March 15th: “The Worst Kind of Boss”

March 16, 2009


Boss-themed comic this week. If you are a boss who is reading it, don’t be angry. This is about all those OTHER bosses.




Here’s that interview i mentioned last month, the reciprocal of my interview with Tom Foolery of this comic here. Now it’s his turn to ask me strange, meandering questions and get even stranger, meanderinger answers.

In conversation with Some Idiot Who is Doing Comix (slightly more glamorous than doing smack in a drainage ditch)

[Noted Journalist Tom Foolery appears in italics, Mr. Rowntree in regular text]

Boots or sandals?

He wastes no time! boots. Shitkickers, to be exact

Paper or burning sheep?

let’s go with paper on this one, Bob

Zombies or Vampires?

Wempires. They drink ginger ale. Seriously, google it.

Testicular nightmare or acne vulcanism?

at least you didn’t say “testicular vulcanism”


Okay, take it easy there Bob. Don’t douche out on me now.

Ahem, quite. And now for the nitty and the gritty. The highly observant weasel who lives in my head wishes to know what kind of mushroom you would shove down your trousers if you were stuck in a strictly ‘I-must-shove-some-kind-of-fungus-down-my-trousers’ situation. What I would like to know however is why did you choose a Sphynx in your infamous Subnormality comix and not some other mythological creature?

Well, there was pressure from the beginning. Back when i was still doing comic book conventions, i’m sitting there in some godforsaken convention centre and the Sphynx comes up to my table and is all like “How come there are never any monsters in your comics? Don’t you think that’s kind of ignorant?” I quickly and enthusiastically agreed, and the rest is history.

No enough of all that. What is it with those uncultured swine who say your comix are too wordy? Why are they so wordy in fact? What possible good reason could you give me? How in the hell and high water could you justify such INSANITY???

I am a bad man. Either that or I think that a weekly comic should take more than three seconds to read, since you have to wait a week for it. That’s at least part of it, though it’s not quite as contrived as that. I tell my brain “write some comics” and the wordiness is what i get. A lot of people like to hit me with the old “brevity is the soul of wit,” but to that I would say generalizations are the soul of subjectivity. I like 7-minute songs and i like three hour movies and i like writing and i like words and i like laughing at people
who proudly declare that they can’t be bothered to read a 400-word comic.

What is you philosophical stance on life (written backwards, so as to excite the Da Vinci in me).

.dne eht yb tuo derugif ti evah ot si efil fo gninaem ehT

Is the bird, in fact ‘the word’?

The bird is indeed the word. Cats, Dogs, fish–these are all passe. The bird  is the finest and longest-lived house pet, though 24hr caging is unacceptable so don’t do it. Magpies can recognize themselves in a mirror, which is better than some people can manage.

Now an easy slice of rubbish. Do you have a favourite super-hero/ine and if so, please tell us, the eager multitudes, who he or she is!

Yeah, i like super mikey-man, from some ultra-obscure indie comic i got out of a 25cent bin. Criminals announced they had stolen the moon, but they had really just painted it black with stars on it so it blended in with the background, and then mikey-man had to scub off all the paint. He worked with Comissioner Gorgon,  which is so bad it’s good. I wish i was making all this up because it’s classic.

I can no longer see in colour. Is this your doing?

Yes, but it was supposed to happen so gradually that you wouldn’t notice.  I’m not sure where i went wrong.

How do you colour in you comix? Or, to be more generic (or precise, whichever floats your tank) what are the main stages in the production of a subnormality comic? Do you do it all on the computing box or do you use your hands and feet like monkeys?

What good is this floating tank, bobbing up and down in the high tide as it is helplessly machinegunned by nearby pillboxes? What you need is a submerged tank with one of those towers coming out of the turret so only the operator can be helplessly machinegunned. What was the question? Oh yeah, the process is pencils–>pens–>scanner–>Paint Shop Pro X–>website. More specifically that’s 2H leads–>Pigma Microns/Pitt Artist Pens–>600dpi/169 threshold adjustment–>Kompozer. Digital coloring is great because of the infinite margin of error. I can sit there trying different colors until i find one that works, which can take a while on an off day. Okay, they’re all off days.

Do you believe in the Pope’s imaginary friend, also known as God?

The bible has too many words, so i didn’t read it. Luckily this was the right decision. If atheism was pickles, I would be Enormous Jar of Pickles Swimming in Dill Man. (bonus fact: If shitty rock music was pickles, it would be Brine Adams) (bonus bonus fact: the preceding “joke” was a desperate cry for help. For god’s sake, somebody do something!!)

My face has just melted. Is this your doing?

No, but i’ll take credit for it. The pan-teletextual face melter is supposed to be years away from completion, so my hat’s off to whoever is responsible.


How come people only care about brains after they’re zombified? The living, they’re all walking around going BREAAAAAAAASTS and ASSSSSSSSSSSSSS and MONEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY and BREEEEEEEEEEEEEEVITY!!!

If the world were to suddenly end, or if humanity were to suddenly contract some horrible disease extrapolated from a highly unstable mutant germ, like the one I am currently holding safely contained within this flimsy wet paper bag suspended over your head, what animal would you rathertake over planet earth in humanity’s place?

Are not the raccoons poised to seize the crown? Do they not lie beneath our ugly back decks, watching, waiting, determining our weaknesses and who among us contains the best rump roast. This may go without saying, but i for one welcome our new ring-tailed overlords.

This interview is over! Or is it?

Not by a longshot! Let me tell you a murderously long and repetitive anecdote about the time i left a bag of groceries at the grocery store, and then i had to go back to the grocery store to get my grocery bag with groceries in it because i needed some of the groceries for dinner that night, so anyway, when i got to the grocery store, i asked the grocery clerk about my bag of groceries and the grocery clerk said that i should go to the grocery store office and ask the grocery store manager about my missing bag of groceries, so then i
went to the grocery store manager’s office at the front of the grocery store and the grocery store manager said that he hadn’t seen my bag of groceries anywhere in the grocery store but if he or any of the other grocery store employees did happen to see my bag of groceries then, as the grocery store manager, he would be duty-bound to call me and inform my that i could come down to the grocery store and claim my [at this point Mr. Rowntree was wrestled away from the keyboard by a press gang and is currently being forced to peel potatoes in the hold of a cargo ship as it ferries containers of stolen luxury SUVs between Vancouver and Russia. Upon his return, he looks forward to resuming the above story,  as well as his weekly comic strip]

43 Responses to “March 15th: “The Worst Kind of Boss””

  1. PRJVZ Says:


  2. Michael Ezra Says:

    Don’t forget the boss who talks entirely in corporate buzzwords and is always keen on applying the latest management theory to your workplace right this minute. (Of course, his actual familiarity with management theory ended when he fell asleep at the second page of his Peter Drucker textbook.)

    Or the boss who acts nice not because she genuinely is, but because she heard that’s “in” these days, or in order to avoid employee grievances and lawsuits. “Hey there, Joe, I hate to be a bother but I feel it would be better if you could somehow triple your output overnight and work evenings and weekends unpaid. Does that sound fair? Because we’d really hate to have to lose a great fella like you. –Super, thanks so much for being a team player.”

  3. Sanjay Says:

    I really love how you illustrated the Nazi nerd. It incorporated the idea I had of a Nazi in my head really well with the idea I had of a nerd.

    Excellent punchline today too.

  4. Grey Says:

    That is so true. I tend to feel sick inside when I get one of those bossy ‘You’re doing great!’ compliments.

  5. XAQ Says:

    Absolutely true. I worked at a bike shop where my main duty was walking my boss’s dogs. He was so grateful that I almost felt bad when I quit. Almost.

  6. C.J Says:

    Same as Grey, whenever I get the “Thanks for all your hard work” compliments I feel ill and tend to subconsciously start sabotaging everything in sight.

  7. bachterman Says:

    fucking huggie-feelie jerks. i hate those.
    btw, you forgot the arrogant yuppie as a boss character. 🙂

  8. fizzle Says:

    Beautiful illustration! Especially the 5th panel. You really have a gift!

  9. Alex Says:

    I’m not so sure I agree. If you’ve ever worked for a real taskmaster or one of those bosses who lore it over you, I think you’d see things a little differently. It sucks to feel bad about hating your job and all, but it’s much worse to have a shit boss who yells at you for going pee during your shift.

  10. buck Says:

    All wrong, even panel six. The hardest boss to please is *yourself.*

  11. Thanks for including the interview, man!
    great comic also 😀

  12. Nick Welp Says:

    The worst kind of boss reminds me of the Genie in Decartes’ work, deluding you about the world with a mighty magic spell.

    The bird is, in fact, not the word. That was 30 years ago. The new word is “Giant-Snake” as in 50′ long pyhtons, able to exist in our shiny, new, 20 degree climate of the future.

    That’s right, the time is now to buy elephant guns.

  13. Nick Welp Says:

    I butchered my writing above…

    ‘Giant-snake’ able to exist in our new, 20 degrees hotter climate… odd effect of rising tempratures, cold-blooded animals are able to be much larger and survive with that extra heat.

  14. John Doe Says:

    Actually, I think the second one is worste.

  15. lily Says:

    I’ve had all of these– except they weren’t my bosses, they were my teachers.

  16. Dave Says:

    I’m definitely #4. Of course, I am currently forced to manage retail so I’m going to dick around as much as possible.

  17. Phrank Says:

    I actually can’t complain too much about the last boss.

    I’m baffled at the way I can probably spend more time doing homework or reading news at work, than actually working, and still be complimented on getting through my work so lightning fast.

    I’m a temp, y’see, and I’m only working there as long as there’s work to be done (which I fear mayn’t be too much longer). Not exactly an incentive for me to plow through the shit. I slack off precisely for job security.

    Wonderful cartoon. 🙂 I’ve had several of these bosses over the years.

  18. Sam Says:

    Nice comic this week. It’s as if you quoted my boss on that last panel.

    I hate my life…

  19. J.T. WIlson Says:

    Unusually so, I don’t geddit….. *ducks*

  20. The Bee Says:

    Bucks comment touches me the most. Conscience (where and when applicable) is the worst of them all. As at the end you can even fool all and any boss with cunning and adequate manoeuvring. Try applying that to your own conscience (again when not diluted – think what may) and you will find yourself really cornered.
    Keep them coming!
    — to Shifro

  21. Fat Zombie Says:

    …I don’t know. If I were working at a shit-shoveling job, I think I’d prefer a boss who didn’t treat me like (well) shit off the bottom of his shoe.

    Granted, it would be better if no-one had to do the shit-shoveling jobs in the first place; but evidence would suggest that they need to be done, otherwise would they exist in the first place?

  22. felipe Says:

    that’s my boss! hahaha
    mp just kidding

  23. Kidder Says:

    I gotta say, as an engineer in a very big engineering company the incompetant boss is the worst… or worste? Nothing worse than being lead by someone who obviously isn’t as qualified or quick-to-learn as anyone else in your team. The seniors can kiss my ass as much as they like because I know my team and I do a fantastic job. As long as they remember it when the next review comes!

  24. Sam Says:

    Like ur stuff. The one about the bosses is something that i can relate to. Lol!

  25. rretter Says:

    Kidder: As long as they remember it when the next review comes!
    Bwah hah hah hah! That’s the funniest thing I’ve read (aside from, of course, Subnormality) in a long time.

  26. Fumus Says:

    Hey WR!

    I love your comic. You’re right about the words. I like to read, think and become really involved. I think your comics are like a good movie, you sorta have to forget about everything and dive in. I’m not a huge comic reader either, maybe that’s why I enjoy them so much. I also think the average idiot probably won’t be able to grasp everything you’re throwing out and are probably and just generally more over too lazy to read it all.

    I happened to see “the service” posted in a funny pictures thread of one of the forums that I’m a member of. I loved it and ever since I’ve been hooked and I’ve read all your sn comix. I was wondering though if we are going to be seeing anymore of the pink haired girl? Believe it or not she’s my favorite character of yours. Did she get eaten by the sphinx at the bus stop in the next comic? Her adventures in the sub-normal world are the most entertaining to me because the world is totally fleshed out and over a long comic like “the service” there are many hilarious things in each panel. Also does our pink haired girl have a name?


  27. Fumus: Hey, thanks for the kind words! Don’t worry, the pink-haired girl wasn’t eaten by the Sphynx. It’s bad manners to eat someone after a nice conversation. Does she have a name? Yeah, but it’s shrouded in mystery…

  28. Johnny Says:

    I love Pink Haired girl, and two: J.T. WIlson I love the history behind your avatar, yeahhhhhhh

  29. Johnny Says:

    This is not my spider! Lol!!!!

  30. Marc Says:

    The first panel looks a bit like the cover of King Crimson’s first album, which is no bad thing.

    I prefer the last boss, though, for the reasons Fat Zombie stated above.

    Nice comic, as usual.

  31. brashieel Says:

    I’ve gotta say… boss #4 is generally the one I have the hardest time with. I suspect #2 would bother me even more, but to date I haven’t worked for anybody that was genuinely stupid.

  32. Questo's Dad Says:

    If your store ever starts carrying bling, you can put me down for one of those pimp “You Are Nothing” gold chains. I have a feeling that if the Lord and Master opened his mouth you’d see some sweet grillwork proclaiming that “U R SCUM”

  33. Innominate Says:

    You forgot the boss from Office Space – as if you could hope to include the myriad bad boss archetypes to everyone’s satisfaction!

    “Is it good for the company?”

  34. TryingSlowly Says:

    As I come to the end of the worst year off from university in the history of years off from anything, I will attest to the shittiness of the worst kind of boss as depicted in this comic. To pay off debt acquired while traveling (as if that weren’t stupid enough of me) I am now working at a hardware store where I am accepted as a valuable team-member

  35. dj Says:


    How come people only care about brains after they’re zombified? The living, they’re all walking around going BREAAAAAAAASTS and ASSSSSSSSSSSSSS and MONEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY and BREEEEEEEEEEEEEEVITY!!!”

    This line is just great.

    I may still be among the living but I love -your- brain (as interpreted through really well drawn comics that are more often than not thinly veiled expressions of your frustration with society, anyway). You’re wonderful.

  36. Da Says:

    Funny caricatures, clever wording, great premise. I like the black abyss in the background of the last panel. Very appropriate.

    I notice, though, that the bosses are all white men. Just saying.

  37. Vonthako Says:

    Sorry to sound nitpicky here (the comic was quite good as usual), but did you mean “ultra-hyper-critically”?
    “Hypo” is a Latin prefix meaning “under” (as in “hypothermia”), while “hyper” means “over” (as in “hypertensive”). It may sound like a small difference, but is as big as the difference between “pro-” and “anti-“.

  38. claudine Says:

    touche, pussycat.

  39. Lee Says:

    I’ve read from the beginning up to this point, still with lots more to go. Here’s what I’ve got to say so far: you’re strip is wicked funny, but it’s also the most depressing truly funny thing I’ve read.

  40. Bill W Says:

    When I read this for the first time, 3 years ago, I was all “yea, fuck yea, those kind of bosses would suck, tricking me into thinking a mindless pointless job is worth doing”, but now, after 2 years of doing a mindless pointless boring job I’ve realised that I would rather have a mindless pointless job than not have a job to bitch about, because when I was struggling to find work (which would be between the time i read this comic and the start of my currently job, around a year) during that time I got so down and thought I’d never get a job, and I don’t wanna be in that place again

  41. Leonard Says:

    That is definitely the worst kind… the kind that deep inside you know they are miss using you but for some odd reason you cant put your finger on just how. When you eventually realize you also have to accept that you will be the bad guy when you stop.

  42. Anthony Bowman Says:

    Fuck that. It’s not his fault you have a shit job, and now you’re hating on him for trying to make you feel better? If you hate your job, don’t take it out on legit nice people who care.

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