Once again this morning, xkcd delights me. It’s the work of a guy named Randall Munroe, a physics graduate who used to work on robots at NASA’s Langley Research Center. Now he draws this cartoon for a living. This proves modern life is grand: Any physicist can grow up to be a cartoonist. .
I love comics. When I was younger, my mother thought it was funny that I actually laughed when I read the comics She would comment on it frequently, as though laughter was a startling phenomenon, like levitation or (in Mom’s outlook) Republicanism. I don’t laugh out loud at the comics very often any more. Maybe comics were funnier then. Or maybe I was sillier. But I’m still a regular comics reader — an obsessive comics reader actually, with very strong opinions about them, such as, why the HELL don’t editors the world over cancel Cathy? How many times can the author recycle the fat-in-the-fitting-room joke? An infinite number, obviously. Kill her!
Anyway, the only thing in the daily comics page to compare with xkcd is Pearls Before Swine. (In the Louisville Courier-Journal, Pearls is at the top of the comics page. I read the comics page from the bottom up, so I can save the best for last.)The biggest difference between xkcd and Pearls is not that one features stick-figure humans and the other depicts animals. It’s that one makes math jokes I don’t understand and love anyway, and the other features ineffectual crocodiles that I wish were my neighbors.