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XKCD 1190 is now more individual frames than there are XKCD comics. (geekwagon.net)
218 points by xmjw on May 15, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 34 comments

If only they could find an old shed door to cross the river.

The similarities between this ongoing xkcd and _why's most recent publican are really interesting. Thematically I find the stories very similar, they feel as though they come from the same author to me (I know Randall is not _why). Their choice of delivery also come to mind.

I am very happy there are more dedicated people than myself in the world, otherwise I would miss out on these stories unfolding.

>I know Randall is not _why

Now that's a conspiracy theory I can get behind.

That Jack Black looking dude really is Jack Black. Randall hired him to play his alter ego, _why, in public appearances.

I know what you mean. I stopped at the first frame. Two people lying on a beach, with popup text "Wait for it."

I thought that was pretty poetic. Then it turned out it was just the first frame.

The time overlap is quite odd, but you have to remember that _why had been planning for the pages he sent us to arrive since March last year. Also, Randall's wife has cancer, and the poetic and unfathomable comic may be an explanation of the struggles the two are going through.

Although some of the novella that _why sent us WAS sent this year.

The (now) 621 page thread on xkcd forums is essential reading:


Also the wiki is very ...enlightening.


On page 1:

"What an interesting comic. This is probably the most simplistic xkcd yet..."


"I don't really get it. Nothing is happening. Yet I am sitting here, staring at it. Thinking about what those two might be thinking about. Maybe they just talked about something, something important perhaps. Maybe they're content just to sit there, together in silence. Watching time happen.

Somehow, I feel that this is the strongest xkcd yet. It's in my head."

People like what they want to like, I guess.

Well, that's the fun of art.

A lot of comes from playing with your expectations. I was expecting a somewhat humorous geeky pun or reference; about 90% of XKCD is figuring out the reference. What does he mean by "Time"? They're just sitting there. Where are they sitting? What are they looking at? What's their relationship like? This reminds me of times when I too have just sat there, with a friend or a girlfriend or whatever, contemplating.

And in the meanwhile Randall has just made you FEEL EMOTIONS.

I used to live near this grafitti: http://instagram.com/p/WcpTGfSzx1/ and I would often go and stand and quietly contemplate it while I had my morning coffee and cigarette. It's hard to articulate but it feels rewarding to think about what whoever the artist is had in mind when they made it.

At around frame 170 I wrote a script[1] that grabbed the images automatically as well as logging all of the file names. Was a very fun and perfectly timed project for helping me learn python. I completely forgot about it and am happy to say it's still running and has been collected the images correctly for the past two months. I've been pushing the collection of images to github as well in a separate repo[2] because at the time I couldn't find anywhere to one hit download all the images. The linked viewer however is at 1354 whilst I'm up to 1355, I'm curious as to at what point I grabbed an excess frame.

[1] https://github.com/Lockyy/newpix [2] https://github.com/Lockyy/xkcdTimeImages

Some part of me wonders how he can keep up this pace and thinks that he must have a computer program generating new frames somehow. Then I look at things like the sand castle and doubt that a computer program could have come up with anything like that and assume that we'd have caught on to any formulaic repetition by now.

That's assuming he's drawing this live. Who's to say he hasn't been planning this from Day One and has been drawing the frames all along.

I know, it's a stretch but ... what if?

Randall has shown the capability to draw enormous amounts before. Don't forget http://xkcd.com/1110/ . See http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/09/how-big-is-the-xkc... for an analysis of how big 1110 is.

now more individual frames than there are XKCD comics.

That's kinda a silly claim. Most of the Time frames are part of an ongoing scene, so each new frame is just an addition on top of the old frame. Your Time viewer has a differential view against the next/previous frame so you can see it in action.

Saying it's "more frames than all the other comics" is like saying one episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has more frames than X. Yeah, numbers can be bigger than other numbers, but they aren't the sameness of comparison.

Perfectly true - it was more a point about how many drawings there are for this comic given the total number of comics he has done. So I guess I'm commenting on the amount of work he had to do. If you think about the massive 'pan and zoom' comic year or so ago, that was a similarly vast undertaking. I thought it was a catchy headline, but you make a very good point.

I thought it was a catchy headline

It is a very catchy headline! I think that's what made me stop and consider why it was so catchy.

The next amazing Time news would be finding out if it's still being created or if it was made all up front. We have to watch for clues to see if it references any current events (not created by Randy himself) that happened after the first Time frame.

Omg Ponies!

What´s this exactly? is this original XKCD?

http://xkcd.com/1190/ changes every 30 minutes if I'm not mistaken. The link shows all the frames since the comic was published.

Yes - after a couple of days it slowed down and now updates once per hour.

When was this comic published?

March 25!

Its lack of context or goal, plus the obsession with water, is starting to read like they're on acid

The strongest theory I've heard is that it's a metaphor for Randall's wife's cancer (ie "the sea" == "the C"). Lines like "the sea can't keep making more of itself forever!" and "we don't understand how the sea works" lends a bit of credence to that.

I suspect that Randall would prefer that at least one of his comics wasn't interpreted as a reference to cancer. It must get tiring after a point.

I'm not aware of any other comics being interpreted as a reference to cancer, but there are a handful of comics directly referencing his wife's cancer. If it is a recurring theme of his, I'd say it's perfectly legitimate for people to consider it a candidate for an otherwise unexplained plot line.

The discussion on the xkcd forums frequently attributed every single comic to be a cancer reference. The forums have since been removed from the main page though. so it's not quite as visible anymore.

Yeah, that's what I got from it pretty quickly.

The castle is the carefully-constructed life they've built together which is being encroached upon, and they abandon their previous endeavor to find the cause or whatever.

And, naturally, the journey becomes the focus rather than the end goal.

The plot is (only a little) simplified, but this seems like Randall's 'novel'.

What lack of a goal? They are trying to figure out why the sea level is rising. (Possibly because they think the rising sea will eventually destroy their castle.)

I'm not sure it is much to do with the castle. There's a vague mention of tents getting wet and other people noticing.

All a bit odd really, and the dialog really does say "on drugs" to me...

Here's an animation of all the frames


This one is nice too: http://xkcd.aubronwood.com/

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