1336: Transformers

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A helicopter bursts from a chrysalis and alights on a rock, rotors still damp.
Title text: A helicopter bursts from a chrysalis and alights on a rock, rotors still damp.


The comic is drawing a comparison between Transformers, a fictional species of robots that can transform into vehicles, and butterflies or moths, who can "transform" via metamorphosis.

The first two panels show action scenes that would be appropriate for a Transformers comic. However, the third panel shows the Transformers climbing a tree, and in the final scene, they wrap silk around themselves, similarly to building a cocoon or chrysalis.

The alt text furthers this parallel, comparing a newly transformed helicopter (presumably the post-metamorphosis state of one of the Transformers in the panels) to a freshly-emerged butterfly or moth.

This is the first XKCD with humanoid robots, and one of the few with humanoids that are not stick figures.


[One transformer in the foreground, one in the background.]
Transformer: Transform!
[Transformers running.]
[Transformers climbing trees.]
[Transformers encasing themselves in caterpillar-style cocoons.]

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Wow, this really is a departure from Randall's usual style. 12:27, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

I guess it would have been impossible to make robot as stick figures and make people recognize them as robots...., hence I think this is a one-off Spongebog (talk) 15:39, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
This '600:_Android_Boyfriend' is the only other "Robot" strip I can think off Spongebog (talk) 15:42, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Is this a nod to Perry Bible Fellowship in some way? It seems more like a PBF strip.

Agree, I thought of PBF too. Is there a category here for "Comics with non-stick-figure characters"? - Frankie (talk) 14:29, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I went to PBF to see if there was a cross-over, but I was disappointed.-- 18:24, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
You're not alone, I was immediately reminded of Perry Bible Fellowship too. These two transformers seem very similar to the recurring PBF characters of Magnimus and Refridgeron -- view them here and here. 00:05, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Insecticons, maybe? 19:16, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

The title text is reminiscent of the style in which David Attenborough would present this sort of metamorphosis in nature. 23:01, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Any better hint? Sounds nice. --Dgbrt (talk) 23:21, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, more specifically, anything from his Life series, especially "Life in the Undergrowth", which focuses primarily on insects and arachnids. 23:36, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

When this came up in my RSS reader I had to double and triple check, and then click onto the site and make sure the url was xkcd before I was sure that this was indeed an xkcd comic. Although I like the content, I can honestly say this is my least favorite xkcd. lcarsos_a (talk) 07:52, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

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