In my secret, not very interesting real life, I’m a web “professional,” which is to say I spend eight hours a day fixing HTML code. My sweet, sweet refuge is XKCD, updated every Monday – Wednesday – Friday.
This wonderful web comic is the work of Randall Munroe. He is literally a rocket scientist. Or at least he was. In the foreward to the new collected volume, Munroe discusses his disillusionment with being a contractor at NASA, growing bored at the lack of nerd culture. So he started a creative outlet of stick figures making nerdy puns. It stuck. Now he distributes his comic for free online. And if Wikipedia is to be believed, he makes his entire living off of this. This means that there are millions of people out there that are very jealous of Munroe. So he started down the road of making a living off of stick figures with very funny puns, and each cartoon comes a goofy hover text. On the image below, I included it.
So you’ve got a free online comic now put into … a book. It’s pretty nonchalantly titled xkcd: Volume 0 and is available from Munroe’s store. But why buy something that’s free? Well, it feels nice in your hands … about the size of a Calvin and Hobbes book. Oh, that and part of the proceeds are going towards building a school house in Laos.
To describe the xkcd cartoon, you just kind of have to read it. It’s sci-fi and programming jokes. Math jokes. Science jokes. Jokes about internet memes. Cute vignettes about love. And comics that give you an unnerving fear of velociraptors. This makes it irritatingly hard to review the book – the fact that I love the comic already makes criticism hard to do, and there’s not exactly a plot to review, as each strip is it’s own vignette.
So instead, I’ve just posted a bunch of good strips. If you’ve liked them, buy the book. If you hate Laotian children, don’t. When 2038 comes and the Internet dies, you can hand it off to your grandkids when they ask what 4chan was. You can show them this: