Randall Munroe, creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, has joined a very exclusive group: comics writers and artists who’ve had asteroids named in their honor.
According to the cartoonist, the International Astronomical Union, which assigns designations to celestial bodies, was accepting name suggestions for small solar system objects, and xkcd readers Lewis Hulbert and Jordan Zhu submitted Munroe’s name for asteroid (4942) 1987 DU6. The recommendation was accepted, and the asteroid is now officially designated 4942 Munroe.
“The first thing I did was try to figure out whether 4942 Munroe was big enough to pose a threat to Earth,” the cartoonist writes. “I was excited to learn that, based on its albedo (brightness), it’s probably about 6-10 kilometers in diameter. That’s comparable in size to the one that killed the dinosaurs — definitely big enough to cause a mass extinction!
Unfortunately Fortunately, it’s in a fairly stable circular orbit between Mars and Jupiter, so it’s unlikely to hit the Earth any time soon.”
Munroe is now one of a relative handful of comics creators who have asteroids named after them: J. Michael Straczynski (although it was in recognition of works in other media, like Babylon 5), Carl Barks and, just this summer, The Incal writer Alejandro Jodorowsky.
Creators continue finding ways to use digital comics that print can’t replicate. The new “Click and Drag” strip at xkcd invites readers to do exactly what the title suggests as they navigate their way around an enormous world of silhouetted landscapes and stick-figure people having adventures and quiet moments alike. It’s an amazing, immersive, very time-consuming, but rewarding experience to explore the whole thing.
For those less patient, there’s also a version that shows the whole world at once and lets readers zoom in and out, moving more quickly. It’s faster, but it loses the aspect of discovery that clicking and dragging across a confined panel has. I recommend spending as much time as you can clicking and dragging (be sure to go down holes; there’s more underground!), then use the big map to go back and see what you missed.
International Digital Times and Geekosystem suggest that, at 165,888 pixels by 79,872 pixels (which takes up 5.52 MB of space), cartoonist Randall Munroe has likely created the world’s largest webcomic. Erik McClure breaks down the numbers, including estimates of how long it might’ve taken Munroe to create the comic.
Well, kinda. Animator Noam Raby and musician Olga Nunes have teamed up to create “I Love xkcd,” an animated musical version of webcomic god Randall Munroe’s xkcd strip “xkcd Loves the Discovery Channel.” (Which itself was a riff on the aforementioned basic cable network’s jingle-based ad campaign.)
(Via Ezra Klein.)
* Do not actually do this