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

Friday, October 8, 2010

Comics #800 + #801

Super-wonderful-mashup time!

Source Comics

800
Beautiful Dream
801
Golden Hammer

Redone Comic (click to enlarge)

xkcdredone40

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.

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