XKCD: The book

Three cheers for Randall "XKCD" Munroe! Not only has he just announced his first book of collected toons, he got a fabulous write up in the NYT about it as well. Randall's one of the most consistently funny -- and sweet -- geeks on the web, and every day he tops himself in finding new ways to be made of awesome.

The print xkcd book is not being published through a traditional company but rather by breadpig -- which was created by Alexis Ohanian, one of the founders of the social-news Web site reddit. The site has sold high-concept merchandise like refrigerator magnets or T-shirts, but never a book. (Its profits go to the charity Room to Read.)

"We never made any projection -- 10,000 seems like a good run," Mr. Ohanian said, adding that this lack of research "is laughable from the perspective of anyone who knows the book industry. It's what makes sense."

The book -- with the working title "xkcd," though Mr. Ohanian says it may carry a subtitle like "a book of romance, sarcasm, math and language" -- will not initially be sold in bookstores, and probably never in the big chains. Instead, it will be sold through the xkcd Web site.

When Pixels Find New Life on Real Paper (Thanks, Dave!)


  1. Hm… so how are they going to do the balloon comments in a printed book? That’s what I want to know.

  2. Dagibbs – The NYT article suggests that the alt text will be printed in or below each comic in a small font where you’d expect to see an artist’s name an/or copyright notice.

    I’m slightly surprised by the breathless tone of NYT’s article. They’re painting this publication as a really radical idea that no-one has tried before. It might not exactly be a big industry, but offhand I can think of half a dozen webcomics that have successfully published books (heck, I own four volumes of PhD Comics) or at the very least sell signed prints. Not to mention all the branded merchandise.

  3. Randall’s one of the most consistently funny — and sweet — geeks on the web

    And cute! And he likes you, too, Cory, as I’m sure you’re aware. You’re clearly one of his heroes.

  4. @6 As long as they agree to live-stream it, I’ll front the cost. They’re both so dreamy! And smart! And… dreamy.

  5. Am I the only one who finds xkcd completely un-funny? Everyone links to it, or sends me links, or it gets breathlessly dugg in digg, or I constantly overhear others in the office citing it. But every time I’ve checked it out (“it MUST be funny this time!”), I am thoroughly disappointed. It’s just so un-clever and obvious, like a Garfield for the tech-set.

    I’m not trying to crap on his success, though. There are plenty of unfunny comics that made their creators rich. Best of luck to him.

    1. There are few things in life more tedious than people who wander around talking about what they don’t find funny.

  6. @ #7 and everyone talking about cory and randall sloppy make outs.

    You all are jealous cause you don’t consistently star as the caped delusional blogger of a famous webcomic…it’s ok we are all jealous you can admit it too.

  7. I don’t want Cory and Randall to have a sloppy makeout.

    I want ME and Randall to have a sloppy makout! (Sorry Cory.)

  8. Comics, not toons. The latter is animated.

    Cool to hear that XKCD is joining the ranks of webcomics being published. Many people will be very happy – including the artist’s bank account, I imagine.

  9. @ Daemon #18: “Cartoons” need not be animated. That term has been used to describe satirical images in printed media since the mid-19th century.

  10. Rock.

    Now I don’t have to worry about what I’m getting my husband for our anniversary.

  11. Clearly there are a large number of people that think XKCD is funny. It’s enjoyable. Good wit. I love it.

  12. @ ARTBOT #10: Agreed. I mean, it’s OK, but I read 10 to 15 better jokes in the average Digg comments thread. With as hyped as it is, you’d think it’s the next coming of Asterix the Gaul.

  13. #10
    After publicly stating you don’t like XKCD a few times, XKCD agents infect your browser with a cookie that always takes you to “XKCD without Garfield”, a deliberately unfunny spoof of the consistently hilarious XKCD. I feel bad for you, I’ve brought women to nerdgasm just by showing them some of the strips. Anyway, hope you’re enjoying the uncooler part of the internet.

  14. #24 I figured it was something like that. I’m not very technical.

    At least I’m getting some work done since all those tears of laughter aren’t clouding my eyes.

  15. @Artbot

    XKCD isn’t for everyone. In fact, I won’t even suggest it to most people, simply because the humor is rather esoteric, and requires a very specific, and very large set of cultural reference points. However, I almost always have a lot in common with people who DO get it.

    In other words, it’s geek humor of the highest order. More specifically, its programmer-engineer-hard science-copyfighter-maker/crafter/tinkerer-open source advocate-amateur political-philosopher – nerd humor.

    In all probability, it just isn’t your kind of geekery. However, BoingBoing tends to attract that kind of audience, so you are probably not going to find a bunch of people in this forum rushing to agree with you.

    Personally, I think it’s brilliant :o)


  16. Eeyore, please don’t sign your posts. Your name at the top is sufficient. It’s just a local custom.

    That said, I loudly agree with you. Plus, not being all those kinds of geek myself, I’ve learned some interesting things just by having someone who IS that kind explain XKCD to me!

  17. I would like to ask to those saying it’s not that funny, can you tell us the type of comics you find hilarious? Just to give something more substantial to the discussion (and something to compare to).

  18. Well, I like xkcd. They should talk to Diamond Comics. It’d do gangbusters in comic shops.

  19. #30, May the gods of geekdom bless you and keep you. You’ve quite simply made my night! All my nights, really.

  20. #26 – Even if I met every one of your criteria for proper enjoyment of the strip, I don’t think I’d want to be in any group that included “amateur political-philosopher(s)”, so I’ll consider that bullet dodged.

  21. When I lived in Maine, I would be driving home through some dark backward ass, creepy part of Maine and think, “Shit, I know where Steven King gets his inspiration.”

    I now live in Somerville, the same town as Randall, and think roughly the same thing. Somerville and Cambridge is a artsy/crafty/nerds paradise. I’ll take the walkable folksy streets of Somerville and Cambridge over the glorified strip mall that is San Jose/Santa Clara any day of the week.

  22. I can’t usually afford to buy webcomic collections, but I might actually stop eating for a while so I can get this.

Comments are closed.