The Great Destroyer

July 6, 2009


And the comic is here, and the walls of text will return, believe you me. My brain is on sabbatical this week, working on some quite intensive text for an upcoming comic, so the mental skeleton crew i was left with decided to do a bit of a silent tale about…well, nothing really.  But hey, at least it’s finished early for once. Anyway, i could find reasons to lengthily apologize for every comic i do so maybe i’ll just shut up now.


With regard to last week’s discussion of criticism (in the comments section), if you have an hour or so here’s a good interview with a learned professor which touches on a few points that are very relevant indeed with regard to why any artist should keep critics close at hand. Avoiding Groupthink is the goal when you’re talking about online forums/comments/discussions/msn chats with your libertarian chainsaw militia pals, but the whole subject of self-justification in general is hugely important and I totally recommend the book on the subject by said professor.  A huge piece of the mental puzzle. If yer got a website and yer not welcoming the critics then yer Doing It Wrong.

Speaking of mental, it’s mentally late, so goodnight!


Wintree Rownston

66 Responses to “The Great Destroyer”

  1. erik Says:

    a bit of a belated birthday, eh?

  2. That, sir, was brilliant and unexpected.

  3. golergka Says:

    Brilliant and so-o-o true…

  4. Martin S. Says:

    neat. 😀

  5. LafinJack Says:

    What’s that on the table in the first panel? A box of sugar cubes?

  6. Cristi Says:

    hi, Winston. I managed to read the Russian text, but understanding it was a totally different thing.

    You think you can have an appendix for the transliteration and translation of the Russian text used here?

  7. golergka Says:


    3rd panel: “Moscow”, “Lenin st.”
    4th panel: “Moscow Metro”, “Garbage”
    6th panel: “Trains” (there are no such signs, actually)
    7th panel: “Get those demons alive” (is it a movie poster?)

  8. Masha Says:

    I love this comic already, but because you didn’t portray Russians as evil commies, used Russian correctly, and captured the image of Russian metro system frighteningly well, you get about a thousand more liking-points from me.

  9. Tom Says:

    Is he meant to look like Bono?!

  10. vanetz Says:

    This fellow reminds me of Hristo:

    Some may remember that phrase from the 1973 movie “Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future”
    And the picture looks kind of like Zavulon from “Night Watch”…

  11. Questo's Dad Says:

    Hooray! In celebration of this comic I hereby declare July 6th Dependance Day in celebration of my addiction to Tetris. It’s been a while but I do solemnly declare that before the day is out I will 1)break 300000, 2)conduct with authority and 3)refuse to be surprised at the Level 16 shift.

    Oh, and it’s awesome that he’s a cube. His awkwardness/evil has always been so great that it stretches into the third dimension. All hail Linus!

  12. Kurdt Says:

    Actually I think the most evil pieces in Tetris are the z and s pieces. At least those are the ones that usually mess me up.

    Darn it, now I’ve got to play Tetris again. It’s like I used to be a smoker and someone just lit up in front of me. I used to have dreams where I was playing Tetris, thats how bad it got. Never get started kids, it’s like crack!

  13. Vadim Says:

    Great comic, really didn’t see the ending coming.

  14. Amanda Says:

    Love it! As usual. Can’t wait for the great walls of text to return next week.

  15. very very well played.

    though… why Russia?

  16. Natalia Says:

    I never thought I would ever comment on your comics (though I read them regularly, and it really entertains a lot; personally I think you’re one of the greatest comic artists on the Net) but this time I just couldn’t stay silent. You see, I’m Russian so this piece seemed like a special present for me, especially considering that you’re not known or translated here so I’ve been always feeling like the only Russian who read you. Such a pleasant surprise, thanks!! And how the hell did you know about “demons”?! Huh?

  17. Leak Says:

    @T(wmtab): I guess that would be because Tetris was invented by a Russian named Alexey Pajitnov who was working for the Dorodnicyn Computing Centre of the Academy of Science of the USSR in Moscow…

    np: Evil Nine – All The Cash ft. EL-P (They Live!)

  18. ArtisticPlatypus Says:

    I’m trying to learn the russian alphabet and, though I did not manage to read all of the text, i see that you’ve bothered to look up real words. Do you have knowledge of the russian language, or did you use a translator program? Either way, kudos to you!

  19. Martin Says:

    Simply sublime. Great job!

  20. chris Says:

    Ah, I thought it was going to be Rubik the Amazing Cube in the land of Tetris.
    (Rubik was on television in the US from ’83-’84, although I don’t remember ever seeing it.)

  21. Rob Says:

    My compliments. Your comics are damn well entertaining, not only do they crack me up but they also do have a meaning.
    And this time, you managed to catch the spirit of Moscow’s metro.
    Also, kudos for the attention to detail! (Only thing, as it’s already been pointed out, there are no “trains” signs, but the rest is pretty much correct!)

  22. Mikko Says:

    i’m older than tetris 😛

  23. jaspsblog Says:


    Oh, I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought that. Until I got to the ‘punchline’ I was wondering, ‘Huh, so its Bono, looking a bit squarish. And in Russia…’

  24. Michael Ezra Says:

    NOT ENOUGH WORDS! Don’t you know a comic is supposed to have words in every panel? Well, it’s true, because I say so, and I demand you give into my demands! And BTW, calling attention to the comic not having enough words doesn’t make it okay. I’m not a troll, bumblehead, because this is legitimate criticism, dinglebutt! Now go make comics that cater exactly to my every whim!

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Very clever comic, Winston, and not just because it features one of the few computer games I can actually play worth a damn.

  25. wild child Says:

    Yo this was very clever,didn’t know where it was going then Slap! That is good ish

  26. Theophilus Says:


  27. Nick Says:

    Are you a fan of Low?

    Awesome comic.

  28. Paul Sanche Says:


  29. Luis Larrea Says:

    Amazing, I totally didn’t see the Tetris affiliation coming.

  30. Molodyets! Mnye ponravitsya.

  31. @Leak: thanks, I didn’t know that 🙂
    Subnormality… I learn something new every day.

  32. golergka Says:

    @Bob: Just in case you’re actually learning russian and didn’t just use google translate to create a cool-looking message: “ponravitsya” (“понравится”) is future, “I’ll like it”. What you’re trying to say is “ponravilos” (“понравилось”), “I (did) like it”.

  33. Phrank Says:

    Um, afraid I could use the joke explained, which I already hate to say. Is there supposed to be some game-changing domino in Tetris, a two-piecer, that this brown gentleman’s supposed to represent? Never seen that in my life and I can’t imagine how this would ruin everything, goddammit, it would actually seem pretty useful at first thought.

    Otherwise, is he s’posed to just be the player? Why’s he so grumpy then?

  34. golergka Says:

    @Phrank: He is supposed to be the square piece, and in situation like that, with the only space left for the long stick on the right, he would really ruin the game.

    • Kyle Says:

      @golerka: “He is supposed to be the square piece, and in situation like that, with the only space left for the long stick on the right, he would really ruin the game.”

      No, you didn’t get it at all.

      He’s not a square piece, he’s a cube. He only has one tile whereas normal tetris pieces have 4. If he was the square piece made of 4 smaller squares then he should be shaped like 4 cubes meaning his front to back dimension should be shortened. He’d be all squished and pancake-y.

      He wouldn’t ruin the game. That’s the whole point. The people on the train have made sure to leave a vertical slot open so that no lines are eliminated. That’s why they’re all so scared. If he gets on the train then he’ll destroy himself and a little piece of many of the other passengers. People will be missing body parts and likely bleed to death. It would be very tragic.

    • funcraft Says:

      Wow, this comment is actually more hillarious then the strip.

    • Kyle Says:

      Are you making fun of me or complimenting my writing?

    • funcraft Says:

      The latter.

  35. Gerry Says:



  36. golergka; I think future would be “Ya budu ponravit’sya.”

    I was using present tense, not past, to say “I like it.”

    But then “Ya uchilsya russkomy yaziku mnogo lyet tomy nazad.”

  37. Wish I had a good cyrillic keyboard.

  38. golergka Says:

    2Bob: Well, I’m a native speaker, so you can believe me 😉

    Phrase “Ya budu ponravit’sya” (Я буду понравиться) is absurd; words “Ya budu” mean future tense, “I will” or “I will be”. “Ponravit’sya” (понравиться) at the same time is indefinite form, meaning “to be liked”, so it can’t be used in the same sentence.
    May be you meant “ponravitsya” (понравится). The only difference between this words is the absence of the (I don’t know how is it called in english) “ь” (мягкий знак), and you shouldn’t be ashamed – it is one of the most often mistakes of native speakers ;).
    But even in this case, “ponravitsya” (понравится) means “he/it/she will be liked [by someone]”, so the verb is correct, but the first part of the sentence isn’t: as I stated before, “Ya budu” means MY action, and the whole sentence, translated to english would be “I will be liked”, where “liked” is said not about you, but about some 3rd person, which is semantic error.

    To make it correct, you should say “I will like it”. Unfortunately, there is no suitable translation of verb “to like” in russian, the closest one is “to love”, so you could theoretically say “ya polubl’u eto” (я полюблю это) which means “I will love it” – but it is very artificial phrase that is grammatically correct, but never really used. In reality, you should’ve used the same verb “ponravitsya” (to be liked by), and the best sentence in future tense would be “It will be liked by me” (now it sounds artificial in english 😉 – “[eto] Mnye ponravitsya” ([это] мне понравится) (subject in this sentense is hidden). Exactly your first try 😉

    Awfull lot of text for the unrelated comment 😉

    P.S.: All you need to get a cyrillic keyboard is add russian language in windows settings and buy some keyboards stickers (

  39. Mike Says:


  40. Khorosho, moi novyij drug. Bol’shoye vam spasibo. And basically, in English the myaki snak is known as “soft-sounding mark.” Unfortunately, (K sozheleniyu) I drive a Mac. Probably can do the same basic thing to fix the keyboard. Sorry to stink up the posts with unrelated conversation, but you got my brain working again. Your English is so much better than my plokhoj russkij.

  41. Caleb Says:

    I actually don’t mind the square blocks.

    It’s ALWAYS the T-shaped blocks that mess up my game.

  42. LafinJack Says:

    I’ve been really bad at trying to learn languages in the past, but even then, the Cyrillic languages have been particularly alien to me. I feel like this thread has taught me a lot, and nothing at the same time.

    Keep it up, guys, I’m trying!

  43. Dave Says:

    Is that another NIN-reference?

    Love the comics btw, keep it up 🙂

  44. Nat Says:

    Great comic Wintree! I spent many happy hours playing Tetris for DOS – the old version with the technicolor Russian-themed backgrounds and the cheesy Russian music. The 2×2 piece never messed me up though, it was always the “L” shaped pieces that finished me.

    I don’t speak Russian, but I did not think “W” was a Cyrillic character, is this some way of writing the “sh” character? Is this very common in Russia?

  45. Mo Says:

    I love the way that when you see a red woman on the escalator behind him in frame 6, she at first looks perfectly normal and provides no clue to the punchline.

  46. Tetris…………….and economic forces?

  47. stunty Says:

    That old Soviet underground train looks brilliant! Nice attention to detail, as always.

  48. golergka Says:

    2stunty: they are actually widely used up to this day

  49. bachterman Says:

    the russian metro cars is just like the ones we have in budapest.

  50. 2golergka: I found the keyboard guide and stickers where you said they’d be. Also got the Mac to write Cyrillic. Just won’t post to this site in Russian for some reason. Goes blank. I’m working on it. Bol’shoe vam spasibo.

  51. bol’shoye. duh.

  52. Cedric Says:

    Hehe. Good one.

  53. Roadtoad Says:

    Considering how addictive that game is…

    Perfect, Winston. Just perfect.

  54. Anton Says:

    If you need russian “keyboard”, just use , good device to type in russian from english keyboard. It translates all possible english letters into the russian ones.

  55. Anton Says:

    Im native russian btw, and gotta say really funny comic. Metro there is a true hell, and the phrase “Take those demons alive” in metro just made my day, how did you get to know that movie? xD

  56. Anonymous Says:

    FYI, the Moscow subway is pretty clean. No newspapers flying around, etc.

  57. Vonthako Says:

    As a native of Russia, this comic made me smile. 🙂

    Sad how the creator of the game wasn’t able to make any money off of it for 12 years – but hey, the glories of a communist system, right?

  58. Otter Says:

    Reminds me of that article when some catholic fanatic who has been assigned for reviewing computer games (and which one is the most catholic of course) give Tetris zero crosses (points) because “It is a communist mind-game which turns people into communist zombies who hate religion.
    God, I’m a believer, but I seriously didn’t know to cry or laugh.

  59. Esn Says:

    Wow. You either lived in Moscow at one time or you’re very, very good at researching. You even captured the apartment details such as the ubiquitous Rubik’s cube and the large grey mailboxes.

  60. kapsi Says:

    Punchlines in Subnormality? Now it’s ruined forever.

  61. Torvus Says:

    Ха-ха-ха!! Гениально!

  62. Ahno Says:

    Позитивненько.И актуально like forever. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: