25: Barrel - Part 4

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Barrel - Part 4
Title text: :(


In the first three comics of the Barrel series, the character explored the ocean in a barrel and then encountered a whirlpool, all with a reaction of innocent wonder. Here, the empty barrel floating adrift, plus the title text and a previous announcement by Randall that this would be the conclusion of barrel boy's story, imply that the character's encounter with the whirlpool separated him from the barrel, and he may have come to some harm.

This is the fifth in a six-part series of comics whose parts were randomly published during the first several dozen strips. The series features a character who is not consistent with what would quickly become the xkcd stick figure style. The character was in the barrel in parts 1-3.

After Randall released the full The Boy and his Barrel story on xkcd, it has been clear that the original Ferret story should also be included as part of the barrel series.

The full series can be found here. But below they are listed in the order Randall has put them in his collection linked to above:


[The barrel is shown on a grid paper background, floating sideways and empty in a choppy sea.]


  • This was the 26th comic originally posted to LiveJournal.
  • The original title of this comic was "Monday's Drawing".
  • There were no original Randall quote for this comic.
    • However, three hours after posting the comic, he made a new post with the following statement:
Barrel series
By the way, here are all the barrel comics on a single (easily linked) page:
I cheated, and went back and lightened the gridlines in #2. It was just bothering me. I'll try not to do that much. But as I'm not destroying anyone's childhood, I don't feel like I'm really pulling a George Lucas.
I mean, I'm not destroying more than one childhood.
  • Since this was not (as he stated in the previous comic) the last in the barrel series, the last comic must later have been included.
    • Since this last barrel comic 31: Barrel - Part 5 involved the ferret, the previous ferret story 20: Ferret must also have been included then.
    • Thus making the original ferret a "real" part of the barrel story.
    • Randall also confesses that he changed the appearance of the 2nd Barrel comic.
      • At this time, that must have referred to the one called 11: Barrel - Part 2, although Randall in the page above has moved this to after the first ferret comic.
  • This comic was posted on xkcd when the web site opened on Sunday the 1st of January 2006.
    • It was posted along with all 41 comics posted before that on LiveJournal as well as a few others.
    • The latter explains why the numbers of these 41 LiveJournal comics ranges from 1-44.
  • One of the original drawings drawn on checkered paper.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


The title text suggests that something bad has happened, not simply that he is swimming elsewhere or that Randall is disappointed the boy is no longer floating in the barrel. Grahame (talk) 05:30, 18 October 2013 (UTC)Grahame

Fixed. 02:54, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
The title text suggests unhappiness at the knowledge that the boy is apparently no longer inside the barrel that has been preserving his life so far. We can speculate that something bad has happened, but a sad smiley does not do that for us. 01:12, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Agreed - the sadness could be that the boy has embarked on a new stage of his adventure, and we're not able to follow it. 10:28, 5 January 2018 (UTC)

@Koolkat38: Updated the link you added to the Barrel series, to be more direct, in all the instances. Though this might have been unnecessary given the exact same link is mentioned in the lower part of the explanation. Still, good to think of, and perhaps the latter (original) link is now unneccesary. 12:56, 9 May 2023 (UTC)

Repeated vandalism[edit]

Page history suggests this article has been vandalized multiple times within past weeks, with no recent legitimate edits. Article should be locked. 17:13, 26 May 2022 (UTC)