In this comic Black Hat has taken the common internet phrase "head cannon" (meaning something was so surprising, unthinkable, or annoying) to a literal and destructive level, with an actual cannon on his head.
A "canon" describes things that are true for a particular fictional world. The term is derived from the Biblical canon, a list of books considered to be authoritative scripture by a particular religious community. A work's definitive canon is determined by its creators, but fans can have their own personal canons — things that they believe should be true for the setting, such as new romantic pairings or personal answers to questions officially left unexplained. Such a term for a canon that only exists in that fan's head is, thus a "headcanon". Depending on the person, new headcanons can be frequently invented in response to ideas or realizations that pop up out of nowhere (hence the comic's first panel); some are simply strange or unconvincing, but others can be notoriously contagious and even sometimes return to the author, who may decide to officially canonize them.
A cannon, meanwhile, is an explosive-based projectile weapon. While the more esoteric headcanons are easy to ignore, it is decidedly more difficult to not notice or believe the existence of a cannon strapped to one's head.
Randall addresses both homophones in the title text by putting three consecutive "n"s in "headcannnon".
Why are there three n's in headcannnon in the title text?
- Or as n increases the effort to convince others that the existence/correctness of headca(n)+on decreases? 126.96.36.199 20:31, 30 July 2014 (UTC)arcturius
- I think it's as simple as 1 n in canon (what the pun is based on), 2 n's in cannon (in the comic), and just to keep the pattern going, 3 n's in cannnon (in the title text).--188.8.131.52 05:35, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
That reminds me on Neil Stephensons - The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer... Very nerdy! 184.108.40.206 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Another very common usage of headcanon is when you REMOVE something from your headcanon - that is, pretend that it never happened, despite it being canon. Often it's case of not-really-good sequels. Or later edits: see Han shot first. -- Hkmaly (talk) 10:35, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
- I thought that headcanon was everything fans imagined, not just what contradicts canon. --220.127.116.11 16:32, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Anyone note that the computer is completely undamaged (from the cannonfire at least, no telling about when it strikes the floor), despite the desk being demolished? Zowayix (talk) 13:14, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Worth mentioning the alternate term "fanon", at all? (Currently third but unlinking item Wikipedia link, or the more dangerous (in the Comic 214 sense) TVTropes link... ) 18.104.22.168 13:22, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
- I'd say no, fanon is headcanon that is accepted in huge parts of the fandom. --22.214.171.124 16:32, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
New headcanon: Black Hat Guy always has a headcannon under his hat, and in this comic he is simply showing Cueball that he got a new one. 126.96.36.199 14:12, 30 July 2014 (UTC)Matthew
- Not true. In other comics where he hasn't had his hat, he did not have a cannon on his head. 188.8.131.52 15:40, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Canon (in Greek: Kanon, Arabic: Qanon, Hebrew: Kaneh) means reed, or straight. Thus trustworthy.  Seebert (talk) 14:38, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Black Hat is shown to have short dark hair. That's new xkcd canon. As far as I know, he'd always been shown wearing a hat completely covering his hair until now. --Dangerkeith3000 (talk) 15:33, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
- Not new. http://xkcd.com/377/ 184.108.40.206 15:40, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
- I always assumed black hat and white hat(perhaps all the cast) were aspects of Cueball,s psyc, a jungian zoo. 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Ra-Ra-Rasputin 18.104.22.168 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
"The title text is a pun on the homophones *canon* and *cannon*" ... uh, the whole entire COMIC is a pun on the homophones *canon* and *cannon*. 22.214.171.124 18:16, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Kudos to the author(s) of the example using Quark. One of the best-written explanations on this wiki. jameslucas (" " / +) 22:42, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
"Fans might wonder why, on a station that has "replicators" (devices that can create any food or drink out of energy on demand), anyone would patronize a bar" - perhaps because they might want to, you know, socialise with other people? Call me old-fashioned... --126.96.36.199 14:23, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
Anyone know if this weeks what if is different depending on region? I only ask because it mentions my small town and I am skeptical based on past comics. 1037: Umwelt188.8.131.52 06:25, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, it doesn't mention anyplace close to me :-)
184.108.40.206 09:04, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
No one has explained why the comic is titled "New". Because Black hat says "NEW HEADCANNON:" rather than "I HAVE A NEW HEADCANNON:", I think he is speaking not English, but some programming language. Black Hat created the headcannon by saying "new Headcannon:", which is a command to instantiate an object of type Headcannon. This is similar to previous strips http://xkcd.com/353/ and http://xkcd.com/413/, which attributed supernatural creative powers to Python's "import" statement. But "new Headcannon:" isn't Python. I don't know language it is. 220.127.116.11 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- Best I can come up with is a Quick BASIC label, but if that were the case instantiating it would have required a precedant gosub, not new. Sailorleo (talk) 21:12, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
- It's English; he's just speaking in an informal context, and so is using the sort of colloquialisms that don't work in more formal registers and which look weird when written. "New headcannon" (or, indeed, "New headcanon") is just shorthand for "I have acquired/developed/accepted/stolen a new headcann?on". Hppavilion1 (talk) 23:45, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
Could the "headcannnon" refer to an idea that "blows your mind"? The trajectory of the "literal" cannon ball ends where Cueball's head was, so it went from head to head, not head to desk... --B. P. (talk) 22:34, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
- It seems more likely Black Hat is just being an asshole and shooting him in the face. -Pennpenn 18.104.22.168 02:51, 23 January 2015 (UTC)