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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Revision as of 04:26, 19 December 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1414 xkcd comics, and only 44 (3%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

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Ballooning
Time to dance in front of Mary Jane! If I'm lucky, she'll turn out not to practice pre-copulatory sexual cannibalism!
Title text: Time to dance in front of Mary Jane! If I'm lucky, she'll turn out not to practice pre-copulatory sexual cannibalism!

Explanation

Spider-Man is a fictional superhero in comic books published by Marvel Comics, and has been the star of a number of television shows and film. The Spider-Man theme song, first used for the 1967 cartoon show, includes the words, "Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can". However, at other points, the theme song explains some things Spider-Man can do that a real spider obviously couldn't, such as crime-fighting. Randall is pointing out that while the abilities attributed to Spider-Man make a good superhero story[Citation needed], they are not real abilities of a spider.

This comic depicts Cueball as a far more realistic Spider-Man, behaving and thinking much more closely to a real spider than the Spider-Man from the comics. Cueball is shown ballooning, a trait used by spiders to move between locations, rather than swinging on web cords as in the comics and films. As he is floating, he sees a good spot to land, eat some bugs and make an egg sac. Again this contrasts the real life of a spider with Spider-Man, who would doubtless be rushing to fight crime or save a pretty girl.

Only female spiders create an egg sac. Male spiders spin a sperm web in order to transfer their sperm from their epigastric furrow into their pedipalps (reproductive organ located on the front two appendages, in the position where a scorpion would have pincers), which will then be used to transfer the sperm into the female during copulation. Cueball/Spider-Man, being nominally male, should in fact be looking for a place to create a sperm web, not an egg sac.

The title text refers to the mating ritual of some spiders, in which the male performs a dance to court the female. Mary-Jane is the love interest throughout the Spider-Man stories, and so Cueball is planning to court her by dancing in front of her. In doing so he hopes that he is lucky, and she doesn't eat him before copulating with him, as sexual cannibalism is a trait associated with spiders.

Transcript

[Cueball is shown floating on the wind, attached to a large balloon. The balloon is made of spider silk.]
Cueball: Ooh, that looks like a good spot to land, eat some bugs, and make an egg sac!
Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can

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