As if we didn’t have enough random sites cluttering our bookmark bars, I submit another one for your reading intrigue. Randall Munroe has used simple stick figures to create one of the wittiest comic sites available. xkcd began as notebook doodles he didn’t want to lose to the ravages of time. A few scans, a test server, and a t-shirt or two later, Randall Munroe has achieved what we geeks all aspire to. He has turned his hobby into a real, grown-up, actually pays the bills job.
The following information I admit to stealing off the web. Should Randall actually read this, I apologize for the brief stint of stalking I had to venture through to write this article. I found a bit on his website as well as on wired.com from their interview. It was all in the best of intentions, and I promise, I’m done. Randall has worked for NASA making robots. He has a degree in physics and wit so sharp he could take on a ninja.
His webcomic is drawn simply. Just stick figures for the most part. The occasional electric skateboard. But he covers a broad range of very geek topics from computer programming to relationships to etymology to mathematics. Munroe takes high brow comedy to an entirely new level.
Munroe also ventures into pop culture, romance, politics (rarely), and the introspective existentialism with varying degrees of seriousness. Some will make you think, some will puzzle you, and I’ll freely admit that a number of them go straight over my head. Of course then I spend a good hour or two Googling just so I could figure out the day’s xkcd comic. And it never fails I learn something new. I am constantly astounded by the things that float around in Munroe’s brain. The exotic is made mundane, the monotonous made spontaneous, and its all with freaking stick figures! He really is a geek I love!
For new visitors to xkcd.com, be sure to hover over the comics for an extra smidge of humor and the occasional explanation. It may hold insight to Munroe’s design or else further the joke, but its almost always worth it. **Warning** If you use the Firefox browser the hover texts may not appear in full. Check the help pages on xkcd.com to learn how to get it to work. New comics are released Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, without fail.
xkcd does contain adult humor and situations that all GeekMoms may not find suitable for the kids. I’ve never found anything offensive but I still wouldn’t let my daughter read it. There is the occasional depiction of sex (well as close a depiction as you can get with stick figures), and some language, but Munroe is very upfront that this site is not designed to be a comic for kids. He places a disclaimer in full view on his site.
One of the best parts for me is he keeps his comics on Creative Commons. To anyone with a blog that means a little something. To those non-bloggers it just means we get to use his comics without seventeen months of emailing pleads for permission to reprint his material. This is good!
Munroe is even a fan of one of our favorite shows, MythBusters (Hi Kari!). And zombies. Even better!
For his ability to make us laugh, swoon, think, and get defensive all within four simple frames, Randall Munroe is a geek we love!
Editor’s note: For more xkcd love, visit Ellen Henderson’s recent post, 10 Life Lessons from Webcomic xkcd!