1415: Ballooning

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 20:02, 26 May 2022 by Theusaf (talk | contribs) (Reverted edits by Donald Trump (talk) to last revision by CRLF)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
Time to dance in front of Mary Jane! If I'm lucky, she'll turn out not to practice pre-copulatory sexual cannibalism!
Title text: Time to dance in front of Mary Jane! If I'm lucky, she'll turn out not to practice pre-copulatory sexual cannibalism!


Spider-Man is a fictional superhero in comic books published by Marvel Comics, and has been the star of a number of television shows and film. The Spider-Man theme song, first used for the 1967 cartoon show, includes the words, "Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can". However, at other points, the theme song explains some things Spider-Man can do that a real spider obviously couldn't, such as crime-fighting.[citation needed] Randall is pointing out that while the abilities attributed to Spider-Man make a good superhero story, they are not real abilities of a spider.

This comic depicts Cueball as a far more realistic Spider-Man, behaving and thinking much more closely to a real spider than the Spider-Man from the comics. Cueball is shown ballooning (example), a trait used by spiders to move between locations, rather than swinging on web cords as in the comics and films. As he is floating, he sees a good spot to land, eat some bugs and make an egg sac. Again this contrasts the real life of a spider with Spider-Man, who would doubtless be rushing to fight crime or save a pretty girl.

Only female spiders create an egg sac. Male spiders spin a sperm web in order to transfer their sperm from their epigastric furrow into their pedipalps (reproductive organ located on the front two appendages, in the position where a scorpion would have pincers), which will then be used to transfer the sperm into the female during copulation. Cueball/Spider-Man, being nominally male, should in fact be looking for a place to create a sperm web, not an egg sac. However, thanks to being featured in children's books, the actions of female spiders are much more widely known.

The title text refers to the mating ritual of some spiders, in which the male performs a dance to court the female. Mary-Jane is the third love interest and Peter's eventual wife in the Spider-Man stories, and so Cueball is planning to court her by dancing in front of her. In doing so he hopes that he is lucky, and she doesn't eat him before copulating with him, as sexual cannibalism is a trait associated with spiders.


[Cueball is shown floating on the wind, attached to a large balloon. The balloon is made of spider silk.]
Cueball: Ooh, that looks like a good spot to land, eat some bugs, and make an egg sac!
Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can
comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Ballooning is a legitimate and natural type of movement for spiders http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ballooning_%28spider%29 Sebastian -- 05:49, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

I personally saw several spiders swinging on web cords. The problem with Spiderman usual method of moving is that spiders can't shoot web so far. Also, I suspect that they use the swinging not as method to travel, but as part of building web. -- Hkmaly (talk) 09:57, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

That sounds a lot like the "Pendulum Traverse" (Google that for a good description if you need it, Wiki just has it as a sub-item under a glossary), although I'm personally an expert in neither arachnology nor rock-climbing so I might be wrong. For those spiders you mention, whether they're swinging with an actual aiming point at hand or it's just a behaviour that creates a random opportunity to extend the web size (along with breeze-assistance, it must explain a number of web-bridgings you can encounter) and thus is an evolved activity that has net benefit... I don't know. Like I said, I'm not an expert. ;) (But I bet if anyone can find an actual paper on the subject, it'd be a good inclusion for the article above!) 10:40, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Am I the only one to think that the general concept of ballooning would actually be cool to see in a Spiderman movie, comic or video game? For example, in a situation where Spiderman is in a location that offers no support to swing anywhere, and a villain has overpowered him (e.g. he is fighting Sandman in a desert, and losing). So, apparently, he has no way out, except that he survives by building a kite out of his web and flying away! And to drive the point home further, he exclaims: "Yes, I can do WHATEVER a spider can!" 18:41, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Isn't it far more likely that "Mary Jane" is a reference to Peter Parker's love interest? I doubt that was intended as a reference to the Tom Petty song. 11:03, 7 November 2014 (UTC)