I’ll have to see if I can properly comment on this once I get home from work tonight – a job there was no interview required for, for a person who has never gotten a job on the strength of one.
For now, I’ll just say I’m reminded of that episode of the Simpsons where Bart steps into the room so that his head coincidentally obscures the map on the wall at just the right moment. I don’t doubt that you very deliberately sought to make that little part of this comic as hilariously frustrating as that moment – good work.
I remember reading the first Ethel comic and totally being scared to hell about it. Not sure if you intended for her to turn out like she did, or if you just decided to explore her character a bit more instead of tossing her aside after one comic, but… She’s a keeper, basically.
I have say, it was quite ingenious to pull up that little distraction from BHG, and also very provocative in itself, this is definitely one of your best works yet, of course not counting ‘The Tag Team’.
I always look forward to reading your comics. Whenever I see that you have a new one I wait until I have a spare hour or two before I even bother to start because I know that is how long I will spend reading and then scanning over it. Keep up the wonderful work ^_^
Wow. That was a really lovely bit of human connection, and I hadn’t even picked up on them both being continuing characters. I also love that the zoom-in feature lets readers see the strip as a whole, to show in this case the way that the panels gradually expand from start to finish along with the evolution of the story.
Unfortunately the small panels at the start seemed to interact with the JPEG compression of the whole image footprint to make it fairly blocky (but Still readable). Perhaps breaking the image up into thirds and decompressing separately would have helped?
Sometimes I read these, and I think that you and I could really get along well WR. But then I think that these dialogues are so universal to human nature that maybe that’s the point, that almost everyone can relate to almost all of them. Eh, anyways I’m probably just a rambling lunatic.
Great comic as always! The #206-thing is a bit obvious but by that i realized that i started reading your comic a few years ago with #71. The particular comic was featured by the german magazine “visions” and from that time on, you had another reader from Germany.
I read this this morning before going to a job interview and PHG’s closing comments to Ethel kinda filled me with confidence. I always love then stories which feel kinda cynical all the way through but end with a high note, having them meet up a month later was one of the highest notes I’ve seen in a while.
As for the rest of the comic, I gotta say that I love the way they talk to each other. Specially Ethel’s remarks about how PHG’s asking her questions about her writing and such. I don’t know why when I read your comics I get this feeling that I’m getting some very important insight on how stuff works or would work some times, and give me a sense of hope, but then at the end I feel like not much has really changed. I guess It’s just the expectations I have make me hope for a happily-ever-after kind of ending, except that never exactly happens, but still makes me want to know what would happen to the characters next time we see them.
With this particular comic it makes me wonder, why did Ethel actually talk to her? I mean she said she almost didn’t. And I want to know what was the reasoning behind actually start talking, she’s one step ahead of me, and she actually enjoys it. It makes me so interested, really. :D
I wish I could give you the same kind of warm rush that I get after reading one of your comics. Everything seems to expand and the universe’s mysteries, benign and malignant, seem to step back for an instant. You capture an organic and important facet of my life, and yet we’ve never met.
I consider your art an intense pleasure, and am thrilled every time I find an update. Thanks for sharing!
Okay, on chrome I have a folder, if I ctrl+click the folder, all of the bookmarks open in seperate tabs.
First on the list? Subnormality. day in and day out, I click on that folder (sometimes even 2-3 times a day) and on days like today, I am reminded why I torture myself each day
Like Kyle, at the end of a wall of text update, I am incapable of anything other than smiling. You have a way of capturing people in a badass way. Thank you.
Amazing as always. These are probably my two favourite recurring characters (well, actually, it’s a three-way tie with the Sphinx), so I really like that you had them meet and hit it off. In a lot of ways, I think they need each other.
I also liked how the theme of this one tied into the one before it.
Let me add my vote for someday seeing FPHG introduce Ethel to the Sphinx!
Another masterpiece as usual. I love the little details you tuck away in corners, on walls, on expressions, everywhere. I get tired of sounding like a sycophantic douche but I really, really love the way you think. Sorry.
I don’t read this often enough to actually realize these are recurring characters, but I was absurdly touched as usual. This is true art. I love the hallway themes and how the last panel opens up at the end. I could actually feel myself breathing out.
Ethel & PHG meet and become friends. So, in some future strips featuring your recurring characters getting on with their individual lives, these two will stop and say ‘Hi, and meet my friend.’? That’s the way friendship spreads.
I just want to thank you. I’ve been reading your comics for a while now and I’ve never commented, but this update really hits me hard. I constantly worry about whether it’s all going to be okay, and whether these decisions I make are even going to matter, and how the hell I am supposed to plan even a year in advance, and where am I supposed to make my next move. I go through these same conversations in my head, over and over. Thank you for giving these characters some small resolution. It’s honestly a little cathartic to see something work out for someone, even if it’s just in a comic. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.
Thanks for such great feedback, i’m just really glad if my work is of use to anyone. I’ve definitely had similar thoughts vis a vis planning in advance etc, so if my attempts to kind of work through such issues via the comix have worked for you as well then that’s definitely great.
I mean, you regularly do quality work that inspires thought and emotion but this one is especially stellar.
Uh, that whole saying about knocking it out of the ballpark thing; that does mean someone’s gone above and beyond what’s desired, right? I’ve always been a little vague on whether ‘knocking it out of the ballpark’ is a synonymous saying for ‘pushing the envelope.’
It’s weird, because usually I only read comics that are funny. I don’t mean any offense towards serious comics, I just don’t have the time of day to look at everything that interests me, so I stick to the funny stuff. But your comics are just perfect in every way. This wasn’t funny at all. It was just two people talking. But it was so freaking REAL, and I fell in love with the characters. I don’t know how you do it Winston. It’s one thing to be an amazing artist (which you are); it’s another thing entirely to be a phenomenal storyteller. I don’t think any other artist could make me care enough to spend 15 minutes reading a random dialogue between two women. Like the guy above me said, you knocked this out of the park.
P.S. I’m a guy, but I love the way you write your female characters. It’s almost like they’re real PEOPLE or something, and not just mindless objects for boys to put their penis in. I think you’re the only feminist artist that I follow.
I know, it’s almost like men AND women are humans, with similar concerns and experiences…! Honestly, nothing enrages me more than poor character writing, so i’m obviously hugely glad to be accused of having succeeded at the task myself. Nothing’s more important to me than to create actually convincing characters that reflect something of reality, and not just one-note empty shells that twist and morph to suit the story of the week (as opposed to the characters defining the direction of the story). And now i’ll just curtail this particular rant before it gets completely out of hand, since i could go on and on about it and i really need to go make dinner, but thanks very much indeed for the kind words! It seriously means a lot me.
yeah, i keep saying when i do a book i wanna put quotes from people here on the back (as opposed to quotes from critics or tastemakers or whoever else that i couldn’t be bothered with), and that’s definitely a contender. I love this medium, and i wish more people in the mainstream would wake up and see what kind of reactions it can provoke (reactions equal to those provoked by more popular mediums).
So yeah, thank you very much indeed for the ultra-kind words!
Well, thank you, you truly create art, i love how you use the medium of comix to create something that can’t be replicated in other arts medium, like cinema or literature (which i adore) We should have more artists like you that reminds us that every art medium it’s original and therefore have its own merit. Yet i think it is easier to just follow the norm than being original and creative, which is a shame.
I really hope to one day be able to create art in movies that are as true and original as your comix are.
Merry Everything :)
Hey Winston, just wanted to say I’ve been reading Subnormality for a long time. Love it as always. I’ve noticed that you’ve been playing with the same things lately. But you still have a lot to flesh out. ;)
I want to say thank you for sharing with me that article about evolution. The one about the eye ball. Thanks, it really changed my perspective a lot.
Merry xmas to you also! Your ongoing support is very much appreciated indeed. And yeah, i’ve definitely been mining a bit of theme here, it’s just been on my mind lately and i’m a big proponent of repeating themes if they’re worthy.
Winston, i’ve been reading your comics since the 1st one, and I really look forward to the next release. I love how your characters grow, the deepness of the dialogs and the way they always seem to end each other phrases with their own words. the mix is sublime.
PLEASE KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK
PD: I sometimes can’t beleave the size of the comics and the amount of detail you draw. You are really good.
I bet these characters just write themselves. it just makes sense that they’d meet each other, and at just the right time in their lives.
they have so many things in common. PHG and ethel are both trying their hardest to come into their own, and yet they do not see the gifts they already have… and these are gifts that would surely make the world their oyster, once they acknowledge them! PHG’s beautiful (the reason i keep coming back), ethel’s amazingly creative. its a struggle watching them go through things, but now,you just know they’re gonna help each other out.
as was said previously by so many, thanks for writing such great characters. you’ve put into art quite eloquently what quite a lot of people are going through. please keep up the good work! :D
I had to stop reading for a few minutes at the part about the kids, it was just overwhelming. I saw the expression in her face after those words, and it was like looking in a mirror. That one wordless image was brilliant. Subnormality is by far the most beautifully intense thing on the internet, and my goal in life since I discovered it is to create something that makes someone, somewhere feel just a tiny bit of what I’ve felt for a long time while reading your comics. Thank you so very very much!
I just love your comics, every time I see a new one it’s like little ray of sunshine from my laptop. Love all the long texts and all the little things you draw about that in the end mean so much. Can’t wait for the next one! :)
I’m continually Very proud to have one of the rare comments sections online that are actually worth reading (i’ve started to just give up on reading comments on so many websites, it’s just depressing). Handshakes all around on that one for sure, because it’s you guys that make it happen.
Oh my God this is so exciting.
Sorry, I must sound incredibly annoying, but EEEEE I am very excited about these two meeting. I love this comic, and I rarely comment but this was really the highlight of my day today.
And of course we won’t find out her name.
I really love how this comic changes my perception of humanity. It reminds me that people really are so complex on the inside, that they’re just as complex as I am, and how similar humans really are after all.
I just read this because I haven’t checked here in months (because the updates are so rare, haha) but I’m still really excited.
Just stumbled upon your comic through Topatco.. Almost didn’t finish it b/c my eyes are bloodshot, it’s 1:30 in the morning, the font is soooo tiny, etc. But I stuck with it, and i’m glad I did. I’ll just like to say thank you. For what it’s worth, this comic really spoke to me on many levels (also unemployed writer haha, tear). Bookmarking for future reference and hoping for more gems like this one Thanks again.. :)
I don’t think the world is going to end on Friday, but just in case, I want to do something I’ve never done in my life before (really) and leave a comment on a website I like. So!
Winston, thank you for all the wonderful comix. Subnormality has some of the most beautiful art I’ve ever seen, some of the most realistic dialogue I’ve ever heard, and some of the most thoughtful concepts I’ve ever had the pleasure to ponder. These comix drip with empathy for the human experience, and they make me glad it’s one I share.
Have a happy apocalypse, and if we survive that, a merry whatever-you-celebrate.
Oh, and if we do survive, then as a present to your adoring fans, could you put the Defocus poster for sale in your poster shop? (For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this beauty right here: http://www.viruscomix.com/defocus.html) I’ve been wanting to see that thing resurface in some capacity, and now you finally have an “other” category on Topataco! How about it? Ohpleaseohpleaseohprettyplease???
How would people feel about me running Defocus as a regular comic in the archive? The main reason i didn’t publish it originally is that the format doesn’t work as a static image (if it’s big enough to read the small writing, it’s too big to see the overall layout, and vice versa), but now that i’ve happened upon that zoom-in dealie i’ve been using most of my concerns about the comic would be allayed (it would then be a poster eventually as well, to answer the question). Let me know by replying to this comment!
PS: And thanks for the ultra kind words, Toasty! I definitely appreciate you using your final hours before the (non)apocalypse to send some good vibes my way. A merry holidays to you also. (and anyone else reading this!)
I thought that this was just fantastic! The conversation between them felt real and I’m a sucker for happy endings. It kind of gives me hope that things’ll work out even if it is just a comix. Very nice
I just wanted to say that I had never listen to Nickelback until just now, and I only did it because you mentioned them once or twice, in passing, and I thought oh come on now they can’t be that bad, can they?
Well, anyway, that’s all. Just saying, it’s all your fault, you made me listen to Nickelback.
It’s just me and my cat tonight due to unforeseen circumstances. While I was waiting for pizza to be delivered and for Home Alone to download so I could be nostalgic, I was reading the entry for “Pragmatic Villainy” on tvtropes.org and there happened to be a panel from one of your comics that I thought was cool. It lead me to your site and your comic totally cheered me up on a slightly melancholy Christmas eve. Thanks!
Your dedication to this Site, your Fans & your Work, is phenomenal.
Often I’m left disappointed with your pieces, years pass & those sporadic sparks of brilliance – there what linger, I think about them on the occasion & that’s why I come back, systematically; yet the beast lingers, you have not reached your potential.
Maturity; what a ghastly word, self awareness possibly, construction through evaluation? I don’t know whats happened because I was going to pull the plug on NYE 2011 cause shit don’t move me, & now it’s NYE 2012 your pieces are consistently hitting that mark of a scholar.
Excited to observe your journey, I want see were were you take the direction.
Happy New Year
PS What happend to the add comment button on the comic page?
Thanks! Thank you very much indeed, and happy new year to you also– it’s easy to be dedicated to the kind of readers the strip has attracted. And to answer your question, the xmas thing doesn’t really count as a comic, it’s just kind of a…one-off thing, thus no comments section.
That’s the happiest an ending to a comic has made me in a while. Wonderful. Is PHG still going to meet up with Spinx every now and then even though she’s flying all over the place? I mean… Spinx does have wings… Anyway, amazing.
I’ve compared it to the “where exactly is Springfield?” question re: the Simpsons before – maybe in another 10-15 years Winston will decide he’s made people suffer enough and tell, and it’ll be really anticlimactic and somewhat “how did we not guess that?”. Meantime, it’s hardly the only thing keeping people coming back for more.
The best analogy I can think of for it is in Doctor Who, where part of the beauty of the character is not knowing the Doctor’s name. What if it’s a name you hate? What if it’s some long seven syllable name that you can’t pronounce and that just doesn’t fit the character? It seems like it would change the character a bit. But just like that, it could be a name you love and that seems to fit the character perfectly.
I like the dr. who analogy. She definitely has always had a name, but i’m 98.6% sure i’ll never reveal it. Imagine if they came out and said dr. who’s name was really “Gerald” or something, it’d just be stupid. Like when they named comic book guy on the simpsons, that was just idiotic.
Yeah, I know. In one of the newer DW episodes it looked like they would, and I was going “noooo” don’t say it! Because it would change the character, for better or for worse. Just good to know I didn’t miss it somewhere. I’m pretty good at missing stuff. I love the comic and thanks for writing an awesome story!