22 February 2009

On Reading Behind the Panels

I was chatting to Nigella the other day, and conversation got round to the the brilliant webcomic that is XKCD. We darted online, and I skipped to it, and we began to browse through it, and then, all of a sudden, I discovered that there are bonus punchlines, easter eggs, hidden footnotes that only appear when you do a mouseover on the strip itself.

Take the strip I've posted here, for example. Good, eh? Certainly Nigella is enthralled by it, and is sorely tempted to try it. And why wouldn't she? After all, if you go to the original strip on the site itself, and do a mouseover, you'll see a little box that adds that 'You can do this one in every 30 times and still have 97% positive feedback.'

My jaw dropped on discovering this, and we rushed through them, laughing at the punchline and then splitting our sides at the bonus ones. How had I not known this?

I e-mailed NMRBoy about when I left. 'XKCD,' I said, 'did you know that when you do mouseovers on the final panels there are odd messages there? I know, that sounds crazy. True, though.'

'They do that in all the best comics,' he replied, 'including mine. but also Dinosaur Comics too. Check it out!'

And I did.


Tom said...

And yet the last two panels were completely redundant...

The Thirsty Gargoyle said...


Martin said...

Surely not redundant? All the great comics have a primary punchline, plus a secondary 'slow-burner' bonus gag. In this case, the wholly understated 'would not buy again': the very essence of litotes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Litotes)

Without it, the comic would rely merely on the brutal gag "hur hur, he put a bobcat in the parcel! it's funny 'cos he's gonna get hurt!"