Sept. 28th: “The Coward’s Tale”

September 29, 2008

Sorry, no big laughs this week. Or something. Speaking of big laughs, a close ally of mine–my Information Minister, he knows who he is–reminded me of the TV show “The Critic” the other day. After looking around on YouTube, I encountered this brief clip, which is honestly the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life (probably). I swear to god I was laughing so hard at that thing last night… I don’t even know why. I must have looked like an idiot. Maybe that’s some kind of keen glimpse into my psyche. Or maybe I’m just demented. Anyway, I declare it to be my Favorite Thing Ever. For this week, anyway. Oh, Orson Welles…

Stay beautiful,

W. Rowntree

85 Responses to “Sept. 28th: “The Coward’s Tale””

  1. Scarper Says:

    Don’t normally comment, but I love your comic. Just wanted to say, there’s a girl I’ve been friends with for a year now that I’ve been having exactly these thoughts with for a good month or two. I’m going to ask her to come get a coffee with me the first time I see her tomorrow. Here’s hoping πŸ™‚

    Thanks Winston


  2. Michael Ezra Says:

    Good luck, Tom!

    Subnormality–changing lives (with too many words) since 2007.

  3. Samuel Says:

    One of those things I don’t want for my life. Thank you for drawing this comic.

  4. Sahanavic Says:

    Hehe, I’ve lived through this story too well. I ended up telling her in the end very recently.

    It didn’t work out, but unlike how I imagined, it didn’t destroy our friendship. She was pretty cool about it, and she still talks to me. So I reckon you should go for it, if you’re still undecided.

  5. Innominate Says:

    God damn it, now I feel like a fool for not acting. Way to ruin my self-deluding apathy 😦

  6. Fuck it now I AM depressed.

    yay for ripping off my life in comic-book form.

    *prepares grave*


    yeah, I also have a cold.
    you jerk.

    no but seriously, great great stuff.

  7. bachterman Says:

    fuck janice, love is for the living. πŸ™‚

  8. Mr. Invisible Says:

    ahhhhhhh…. thats me. A loser.. A coward

  9. El_Greco Says:

    It would be so ironic if she turned out to be a lesbian.

  10. arkonbey Says:


    If my wife hadn’t been the one to hit on me…

  11. Avaric Says:

    Holy crap that hits close to home.

  12. Kurt Says:

    Fun fact: Orson Welles did the voice of Unicron in the Transformers movie. When asked about the role his reply was “It’s about a big toy who attacks a bunch of smaller toys.”

  13. @Kurt: that just made my day. Thanks man πŸ˜€

  14. J.T. Wilson Says:

    Yep….very close to home indeed. Same train of thought, “if she would be interested, she’da said something”.

    Once I’d moved to the US, and about 2 years after that very same bout of feelings, I ended up telling her over IM.
    She was very engaging and interested in my thoughts. She said that she would never be able to admit that to someone she had a crush on.
    As you may be able to tell, she did not have the same feelings (she politely sidestepped them without ever having to spell out her romantic disinterest).
    At the time we both had SO’s, and when I told her, I had another girlfriend so neither of us was ever single at the same time. I was able to tell her because it didnt really matter any more and would’ve only complicated things if it had been otherwise.

    To this day we’re still good friends (as good a friend as you can be at 4000 miles distance).

    Women are used to having guys disclose interest to them.
    As long as youre not a douche they’d be happy to gently let you down if theyre not mean. Heh.

  15. J.T. Wilson Says:

    Great work Winston!!

  16. LIL Says:

    Very depressing my man but it speaks loads of truth. Life is about doing it. Good work.

  17. Will Says:

    I was in the same situation just like every other guy on the planet. After a couple of weeks I asked her out and it didn’t work out – but after that we became even better friends. So please, guys, grow some balls. You won’t regret it.

  18. web hustler Says:

    imo all friendships are worth risking for the opportunity to become more than friends…

  19. mo0n_sniper Says:

    maybe it’s good, but it has too long dialogs to be a comic

  20. Gray Says:

    Awesome. πŸ˜€

  21. Daniel Says:

    Fucking mental. Classic stuff. Loved every bit of it.

  22. -- Says:

    Yeah that’s me. heh.

  23. busted Says:

    well done

  24. Scrivs Says:

    Fucking brilliant.

  25. Tim Maxwell Says:

    I liked the comic, but I think that a lot of people are scared away by the great blocks of text. In this case that’s particularly unfortunate because it’s not necessary to read all the text to understand the comic. I would recommend that you do something to indicate that it’s not necessary to read all of the text. For example, you could put the Coward in front of the block of text (obscuring some of the words) so that it’s obviously in the background. Or you could have the text fade to grey, or degenerate into chicken-scratch, or get smaller and smaller. Any of those would indicate to the reader that the actual content of the text was not important.

  26. Jon Says:

    Disagree, comic is fine as is

  27. Scarper: Hey, good luck!

    Kurt: Totally a fun fact… I think I did know that actually, but it’s definitely a big piece of the Welles Legacy of Crazy.

    Will: Well said.

    mo0n_sniper: Sorry, that ship has sailed…

    Tim Maxwell: You’re right, a lot of people are in fact scared away by the text. That doesn’t mean a lot of text is no good though; it means that a lot of people have certain expectations about comic strips in general, and a lot of text is contrary to those expectations and thus turns them off. My desire is to see those expectations change, however it may happen.

  28. Mona Says:

    oh that’s great, love it!

  29. NotMyRealName Says:

    Awesome comic. I think you may have just inspired me. Thank you

  30. PressureChief Says:

    I totally took this advice to heart and asked a girl out… she said yes.


  31. dr Says:

    this is a comic about me! i am the dead guy in that grave right there!

  32. gianni Says:

    Thank you for you brilliant comic about procrastination πŸ™‚

  33. Speedy Says:

    Faint heart never won fair lady.but then I prefer brunettes

  34. Cheesetroll9000 Says:

    I can so relate to that at the moment.. Well done bro!

  35. Andrew` Says:

    I love the huge text walls usually, but I feel in this one the information content was a bit low. Still good comic though.

  36. Lain Says:

    Ah… this one is fantastic.

    And FWIW, I found it quite easy to read.

  37. Chyntt Says:

    It speaks to me.

  38. Nestor Says:

    A very touching tale to me.

  39. Kurt Says:

    Poor Orson Welles. How do you go from having your first movie hailed as one of the best ever made, to doing cheap wine commercials?
    But anyways, hooray for huge blocks of text! You should make a comic that is just text from top to bottom with little tiny figures in the corners. Well, maybe not that extreme, but some of us actually do like to read!

  40. Rob Retter Says:

    Um, feeling a bit angsty these days, Winston?

  41. Mark Temporis Says:

    Wow, you nailed it.
    In the immortal words of The Reverend Mother Gaius Mohaim,

  42. 5entient Says:

    …… i just go with the club to the head routine, then drag her by her hair to my cave… its worked 9… no 10 times so far.

  43. fy Says:

    hahaha, i just laughed out loud because i think rape is really funny! you can never go wrong with a rape joke! seriously!!

    …fuck you.

    i’m another one who sees herself in this one. πŸ˜€
    although this isn’t my favorite strip of yours since i feel that it lacks the novelty (in idea) others have, i think it’s pretty nice. somehow i especially like that the guy’s gravestone isn’t the only one with regrets written on it.

  44. fy Says:

    (and by the way, i mean “novelty” as in “state or quality of being novel, new, or unique”, not “an article of trade whose value is chiefly decorative, comic, or the like and whose appeal is often transitory” [definitions from]

    can i play that “english isn’t my first language”-card now, please.)

  45. Chris Says:

    I know some people are saying that the huge walls of text are scaring people but the thing I found scary (I just discovered Subnormality) was that this comic didn’t fit on my 24″ monitor 2364 seems a bit to wide, but I’m glad I didn’t let that stop me from reading the archives, I’m hooked.

  46. ba6ee5 Says:

    im livin this situation right now! LOL

  47. MJK Says:

    Having been in this position myself, it’s not really all that bad. Eventually you forget about her and you have to struggle to bring her face to the surface, even if it faded away a long time ago. Usually, it is never a big deal and another person walks by and you forget all about her.

  48. Sad and funny in the perfect ratio. Great stuff.

  49. Ogre Says:

    Hehe. Been in this position but now i’m with her! O yeah. πŸ™‚
    Great comic.

  50. Mack Says:

    This one did hit fairly close to home, but now I’m pretty practised at making convo with any random chick. I actaully started smoking again so I would have an excuse to be around the outside communal areas at my campus without having to make up shit. Couldn’t stand to stay inside and idle away time when I could be outside making conversation with whoever else is there.

  51. persona Says:

    Funny and depressing at the same time. I like it though

  52. Dzonoteri Says:

    I have been in this position,than I was with her and now she leaves me and I donΒ΄t know what to do..What is better that I was with her 2 years or when I never met her?

  53. Emma Says:

    Somehow I love that Cap’n Crunch looks so deranged in your comic.

  54. Blaise Says:

    Now I’m depressed. I think I just read a comic strip that recounted the events of my entire life.

    At least I can take solace in the fact that the guy who did ask the girl out and ended up living a full and satisfying life will end up equally as dead as me, in the end.

  55. Josh Says:

    I also feel quite depressed now. I was waiting for some solution at the end of the comic, but it just ended in an anti-climax. I hope that was the reaction you were looking for. The rest of your stuff is very funny though, nice work.

  56. Gordo Says:

    This comic is just like “Hey men (and perhaps some women): here’s a mirror!” and we’re all like “damn that is totally me, how sad and socially retarded of me, I should be more outgoing!” but then we never really are, and then it’s a few months later and we forgot the comic entirely. Good angle.

  57. Cori Says:

    Ohhhh man… who hasn’t been in this position before?

  58. ZigZagOyeah Says:

    Yeah, I’m in it right now.

  59. Sersh Says:

    this was great!i mean a lot of people,inluding me, always ask themselves ifthey should make their move…and end up loosing everything.


  60. Shinobisama Says:

    I…. I think i gotta go do something now… sadly… i can relate…. so i guess i’ll say it tommorow if i have the chance… i might even comeback and tell the result… thanks

  61. NBTT Says:

    Wow… Totally describes me. But I’m not gonna ask. Still too much of a coward. Oh well…

  62. alastair Says:

    Hmm… I have done this, to someone who was previously one of my best friends. I was thinking like the guy in the cartoon at first, but eventually made that leap into the unknown… what I would say is unfortunately its not as clear cut as the cartoon makes out- you MAY regret making the decision to say something. For me it turned what was a good friendship into an uncomfortable situation and 5 years later we still aren’t talking much. In hindsight, I think I would have been less confused had she actually been interested in me.

  63. To Dzonoteri:
    Grow up, man, thatΒ΄s what life is about!
    You 1- act, 2- enjoy the empowerment, 3-get hurt, 4-take it, 5-move on.

  64. Silfedac Says:

    Man, that first panel strikes uncomfortably close to home. There’s a girl I like, but who I’m also really good friends with, and I don’t know how she’d react.

  65. Azaroth Says:

    Its not cowardly when you spend a half year getting to know them, watch how they act around those they date, then reasonably simulate in your head what it would have been like to go out with them, edit it so it ends perfectly amiably and never mention to them you had an intense emotional encounter with them all in your head. Its not just a run on sentence, its also highly efficient and tidy as well!

  66. Quinn Orr Says:

    I’m sure just like many other who have read this, thanks for making me realize that I was a coward. Because of of this realization I told someone I like them and wanted to take them out to dinner. It might work, it might not, but either way thanks for the inspiration.

  67. phyl Says:

    thanks for this comic and the summarisation of my entire life….

  68. Bob Says:

    Awesome sauce, man.

  69. Turre Says:

    Well, I’ve learned my lesson the hard way…

    For about 12 years I had a really big crush on this one girl. She was at the same schools (3 different schools!) as me. I never had the courage to do anything about it just because I feared that she’d say no… and then I moved to another city because of a job.

    I actually saw her once after that (she didn’t see me, I was in a bus and she was outside) and she looked really happy with another man who, I guess, had the courage I never had. I had my chances and I didn’t use any of them and the only person I can blame for that is me.

    So, if you’re not ready to accept ‘no’ for an answer, don’t ask? NO. Ask anyway, even if it hurts it’s still better than not knowing the answer at all. Hey, I’m still young (26 if you must know) but I certainly don’t have the time for this kind of cowardice again.

  70. 5entient Says:

    So… i was googling my sn 5entient and found this old post of mine… i doubt fy will ever read this… but to be clear:

    @fy The comment was not to propagate or endorse rape in anyway, it was just sarcastic commentary.

  71. mross Says:

    fun fact: if you read comics on the internet, her answer will be no.

  72. burndownmyhouse Says:

    A succinct example of avoidance, anxiety, and the endless amount of excuses that cripple oneself.

    How I wish I wasn’t like this comic.

  73. Jessie Says:

    Very sad, because it is so very true. Next time Im trying to convince someone to make the move I will show them this comic…

  74. Cibernadie Says:

    Feels kinda good to know im part of an invisible horde of insecurity running amok, and not a single case

  75. teuton Says:

    The girl I loved for the past 3-4 years went away today and I’ll propably never see her again. Didn’t have the heart to tell her everything. Is it too late already? Or should I keep trying? Life is messy, and complicated.

  76. Cole Says:

    This is how I live my life. 😐

  77. Ina Says:

    guys, NEVER EVER EVER tell yourself not to ask a girl out because you think she’d say something if she was interested. i know i always wait for a guy to make the first move.
    this will happen to you.

  78. Andrew Says:

    gotta love how it is completely up to the man to make the first move in our society, heaven forbid a woman expresses interest first.

    I have to say though, if you are obsessing over a girl, you gotta get it off you chest. Whether or not it works out, it is far better to get it out in the open than to loose sleep over something that may or may not happen.

  79. D Says:

    Story of my life..
    I have absolutely adored this girl for 4 years already, but we live in completely separate social spheres. She moves on from one boyfriend to another without me even finding out. If I ever even confronted her about my feelings I’d probably do it while she had a boyfriend I hadn’t heard about and I’d just screw everything up. So I just wait and watch her every day, and dream of what could never be..

  80. Richard Says:

    Ohhhh, this one felt familiar and its came out on my birthday too. I’m not one for “signs” but thank you Subnormality, i gotta go make a phone call…

  81. Derek DeCoux Says:

    Done in a way that really speaks to the urgency of life. I respect this comic more than most literature I’ve read.

  82. feh Says:

    Yup, perfect at highlighting a great double standard.

    “guys, NEVER EVER EVER tell yourself not to ask a girl out because you think she’d say something if she was interested. i know i always wait for a guy to make the first move.
    this will happen to you.”

    Exactly this is the problem. It’s almost always up to the guy to do this, girls don’t have to worry at all. Then people call the guy a coward?

  83. tevra1 Says:

    and right next to him is the tombstone that says “died from not forwarding that text message to 10 people”

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