How one iconic comic’s superfans are working together to decode a mysterious language


Nerdy cult comic XKCD is often known for its minimalistic stick-figure drawings and witty math jokes. But creator Randall Munroe has recently created a much bigger phenomenon.

Munroe is the artist behind a picture series called “Time.” The comic spans thousands of panels and tells an epic story of a couple navigating a mysterious landscape. The panel of the comic initially changed every half hour, and later that became hourly. The result is a 3,099-frame comic that, when sped up, played like an animated movie. 

But readers have been fixated on one particular feature of the comic: a confusing language known only as “Beanish” because it’s spoken by characters with beanies on their heads. 

Fans of the comic have been working around the clock to decode the mysterious language. While the goals initially were to figure out whether the language followed linguistic patterns, what has been uncovered in just the past week…

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