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).

Friday, February 14, 2014

Comic 246: Xkcd-sucks loves you

Happy Valentine's Day, Cuddlefish. Since you are cuddlefish, you most likely are alone for the 14th of February. Allow me to fix that. Tonight I will be reviewing comic 246, while naked.

Comic title: Labyrinth Puzzle

Alt text: And the whole setup is just a trap to capture escaping logicians. None of the doors actually lead out.

This is one of cptnoremac's favourite comics, though I can't imagine why. It's not that it's awful. It's just that it doesn't really excel in any way.

The premise is based on a classic riddle, which most people have already heard some variant of. If you are familiar with cult '80s films, you may have seen it in Labyrinth, which I am guessing the title is alluding to. It would be nice if the comic told the reader why they would be asking the guards questions, and not just assume that the knew that part. It's a minor gripe, but C- for standalone value.

I'm just gonna say the joke is kind of weak, and leave it at that. D for humour. The joke in the alt text is a little bit better. D+ for alt text humour. But then again, didn't Labyrinth already do something similar to that? The idea of solving a riddle but failing anyway because the riddle itself is a lie is not a cliched attempt at humour per se. It's just that it's obvious. People don't make jokes if they're obvious, unless they're just passing around quips in casual conversation, or unless they're Randall Munroe. It works as a movie plot twist, because the last fifteen minutes have set up the expectation that the titular labyrinth is a cruel place, but has a few rules. When those rules are subverted, it is a surprise for the audience as well as the character. But the joke in the alt text has no set up, except for the single panel comic with an even weaker joke. This panel only sets up the expectation that the system is rigged towards not letting anyone escape. How is it at all surprising that all the doors lead to failure.

I am probably overthinking this. Let's move on. D- for Black Hat not being Black Hat. C for... I dunno, the artwork?

Thanks a lot cptnoremac for hardly giving me anything to review. But of course, it wouldn't be Valentine's Day without a gift. I know I promised you fanfiction in the summer, but you're such a lovely audience, I think I will give you a little taste of it right now.

❤        ❤        ❤

Randall's Bad Dream

Randall woke up in his ball pit. It had been the thirty-fifth time in this dream that he had woken up, and yet his creative mind was not working. For all he tried, he could not think of a witty reference to a 2010 sci-fi thriller for this situation.
"Wait a minute. You haven't even seen Inception," cackled the ugly Carl "Ugly" Wheeler, as he sneered at Randall from underneath his balls.
Suddenly, Carl transformed into a velociraptor. Carl had always been a velociraptor. And he was an ugly velociraptor. Randall could hear the Jurassic Park theme, playing all discorded and out of tune. He tried to run, but the door was on the other side of the ball pit. He stumbled and fell face first into a load of balls. The raptor lunged, and snapped its jaws closed upon Randall's spindly neck. Clever girl.

Randall woke up again. Where could he be this time? He was in a bed with white sheets, right where he remembered falling asleep. Surely he was properly awake now. All the walls in his apartment were white. The sunlight from the bedroom window was shining brightly in his eyes, so everything in the room looked white.

Randall crawled out of the bed, and walked through the open door to the bathroom, hoping to find his Megan reclined over the bidet, shirtless, offering him a chance to suckle at her milky milk pillows. But what he actually saw was a mirror, the large mirror that hung above the sink. But it was not showing his usual reflection. Instead of his body, he saw a skinny black line, extending from his crotch up to his neck. Two more lines jutted out from his neck line at odd angles, his arms.

And his head... His head was nothing more than a big white circle, slightly larger than his original head, but perfectly smooth and white and bald and slightly elongated. Featureless. Randall had turned into a stick figure. He had always been a stick figure. Randall tried to scream, to open his mouth, but he could not, because he had no mouth. He tried to close his eyes to shut out the blinding horror that confronted him, yet he could not. Nothing could take away the hideous ugly situation that faced him now that was having no face with no eyes. He couldn't draw eyes.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Comic 1322: Houston, we have a booger.

Title: Winter

Alt text: Stay warm, little flappers, and find lots of plant eggs!

Okay, I admit, I laughed a bit at 'plant eggs'. But then again, I have seen that kind of humour before. Do you know who it reminds me of?

Ralph Wiggum.
"I found a moon rock in my nose."

Except not exactly. The comparison is not apt for a few key reasons. First, Beret is not a child, or at least he is not dumb. He made a choice to be like this, which he explains here in the fourth panel. Other than that they have quite a lot in common. They are both fairly one-dimensional characters. They both use the wrong words for stuff. Yet they both show a measure of intellectual curiosity - Beret has his exoplanets. Ralph has his "Hi Super Nintendo Chalmers. I'm learnding."

I really hate the word 'manchild', but I've noticed it is surprisingly apt for Beret.

As an aside, all Xkcd characters can be imagined as children. It sometimes makes the comic funnier, and sometimes it makes it a lesser clone of SMBC. I tried imagining Beret as a child in some of the previous comics he appeared in. I found works with most of them. Try it yourself.

I don't know about you, but I think if Randall actually specified the age of his characters and made Beret a child, it would be kinda cute. The moral of this review is that children are just better, or rather that people will judge you less for your idiocy if you have the face of a child. And that reality will remain until children are afforded equal rights.

Since I kind of have to give grades at this point, I give 1322 a D for humour. D- for lack of a punchline. D+ for the premise, and B+ for the cuteness of the little kid with the beret, though it's an imagined B+.

You know, I think I might start imagining you guys as children. It would make the comments section more entertaining.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Comic 631: The Idolatry of Flesh

Comic title: Anatomy Text

Alt text: For many of the anatomy pictures on Wikipedia, I think this is actually not far from reality. They only look all formal and professional due to careful cropping.

Gentlemen, I have been waiting a long time to review this comic. Number 631 represents a turning point in Xkcd's history. It may have introduced a great many of you to the hate community in the first place. Not since CADbortion has an online comic been so divisive, so polarising, so worthy of hate. We may never see another one like it.

And let me begin by saying I don't hate it at all. I think it is fucking brilliant. Many other Xkcds have been about witty little conversations with Black Hat, about computers and people's opinions, and they are boring as fuck. THIS show us what Xkcd is capable of. Here is an Xkcd that is not afraid to take risks. This will be remembered as a true classic, because just one time, Randall was able to throw off all his pseudo-intellectual pretensions about being a webcomic artist and draw a cartoon vagina.

What is the problem here? That he drew a vagina? Feh! Vaginas are part of the human body. If you're not lucky enough to have one between your legs, then you have a schmeckel, which is arguably worse. My point being that people are only offended by these parts because they're not used to seeing them, because they are offended by them, etc, etc. Thank the lord Randall had the schmutz to try and break us out of this vicious cycle. Otherwise God forbid, we wouldn't be allowed to show pictures of genitals to our children.

Randall gets a rare A* grade from me for genuine subversion. Let's explore that subversion in more detail, shall we? In panel one we are shown a well-composed portrait of the human bosoms. I say bosoms, but it is only the right one. Is the left one even there? The suspense is spine-tingling. We shall have to wait till the next panel to find out.

We never do see the left bosom. What we do see is jaw-droppingly detailed depiction of Megan's vagina (vulva to use the correct term). Words fail to describe it. This is perhaps the best artwork I have seen in an Xkcd to date. A* for artwork, Randall. You thoroughly deserved it.

After this roller-coaster ride of exposed parts, what do we expect for the next two panels? The captions would have us believe they depict penises, in both flaccid and erect states. Are they two different penises, or the same penis at different points in time? Is it circumcised?? We may never know, because our anatomical crusade is cut short by a voice off-camera telling us that "You can't do that in here." truly the villain of the piece.

Our expectations are fully subverted when it is revealed that our disrobed heroes are in fact taking photos of themselves in a crowded restaurant. This is made all the more astonishing by the fact that the details around the photos and the captioning in the first few panels build our expectations that they are in a more controlled studio setting. But Randall and Megan are true risk-takers, and they are not afraid to create art that offends people, both in the sense of the in-story production of the nude photos, and the real life production of the comic. A** for subversion of expectations, on both levels of fiction.

My only problem here is that Randall does not draw the male member. Rather, he shies away from depicting nudity of both genders. A- for equal gender representation. Why did I not give him a worse grade? Because he gives us the next best thing. He lets us imagine it ourself. I have sometimes heard it said that the most powerful Xkcds are ones that you can imagine yourself (to quote Luggage: "It's in my head.") However, that is mostly a flimsy excuse for lack of artwork. In this case however, it is a perfectly valid reason, because you are totally imagining Randall's dick in the third and fourth panels without even trying to. Don't pretend you aren't.

Randall continues to show us that he is a master of suspense by covering up the nude stick figure in the final panel. This leads us to question the very nature of the comfortable reality that is Xkcd. Are all stick figures nude? We have certainly learned that they are anatomically correct. And that is a very important thing to learn. Remember that it may be Xkcd readers' first time seeing the female anatomy. This comic fulfils an important duty of guiding those individuals towards sexual awakening, which is an important, nay essential, step towards growing up. This comic is in many ways an expression of what we are and who we can be when we become adults. A******++++ for helping us to grow up.

Thank you, so much to Anon 12:13 for requesting this review. I hope it was to your satisfaction. I don't want this blog to become an echo chamber, so I fully invite you to share your own opinions in the space below. You are allowed to disagree. Just know that if you do so, then you are a prude.

Say hi to me on Twitter while you're at it.

By the way, if you got fired for reading this at work, then you fucking deserved it.