominating so many of our more inane cultural battles), but in the sense of why those works can be interesting to take down. Left Behind is almost most interesting not in what it has done to society, but in how its appeal can be. Why do some people devote entire lives to petty things like getting back at the hippies? How does something like “make the liberals suffer” become a whole scale movement.

    In this respect, the author of xkcdsucks gives us a small snapshot and is probably fascinating in a thousand ways. I mean, I went and commented on the “defend masculinity” aspect, but what about the need to define oneself by pre-decided opposition as we often see in say the massive movement of people who seem to take pride in not being PC or not supporting anything a liberal does regardless of what form any of these takes? There’s a fascinating mental aspect of humanity there wherein opposition somehow fulfills and emotional need.

    I suspect its a side-effect of the fact that dominant groups often get defined as default or neutral. Being a man or white or straight is well, “normal”, boilerplate, unable to be defined, so in order to have a cohesive identity without becoming something “weird” one has to arrive at group cohesiveness and tribalism by defining the default tribe by its resistance to invaders. Ok, straightness isn’t really anything, but at least we’re not queers.

    I guess what I’m saying is analysis of whys is more interesting than whatever catharsis can come about by just deciding to hate something and that’s why I’m a scientist rather than a sad sack of shit.

  32. Diane G. says

    I guess what I’m saying is analysis of whys is more interesting than whatever catharsis can come about by just deciding to hate something and that’s why I’m a scientist rather than a sad sack of shit.

    Bravo, Cerberus. For both comments.

  33. Moggie says

    I’m hoping that, one day, the true identity of the xkcdsucks guy is revealed, and it’s… Randall Monroe.