A reworking of individual comics from Randall Munroe's webcomic xkcd.com. Got questions? Go here

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Okay so um yeah

Yeah I'm not going to post on here anymore. I would recommend you go over to the now-official xkcd redone site to get all your remix happiness.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Comic #809

(NOTE: This was cross-posted over on the other site)

I'll give you some insight into my creative process here - sometimes, if I don't have an idea about what to do with the comic right off the bat, I'll just take out all the dialogue and see if something pops out. This is what popped out at me:


Does anything about that say "Los Alamos" or "Plutonium Bombs" or, hell, even "Science" to anybody? It looks like three guys having a conversation and one of them says something embarassing. I mean, hell, for as much as that art contributes he might as well have reused 701:


Here's how the no-dialogue version of 809 plays out in my head:

Panel 1 - So guys, let's take the development of the nuclear bomb (one of the most important events in world history) and sap all sort of emotion out of it!
Panel 2 - Yeah man, how can we make this as dull as possible?
Panel 3 - Let's set it in a nondescript room and make the characters nondescript people. They don't even need to look like scientists or soldiers!


And it's not like the situation is being misrepresented; it's more like the situation isn't even getting a say in what's happening (quite ironic). I mean, there's obviously no tension regarding the Los Alamos testing; it's not like he can end the comic with the earth blowing up because (spoiler alert) they didn't blow up the earth. So really, he doesn't get any traction out of Los Alamos, unless you think that a pointless reference to the events that inspired the modern classic Fat Man and Little Boy is somehow a meaningful contribution. Which it isn't. You could make the comic this and it would still work:

Well, work for what Randall is trying to do, which ain't much.

I'm going to say a couple nice things about the comic, just to change it up. One, I like some of the dialogue. "Unleash Heaven's Fire" and "Cleansing Conflagration" are both semi-decent phrases. Two, the impediment to becoming "as gods" is basic trigonometry. That's not a half-bad concept.

...On the other hand, the word choice is unbelievably clunky. "We have a decision." Okay, what is it? What decision? To withhold your research? To sell it to the commies? To kill everyone on base? What? All I see is a boom-bust proposition; either you become "as gods" or you kill everyone, including yourselves. But they never state the possibility that they won't go through with it; in fact, they seem rather set on the idea. "Okay, so Steve fucked up, we'll just redo his work and go on." Oh, wait, no, there's some weak opposition. "I don't know about it now guys..." I suppose I would be hesitant too if I found out you don't even need a high school diploma to work on the atomic bomb. OH WELL.

Moving on to the Grammar Nazi Lightning Round!

"As" is a bad preposition in this context. "Like" is a much cleaner choice; it flows better with "us". Also, the oxford comma in the second panel doesn't serve any purpose; you can safely delete that. "Cleansing" and "Destroying" don't make much intuitive sense in the same sentence. And for the love of god, will you people please stop saying "for the love of god"?

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Site

Hey you guys should all go here.

Is this me shutting down this site? Probably not for now, no. But it does mean there are OPTIONS now.

Comic #807

Source Comic:


Redone Comic (click to enlarge):


Hey guys, remember this xkcd? Or this one? Yeah, those are totally invalidated now. Stop feeling good about love. STOP IT. Real love is about critical thinking! STOP BEING IRRATIONAL AND OVERLOOKING YOUR PARTNER'S FLAWS.

In all seriousness, I'm amused by Randall's example for "young love". Most people think of a couple naive twenty-somethings (wrongly) assuming blind optimism (and sex) will carry their relationship forever. Randall, however, evidently thinks of, like, a couple 8th-graders playing hookie or something. I mean, seriously, does anyone over the age of 13 really think that "we like the same song" is the same as "we are lifemates"?

You know, I just had a thought. Let's see how many of the past, like, 50 xkcds have been about bad relationships (in descending order):


Almost 1/5th of the comics have been about bad relationships. Okay, so the banner says xkcd is partially about romance. Fair enough. There are bad relationships; romance sours. That's pretty obvious. And you know, maybe just including the bad relationship comics is creating an inaccurate picture of xkcd. We should be fair and include the xkcds about good relationships too, huh?


Um, where are the good relationship comics? Surely there must be SOMETHING humorous about a good relationship, right? Let's keep looking.


Okay, there's 746, which was the creepy baby-with-shotgun one...there's 744, about having a bad one-night stand...oh, hey, look there's 734! They get together in the end! Wait, it's a romantic comedy, those don't count because they're fantasy (and as 807 proved, fantasies are BAD). Ok, there's a string of mostly math/technology jokes...then there's 717, which...we're just going to skip over 717. Should I bring up 713 and 712? Eh, probably not.

Oh, hey! 708! Almost 1/8th of xkcd later I find a GOOD RELATIONSHIP! Surely this must be the point where the series of good relationship comics ended, right? Yeah, see, there's 704, where he shacks up with "Mrs. Leinhart", I guess that one works. I can see why he switched it up, he must've been running out of happy relationship jokes for the time being.


701 is a breakup valentine. 698 is a messy breakup over a phone. 695 is...is that an analogy for an abusive relationship? Oh god. And 686, that's about being overly clingy after a relationship is over. And 685, the one right before that, that's about not being able to sexually please your partner (which might be why 686 happened...)

You know what, I'm going to stop here. I looked further, but honestly, making all those links is damn annoying. Let me just give you the quick and dirty - it doesn't get much prettier. Suffice it to say, about 15% of the comics from 685 onward are about bad relationships. Conversely, just over 1% are about good relationships (and just under 1% if you keep it to comics that were "unambiguously" about healthy relationships).

...Guys? Is it safe to say that Randall doesn't have a positive view of relationships, like, at all anymore? I mean, I know he used to; I linked two right there in the first paragraph. But I mean, like, is he the reverse Zach Weiner? Are his comics just going to continue to be sadder and sadder as his relationships continue to spiral downward? That can't be, right?


Saturday, October 16, 2010

#806, with a VENGEANCE.

Source Comic

Tech Support

Redone Comic (click to enlarge)


Hopefully I made my point in my last post. If you don't get it, basically I'm saying that it's more nerd superiority with the poor facade of a shitty punchline barely masking its pungent putridity.

Seriously. That putridity is fucking pungent.

...Wait, did I just make an xkcd joke? Dear God, I think I've become corrupted. I'm going to stop here and contemplate what monster I've become.

[EDIT] Oh dear God. I forgot to adjust the borders on the image so there was a large amount of empty space around the uploaded remix. So I fix it, save it, upload it, and then find out the image got erased when I saved.


I'm just going to think about something else for awhile.

[SECOND EDIT] So luckily I was able to retrieve the address for the original in Google's image cache. Thank God for Google. I might've had a breakdown if I wouldn't have found it. Three hours of fiddling with the minutia of an xkcd is not something I typically like wasting.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

#806, kind of

This isn't the *actual* remix; this is just something fun (and possibly enlightening).

How could it be enlightening? Well, ask yourself a question - if today's xkcd ended exactly like this, would you be AT ALL surprised?


I don't think anyone could reasonably reply "yes".

Friday, October 8, 2010

Comics #800 + #801

Super-wonderful-mashup time!

Source Comics

Beautiful Dream
Golden Hammer

Redone Comic (click to enlarge)


So I figured since 800 and 801 are basically the same comic (early in the morning, a bleary-eyed non-nerd attempts to relay the past night's happenings to the Wise Sage Nerd, who passes judgement on the plebeian's activities) I might as well remix the two together. All the cool kids are doing it!

Anyways, 800 and 801 are drenched in condescension, though that's hardly new. The thing is, even though Randy is kinda right (The Rules and The Game are both horrible, and overcomplicating things for personal comfort is ridiculous), he makes no attempt to a) offer an alternative, or b) state something meaningful. It's just "Go away idiots, I don't want to deal with you." I'm sure everyone wants to get rid of the idiots in their lives...which is exactly the problem - everyone already wants this. It'd be like going up to someone and saying, "Yeah, how about those dumbasses, don't they just SUCK?" And yeah, they do, but so what?

Let me draw a corollary here to Bill Engvall, who is kind of famous as a comedian in some parts of the world. He has a routine he does called "Here's Your Sign". I'll direct you to YouTube to find an example.

(Sadly, YouTube fails me in producing a catch-all video)

Okay, done? Now, see the difference? Both are calling out people as idiots, yet Bill Engvall has a purpose to his sketch; by wearing the "signs", the idiots are flagging themselves as people to be avoided. In other words, the sketch is providing a service to the general public.

Now, I don't think Bill Engvall or this routine is ultimate hilarity. I think it's a rather cheap routine, in fact, but it is funny every now and then, for two reasons:

1) Good Content - He typically uses examples of extremely common reactions, making his humor relatable as we can "see" ourselves in the joke.
2) Good Imagery/Form - The mental image of someone walking around wearing an idiot sign is, admittedly, funny because of how absurd it is.*

Compare it again to these two comics. The content (douchebag dating guides and flawed single-use machinery) is, to his target audience, relatable, and for a variety of reasons (one being pedantry, the others being...well, you can guess). The form, however, is horrible. There's no external imagery that enhances the joke. There's no internal imagery that creates a joke. All he is saying is that people who use these things are dumb, and that's hardly humor.


As for the remix itself, I didn't try to resolve the issues with the above joke; rather, I replaced them with character jokes (Megan is crazy in the morning and BHG is a moral clusterfuck).

One thing I wanted to do but really couldn't was include that massive closeup of Rob in panel 2 of #801, but I couldn't think of a conceivable way to do it. I thought of maybe having that as the lead-in panel and then having the BHG/Megan panels placed next to it vertically, but there's really nothing interesting that I could come up with for him to say. Maybe he'd be angry about how long it took him to do something? But then he'd just have a weird outburst at the end which would frankly be a worthless non-sequitur. So I figured I was fine with him being in the background and I would relegate his "joke" (that he spent all night doing a pointless and nerdy thing) to the alt-text.

If I get the inspiration for something better I'll post it and put the original down here. Who knows if that will happen though.

*See also opening to Die Hard 3.

Comic #796

Source Comic

Redone Comic (click to enlarge)


I've actually had this one sitting around, but I was trying out Pixelmator which saves files in a proprietary format (.pxm) for some stupid reason. It took me a week to figure out "Hey I can just print screen and upload that." Yea, verily, I am far from brilliant.

Anyways, my last post had all the really pertinent commentary I care to share about this comic; otherwise I would like to point out that this xkcd is pretty much all the refutation of the original one would need.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Comic #797

Source Comic

Redone Comic (click to enlarge)

Oh Linux, will nerds ever not love you?

At any rate, I like the concept of locust attacks, but I don't like the concept of locust attacks feeding into power-tripping hacker fetishes (which is basically xkcd in a nutshell). Besides, based on my experience with the "user-friendly" Ubuntu, I'm pretty sure my remix isn't far from the truth.


Notes on the last comic (or things xkcd sucks didn't cover):

1. Okay, yes, California has enacted some, uh, "experimental" legislation in the past. California is also bankrupt. I'm sure creating dating registries wouldn't end up high on their to-do list.

2. This just reeks of the worst kind of white-knighting. Guy has one bad relationship, suddenly believes himself qualified to protect all women from all bad relationships, completely ignoring the fact that a) bad relationships can, and frequently do, help people realize flaws in themselves, such that removing them entirely is even more harmful in the long run, and b) claiming to be an expert in all relationships makes you just as much of a douchebag as Seltzer and Friedberg. And hell, at least Seltzer and Friedberg have the first Scary Movie. All you'll ever have is a can of mace being sprayed into your eyes, you arrogant little prick.

3. "such a serial liar"? Pick and choose, Randy. She is either "such a liar" or "a serial liar". The two together make no sense. It'd be like saying "he is such a serial killer" or "he is such a serial code". Neither make sense.

4. Who the hell is White Hat Guy?

[EDIT] Wait, no, xkcd sucks covered #4. DAMNIT. Still, though, WHO THE FUCK IS HE? Also, WHY DO I CARE?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Comic #765

Source Comic


Redone Comic (click to enlarge)


I was heartbroken when I uploaded this to Blogger and saw what happened to it. Apparently, when I saved and closed out in Graphic Converter, a horrible glitch irreversibly scarred it. I don't know why this happened, but it's extremely saddening. If you can get past how it looks, though, I think you'll find one of my best comics yet.

Anyways, as you who have read my first post know, I try as best as I can to work within the framework of the source comic when I make my remixes. Notably, that means I don't use assets from other comics (outside of Megan's hair and BHG's hat), but that also means I try to keep the same basic storyline as the original. It makes sense (to me, at least) - it's basically a second draft of the original comic.

I bring that up because the entire original storyline was "man prepares to shoot water up vagina". It's important you know what I do for you guys, out of LOVE*.

And ew, the water (which he mixed with semen) is dripping out onto the floor. EW.

By the way, let me give you a brief history lesson courtesy of Wikipedia: the inventor of Homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, died in 1843, over 140 years before Randall was even born. He invented homeopathy in 1796, almost a full 200 years before Randall was born. HOMEOPATHY IS NOT NEW. MOCKING IT IS NOT NEW. Hahnemann *himself* supposedly poked fun at the concept of dilution.

This is worse than Randall mocking JFK over a minor communication error. This is the annoying pedantry that the world hates. Hell, this is blatant hypocrisy, too. Remember last friday when he mocked the hypothetical anthropologists (those highly-trained fake scientists) who might email him critiques of his "misleading" comic? Read today's alt-text again (you can mouse over the original to find it) - he "corrected" a leading magazine for a fake science! He sees nothing wrong with incorrect portrayals of science, I suppose, as long as he is the one to incorrectly portray them. His mind-set is mind-boggling.

By the way, Mr. "Real Scientist" Randall Munroe, while you're finding the correct spellings for flowers on Wikipedia you might as well re-read the article on evolution: *no* belief is selected evolutionarily. Evolution doesn't even select for belief in itself.

I don't want to type anymore. This tires me.

*...of hookers and blow

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Comic #764 *UPDATED*

fuck you randy

Check out the xkcd sucks blog post. They put it just as well as I could.

So yes, this is another no-remix post. Alas, when you have source material this atrocious there really isn't anything you can do (I almost wrote "subject matter" instead of "source material". I seriously considered keeping it that way.) How about I instead point you to a different project of mine, Large Round Eyes, wherein I write short, one-off flash fiction from the perspective of children. I update it pretty sporadically, but the content's top-notch, promise. It's at least better than this blog's source material. I mean subject matter. I mean ANGRY WORDS.

[EDIT] I caved and made a remix for the comic. I figured, "Hey, that's the whole point of this blog, so I might as well provide some sort of meager validation."


The edit at least makes the nerdy reference explicit. It's the least you can do for your audience who may or may not know about indigenous peoples with poor understandings of abstract quantities.

On the plus side, "One two many" is a nice pun, even if it's handed to you on a platter.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Comic #763

It's perfectly fine. Not the first time he's made the joke, but hey, go check it out for yourself and form your own opinion. As for myself, I'd probably add a chair for the old man to sit in and a beard or hat or something to, you know, mark him as an old man, but it's not really a substantial enough edit to warrant a remix.

In other news, remember that extended commentary I did on that one zombie xkcd? Well, I'm going to beat that horse a little more by pointing to this excellent drawing of Gabe and Tycho I saw on gabeart which I stumbled across when rereading older, circa-2006 Penny Arcade posts. See how nicely it's formatted? But that's not why I brought it up.

Now, one of my points (in my rant) was that the action in a flat shot should only take up about 1/3 of the frame. Clearly the "action" takes up 1/2 of the frame - roughly 400 of the 720 centimeters this picture is in length*. Actually, that's more than half. And I like the picture! I must be flagrantly wrong! Or am I?

If we actually consider how much space Gabe and Tycho themselves take up, we see it's only 350x400cm of the 550x720cm of the entire picture, which equates to just over 35% of the frame. The other roughly 15% of the frame is the pigeon. *In aggregate* Gabe and Tycho only took up a little over a third, so I'm not flagrantly wrong, right? Right. No, wait, wrong. WRONG. The bird is integral to the shot and removing it invalidates the piece - at best it looks like Tycho is going to fall over and they both know it (and aren't doing anything about it because it's KRAZY to fall over). Great comedy, guys! You almost deserve a spot in an xkcd comic!

Anyways, this finding convinces me to make an addendum to my original point - if you intend to have only dialogue or only narration (or you want a flat shot devoid of any prose), you can use 1/2 the screen. If you use both, only use 1/3. I'm still convinced 1/3 is the optimal, but then we can't always have the optimal, and this shot works just fine in defiance of my "rule".

Also, for the record this is what that pic was destined to become.

*When opened in GraphicConverter. Your Mileage May Vary.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Comic #762

For reference, a simile is an explicit comparison via the preposition "like" - "a simile is like a metaphor". A metaphor, conversely, is the same thing without "like" - "a simile is a metaphor". The difference is the degree of similitude; in a simile they're comparable, yet not identical, whereas in metaphor the two are interchangeable (or some quality is implied to be interchangeable).

Source Comic


Redone Comic (click to enlarge)


I'm kinda disappointed in how this one turned out. The ultimate joke (in mine) is that there's awkward gay tension after he said "I still want a sandwich"; I'm not sure, based on the lack of expressivity of stick figures, that I could've pulled it off in so few panels. At the same time, though, it would've taken an absurd amount of time to do it right (it took me an hour to do this alone in GraphicConverter, which - while still much better than Paintbrush - is about 4x as long as it would take in MS Paint. Glorious, glorious MS Paint.) All-in-all, I feel fine explaining the joke and hoping that perhaps I'm too close to it to see it well, or whatever.

As for the original comic, the dialogue is so mind-numbingly stupid it defies explanation how even Randall thought it would fly. Let's bullet point the action of the comic:

1) Stick Dude In Chair (or Rob) makes a sex joke about a threesome.
2) Megan says she isn't good with metaphor and instead suggests she make a simile instead.
2) She never makes a simile. Instead, she wordlessly leaves to make a sandwich for her patriarchs.
3) Rob points out the astonishing truth that a simile is like a metaphor. If you have even a passing knowledge of analogies (like, if you read the italicized paragraph at the beginning), you know this already.
4) Other Stick Dude (Carl) points out that "simile is like a metaphor" is a simile.
5) Rob then asks for the meaning behind a statement he, Rob, made. Yeah, really.
6) Carl plays along and introduces the word "analogy"...
7) ...which allows Rob to act smug and disseminate his Great Knowledge that similes and metaphors are both analogies for no real reason...
8) ...except to now allow Megan to spout off the mildly clever circular logic that Randall thought up the other day when he was hanging with his Heterosexual/Mathematical Life Partner Steve and making him sandwiches and talking about how easy liberal arts majors have it.

I'll name this list "Obvious Stupidity".

Y'know, there's also a lot of latent anti-feminism in here. Instead of Megan responding to Rob's sex joke with "No, eww" it's "Nah, how about I make a simile?" Unless she's a moron or a slut she would not say this. Hell, even if she was a slut she would be mildly coquettish about it, instead of brushing it off like it never happened. So the moron woman then goes off to make sandwiches for the men after spouting off a second line of dialogue, the existence of which could only be justified as it introduces the word "simile" for the "smart, intellectual" men to logically debate over (in other words, even her dialogue is subserviant to the men). Then, at the very end, she chimes in with what I guess is supposed to be a victorious final phrase, yet is really more awkward, pedantic, idiotic dialogue, the equivalent of which is "Hey guys, I'm still making sandwiches in here! Look at me making sandwiches like a good woman! I also make good analogies! Please love me!"

Now, don't get me wrong here, I don't think the concept of a woman making sandwiches for herself and her friends (or *gasp* as a housewife for her husband) is innately bad or anti-feminine. I've met women who honestly enjoy that - no parental brainwashing or domestic abuse or emotional blackmailing involved. That's not my point. It's that, given the widespread usage and connotation behind the phrase "Bitch, make me a sandwich" - a phrase I and undoubtedly many others thought of after reading Megan's first line of dialogue - and given Randall's extreme white-knighting in so many other comics against, say, the stereotypes of women concerning housework...I mean, you'd THINK he would've picked up on this. But you'd be wrong, because Randall is, in actuality, a misogynist who only sees women as objects for his pleasure. It's okay, though, because he recognizes the TRUE VALUE of his objects, unlike those unevolved apes who use them for icky sex. Heterosexual/Mathematical Life Partners Steve and Randall would never do that! Their sex together, I mean with women, is totally not short and unfulfilling like their penises. No, wait, not THEIR penises, THE penises they saw on those beautiful, musclebound men in the hardcore gay porn they accidentally got from Blockbuster (it was right next to the lesbian porn, they swear!). That didn't stop them from watching the porn all the way through, though (for the plot, of course).

Damn, this comic creeps me out.

[EDIT] Oh yeah, and lest I forget, his usage of synecdoche (in the alt-text) is wrong as fuck.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Comic #744

Source Comic


Redone Comic (click to enlarge)


So I started using Paintbrush, which sucks dick. Hopefully I can find something better to use because the interface is pretty fucking horrible. Seriously, OpenSource people, how bad is it when a decade-old Microsoft program is kicking your asses at usability?

In other news, my previous list is a lie.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Return from absence

My shiny new Macbook came in the mail today! Hooray me. I'm still in the process of setting it up - getting my files transferred and sorted, finding applications that are missing from this thing (this includes an Apple corollary to MS Paint, sadly), etc. I'll have remixes up once I can.

Until then, here are a couple lists:

XKCDs being remixed - 738, 741, 743, 744, 746, 748, 749*

XKCDs not being remixed - 739, 740, 742, 745**, 747

*On the fence about it.
**Because it's actually decent.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Reason for absence

I haven't had a computer for the past several weeks (posting on a Droid right now). Rest assured, faithful reader - I have not abandoned you. When I return I look forward to remixing all the xkcds I have missed in my absence (with a couple easy-to-guess exceptions). In the meantime, take care.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Comic #737

Source Comic


Redone Comic (click for larger image)

Yogurt Haiku

Randall seems to be trying out a thicker pen for his comics. On the plus side, it let me make a hat for BHG that I absolutely LOVE and which I'll be using from now on. On the down side, he's not used to it and since he NEVER SECOND DRAFTS the stick figures look like complete shit. Oh well.

Anyways, if you have a hard time deciphering the joke in the original, that's ok. Basically, he thinks it's gone sour, but still wants to eat it, since it "might still be good". It's understandable if you thought otherwise: the second-to-last bit of dialogue from Yogurt Dude sets up his tone as purely sarcastic, which camouflages the about-face he has right at the end.

The horrible thing about the original is that it was so close to being perfectly fine (parallels to this comic may now commence). Remove that awkward bit about types of calendars and throw in something like "It smells like the Roman Civilization..." and voila, a much better comic. Here's a crappy example I literally tossed together:

Crappy Remix

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Comic #736

Source Comic

Redone Comic (click for larger image)

I hate this comic. Hate hate hate. Took me forever to do the stupid gravestones because Randall fucked up the drawings hardcore (not to mention the dialogue lines are out of whack, for some reason). I'll be the first to admit I'm a shitty artist; when I'm extensively editing artwork to make it better, you know it's bad.

Anyways, I was really annoyed that there are a whopping two gravestones, and they're placed in radically different angles. I'm aware that the human eye observes things in a slight radial curve, but it's a very very slight curve which we would barely ever notice since it's in our peripheral vision anyways, not in the center of our sight like this shot would be. So either Randall fucked up perspective yet again or it's the worst-designed graveyard ever. You can be the judge, since either answer is equally retarded (god help us if it's both).

Oh yeah, the original joke sucks balls and has been done better in other places.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Comic #735

Source Comic

Redone Comic (click for larger image)

I actually like the original. It strikes me as inconsistent that the kids are smart enough to understand how to manipulate lava, yet are still using wood and cardboard (at least I think the first kid is standing on cardboard) as "safe" places, but I suppose kids are KRAZY like that (maybe they're just imagining it's magic lava-proof stuff for some reason).

Also, I made BHG's hat from scratch and borrowed Megan's hair from Panel 3 of the last comic.

Friday, April 30, 2010

More on Comic #734

I don't really feel like my block of text about the format of the last comic really explained it well, so I'll devote a post to it since it's something worth sharing.

Anyways, comics are pretty typically composed of three general parts - the top, the middle, and the bottom. The eye interprets things this way. Let's divide the current comic into these three parts:

I drew these lines was based on the precedents set in the first panel. The narrative panel is in the top, the dialogue is in the middle, and the action is in the bottom. This is a fine setup, except for two problems.

First, there's dialogue in the top half. This interrupts the "flow" of the comic, and is the primary reason why it turns out so choppy. You expect that area to be reserved for narration, but there's dialogue instead. It appears messy and disorganized, which hampers the impact of the comic.

Second, the portions are skewed. The bottom alone takes up more than half, which leaves an awkward amount of white space for the third panel. Typically, "heavy action" panels work best when there's a sense of scale. For instance, the bottom panel of a comic shows a massive field with a guy shooting another guy. Usually the action will be in the middle or bottom of the panel. The point is to communicate the singularity of the moment; there's no dialogue, there's no other action, there's not even many (or any) other landmarks; there's just the two men and the single "BANG", occupying about 1/3rd of the vertical space. It emphasizes that nothing is or should be there. Think of it like an angle shot in cinema.

Conversely, the third panel doesn't have anything because there just isn't anything that's appropriate. It's just a flat shot. There's no emotion in it. It communicates state of being and nothing more; these guys are shooting a zombie. Wheeee.

Let's redo the first three panels to make this work, shall we?

A quick and dirty resizing, but I think it proves my point.

Now why did I only do the first three panels? Because the fourth panel is, frankly, completely asinine and deserves its own explanation. It moves everything around for very little reason; there's narrative on top and bottom and the figures, which until now have been entirely on the bottom, in sync with each other, are now higher up and have punctured into the middle of the comic. If the dialogue in the top half broke the flow, then the fourth panel takes the flow and shoves it up a Canadian's ass. Why is the door suddenly gone? Why are they surrounded by narration? Why is everything out of skew?

Isn't that nice and clean? Note that there's narrative in panel 3 now. You can still have narrative in a perspective shot, as long as it's the only voice. Remember, a perspective shot is there to show a situation in comparison to something else. In this case, action-heavy bottom versus no action in the rest of the panel; narrative dialogue versus no character dialogue.

Now, since the art in my remake there is admittedly shitty (quick is dirty for a reason), let's have an outside example of proper internal lateralization. Believe it or not, it comes from Garfield:

Truthfully, this is Garfield Minus Garfield, but the proper lateralization is what allows the minimalistic dialogue. There's an almost equal amount of empty area surrounding Jon on all sides; this implies to the viewer that there's a void in his life. When he says "I dread tomorrow", you believe him; you believe he leads an empty existence. Jim Davis might not know funny, but he does know how to properly format a comic (though, of course, it could be improved).

The great point we can take from this is that in visual mediums like comics, which relies on imagery to help tell a narrative (there's a reason why a picture is worth a thousand words), it's best to keep things as uniform as possible so that narrative is told smoothly. This is especially true of a minimalist comic like xkcd; you *need* to have every single element working together as flawlessly as possible. Sadly, in this xkcd it simply does not happen.

[EDIT] For funsies, let's throw in a version with only three panels:

Is it better? Is it worse? You be the judge.

Comic #734

I liked today's comic. I know zombie movies aren't known for their verisimilitude, but it's still fun to mock them every now and again. Plus! this is the first xkcd that mocks the genre, rather than throwing in some reference to String Theorists being dumb or those wacky scientists trying to get a low Erdős number.

Source Comic

Redone Comic (click for larger image)

At the same time, the comic had its flaws, chiefly that the art told the story yet the dialogue repeated it. This is an annoying convention of zombie movies, sure, but the point is that these guys AREN'T falling into clichéd traps. It's simple math: Existence of Zombie - Desire to Keep Zombie = Go grab the gun, Megan! You don't need to work for NASA to figure that one out.

The other, more fatal flaw was that the first two yellow panels are too far apart. When you read through it, your eye is focused on the storyline transpiring below the box. You see a yellow box of narration, then you four panels of an event, then you notice the other yellow box and your mind physically has to recall that there's narration. It *might* have been just fine, except that there's dialogue in the general area of the yellow boxes, which *definitely* breaks the format. It's choppy. By simplifying it to two panels you remove the unnecessary dialogue and artwork while simultaneously keeping the two yellow boxes next to each other and thus much easier to remember.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Comic #733

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So yes, I ripped the Megan model from Angular Momentum, but I warned you this would happen. I figure that since I mock up enough crap using existing pixels (like BHG's hat in the last comic) I can assume I'd eventually mock up a Megan model. It would take awhile, and it probably wouldn't look as good, but oh well. Besides, it's only the model.

Now watch, in six months I'll be splicing together six comics and including models from twelve others and justifying it with "I would have mocked it up anyways!"

Monday, April 26, 2010

Comic #732

Today's comic wasn't too bad. But, of course, it could be BETTER. Namely, with some BLACK HAT GUY!

Source Comic

Redone Comic (click for larger image)

The hat and the lines were ripped from the HDTV and the comic border, respectively. Unfortunately, I didn't know how to make them look more natural (the room's border lines are too thin).

Also, BHG will be back more, most likely. xkcd needs a more solid cast of characters with firmly delineated personalities. It started off as conversations between a couple random dudes, then it expanded to include BHG, then Megan and Beret Dude, now it's just the Rob and Megan Show. All this switching can really get on an audience's nerves. I'm thinking of keeping it to Rob, Megan, and BHG. Beret Dude, if he shows up again, can be replaced with either Rob or Megan depending on the situation (Rob will like pastries, Megan will be random). I'm debating if this means I should keep a Megan model handy. Hopefully I don't have to.

[EDIT] Oh yeah, Rob is just the traditional stick figure, which is why I wouldn't need to keep a model of him around.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Comic #731

Another day with no remix. Randall is slowly killing my trade with detailed, visual comics.

Source Comic

aeonite from the xkcd sucks IRC channel (#xkcd-sucks on Foonetic) had a good idea for a Lost remix that I sadly don't think I can adequately do in Paint:

"(Text inside the comic) 'Episode VIII: The Phantom Island. Turmoil has engulfed Oceanic Airlines 815. The taxation of trade routes has led to an invasion of squid creatures from the core of the planet. Two Jedi, Jack Starkiller and John Lock-Narr, are dispatched to the island to oversee the negotiation of....'

(Text below the comic) George Lucas can ruin ANYTHING."

aeonite also wrote a rather interesting article for The Escapist on lightsabers. Check it out.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Comic #730

No remix today. I deliberated on it all yesterday and came to the decision that this is one of the comics that isn't suitable for remixing (it's posted today because I was away from my computer).

Source Comic

You can probably imagine why I decided to abstain. The whole comic's really, really messy; it has a bunch of really weak jokes scattered everywhere without any real purpose. I'd remix it to have a meta-joke about non-electrical engineers being overwhelmed by complicated circuit diagrams, at the very least. Or I'd come up with a comic that wasn't retarded.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Comic #729

Source Comic

Redone Comic (click for larger image)

Today was a cop-out. I pretty much just removed extraneous frames and laser beams, which I suppose makes it objectively "better". The comic was just mediocre enough to warrant editing without being crappy enough to inspire me to think of something decent to make out of it. Not to mention that there wasn't a lot to work with, either. Randall gets points for showing instead of telling, at least.

FYI: The "hmm" in the last panel is meant to be ambiguous. Is he curious about the cat's dream? Is he thinking about torturing the cat with the pointer? Is it both? IS IT, IN FACT, HIS OWN DREAM? So many possibilities.

[EDIT]: Alt-text is active! Hooray for figuring out a very simple HTML command! Alt-text remixes are officially back, I guess.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Comic #728

I fell asleep before the new xkcd was posted so here it in the morning.

Source Comic

Redone Comic

Fun fact: I almost constructed an asterisk for the last panel OUT OF HER ARMS. I decided not to because having a "*cry*" image wasn't worth the weight on my conscience.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Comic #727

Source Comic

Redone Comic (click for larger image)

New Layout

After considering some very useful feedback, I changed up the formatting for xkcd remixes. I now also post the source image for easy comparison (still linking to xkcd itself) and, since it looked really awkward in the new format, did away with redoing the alt-text (plus I'm laz- I mean, the concept of alt-text is mildly retarded ANYWAYS...) (as of this post alt-text remixes are back).

You can view this new formatting for Comic #725

If you're one of the three people who reads this blog, please tell me what you think.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Comic #726

There is nothing good or salvageable about this comic. It's not worth a remix, nor is there anything *to* remix. This is worse than the Tetris comic, which I wasn't sure was possible.

Randall, you've outdone yourself. Congrats.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Comic #725

[EDIT] Shortly after posting this I realized that neither my comic nor the original had a proper end. Oops! Doing things hastily can sure lead to mistakes, huh Randall? Thankfully, this has now been rectified.

Source Comic

Redone Comic (Click for larger version)