xkcd

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'Are you stealing those LCDs?' 'Yeah, but I'm doing it while my code compiles.'

Warning: 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).

xkcd is a Stick Figure Comic by Randall Munroe. It is a gag-a-day comic, and generally does not have a continuing plotline or continuity (though there are occasional short story arcs). Many of the jokes are based on math, physics, UNIX and Internet memes, as well as romance and sex.

Originally a relatively unknown set of personal sketches and doodles, it grew in popularity in 2006 when other webcomics (such as Dinosaur Comics) began linking to it. However, it was when Randall posted a "Map of the Internet", and said map was subsequently featured on Slashdot, that xkcd's popularity truly erupted. Since then, it has been among the most well-known of webcomics.

Of course, you wouldn't know that just by looking at the comic. The characters are still drawn as very basic stick figures, with no facial features other than hairstyle (which is often used to distinguish males and females). However, there are three recurring characters who can be recognized by their respective headgear:

  • "Black Hat Guy," a Jerkass Badass character with a black pork-pie hat, who in one storyline encountered a woman who out-Jerkassed him, and has now become a romantic interest.
  • A beret-clad Cloudcuckoolander, generally thought of to be an Existentialist, albeit one with a thing for pastries.
  • A dark haired woman, referred to in several comics as "Megan"; she shares many of the same interests with the nondescript Author Avatar and is commonly shown to be in a relationship with him. Was the main character of the "Choices" Series.
  • There also seems to be a recurring main character with a distinct personality (most likely the author's own), but since he looks exactly the same as all the other stick figures without hair or hats, it could be argued that he's just a stock character.

There are other recurring characters in the same social circle -- e.g. the dark-haired existential nihilist -- but most of them are less distinctive.

Has mentioned the original TV Tropes wiki. The wiki has returned the favor, taking many xkcd comics for page images (see Xkcd/Trivia for the list).

xkcd is part of the documentation for goto on the PHP website, and was mentioned as a ticket in a changelog[1].

Numerologists take note: adding up the numerical values of the title's letters yields a sum of 42. Coincidence? ...Yes.

Reached one thousand comics[2] in January 2012. As the above-mentioned main character says, "Wow - just 24 to go until a big round-number milestone!"

On July 11, 2007, xkcd became the first web comic website to be archived by the Library of Congress.

In 2012, xkcd launched a Spin-Off blog/column called what if? in which Monroe addresses serious (but frequently off-the-wall) questions about science with a combination of surprising rigor and thorough tongue-in-cheek, along with illustrations in his trademark art style (don't forget to hover your mouse over them all).

Tropes used in (or by) xkcd include:

0-9[edit | hide | hide all]

A-E[edit | hide]

Guy to Guy: Wow, you suck at math.
Guy to Girl: Wow, girls suck at math.

"I hate whatever marketer first realized you could do this."

Now and then, I announce "I know you're listening" to empty rooms. If I'm wrong, nobody knows, and if I'm right, maybe I just freaked the hell out of some secret organization.

I eat my body weight in food every thirty-one days. That's slightly faster than the human average. [stares off at the clouds then falls down] I'm part of the floor now.

"Can anyone tell me what's wrong with this picture?"
The white balance, for one.
Focus is a bit too close.
The chromatic aberration suggests you bought your camera because it had "the most megapixels"
THE CAR IS ON FIRE!

Black Hat Guy: I plead the third.
Congresswoman: You mean the fifth.
Black Hat Guy: No, the third.
Congresswoman: ...You refuse to quarter troops in your house?
Black Hat Guy: I have few principles, but I stick to them.

F-J[edit | hide]

K-O[edit | hide]

Black Hat Guy: Let's make a deal. You stop trying to tell me where, when, and how I play my movies and music, and I won't crush your homes under my inexorably advancing wall of ice.

We did not invent the algorithm. The algorithm consistently finds Jesus. The algorithm killed Jeeves.[5]. The algorithm is Banned in China. The algorithm is from Jersey. The algorithm constantly finds Jesus. This is not the algorithm. This is close.

The story behind that is as follows: In 2007, some billboards popped up in New York with those sentences on them, as part of an apparent viral marketing campaign by ask.com. However, they apparently didn't finish it; the phrases didn't return anything relevant on Google. Randall decided to exploit this by having the many bloggers in his fanbase post the sentences as links to xkcd.com. He added them to the site itself so that the effort wouldn't be misinterpreted as an attempted Googlebomb. It worked; if you Google the phrases, the top results are all references to xkcd.

Alt Text: Guest comic by Bill Amend of FoxTrot, an inspiration to all us nerdy-physics-majors-turned-cartoonists, of which there are an oddly large number.

P-T[edit | hide]

The point is that there are too many stars. It's been freaking me out.

Chomskyists, generative linguists, and Ryan North, your days are numbered.

"Are the raptors contained?" "Sure. Unless they figure out how to build lightsabers."

"Fine, walk away. I'm gonna go cry into a pint of Ben&Jerry's Brownie Batter(tm) ice cream [link], then take out my frustration on a variety of great flash games from PopCap Games(r) [link]."

U-Z[edit | hide]

Person: Try the physics lab next door.
Zombie Feynman: I said BRAINS. All they've got are string theorists.


xkcd.com is best viewed with Netscape Navigator 4.0 or below on a Pentium 3±1 emulated in Javascript on an Apple IIGS at a screen resolution of 1024x1. Please enable your ad blockers, disable high-heat drying, and remove your device from Airplane Mode and set it to Boat Mode. For security reasons, please leave caps lock on while browsing.

  1. For those curious, here's #619
  2. As there was no comic #404 due to an In-Joke, the actual 1000th comic is the 1001st as opposed to the milestone one
  3. Yes, we are
  4. You'll be moved up from 49 of 7 billion to 31 of 7 billion.
  5. In context, possibly a reference to the search engine rather than the hypercompetent valet