Characters / xkcd

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     Main Characters 
Insofar as a comic like xkcd can have main characters, that is...

  • The Blank: None of them have visible faces – although they nonetheless manage to be surprisingly expressive.
  • Noodle People: Well, they are stick figures...
  • Odd Friendship: Why do the eccentric-but-decent Megan and “Cueball” still hang around with the downright-psychopathic Black Hat Guy and his girlfriend?

“Cueball” AKA Rob

Probably the most commonly-recurring character of the strip – although it's hard to tell because he's distinguished from the others by his complete lack of distinguishing features. Randall Munroe's Author Avatar. Used as the default character for any strips that don't specifically require someone else.

  • Bald of Awesome: Presumably, since his head remains completely unadorned even after we start seeing hair drawn onto random bit-characters.


Cueball's girlfriend/wife/statistically-significant other. Distinguished by her shoulder-length dark hair. Used whenever a female or more sensible character is required, or as a sort of Foil to Cueball.

  • Nerds Are Sexy: Or at least, 'Nerds Are Found Sexy By Other Nerds'.
  • Official Couple: With Cueball. 'Megan' is also the name of Randall Munroe's Real Life Love Interest.
  • Only Sane Woman: Easily the most well-balanced of the recurring cast. See here for a perfect demonstration.
  • Straight Woman: Often plays this role to Cueball.
  • Women Are Wiser: Despite her own nerdy eccentricities, she seems to be more down-to-Earth than Cueball, and she's definitely saner than Black Hat Guy or the Beret Existentialist.

“Black Hat Guy”

Cueball's friend (and possibly onetime flatmate, since several early strips seem to show them living together). Distinguished by his unique, black, boater-like hat. Turns up whenever a joke requires someone to do something evil (or very very Chaotic Neutral).

"Beret Guy"

A possibly-insane philosopher whose connection to the others is unclear. Distinguished by his white beret. Turns up whenever a Cloudcuckoolander is required.

Black Hat Guy's Girlfriend / “Danish”

The second newest addition to the recurring cast, since she entered a relationship with Black Hat Guy. Distinguished by her long, wavey, dark hair. Essentially a female Black Hat Guy.

White Hat Guy

The newest addition to the recurring cast, a figure occasionally seen talking with Cueball. Distinguished by his hat, which resembles that of Black Hat Guy but is white instead of black. Seems well-meaning but pretentious.

  • Foil: In most strips he appears in, he pretty-much serves as someone Cueball can argue with so as to get across a point Randall wants to make.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: In one strip he's persuaded to look up what he's saying (that normal matter contains anti-quarks) on his phone, and immediately convinces himself that he hadn't been saying that at all, his actual point was...
  • Straw Character: His usual role in the strip is to make logical fallacies to help advance Randall's point.
  • Wine Is Classy: Doesn't understand how Cueball can drink cheap wine.

Blonde Girl/"Ponytail"

A recurring character. Used sometimes as a Recurring Extra, or a female companion to Megan. Is sometimes implied as Rob's ex.

  • Love Triangle: She has one with Rob and Megan in a few strips.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Is sometimes this to Rob
  • The Smart Girl: Usually either she or a character who looks very much like her can be seen working on science projects, or even as Megan's doctor.

     Other Recurring Characters 

The Boy in the Barrel

The very first character xkcd featured. A young boy inexplicably floating around in a barrel.

  • Art Shift: It was only after the Boy in the Barrel's debut that the art shifted from 'semi-realistic' to 'stick-figures', making him the only non-stick-figure recurring human.
  • The Bus Came Back: No really. In "Click & Drag" he's drawn as a bald stick figure like everyone else, but he's there, go as far right as you possibly can before you get to the flat blackness. He has a balloon now.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Seriously, what is his personal arc even about?
  • Missing Mom: “None of the places I floated had mommies”.
  • Robinsonade: He somehow survives drifting through the sea in a barrel on his own.

The Flying Ferret

A ferret with tailor-made wings.

Armchair Nihilist

An occasionally-recurring character who turns up when the joke calls for some straw existential nihilism. Resembles Megan, but is distinguishable from her by both her personality and the fact she almost never leaves her chair.

  • Cool Chair: She presumably thinks it's cool, since she spends so much time in it.
  • Foil: While they have yet to appear alongside each other (except here), she's basically a perfect inversion of the Beret Existentialist.

Cory Doctorow

A fictionalised version of the real person, who lives in a hot air balloon in the blogosphere. Distinguished by his red cape and black goggles.

  • Big Damn Heroes: Rescued Black Hat Guy at the end of the “Secretary” arc.
    • And he joined forces with Richard Stallman to rescue Elaine Roberts from two thugs from the MPAA and RIAA in the 1337 arc.

Richard Stallman

Again, a fictional version of the real person. He lives in fear of Microsoft sending their lackeys to do him in. Distinguished by his long hair and beard, and the fact that he wields two katanas.