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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Comic 960: FedXkcd

Title: Subliminal; alt-text: Once you see it, you can't help seeing it every time. Until your body finishes metabolizing the mushrooms.

You know what, let's start this thing off on a good note. Randall shows instead of telling! The guy sees crazy stuff, and Randall shows us the same thing! Oh. And then he has to tell us what we're seeing. Well, scratch that, I guess.

The main problem with today's strip is that it has no substance. This is essentially equivalent to someone saying, "What do you think that cloud looks like?" and someone else responding with something wacky. If Randall had started there, he would have realized that that's no joke. Problem is, he didn't start there.

No, this joke likely came from Randall discovering the FedEx arrow for the first time and thinking, "I bet I can make a comic about this!" (You can tell by the way he tries to hide it with the line, "I thought everyone knew about it.") Further evidence for this theory comes from the fact that the setup, focus, and punchline of the joke are all distinct from each other (and I'm giving him a lot of credit by not counting the "medication" line as post-punchline dialogue).

Think about it. Subliminal messaging (in this case, the FedEx arrow) is one distinct concept. Seeing shapes and images where they don't exist ("pareidolia" for those of you interested in the so-called "soft" sciences) is one distinct concept. Blaming medication for something is one distinct concept (seriously, think of how many jokes that punchline could finish). Ever seen the "Cartoon Wars" episodes of South Park, where Family Guy jokes are constructed by manatees matching up several random "idea balls"? That's what this is. This is a manatee joke.


  1. Even Randy should have realised that a reader's attention would obviously be drawn to the final panel, thus ruining the setup. The obvious solution would have been to make the first two panels as colourful and full of detail as the final one.

    Once again we must suspect that the joke is actually on the reader. The reader looks immediately at the final panel, thinks "what the hell is that?", and returns to read the setup. Unfortunately for him, reading the setup only makes the final panel less interesting than it had been.

  2. The worst part of this comic is that he's used almost the exact same punchline before, and it wasn't funny then either.

  3. I suspect Randall didn't start out with any joke at all. I think he started out with discovering (reading about) the arrow, and then doodled that last panel trying to put other 'hidden images' in the logo.

    The drugs and shit were just added to turn it into a 'joke'.

    Interesting thing is, his doodle is so over-the-top with the 'hidden' imagery that there's barely anything left of the logo.

    Whadya bet that that third panel will appear on tee-shirts soon?

  4. Honestly, I laughed. I thought it was pretty funny. The Jobs one, I mean.

  5. I was expecting a cancer comic, so given that the Jobs cartoon is ok. But somehow, more I think of the beachball metaphor the worse it gets. It's bit like if Gates had died there would have been inevitable jokes about the BSOD. Perhaps the most obvious jokes that could have been made are avoided, but it's still bit like "Steve Jobs died, let's take a moment to remember how slow and unresponsive those macs could sometimes be."

  6. Oh, Friday's comic is a reference to Steve Jobs? I've never used an Apple product, so I didn't know that. It's pretty good if you get it, I suppose.