Randall Munroe

The Eternal Question of Laughing or Crying

Detail of 'xkcd' #1726 by Randall Munroe, 28 August 2016.“I’m excited about the proposal to add a ‘brontosaurus’ emoji codepoint because it has the potential to bring together a half-dozen different groups of pedantic people into a single glorious internet argument.”

Randall Munroe


Image note: Detail of xkcd #1726 by Randall Munroe, 28 August 2016.

Napoleon, with an Octopus on His Head

Detail of 'xkcd' #1510, by Randall Munroe.It does occur to me that the harder I look around for an excuse to post a stick-figure drawing of Napoleon with an octopus on his head, the longer I forget one never actually needs an excuse to post a stick-figure drawing of Napoleon with an octopus on his head.

Courtesy the inimitable Randall Munroe and xkcd, your one-stop shop for stick-figure absurdity of all kinds.


Image note: Detail of xkcd #1510, by Randall Munroe, 9 April 2015.

A Note on Cartoons and Communication

Detail of cartoon by McGettigan, 5 April 2015.

Sometimes you can just see that a relationship is in trouble. From the outset.

To the one, I owe a certain apology. Or maybe I should blame McGettigan. See, acknowledging a particular stick-figure comic strip, I tried explaining to my daughter how to go about drawing cartoon figures differently. The thing with setting hard outlines and then detailing is … er … well, right, we should probably pass that one off to a design specialist to explain. But I learned to draw stillframe cartoons by tracing Wasserman and Trudeau, and the first thing I learned in doing so was to save certain outlines and borders for last.

Nor can I say how anyone else actually does it, but the whole point was to get past a certain drawing style.

Just like we all strive to get past stick figures.

So, yeah, there’s Randall Munroe. And now there’s McGettigan; with New Yorker styling to his panels and a sense of humor verging toward Kliban. And now I have to figure out some other way to explain basic cartooning to my daughter.

Then again, as tasks go, that’s one to hope for any day.

To the other, right. Relationships. Look, it’s one of those things we experience in daily life; now and again it comes up that we might witness others experiencing some sort of interpersonal crisis, and when you hear one say, “How was I supposed to know …?” the first instinct is to wonder how long one waited to ask.

What? In truth, you’d be surprised how many people need that lesson.

At least he didn’t slip peanuts into her chocolate chip cookies, you know?

(“But … but … how was I supposed to know secretly feeding you peanuts would kill you?”)

(No, really, the jokes only go downhill from there.)


McGettigan, Merp. “New Heights (#75)”. The Story Enthusiast. 5 April 2015.

How to Fall off Your Cloud

Detail of 'xkcd' #1506, by Randall Munroe, 31 March 2015.… Ayuh.

Then again, well, okay, you know how one of the fun things about xkcd is that Randall Munroe occasionally tries out new ways of presenting stick-figure cartoons? Yeah.

Two words: Two parts.

I know, I know. It seems like a little thing.


Munroe, Randall. xkcd #1506. 31 March 2015.

Not a Burning Question, But Still

Detail of 'xkcd' #1464, by Randall Munroe, 26 December 2014.Sometimes we might hesitate to ask the question because we do not really wish to know the answer.

And sometimes someone asks the question, anyway.

And I have a punch line, certes, ne’er to be spoken. Written. Whatever. You’re welcome.


Munroe, Randall. xkcd #1464. 26 December 2014.

Good Advice

Detail of 'xkcd #1459' by Randall Munroe.Most of us learn the hard way. Take it easy on yourself and heed the advice.

Oh, and, you know, one of these days, you’re going to need something out of your own damn Documents folder, so stop doing this to yourself, too.


Munroe, Randall. “Documents”. xkcd #1459. 11 December 2014.

Dangerous Cartooning

Detail of 'xkcd' (#1449) by Randall Munroe, 18 November 2014.

Jokes can be dangerous.

No, really, think of it this way: Sure, you just started with a harmless joke about the Slide Mountain Ocean, and a fine joke it is. But how long before they work intercontinental Red Rover into the Kansas high school science curriculum?

What? Six thousand years is a helluvalot less than four and a half billion.


Detail of xkcd #1449, by Randall Monroe, 18 November 2014.