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Name: xkcd: a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language
Creator: Randall Munroe
Date(s): January 2006 - Present
Medium: Webcomic
Country of Origin:
External Links: XKCD, xkcd stories at the AO3, What If?
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
an example of Rule 34, as well as a reminder to use proper punctuation. From "xkcd, A Webcomic of Romance, Sarcasm, Math, and Language." (July 11, 2001)

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xkcd is "a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language" created by Randall Munroe. Updated three times a week, the comic periodically makes references to fandom[1] and other geeky matters. The author also writes an occasional blog, What if?, exploring issues which are sometimes related to fanfic, such as soulmates[2]


The comic regularly has lots of references to popular "nerd" media and fandom. At one point, the alt-text featured RPF about RPF:

Obama has been writing Lincoln/Obama erotic fan fiction on his secret livejournal. Excerpt: Lincoln lay back on the bed, nude save for his trademark stovepipe hat. 'Tell me,' he purred seductively, as he and Obama formed a more perfect union. 'When you come, is it 10% ethanol?'[3]

Another comic, combined with its alt-text, offers a nod to BSG fanfiction:

Partial comic text: So I wanted to write in to clarify: In my porn, people fuck.
Alt-text: Yes, there are a lot of longing looks across the bridge of the Galactica first, but that's beside the point![4]



Fans made pictures of themselves naked in the shower with a guitar after Rule 34[5], played chess on rollercoasters inspired by Chess Photo[6], and play Geohashing.[7]


Multiple stories have been written in the xkcd fandom for Yuletide, including OMG VELOCIRAPTORS! by antumbral (2008) and The Amazing Adventures of Hat Guy and the Girl Who Stole His Hat by Raven (2008).

Several xkcd crossover fanfics exist, the earliest of which may be an SGA/xkcd crossover.[8] Stories have also been written as fix-its for at least one particular xkcd comic.[9]

Archives and Communities

The comic has its own forum[10] that is used for discussion of the comic, everything else, and to organize meet-ups.

It has also spawned a wiki, Explain xkcd, which is dedicated to unravelling the meaning behind xkcd's comic strips, which often draw on elements of science, mathematics, internet culture and geekdom that are not always immediately understandable to uninitiated readers. The wiki has an active community of Explainers who religiously transcribe, describe and analyse each new comic strip.

A number of fans who are blind or visually impaired also visit Explain xkcd to read the comics, which are not posted with alt text, meaning that the wiki is the only way they can obtain a description of what takes place in each strip. This led to some backlash around the wiki's slogan, Explain xkcd: It's 'cause your dumb, which screenreader users felt was insulting to those who visited the wiki in order to read the transcripts - not through ignorance.[11]

xkcd is also fairly popular among fans on LiveJournal as an image source for icons.[12]


  1. ^ Fandom, comic #367. Accessed 4 February 2009.
  2. ^ What If Soul Mates (accessed 17th August 2015)
  3. ^ Google Trends, comic #522. Accessed 4 February 2009.
  4. ^ Porn for Women, comic #714. Accessed 3 April 2011.
  5. ^ Nudity + Guitars + Showers, accessed 30.11.2011
  6. ^ People playing chess on roller coasters, accessed 30.11.2011
  7. ^ Geohashing Wiki, accessed 30.11.2011
  8. ^ Sometimes, A Lemon Is Really A Turnip by macey muse. SGA/xkcd, 6 February 2009. (Accessed 14 February 2009)
  9. ^ Spirit, The Sequel, by linaerys, fix-it for Spirit (Accessed 3 April 2011), and
    The Battersea Home for Lost Robots, by misswinterhill, also a fix-it for Spirit, (Doctor Who/xkcd) (Accessed 3 April 2011)
  10. ^ xkcd forums, accessed 30.11.2011
  11. ^ Talk:Main Page, Header Message, Explain xkcd. Accessed September 5, 2017.
  12. ^ xkcd_icons LJ community