1336: Transformers

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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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 a parody of Transformers, a fictional group 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, apparently forming a cocoon or chrysalis.

The title text furthers this parallel, describing a newly transformed helicopter — presumably the post-metamorphosis state of one of the Transformers in the panels — in a manner that would be more appropriate for a freshly-emerged butterfly or moth.

This xkcd comic is one of the few ones not showing just simple stick figures.


[Two "Transformer"-esque robots are visible.]
First Robot: Transform!
[Both robots run to the right.]
[Each robot reaches a tree and begins to climb it.]
[The camera focuses on the nearer of the two robots, which is placing itself into a chrysalis hanging from the tree branch.]

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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)