Died in a Blogging Accident has lived up to its name and died... in a blogging accident. That is to say it has concluded. You can still re-live the magic by clicking here to start at chapter 1. For genuine criticism of XKCD, please click the top link to the right (XKCD Isn't Funny).

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Comics 1241-1245: The Good, the Bad and the Badly Drawn

Greetings. As you may have noticed I have changed the order of the reviews, just so it makes more sense for people scrolling down the blog,

Note: I said I'd post this 'tomorrow' but since the sun didn't actually rise here in Britain, I waited a day.

As always, hover over the images for alt text, and if you're using a mobile device, you'll just have to see it with your inner eye.

1245: 10-Day Forecast

Now this is a good xkcd. It takes an obviously absurd scenario, and connects it to something mundane like a weather site. This is in the same vein as great comics like Google Maps. A* for absurdism. Negative zip codes are a nice touch.

I like the way it escalates to more terrifying 'weather' each day, eventually leaving the godforsaken place with a forecast of nothing but static and darkness. It gets an A* for that. Perpetual Tuesdays are also a nice touch. And I'm sure some of xkcd's more devoted fans would agree that a land where were always Tuesday (a day that xkcd doesn't update) really would be a living hell.

D for the alt text, sponsored by Amazon.

1244: Six Words

I didn't know what Kerbal Space Program is, until I looked it up to write this review. Apparently it's a simulation game, but I hadn't even heard of it. D- for standalone value. I should not have to look things up to enjoy my comics. I know Dresden Codak has defended this in the past...
The added bonus, for me, is that looking up new information like that is just as enjoyable as reading the strip itself. I’m not sure if everyone likes doing this, so I also try hard to make the comics readable without having to know every reference made, [...]  
...but even he tries to make his comics readable to people who don't know the references. xkcd simply doesn't care. He's even mocked Penny Arcade for doing this, but he probably doesn't even realise he's doing it himself. So F for self-consciousness.

1243: Snare

Okay, this bothers me for two reasons. Black Hat is the sort of guy who trolls people by doing legal but annoying things, like using a mosquito buzz as his ringtone, or pretending to write a diary on a train (remember that?).

In comics like these (and some others) his classhole-ism is elevated to the status of outright supervillany, except that Black Hat would make a terrible supervillain because he never has a motive for anything.

This would have been a better comic if it had an actual supervillain character, like Dr Robotnik, or Lex Luthor, or heck even Tony from Real Life Comics. It actually sounds like something Tony would do. True, Tony almost never has a motive for being cartoonishly evil, but he's still a better character than Black Hat. Yes, I just said that Real Life Comics has better characterisation than xkcd. F- for characterisation.

And fuck you Randall for telling and not showing. You should SHOW, DON'T TELL when you're writing a comic about a megastructure designed solely to take down satellites, which might actually look pretty cool.

And forget what it's not showing for a second. They could be talking about anything, and the artwork would still suck. F-- for artwork.

Add another F for the clunky setup in the first two panels, none of which would be necessary if he DREW A FUCKING PICTURE. Jesus.

1242: Scary Names

What's wrong with this comic? I think 'nuclear football' sounds scarier than 'Chernobyl packet', or at very least equal, but our Good Lord Randall (No shit, that is actually what some fans are calling him.) seems to disagree with me. Mustard gas is halfway up the 'sounds scary axis', for pete's sake. C- for accuracy.

And if anyone dares tell me that this stuff is subjective, then I might as well revise my C- to a subjective F.

Also this comic probably set the record for the most people looking things up on Wikipedia due to an xkcd comic. I'll give it a B- for standalone value, since knowledge of those things is not essential to get the comic.

Lastly, do you feel he could have picked some better examples? I don't see 'blue waffles' on that chart. D for rigorousness of the examples.

1241: Annoying Ringtone Champion

The joke? It might raise a smirk if it was told well. And the alt text added to it, so C.

D+ for artwork. It's unclear, really unclear. I would not have got the joke, or understood it in any way if it wasn't for the caption. the 'hmmMMMMmmm' is not a good onomatopoeia for the sound a mosquito makes. It is not clear that the sound is coming from Black Hat's phone. But that's to be expected given the material we got. It's a joke about a noise. I don't think there is a good way to tell it in a visual format, hence the +.

Also, the reason the buzzing mosquito is annoying is because it's right next to your ear, and therefore just about to sting you. The whole point is that you only hear it in one ear. A phone, no matter how good the stereo speakers are, cannot reproduce this unless it is right next to your ear. So F for realism.

No, there is no footnote here. A* (pronounced ay-star) is the British equivalent of A+, and we will now be using it here from now on.

Oh, and if you googled blue waffles, I am not sorry.


  1. I didn't google blue waffles, I fondly browsed through my favourite porn folder.

  2. You could be qualified to get a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.