Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
The comic is a parody of Transformers, a fictional species of robots that can transform into vehicles. Transformers typically are able to transform instantaneously (often mid-stride) by manipulating and rearranging their mechanical parts. In this comic, however, Randall has the Transformers "transform" in the same manner that caterpillars "transform" via metamorphosis into butterflies or moths.
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, decribing a newly transformed helicopter (presumably the post-metamorphosis state of one of the Transformers in the panels) in a manner that be more appropriate for a 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. 184.108.40.206 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. 220.127.116.11
- 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.--18.104.22.168 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. 22.214.171.124 00:05, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Insecticons, maybe? 126.96.36.199 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. 188.8.131.52 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. 184.108.40.206 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)