The New Apartment

June 9, 2009


Comic. And it’s off to bed for me.



64 Responses to “The New Apartment”

  1. heather Says:

    Is this about you? The font is different and I know you just moved so it seemed relevant. If this is about you, I’m worried about that spot under your arm.

  2. Questo's Dad Says:

    I’m glad you’re happy with your new place. So much better than that place with the indoor weather.

  3. stealth Says:

    I like NIN reference 🙂

  4. George Says:

    I don’t think this is about him, it’s a story of a man who for some reason becomes one with his apartment, and can never leave. At least, that’s the impression I got.

    Pretty creepy, I like how you make dramatic and humorous comics, people need to stretch them- selves in terms of genres. Look at Scrubs and Buffy for examples.

  5. Human Unit #3782787 Says:

    What I get out of it (and this is just a personal interpretation) is an allegory for introversion. Nuzzling comfortably into the familiar regions of your own mind, ignoring the dark corners where the filth and nast tend to gather, hearing the little noises in the apartments next door and across the street but rarely making enough noise for anyone to even know that there’s more than the standard fixtures behind the lights in the windows… like I said, personal interpretation.

  6. Sahanavic Says:

    I think the moment I saw the shape of the floor plan of the apartment, the story finally clicked in my head. Great stuff, you don’t usually come across short-stories with this much density of symbolosm, let alone in a comic strip. 5 out of 5.

  7. rroach Says:


  8. Zyatt Says:

    Is the appartment shaped like a brain, or am I just seeing things?

  9. bachterman Says:


  10. Elle Says:

    This comic is twice as good because it has more than one meaning. It’s linked to your own moving, it’s a look at the relationship and similarities between people and their living space, and as Human Unit put it, there’s a wonderful metaphor for introversion and introspection. I bet there’s more there too, that I haven’t noticed and some later- or non-commenters will.

  11. A.H. Says:

    That was amazing: deep and meaningful. It reminded me of House of Leaves for some reason, and I like the allegory for introversion!

  12. LafinJack Says:

    Definitely a brain, with an eye in the lower right and the building the outline of the skull.

    Not really a different font, just writing in regular caps instead of all caps.

    Also: roly poly.

  13. Chilla Says:

    Mm, this works on three different levels.

    Level one: Hee, Mongo’s found a shabby apartment that’s just like him! How clever.

    Level two: Ooh, Mongo feels his shabby apartment is just like him. How poignantly sad and lonely.

    Level three: Mongo’s shabby apartment expresses Mongo’s stoic non-conformism and complex psyche, in a way that ascends simple projection and borders on the metaphysical. How fucking deep, man.

    Utterly adored the art and the subtle triple-meaning (in retrospect it’s obvious, but it took me a reread to get it, which is good), and was entirely intrigued by the (at least for now) part. Does Mongo expect to change? Can he change? Is he secretly lonely after all? Is he a spy? Is he Buddha?

  14. Kurdt Says:

    You continue to amaze me, sir. This is almost like an avant-garde film, eerie but beautiful in an subtle sort of way.
    Please never stop making comics.

  15. Burley Says:

    Great. So well written, and the last panel is so vocative. One of the best I’ve read on Viruscomix.

  16. simon Says:

    It’s a bit Kafka, innit?

  17. Joe Says:

    I think its about changing your state of mind, and being afraid to look into the depths your psyche.. The original apartment represents his old way of thinking and being, while the new apartment seems like a welcome, healthy change, even though the comic alludes that his state of mind will probably change again.

  18. Camille Says:

    Wow, that’s brilliant. I know I say that a lot about your comic but this one is really, really clever. Well done!

  19. Jordi Says:

    Bill Hicks poster!!!!!!

  20. wow…

    The deepest I can do is a love-sick cactus.
    Hopefully one day I shall match your creative genius…

    one day.

    Excellent stuff.

  21. p Says:

    I liked this one a lot.

  22. b.patrick Says:

    Brilliant! I love it. Fantastic idea, perfect execution. You’ve done it again.

  23. pG Says:

    That is a perfect comic.

    I had a place like that once. It fitted me perfectly, and I it (that did not sound right).
    My fondest memories living there where those waking up early in the morning, specifically those moments where I’d lie in bed thinking – I’m awake, but can’t think of a really good reason to get up yet. The city was also still asleep, and then, if the wind was just right, I’d hear the call to morning-prayer from the local mosque. Eventually I’d sneak out of bed, make a plunger of good Ethiopian and sit with a book, just enjoying the calm before the storm.
    Then I met my future wife. I know have a study that fits me perfectly, and me it. (Thats sounds better)
    I still miss the mornings though.

  24. Stiles Says:

    @A.H. -I got the slight House of Leaves vibe as well, but I assumed it was due to the fact that I’m currently reading it for the first time. It has a similar lingering sense of unease; of something being fundamentally ‘off.’

  25. TentacledBeast Says:

    Psoriasis? My guess would be pityriasis. But I’m at a loss as to what the stain symbolizes. A previously undiscovered fault, perhaps, like a phobia…

    I like how this comic makes me think. Congratulations, this is obviously the kind of art that suits you best and that you marvel at!

  26. yochie Says:

    You are exhilarating! Every time I read your comic, my mood goes way up. Fantastic. I know I don’t comment much, but I read all the time! One of my favorite comics. Great job Mr. Rowntree!

  27. Magisaurus Says:

    I think maybe the stain is the psoriasis.

  28. Hristo Says:

    I love the way you made him a part of his apartment. If this is about you, good job on the new apartment!

  29. Jacob Says:

    Have you ever considered writing a book? Short stories, even. Of course, there would be illustrations dispersed throughout, but you are as great a writer as you are an artist, if not more so.

  30. Gerry Says:

    Winston, I’m having my post-comic cigarette now; if ever a comic had a cello soundtrack, this be it.

    I can neither stop staring at the mop in the 7th panel nor pause wonder at whether you pissed yourself laughing while drawing it as much as I do watching it.

    This comic Chimes Perfectly. I wish I had prizes to give but words will have to do.

    Looking forward immensely to more.

  31. d Says:

    gerry, what’s the significance of the mop to you??

  32. Tomora Says:

    Another beautiful metaphor, Rowntree.

  33. George Says:

    The real question is, did he chose the apartment, or did it chose him.

  34. George Says:

    Sorry, forgot the “?” at the end. But I take what answer you give would depend on your beliefs in the supernatural. If you’re an atheist, you would say his mind intentionally molded him to his apartment; if you’re a believer, you’d say that it was a higher force of spirits that took to the apartment, and molded him to it.

    But, I guess that there are way more ways to take it, a bunch of which I’m sure Winston didn’t think of outright when he made the comic.

  35. Jonah Says:

    Oh, but you are beautiful.

  36. Gerry Says:

    d, re: the mop’s significance, loath as I am to launch a hypothetical treatise on cleaning tools, it just struck me visually as so carefully drawn-to-look-casual. Like guys who use that ‘bed-look’ hairgel.

    That and the fact it’s still faithfully beside our hero in the next frame, just struck me as the epitome of sad loneliness: you’ve got a lovely flat and it’s always clean but your best friend’s a mop.

    Struck me as a golden hilarity.

  37. Eloc Says:

    So the apartment is you?

  38. Jeremy Says:

    Beautiful comic, lovely tone, very entertaining and so many levels of art and story to grapple ith. You’re making art, Winston. I’m jealous.
    I can’t wait to see these printed one day.

    ALso, love the Bill Hicks poster. The Flying Saucer tour is hilarious. That man is my personal hero.

  39. George: You’re right, there’re some interpretations here that i didn’t consider at all when making the comic. This is a very good thing. This is the best thing.

    Eloc: It’s not about me. As for what it IS about, that’s up to you.

    Jeremy: I can’t wait to see them in print either. If the heads of any major multinational publishing houses are reading: make me an offer! All i need on my end is total creative control and perhaps some nice biscuits.

    Failing that, i’ll be approaching a publisher or two at the end of the year, since i really would like to put out a book. Trees beware!

  40. donuteyes Says:

    wow, you referenced bill hicks, nine inch nails, and radiohead! well played…

  41. Illogic Says:

    This is the guy that imagined what people would look like if their mental state was reflected in their appearance while waiting for the subway, right?

  42. Lu Says:

    That was very interesting. I really like how it ended! Kind of chilling, and yet so very true sometimes!

  43. Lucas Says:

    I was trying to look at your comic on my iPhone and the picture won’t load, any idea why?

  44. ZeroSphere Says:

    Hello Winston

    My first post but I have been ‘lurking’ and appreciating the burgeoning talent you display regularly. Love this strip – had a flat like that once too … or is it that the flat had me?

    Best wishes for your innevitable commercial success – great to see someone who deserves it.



  45. mike Says:

    Brilliant and Beautiful.

  46. Bernie Says:

    Love the comix – bought the T shirt.

  47. Keith Says:

    I like it. Reminds me of Kliban’s sense of the world, but with more words.

  48. Benji Says:

    after a lot of deep thought (literary criticism was never my strong suit) I have come to conclude that the message is that one can never be truly comfortable with oneself until they reach a state in which they are familiar and comfortable with their entire mind. The first apartment represented a state of inner conflicted; the water stain that resembled the psoriasis seems to represent the tip of the iceberg as far as the inner, darker, and scarier parts of ones mind goes. The negative reaction of his ignorance to the darker scarier parts of his mind was characterized by the sleepiness, a sign that his body was not able to function as well. After moving to the new apartment, he became comfortable with even the deepest and darkest recesses of his mind, and how that gave him true confidence, allowing his conscious (his body) and his subconscious (the apartment) to merge and be at peace. His hesitance buying as to moving to the apartment perhaps represents many people’s hesitancy to really get to know their subconscious when it is in fact easier than they thought. I hope you all can follow that, I just got out of 9th grade English class and it’s all on my mind.

  49. Heather Says:

    Hello Winston. I am growing ever more concerned about your well being. Why haven’t you updated? Has the apartment consumed you?

    I wring my hands in anxiety.


  50. Heather: Unwring those hands and fear not, for I am well, or at least well enough. I’m out of town this weekend, hence the lack of an update. And if the apartment wants to consume me, it better get in line because i’m busy being consumed by numerous other things these days. The pieces that remain shall i hope spring forth with a new Subnormality in 7 days.

  51. Leak Says:

    @Heather: maybe you missed Winston’s update from last week?

    Seems like he forgot to update the link on the Viruscomix site’s front page, as that still leads to this comic…

  52. Gerry Says:

    Leak, thank you, I missed last week’s update. Did in fact send plea of concern similar to Heather’s to The Treeman; I find it wonderful that there is a community looking after the community that looks to Winston to look after their synaptical need for ComicAwesomness. My brain might shortly go into a fatal divide-by-error flux of meta-zero-analyses. For 7 days or so.

  53. Thomas Says:

    I hadn’t checked up on Subnormality since “The worst kind of boss”, and reading the new comics Winston’s created since then totally made my day. I like this latest one — wonderfully creepy — but all the other ones were really great as well. The Sphynx is as cool as ever, Uncanny Valley is one of the best webcomics *ever*, and… Dang, I can’t even pick a favorite.
    Thanks, Winston, you’re the best!

  54. Leak Says:

    Eh, like I said above this one is actually the penultimate one – Winston just forgot to actually link to the latest one from the front page…

    np: Aesop Rock – Battery (Labor Days)

  55. Da Says:

    Great concept, I like the way the story unfolds.

  56. aerboo Says:

    wtf? i don’t know how you people even think of this as a great concept. I don’t understand what the big deal with this stupid strip is.

  57. Amanda Says:

    So this is the same character in “Hockey” and briefly in “7 dichotomies in a bar”? I hope to see more of him. He always seems to represent the more lonely bits of our personalities and this particular comic conveys perhaps, that change was what he needed?

  58. Yoyoma Says:

    Reminds me of the red room by H.G. wells, brilliant stuff

  59. Mark Smith Says:

    Way to complicated, all this analogy stuff. All that stuff is just a coincidence and in the last frame the apartment is eating him. See? Simple.

  60. Justin from Alabama Says:

    Wow. I really like this comic. Beautiful. 🙂

  61. person 1 Says:

    this made me smile
    i have a place like that too

  62. crag Says:

    dont really get this one. sometimes it feels like u just like to waste my time in the deepest and prettiest ways possible.

  63. Sam Says:

    Bill Hicks poster… Awesome!

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