Five webcomics to read while xkcd is on hiatus

Due to a family illness, Randall Munroe announced that we won't be seeing regular installments of his popular webcomic xkcd. We wish Munroe and his family the best, but in the meantime, what's a math-loving webcomic reader to do?

Last week, Munroe announced that he will be focusing on his family for the next few months (fortunately he says everyone will be alright), and won't be holding himself to a regular update schedule. Not one to abandon his loyal fans, Munroe has been posting some fun odds and ends from his notebook. But if you're looking for more math and science-based webcomics to fill the gap, we've got a few recommendations:


Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Like Randall Munroe, Zach Weiner looks to science for much of his humor. When his scientists aren't selling heroine, they're finding practical uses for a universe with no maximum speed or employing the theory of relativity to keep bacon crispy. Weiner's sense of humor is both sillier and blacker than Munroe's — witness the programming language written by 12-year-olds and the real reason doctors amputate limbs.

Abstruse Goose: Abstruse Goose is clearly influenced by xkcd with its minimalistic style and focus on math and romance (the cartoonist even references xkcd in an early comic). There are shades of xkcd in the most innovative use of the Penthouse Forum, the pickup line quickly neutralized through physics, and what separates humans from animals. But the cartoonist also plays with Far Side-style jokes and what may be the greatest solution to a math problem ever.


PHD Comics: Jorge Cham's comic (which is actually titled Piled Higher and Deeper) follows a group of grad students on their endless quest to finish their dissertations and earn those doctoral degrees. When it doesn't feature inscrutable thesis advisers or PhD widows, it explains the scientific news cycle and explores the physics behind the Thesis Repulsor Field.


Brown Sharpie: Actually, Courtney Gibbons no longer updates Brown Sharpie (apparently grad school is more fun). But if you haven't read it before, Brown Sharpie has built up a three-year archive filled with math jokes, anthropomorphized numbers, and truly terrible puns. It's a very sweet comic by someone who obviously loves all things numerical.


Indexed: Okay, so Indexed isn't a comic in the traditional sense; it's more a collection of graphs. But Jessica Hagy's graphs and Venn diagrams are endlessly clever and often quite cheeky.

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