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Webcomic / xkcd

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"Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)."
Former Content Warnings on xkcd comic pages

troper@tvtropes:/$ describe xkcd here

What? No, we're not doing another Describe Topic Here joke.

troper@tvtropes:/$ su

root@tvtropes:/# describe xkcd herenote 


xkcd is a Stick-Figure Comic by Randall Munroe. It is a gag-a-day comic and generally does not have a continuing plot line or continuity (though there are occasional short story arcs). Many of the jokes are based on math, physics, science, UNIX or Internet memes, as well as romance and sex. It utilizes Alt Text for each and every comic, which contains additional jokes and context.

Originally a relatively unknown set of personal sketches and doodles, it grew in popularity in 2006 when other webcomics (such as Dinosaur Comics) began linking to it. However, it was when Randall posted "Map of the Internet" and said map was subsequently featured on Slashdot that xkcd's popularity truly erupted. Since then, it has been among the most well-known of webcomics.


Of course, you wouldn't know that just by looking at the comic. The characters are still drawn as very basic stick figures, with no facial features other than hairstyle (which is often used to distinguish males and females). However, there are three recurring characters who can be recognized by their respective headgear:

  • "Black Hat Guy": a Jerkass badass character with a black pork-pie hat, who in one storyline encountered a woman who out-Jerkassed him and has now become his romantic interest.
  • A beret-clad Cloudcuckoolander and Anti-Nihilist, generally thought of as an Existentialist, albeit one with a thing for pastries.
  • A dark-haired woman, referred to in several comics as "Megan"; she shares many of the same interests with the nondescript Author Avatar and is commonly shown to be in a relationship with him. Was the main character of the "Choices" Series.
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  • There also seems to be a recurring main character with a distinct personality (most likely the author's own), but since he looks exactly the same as all the other stick figures without hair or hats, it could be argued that he's just a stock character. He has picked up the nickname Cueball.

There are other recurring characters in the same social circle—e.g. the dark-haired existential nihilist—but most of them are less distinctive.

Has mentioned this very wiki. The wiki has returned the favor, taking many xkcd comics for page images (see ImageSource.xkcd for the list), as well as (formerly; may he be mourned) making the image for all pages under the category "Webcomic" a little picture of Black Hat Guy.

xkcd is part of the documentation for goto on the PHP website and was mentioned as a ticket in a changelog.note 

Two big occurrences for the comic happened in 2012. The webcomic reached one thousand comics in January; as the above-mentioned main character says, "Wow—just 24 to go until a big round-number milestone!" Later in June, xkcd added a section called What If? to its website, where Randall tackles hypothetical questions with physics and silly drawings. Has a lot of snark.

Numerologists take note: adding up the numerical values of the title's letters yields a sum of 42. Coincidence?...Yes.

Completely unrelated, but some fans had the bright idea to create graphs in xkcd style.

Two entries, the subcomic Time and the "small game" Hoverboard, are so big that they have their own pages.

The comic also has a wiki of sorts of its own; Explain XKCD, a resource for understanding the jokes that may fly over the readers' head.

xkcd provides examples of:

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