Sometimes, I just don’t want to see the curtain pulled back.
Here’s an example from one of the few times in which the creator of XKCD has actually responded within a comment thread: (the post was talking about apparent gender inequality in movies)
Most XKCDs are from a male perspective (a heteronormative one, at that), not necessarily because you set out to do so, but because that’s who you are.
I’m emphasizing the creation of characters here because when I start talking about gender, it hits too close to home and I have trouble being funny.
But a bigger problem is that xkcd is so minimal that everything I put in there has a point. Sometimes I cringe a little when I make a pair of characters male/female, but I can’t think of a way to do anything else without grabbing the reader’s attention away from the punchline and ruining the joke “” and the joke is tantamount. There’s so little context in the strip that people make huge assumptions based on small cues, and I’ve never been able to find a way to introduce gayness as a background to the strip without making it a focus. And then I run into the problem that I largely have trouble making the jokes themselves about gay issues without getting preachy, or without worrying too much about what readers from different backgrounds will understand what I’m talking about. There’s a big overlap between a lot of areas of nerd culture, but the xkcd readership will be coming from wildly different areas when it comes to gender and sexuality. This makes it hard to transition over to talking about gay stuff, because I have to talk to so many different viewpoints that it’s hard to get the familiarity needed for a joke to work “” hence, it ends up being ineffective and merely preachy. This has been one of my biggest frustrations with xkcd “” that it has ended up as hetero-focused as it is.
I donno… I guess I want to see the author of the comics as light, funny, and his creations as effortless sparks of genius. This makes it sound like work - revision after revision; planning and deciding how a joke would strike his “audience”. I guess XKCD feels more like a hilarious conversation with a close friend then a comic strip read by thousands - and that, “I’m an insider, someone gets me!” is, I think, a big part of its success.
Here’s the blog post, if you’re interested in reading more.