2012 finally

January 15, 2012

Okay, comix are back finally! God damnit son of a bitch that took too goddamn long… AAAAAAAAaarrrrggghhhhhhhhhhkadlfjioeaw;ldsk!!!!!!!

-Wr!!!!!

PS: see previous blog post for somewhat more lucid new year’s thoughts!!!!!!!!!

PPS: video of a dance production based on The Last Stand comic over here!!!!!! Thanks to M Kelland for the link and his interest in my work!!!!

PPPS: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

141 Responses to “2012 finally”


  1. Huh, my grandmother lives on Wellesley St. Not in Toronto, though, in Modesto. (Possibly the Modesto thoroughfare is called an Ave., not a St.)

  2. Joe Trudell Says:

    I’ve often referred to humanity as a “growing species”. I figured that nobody could illustrate that better than you, sir!

    Also I love how the ads at the top spell out “WHIM” :)

    Please don’t make shorter comics

  3. Metro Cop Says:

    Pick up that can!

  4. Aeron Says:

    Echoing Joe, PLEASE don’t shorten your comics. I get peeved when they do come to an end.

    • Sisiutil Says:

      Worry not. As the dark-featured woman said, “… making something a New Year’s resolution is the best way to ensure that it DOESN’T happen”.

      I’d have to agree with that. I stopped making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago because they seemed futile, but I may follow DFW’s logic and start making ironic ones.

      BTW, as usual, I loved the little touches, like the stops, which are also hierarchical steps: “Wellesley” = Duke, then Queen, then King, then… well, who knows? (And FPHG in her flight attendant outfit, with Sphinxie’s Xmas gift, looking happy.)

    • Joe Trudell Says:

      Good point, Sisi. I figure if you really wanted to do something, you’d just do it instead of waiting for the calendar to change.

    • Sisiutil Says:

      I swear I’m gonna sic the Sphinx on everybody around here that calls me “Sisi”.

  5. martha wellington Says:

    Thank you for Orson Welles with his bag of frozen peas.

  6. martha wellington Says:

    Thank you for Orson with his bag of frozen peas.

    • Rasmodeus Says:

      Of course, it made me think of that old cartoon “The Critic” and the skit with Orson and his frozen peas.

  7. James Bach Says:

    There is no such thing as objectivity. Oh, but maybe it exists for *you*.

    What we seek is coherence, and heuristics that help us feel Okay.

    • AdInfinitumSpero Says:

      You don’t have to believe in objectivity to believe in trying to see all possibilities. I mean, I’m almost a hardcore solipsist (well okay, technically I’d be a softcore solipsist, I believe in communal solipsism , we’re all just making it up as we go) but I do believe that removing expectations is the surest way to see the common truth whatever that is

  8. Esn Says:

    Why are there so many talented webcomics artists in Toronto? Damn, I’m actually proud of my city!

    I doubt that such a long conversation could take place in the time it takes to get from Queen to King, though. Those two are so close to each other that the train barely gets going before it slows down again.

    But anyway… heartwarming comic. Thank you.

  9. jinxed44 Says:

    Hey, this comic has always either said the things I wish I had the ability to put together and say in a manner that people can understand or said new and interesting thoughts that have affected me as a person.

    So thanks for that.

  10. Kim Says:

    “There’s no secret to living, just keep on walking…”

    The key is to not let yourself stagnate and refuse to grow because you’re too afraid or too stubborn to acknowledge future possibilities.

    Beautiful as always, WR. Don’t make shorter comics. :)

  11. Kim Says:

    Also, you reminded me of this diagram I once saw while on StumbleUpon:

  12. VideoGeek Says:

    In regards to the mouseover text: Don’t you dare!

  13. Andrés Says:

    So basically, it’s better to be imperfect. The best things you have done have been unplanned. Perfection makes you unidentifiable. Cherish your imperfection :)

    Thanks Winston!

  14. Michael Says:

    Likely you’ve heard (read) this question/request before, but, here you go again, anyway: Have you considered making a calendar? I’d love to see poster-sized or standard wall calendars for Subnormality. :D


    • Yeah, i actually have considered it, but they’d have to be made/shipped by someone else because i don’t have time and Topatoco don’t do calendars, and i haven’t really taken a look to see if there’s any site out there that fits the bill. I honestly do like the idea though.

  15. Drgals Says:

    This one was specially deep, I hadn’t given much thought to most of these ideas, and the staircase allegories were more than fitting… Plus, it’s comfortable to know that it’s hard to believe that one can be great just by wishing it. So I guess we should all keep on trying our best to become great.

    Brilliant as usual… Happy New Year, and thank you for all the comix…


  16. You always make them worth the wait, this was beautiful.

  17. Fred Sib Says:

    I thought “man this guy looks a lot like Cantona”
    And then I read the title of the newspaper.
    Brilliant.

  18. Abel Says:

    A nice sequel to stairs.

  19. That guy Says:

    (I hate to be that guy, but)
    You’ve mentioned the “tyrannosaurus as a scavenger” hypothesis a few times in your comics. I feel compelled to mention that based on my browsing of paleontology blogs, as well as other haunts of dinosaur enthusiasts, the idea seems to be a minority opinion among paleontologists. From what I understand, its the pet idea of Jack Horner, and I don’t know of any other paleontologists who are proponents of the idea. Some suggest that Horner himself might not actually believe in the idea, and that he only brings it up because it garners much media attention. There are various reasons to doubt Horner’s hypothesis: a large, land based scavenger is completely unprecedented in the animal kingdom, There are actually t-rex bite marks on other dinosaur fossils that seem to have healed after the fact, Tyrannosaurus has much better binocular vision (a hallmark of predators) then many other predatory dinosaurs, ect.
    The details of this debate are incidental to your work, and don’t distract from it in any case. However, if you are interested in reading more, this blog post by a paleontologist and especially the comments posted on the blog are very informative and go into much greater detail: http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/05/100_years_of_tyrannosaurus_rex.php
    This nitpicking is in no way intended as a criticism of your comic. I find it very enjoyable and I hope you keep up the good work!


    • Please do be that guy, and i appreciate the info. I should indeed probably stop using that as an example of misconceptions if scientific consensus is that t-rex was a terrifying powerhouse after all.

    • Ben Says:

      You’re in good company, Winston. It took Bill Watterson a few years to get his dinosaur information right. Thanks for another great comic!

  20. Jeff Dworkin Says:

    Absolutely brilliant. Insightful, funny, intelligent, deep.

  21. Das Wree Says:

    Darn it Winston. Everytime I manage to work myself into a perfectly good depression about something, you always seem to write something that puts it in perspective. So I have no idea what I want out of life, that just makes me human I guess.

    The sane part of my mind thanks you.

  22. Fidon Says:

    Is that a typo in the bottom right corner?

    That stickman on the right says: “But I was on purpose, right?” Shouldn’t it be “But it was on purpose, right?”?

    Maybe it was intentional, as the comic is about imperfection, if so then sorry for nitpicking.

    Anyway great comic as always.

  23. ayadew Says:

    Brilliant! BRILLIANT

  24. Libertariandude Says:

    Bear in mind the T. rex probably wasn’t a scavenger after all. Anyway, life is just like the Internet in a lazy afternoon. You just… browse.

  25. Alexander Erben Says:

    Perfect. ;)

  26. Lucy McGough Says:

    Is that guy on the right in the third panel reading a Kindle?

  27. Şp♠Đę Says:

    This was so heartwarming for some reason, even if those girls are just friends and not the actual lesbians my stupid male brain wants them to be. Also diggin the slightly unshaven legs :p i once had an ex ask me if she could stop shaving her legs because she got tired of it, so on a whim i said sure what the hell. girl hair is still waaaaay softer than ..

    and i’ve said enough. great comic, loved seeing flight attendant with her christmas present.

  28. Tom Says:

    This comic is insanely awesome. I can’t even begin to express it. <3

  29. James G Says:

    I thought the guy with the gardening book looked a bit like Freddie.

    Also, given this, http://www.viruscomix.com/page506.html, I can’t help but wonder if Little by Little was in your head when you drew this. “True perfection has to be imperfect, I know that that sounds foolish, but its true.”

  30. Anonymous Says:

    Hehe, a lot of people are trying really hard to be able to accept evidence and not to reject truth for reasons of bias or human error. Just check out lesswrong to see for yourself…

  31. Jeff Says:

    Please never make shorter comics. Every single one has made me tear up a little, think, and hopefully become a better person.

  32. Nibor Says:

    Keep on dreaming and loving this shit!! :D

  33. menchicutlets Says:

    I can’t help but love the comics involving this pair, both in their insight and in how they interact with each other, so adorable. :)

  34. Jory Vermette Says:

    Winston, you sir are a great artist. Simple as that. You display such amazing, wise and thought provoking messages that have honestly changed my ways of looking at the world and life. Thank you, you have been a great inspiration. On a side note, I enjoyed seeing Freddie Mercury and Eric Cantona in your strip, I also liked how the girl in the Manchester United touque was completely jaw dropped by seeing him. Anyways, thanks again for amazing material, yours truly.

  35. Scott Sessions Says:

    Thank you! I love your comics, and I love your style. Although I can’t claim your work has changed my life by miles, it’s definitely shifted it by an inch or two.

  36. Valeri Says:

    Another stunning piece of work. These comics always make me feel like maybe the world isn’t doomed to decline; they remind me of what I guess is a motif I’ve stumbled upon that we are eternally on the precipice, at least until death do us part from the gravity of this world.
    Rowntree–you’ve done it again!

  37. Jody Says:

    I do hope that your resolution to make shorter comix is like hers: An intentional non starter. I LOVE your long comix!

  38. Taylor Gruye Says:

    After reading each new strip you post, I usually want to say “thank you” but this particular one was what it took for me to find the comment button.

  39. r10pez10 Says:

    Nice, thoughtful and wordy! Keep it up man, your insights are totally relevant and interesting for a whole lotta people.

    (Yesterday I bought this book: http://www.amazon.com/Statistics-Without-Tears-Primer-Mathematicians/dp/0024040908 to see if it can’t help me study for my exam for a course that I’m not sure is right for me
    (It’ll lead somewhere though, right?) and then I only realised afterwards that the author is a ‘Derek Rowntree’. One of your relations, perhaps? :P)

  40. D. Walker Says:

    This is the most criminally unknown webcomic I’ve ever read. Far too good to be this underground. But then again, most underground things are.

    *goes back to lurking for another year*

  41. TF Says:

    Points deducted for neglecting bottle of Blotto’s Wine – sensibly priced at a dollar a jug – and obligatory french fry stuck in Mr. Welles’s beard.

    Points awarded for every-bloody-thing else.

  42. CorgieFriend Says:

    Can you please fix the typo on the manc pixie dream girl’s t-shirt?

  43. GlitterBerri Says:

    I think you’re a comic philosopher.

    By the way, there’s another typo in the Wellesley St. panel. “questiong” = “questioning” :)

  44. Mike C. Says:

    This is beautiful. Thank you so much for such a wonderful comic.

  45. ben Says:

    Wow, this one is awesome once again.
    I guess it’s like some thought most of us feel sometimes, and you followed it up the stairs.

  46. Robert Says:

    I’m wondering who “Pink Haired Girl” is talking to on the phone.

  47. Ronald Says:

    Yeah my first reaction to the “I resolve to make shorter comics” was “… but that’s one of the things I love about your comics!” And then the other frame hit me. Nice resolution! Although I don’t think I could make resolutions like that, because it would feel too much like hypocrisy for me. I suppose that’s why I don’t make resolutions at all.

    To those commenting about objective truth – think of it in terms of this comic. Were you not taught there is objectivity? The journey toward intersubjectivity is no different – there’s a struggle to accommodate the information and to switch to a new mode of thinking which contradicts information and the mode you’ve previously grown accustomed to, just like any other “enlightenment.” And people will argue with you because of what they’ve grown up believing, etc. I think the comic does a pretty good job of describing the meta- issue as well.

  48. Benjy Says:

    Wonderful. Just great. <3

  49. Nishido Says:

    Well, we didn’t know the 6 years old Freddy Mercury, so there is a chance he had everything, even the dance with Darth Vader, all well planned from the start. I do like to believe Freddy worked in mysterious ways ;D

    It was worth to wait. You did a good job, and cheered up my day.

  50. Haneybird Says:

    I teared up when I finished reading this comic. Here’s why.

    When I was an elementary school child I wanted to be an engineer (train).
    When I was in middle school I wanted to be a paleontologist.
    When I was in high school I wanted to be an engineer.
    I joined the army as a mechanic.
    I went to college for psychology.

    I now work as an electrician and love my job.
    I am married to a beautiful woman whom I love.
    We decided that it is time for her to go off birth control.
    We just got a call earlier today from our Realtor that our offer on our first house has been accepted.

    My path has changed so many times in my life but I can not think of a place I would rather be than where I am right here and now.

  51. Dan Plaat Says:

    That moral is why I like plots that turn demons into the “right” side. Don’t be perfect! Do what you want. What does sin mean against the boring-ness of angels If my(a demon’s) help back fires on you because you misused it or the outcome was bad or some such, That’s only because your so not perfect, It’s just the way it should be!

  52. Julien Brightside Says:

    This comic makes me think.

  53. Al Says:

    I’ve been reading your comics for god knows how long and this is the first time I saw the “leave a comment” button… Damn… Since this is my first comment I have to say… I love your comic, specially the sphinx strips!
    So thanks for making this webcomic. Somehow it always makes me feel better.
    Oh! And I love the scroll over text for this. Took me a while to get it (but then, that is another one of Subnormality’s charms). Have a great year!

  54. Schadenfreude Says:

    Hehehe. I wish I could see such cool people on the Spadina streetcar and not, y’know, screaming hobos.

  55. kvlisdjvbsldhb Says:

    AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  56. Scott Says:

    Winston, I love you.

  57. Freemage Says:

    Mag-freakin’-nificent. I just recently re-found you, and did a full-bore archive trawl. And this one is one of your best, which is a high bar to meet.

    I was in a crap relationship in my 20s. Seriously–it’s the kind of thing where, after it finally implodes, all your friends come up to you and say, “Thank God! What took you so long?”

    But I don’t regret it, because if I hadn’t “wasted” six years in that relationship, I probably wouldn’t have learned some of my own personal foibles–things I need to make certain I don’t do if I want a relationship to actually work. And I almost definitely wouldn’t have been single when I finally encountered the woman who eventually became my wife. Our relationship–friendship, courtship, housemates, marriage–is nearly twice as long now than the ‘bad’ relationship, and still going strong.

    So, thank you past self, for being so stupid at times. It paid off.


    • I honestly wanted to work in something about exactly that, about how a relationship ending doesn’t mean the whole thing was a waste of time, so i’m really glad you mentioned that.

  58. Sean Says:

    is that King Eric at King street!?

  59. Şp♠Ɖę Says:

    good to see you participating in the sopa/pipa thing. couple other comics i read are blacked out today, and i went and signed at least 4 petitions. was also rather appalled that both of my states congresswomen are for both.

  60. Doom Says:

    Thank you for not blocking out entire site for that “SOPA protest”. Couple of comics I read frequently were “blacked out” today. I’m not going to read them again. SOPA or not SOPA, I dislike when people try to force me into supporting their case.

    The comic is quite good. It isn’t something magnificient like “choose your own adventure” (#158), but it is still quite enjoyable.

    • Charlie Says:

      I have a bad temper, and it’s something I’m trying to cure myself of. Every time I find myself becoming annoyed, I remind myself that it’s a character flaw to let things that aren’t flat out evil irritate me. I too would prefer it if my favored webcomics didn’t seem to be using SOPA as an excuse to skip an update, but they tell stories I care about and don’t charge me a dime. So I said to myself “Don’t be a petulant little twat.” I then instantly became a better person. True story.


    • I agree that blacking out my online comic would have been a bit much, as they say, and i felt kind of self-conscious putting even a line of text about it on my site, but at the same time i’ve long had this feeling that the internet has been too good to be true in terms of uniting the world in a free exchange of information, that there’s another horrible shoe to drop at some point if people let it, and it’s legislation like this that could potentially ruin things for everyone (by being the first step in a stairway to god knows where). I don’t really wanna go off on a whole thing here though, i mostly just wanted to convey that i’m aware of current events, that’s all.

    • Doom Says:

      @Winston Rowntree: “i felt kind of self-conscious putting even a line of text” It is perfectly understandable when a comic author wants to inform the reader about some kind of problem. The xkcd guy (although I no longer read xkcd much) did in a very good way – by making another comic strip about the issue. I.e. you are made aware of the problem, and you can still read site archive. Few other people decided to do it more abruptly by blacking everything. IMO, that’s trying to force people into supporting their position, which doesn’t sit right with me.

      @Charlie: All thing change and so will the internet. The bill might indicate another change. Also, many things cease to exist and same might happen to the internet. The problem with SOPA campaign is that people outside of USA (that are aware of the bill and can read english) don’t have much of way to affecting decision of USA government, plus bill may get accepted regardless of society’s opinion. Of course, the bill will backfire badly if accepted (ICANN would lose power and legion of “unofficial” DNS servers will appear), but that’s completely different matter. Yet another thing is that trying to fight the bill is not efficient, and demanding some kind of “legal immunity” (2nd amendement) for domain registrators OR trying to stop people behind the bill would be a better idea in long term. You could probably rally people against record industry or similar entities that are bent on making people’s lives worse instead of trying to adapt to situation.

      Regarding “better person” part: you are what you are. Every character trait has both benefits and disadvantages, and that includes “short temper”. Perceiving a “trait” as a “flaw” is rather inefficient “black and white” thinking – there are situations when it might be useful, and in my experience character traits perceived as “vices”/”flaws” can be quite useful to get things done, as long as you don’t go overboard.

      Anyway, I do not think this is the right place for this kind of discussion, so you might want to find somebody else to talk to – elsewhere.

    • Charlie Says:

      Although it’s true few things are black and white,. many things are dark enough one can go a lifetime without seeming any good come from them. If there’s a religion or philosophy that seriously extolls the virtues of impatience and irritation, I don’t think I’ve read it. So no, I’m sticking with it being a character flaw one should rise above. Even if it should provide some impetus to break away from a bad habit or situation, annoyance is surely inferior to simple cautiousness or even apathy.

      Given one of the chief explorations of this web-comic is human maturity, I also presume to think it’s ok to talk about such things here. If that annoys someone, I suggest they try apathy.

  61. Adam Samsa Says:

    Sorry Winston, this is the first of your comics I didn’t read all the way through, after keeping it opened for two days. It was so abstract I couldn’t connect emotionally. And the idea that people aren’t perfect, rational life planners isn’t exactly earth-shattering. At such a general level, all the deepest things have been said over and over again already.

    Pile on me, fanboys. I know he’s going to take one critical response more serious than fifty love notes.


    • Ha, please don’t feel you have to apologize for not liking a comic. I think of music, and i think of the not-so-great tracks by bands i like that i Always skip, so if this comic was the equivalent of “Revolution 9″ for you then i’m just pleased if you listened to other parts of the album, as it were. And i would definitely hope that no-one would pile on you for it.

      And yeah, exactly what you say: everything has indeed been said over and over at this point, which is obviously the greatest of artistic challenges. Ideally, what one might aspire to do is take common ideas that people might be deaf to due to having been rendered meaningless/cliche by repetition, and then kind of rephrase them so they’re again possible to take in. I’m not saying that’s what i myself definitely do all the time with resounding success, i just think it’s a goal to aspire to. Plus there are new people every day, and they have to hear old ideas for the first time somewhere. Plus the medium itself is a factor, in that one can at least definitely say things that have not been said before in an online comic. It’s not much, i guess, but it’s something.

  62. Quirel Says:

    Hrm…
    That bag that the gardener has… Is that one of those old cloth Safeway bags? Brings back some childhood memories…

    Not sure if I’ll read all the way through this one, though not because it’s kind of a tired question, or because it’s too long. Rather, the font is hard to read, particularly after Queen Street. I imagine that might be difficult, if you hand-letter the comics like I think you do.

    Yeah, just read it all the way through. Nothing spectacular, but it’s passable. Like, um… ‘Any Colour You Like’?

  63. kalistina Says:

    Excellent comic, once again. The multiple paths on the last stairs drawing reminds me of some of my own symbols (the tree of infinite possibilities), in a very, very good way.
    I feel the importance of the non-determination of paths is constantly underrated.

    Thanks!

  64. Sam Says:

    Love it. As usual its wordy but I don’t think its unnecessary. The simplified forms on the right really make a nice contrast.

  65. Pablo Says:

    You make such wonderful comics. They’re truly special. This one really spoke to me.

  66. Some Chick Says:

    It just occurred to me that like half your comics are basically modern Socratic dialogues with pictures.

    This is a good thing.

    Btw, I’ve been wondering this for a while, how exactly do you create your comics?


    • My process is pretty much the same as bill watterson’s…

      Seriously though, if you mean art-wise it’s pencil and Isograph pens (as well as cheapo Pitt Artist Pens for the lettering) on pretty much whatever paper, and then i scan it all in and assemble/color everything in Paint Shop Pro X3, which is the poor man’s Photoshop (and is buggy and horrible and i swear at the screen constantly, but unlike Photoshop or whatever it’s at least affordable. Plus higher end programs would just be overkill for what i do). And that’s about it!

    • Keke Says:

      Sorry, but have you ever tried GPL graphic editors like GIMP?

  67. Melissa Says:

    I look forward to all of your new comics, but I especially loved this one. It made me feel alot better about where I am in my life. Thank You for that.

  68. Scot Says:

    There’s a detail that you left out of the philosophizing, I think: the people who got those places got there because they were trying to get someplace. That is, if they hadn’t been trying to get to Z, they wouldn’t have reached Y.

    So, while I LOVE that you’re using comics for more than jokes or porn, I felt a little like you were driving towards a conclusion that you already felt was ‘perfect’ or complete, but you didn’t touch on all the steps.

    On that note, a revamp of the definition of ‘perfect’ may be exactly what Western culture needs—not filling-some-preconceived-idea-or-measure, but whole-and-complete. There’s prob’ly more steps on this staircase, but I’m stopping here. :)

  69. Snake Says:

    Winston, don’t you DARE make shorter comix this year!
    And Happy New Year, you wacky bastard.

  70. Eugene Says:

    If only I could describe the way this comic reached out of the blue to link, connect, correct and otherwise synthesize with the exact same stew of slowly churning vaguely philosophical interpretation of life that I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to accept for the longest time now. But I can’t, and instead I hope you’ll get a good idea of what I mean by trying to express my deepest gratitude. So, thank you, Winston, you truly lit the path I have to take to live, not by showing it to me, but by dispelling the specters and shadows that, try as I might to suppress it, the fear of the unknown casts ahead into my vision of the future.

    I could go on about how The Maturity Climb (your url in the picture is what led me to you) opened my eyes to certain things as well, but I think I’ve rambled quite enough for one day.

    I’m now convinced that some environmental factor unique to Toronto puts us all in a depressive, existentialist mood and grants us intense internal dialogues.

  71. benS. Says:

    This. Is. Cosiness. Squared.
    Ahhhh..

    -but…wait a minute-

    On second thought: that cap, stem and cup- girl would be a bit tough to digest, and, on third thought (now I’d cock my Browning if I’d have one) the panty-girl’s got that “Red and yellow kill a fellow” -look!
    Subculture, maybee?

    ben, unarmed.

    PS TataSteelchess
    NOW 13:12 GMT

  72. Phil C. Says:

    Loved this one. Like others, I’ll echo the sentiment that we want you to make comics as long as you damn well please.

    The Freddie Mercury example was awesome, as was seeing FPHG with her Christmas present, looking so happy and animated. I hope she likes being a flight attendant. She deserves a little happiness for a change.

    Keep writing and drawing, Winston!

    cheers,
    Phil

  73. Otter Says:

    Haha, Orson Welles and his frozen peas http://youtu.be/IH1PJTY9AVA :D

    Also Freddy Mercury reading a gardening book?
    Is this the real life?

  74. Jose Says:

    I am up to your 60th comic and all I have to say is how fantastic all of them are.

  75. doyle Says:

    once more a beutiful comic. always gives me something to ponder. thanks Winston.

  76. Andrew Says:

    this is one of your best

  77. Claire Says:

    I am a huge, huge fan. I love all the details in the background, like ‘WHIM’ on the subway ads. You always give me something to contemplate, which is awesome. Also, your art style rocks.

  78. F.D.A. Says:

    Quote: “Maybe if you grew up in a lab from day one, or just worked at it constantly for decades.”

    It’s easier to “depersonalize your identity” than that. I am in the state you described as “perfect” in your latest comic. I am just very alone since my early childhood and have a bad relationship with my parents. This enables me to analyze any issue or problem without any kind of subjectivity or prejudice. The downside is that objectivity can’t relief me of the social needs every human has. See: Maslow theory.

  79. Spike Says:

    You ever feel like you slipped and fell down the steps?

    I have, and I wish there was a “Life Alert” to call someone and tell them I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

  80. Benjy Says:

    I like the Spinx on the front page but I miss the random leopard girl….

  81. Dhatz Says:

    I figured many things, for example that truth basically = opinion, and thus only facts are objective, while people cannot be.
    Another thing about people trying to be objective is the Death Note series, caution: it was supposed to end with 25, so expect a drop afterwards.

  82. cbobgo Says:

    after noting Freddie on Queen street and Cantona on King street I spent about 20 minutes on google and wikipedia trying to figure out who the guy with the peas was on Wellesley. Let me tell you, reading the history of all the various dukes of Wellington to see which of them might be associated with peas was not much fun. I had pretty much given up, then saw the comment above pointing out that it is Orson Wells. So then I got to enjoy all the youtube videos about that.

    Thanks for another great comic!

  83. Mark Says:

    Damn I hope you’re a chick posing with a male name. ‘Cause you are hot.

  84. Griff Says:

    wow, you really expect me to read all that? sorry, but I don’t have 3 hours to sit and read a web comic

    • Joe Trudell Says:

      Well, at least you have time to comment on it.

    • mikey39800 Says:

      Words! NNnngh.

      And fyi: the internet expects nothing of you. You may be criticized to the full extent of the law, but the internet is still merely a library of interest.

      Go check out the coloring book section.

  85. angsav Says:

    Awesome, as always. I just love the endless walls of text!

    That last image, with the stairs, reminded me of this:

  86. Richter Says:

    Sigh, another awesome comic. Winston, would it kill you to jump the shark already? But nope, here you are with more wit and brilliance. [Dangerfield mode]No respect for your readership, ah tells ya.[/Dangerfield mode]

    Sarcasm aside, as a longtime fan-for-life reader who loves you dearly, the only criticism I could give is that your female characters all start to look alike after a while. I’m having trouble telling them apart — same pointy noses, same lips, same hair, same philosophy, etc.

    Sorry about bashing the art but with your stable of characters ever growing, sometimes it feels like you’re just writing to pass a message and it doesn’t matter which character says it. Brown-haired person, it is to me, at this point.

    Hope I’m not patronizing, I love everything you do, it’s just that the dialog sometimes feels interchangeable to me. The Sphyinx could say it and it wouldn’t change a thing. Ungh, forget it, maybe I’m just in a bad mood.


    • No, that’s a fair point. I could probably do with a bit more focus on making some characters less similar, so i’m glad you mentioned it. There’s not much to be lost in accepting that particular challenge, i reckon.

  87. Dain Says:

    i almost spit out my coffee laughing when I saw Freddy and then read the next panel. I watched the BBC documentary “Queen – Days of our Lives” again this week and have been listening to Queen on Pandora since. When I was reading this, Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” was playing. I always enjoy your stuff, Keep up the good work!!!!

  88. Magnanimous Says:

    I say this every time, but… magnificent work, Winston. I love this comic.

  89. Gueibor Says:

    I think you’re taking comics to a place not even “next level” advocates have envisioned yet. All I can say is thank you.


  90. I feel the need to join the chorus of people thanking you for your poignant and infinitely relate-able work. This is beautiful writing at its finest, conveyed with humor and perfect clarity. I’m so sorry I haven’t encountered your work sooner than I have.

  91. aqua Says:

    Hey Winston!

    I love this comic. Not just this strip (though that too) but this entire comic. I don’t always agree with everything you write about or enjoy every strip, but you always make me think, and I like that a lot.

    There are plenty of things I can say about this comic. Most of them have already been said here, except for one: I’m interpreting these characters as a couple. (They’re acting really coupley here, and I think that they’re supposed to be the same characters in “Stairs”, who are married.) I don’t know if you’re straight or not, but you’re obviously a guy, and I just have to say: THANK YOU.

    Thank you for writing queer girls that feel like real people. Thank you for not making them either impossibly fanservicey looking or horrendously stereotypical looking. Thank you for letting them ramble on about things like this instead of about how gay they are, the sex they’re having, or [insert stupid queer girl fad here].

    This isn’t to say that I assume that men, straight or otherwise, are stupid, but I’ve seen actual queer girl writers make queer girl characters that are All About Being A Lesbian And Nothing Else. So it’s usually pretty surprising in a good way to see someone who isn’t a queer girl at all doing better.

    These characters aren’t really like me, but that’s fine, they don’t have to be. But they feel like people, and it’s really really nice to see characters around that feel like PEOPLE, because most characters who have that in common with me really are anything but. <3

    • Gueibor Says:

      But aqua, the harder you strive to NOT assume we’re stupid, the more we’ll foil your efforts by being stupid anyway. Our Derp! Cannot! Be Vanquished!

  92. John Loo Says:

    I loved it when you mentioned that most successful people got there by chance. Too often I think people pressure us to be successful, as if they have a road map to success. Parents, teachers, friends. And it’s a trend these days to see so many salesman selling you THEIR road map to success. Unfortunately, most people forget that quite a lot of successful got there doing what they loved. And I loved the Freddie cameo. Not sure who the second guy was though. Thanks Winston.

  93. Adaon Says:

    Thank you. Your work reaches out.

  94. Anita Says:

    I just bought 3 of your prints. Beautiful. I’m a printer and I can’t believe the colour saturation or how they were produced. I’ve seen colour Xerox. but this..? No dots.
    So it cant be Litho.
    Well all I really want to say your work is Freaking Awesome
    and I look forward to every new one. Thank you

    And lastly YOU SHOULD SIGN YOUR ART

  95. Brooklen Says:

    Thank you for this, and for the calm.

  96. Andre Says:

    Thanks, that came in a great time.
    I’m moving out of my family’s house, going to the university, and I’m unsure about the course, where i’m going to live, what i’m doing with my life, etc.
    But yeah, besides I already though about almost everything you said in the comic (I’m not in the first step! :D ), this is really great and give me some motivation

  97. Mikel Says:

    Good things New Year’s resolutions always have the opposite effect.

  98. Fran Says:

    I love you man!

  99. Adam Says:

    Hi Winston, you been reading Nietzsche lately?

    Just want to know what level of intention was involved or not because this one is based on aspects of the idea & is saturated with references to the the Overman.

  100. crestind Says:

    Beautiful comic! An identity based on wanting the facts above all else would fall under the INTP personality type (MBTI).

  101. Ian Says:

    This one made me feel Hopeful about the life I am living. I find your comics are frequently relevant and insightful.

  102. Josh Says:

    I find that your comics are beginning to fill the folder in my image gallery titled ‘Relevant’– the same one I added when I first came across your comic. I believe it’s time I invest in some prints.

  103. darustet Says:

    The way this comic – and couple other Viruscomics – sums up my life and personality as ”me” and more importantly the chance from past ”me” to ”me” is something I could have never even thought up by myself.

    I think it would be accurate to say that I was the guy asking the other guy above me ”how did you get there” in the last staircase and then after a period of time (the moment when I discovered this the first time) I realized that now I was the guy yelling back ”dude, I don’t know!”. And now I know why, for I had given a lot of thought on how the hell did I pull that off.

    To be more specific (ending up being more confusing), the comic is the best I’ve found humanity to have, to put words of something that mixes the question of our destiny, place in life, our own progress, our dreams, failures and victories and how did I really became me and ended up in where I am. But only if you can find yourself from this comic, not just some guy telling you ”this is how it works”. So the bad thing is that you can’t foresee that process, but realize afterwards that it has already happened.

    But of course, it’s not so bad, since you still have infinite amount of other steps to climb.

  104. Marc Says:

    Hi, would just like to add my voice to Ark’s above, I’d love a poster of this one.

    Thanks for making them all, Winston!

  105. Birth Defect Says:

    Your comics are amazing! I’ve just spent three consecutive days reading them (I wish I was kidding), it’s like the best things in life are discovered at random, things that you don’t expect or even know that exist that catch you off guard and shit, when you see it you’re in that same place you always were, thinking about life and not being able to draw any conclusions. It’s just beautiful, keep up the good work!

  106. Mystyr Nile Says:

    This one makes me happy. I feel uplifted.
    Great to read just before going to bed; I’m off!

  107. Eric Says:

    Well, just a few that favor graphic art over dialog -I liked the goat plateau one – ; you do have a male following, after all. Ha Ha just kidding. but seriously, I read your comix after work and sometimes I’m too tired to read and you do do great symbolism…so, thank you for your art.

  108. Ethaniel Says:

    > Ask 100 people if they’re above average and 80 of them will say yes.

    Well, technically, it can be totally right, because average (a.k.a. arithmetic mean) and median are two different things!
    Say that, among those 100 people, 20 of them have $0 while the 80 others have $100: The total quantity of money is $8000, thus the average quantity of money is $80; There are consequently 80 people who have strictly above average, because $100>$80.
    Another example I’ve read years ago: https://www.google.com/?#q=you%20have%20more%20legs%20than%20the%20average%20person

    Anyway, your comix are so awesome. SO. AWESOME!

  109. Adrian Griffin Says:

    Am I the only who sees this as perhaps the two characters’ discussions they’re having here in this comic are a less focused or mature iteration of their conversation about stairs, and it’s not only a philosophical discussion, but a subtle character arc as well, like they gain experience with age and start to see a deeper, but not greater, sense of agency within people. Is that right?


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