XKCD Volume 0 is a collection of cartoons for the webcomic XKCD – a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language – if you’ve never encountered it I strongly recommend looking it up. When I first started reading this comic I sat there and read every strip I could find over a weekend – that was a couple of years ago and the number has grown significantly since then. The book is a collection of some of Randall Munroe’s (the creator of XKCD) favourite strips and I really liked the way that it was presented. When you first pick up the book if feels slim, but on reading through you find that this is far from the case. The cartoons are presently clearly in high quality, with the mouse over text subtly included (though at times this was a bit too small to read comfortably). I’m not sure whether there was/when there was a cut off for the cartoons appearing in the book but you do get some of the very early cartoons that were drawn (for example this one about robots) but for the majority of the book given the style of cartoons it’s very hard to give it an exact time scale – it might’ve been nice to include a first published date with the cartoons but it also shows their timeless qualities. I did really like how the book continues some of the levels of geekiness that you get throughout the webcomics – for example the page numbers are shown in binary, and the books is littered with small pieces of red doodles – some of these are notes giving further insight into the generation of the cartoons, others appear to be a mathematical challenge that you’re challenged to crack, some are the authors comments on peoples reaction to the cartoons, and in at least one case you get extra frames continuing the idea of the cartoon further than what was originally published. All in all I would say that this is a fantastic read, and it’s really nice to be revisiting some of the older strips that you may have forgotten, not seen in years and realising how funny some of these are. I was disappointed as I felt that there were admissions (The Election 5 part special was missing for an example) but favourites are going to be different for every reader and it’s nice to the cartoons which Munroe feels a special affinity too. Hopefully given the title of Volume 0 we can expect more books in this range soon with other classic cartoons filling its pages (and yes there’s loads).