Atomic Cowgirl

December 9, 2009

Comic’s done, finally. Let me know of typos and such. Next week: black & white stick men or something…



80 Responses to “Atomic Cowgirl”

  1. Beefenchilada Says:


  2. J244952 Says:

    100% pure American hubris-excellent!

  3. George Says:

    It’s sad but true. It don’t matter if you can move mountains or hover eons ahead of the best minds of your era, it won’t be easy for a eunuch or a butchy lady.

    It’s a tragedy that the world will give a woman everything even when she’s bereft of talent, or basic human compassion (I’m looking at you, Megan Fox) just because she a sexpot, yet being an atomic cowgirl will net you nothing but humiliating newspaper headlines.

    Truly an excellent comment on gender and sexuality. I assume the mules eunuch qualities were intentional in your message.

  4. bachterman Says:

    a talking mule inverter! hilarious! πŸ˜€

  5. Kael Says:

    I can just picture them having adventures a la Calvin and Hobbes.

  6. bigrhinodog Says:

    I love your strong women! I’d love to see what Shango and Sphinx would have to say to one another.

  7. I was actually laughing out loud at the stupid townsfolk being punched off into the horizon/space

    ‘I bet this ain’t even escape velocity!’

    fantastic πŸ™‚

  8. Michael Ezra Says:

    Land o’ Goshen, it rilly sticks in muh craw when folks is so misogynist an’ speciesist an’ just plumb averse t’ reason.

    Now I ain’t got much fancy book-learnin’, but maybe if that there Shango wuz t’ team up with Annie Oakley, the two o’ them would git more respect? Safety in numbers an’ all.

  9. GerryB Says:

    “Y’ can’t show a man th’ obvious if he didn’t notice it himself” – sure you can, he just won’t notice it. “Can’t explain physics to a mule” – sure you can, it just won’t understand. Ah. I get it now, damned brain-lag.

    Love this Shango character: anyone else hear a soundtrack with dust and spurs?

  10. Josef Says:

    *WARNING- Ridiculously long and boring text follows, skip right to end for most important point*

    The average historian would probably give his eye teeth (and several other body parts) in order to get a hold of a story like this if it were true. If only for the oppurtunity to have a look at a talking mule and get the lucrative Mr Ed/ Talking mule debate finally closed.

    Plus, the unfortunate factor is that any historian who does do prominenet research on a time period like this is generally ignored for the one who writes “Prostitution through the ages part XVII- The Ol’ West” and gets it popularly published.

    Its not neccesarily the establishment keeping your superpowered atomic beings down, its the fact that if they don’t actually do anything noteable then they probably aren’t going to be recorded. Even blowing up a town wouldn’t be that special in the old west, if this lady had turned up in Europe, THEN she would have been noticed.


    Great comic!

  11. Sili Says:

    “Now we see the violence inherent in the system.”

  12. Dusty668 Says:


  13. Meghana K Says:

    The talking mule designed this fusion canon… wow… you get quite close to reality! πŸ˜‰

  14. GerryB Says:

    Another thing I love about hand-wrought walls of text: typos are an impossibility, even for Shango’s asinine Einstein.

    Winston, I will grow a headwear tree and distribute its fruit so we can all take our hats off to you, great job.

  15. Rodolfo Says:

    Your work is fantastic please keep it up!

  16. p Says:

    ahhhh, that was hilarious! when the mule started talking back to the sherrif, just too much…

  17. dave Says:

    Hey I always enjoy your work but this one is superb! I hope this character is coming back in future strips πŸ™‚

  18. LafinJack Says:

    It’s sad that a woman needs to be ten thousand times as good as everyone else for just one ten thousandth of the respect.

  19. The Last Melon Says:

    I first of all want to say that I’ve been following your comic for some time and it really is a cut above a lot of what is out there. That said, I hope you don’t mind a touch of constructive criticism about this one? I saw somebody doing it for the last comic, so if you’re going to start beheading people, you can start with him.

    The problem I see with this joke is that you sacrificed the humour for commentary close to the end. I’m willing to read into what happens if you let me – once you start just flat-out telling me that it’s about the impossibility of changing racial and gender attitudes and so on and so on, it goes from being subtext to wall-of-text, in a way that robs the joke of most of its pacing. If you give us a chance to realize what you’re talking about ourselves you engage us as equals – the wall of text right around when the sheriff shows up onward is just a bit patronizing.

    The joke itself is funny, and up to your usual artistic standards (i.e., excellent); I did enjoy the strip. Plus your ability to come up with the strangest situations is still as winning as it ever was. My two cents is just that the strip is a bit bloated – feel free to call me a moron, block me from posting, and totally ignore me if you like. It’s your comic and your choice.

    Oh, and call me fat. You’re free to do that too.

  20. Carlos Says:

    I love the strip, cheers!

  21. Lew Basnight Says:

    Good one. Good visual jokes (the escape velocity bit being my favorite.)

  22. Philip K. Ellison Says:

    Now yer makin’ me a mite lonesome for the likes of Firefly and The Tick. Durn I’d like ta see Shango team up with the man they call Jane and break atmo ta go kick some surreal self-aware meta butt.

  23. Joe R Says:

    Hilarious. I really dig the sillier Subnormalities like this where the commentary is more subtle.

    Can talking British inventor mule have his own strip? I know he wants nothing more than to lecture us all from a leather armchair.

  24. JTWilson Says:

    Well now……Ain’t that there a thing of bewdy and inventiveness! Gorgeous and beauteous! A MARVEL to read and admire.
    I’m afraid you need to do more with her and this whole idea of anachronistic oublients!

    How’s about supplying us with a 300+ DPI image so’s we can scroll right up ‘n down that there thing, boy howdy!

    Sheeit, son. You ROCK.

  25. Ayn Rand's Queef Says:

    OK this is right weird…

    I have a dream that I’m Samus Aran a few nights ago…then this comic comes along.

    Darn it Winston, it’s like you’re peering into my brain!

  26. Trenino: I’m not saying the entire comic was an excuse to draw people sailing through the air, but it was definitely the most fun part.

    GerryB: Oh, they’re not impossible, there’s always a couple, I just fix them before i do the coloring.

    The Last Melon: Hey, relax, constructive criticism is encouraged around here. Fair point with regard to the subtext issue. It’s just one of the problems in doing comix: how far do you go in spelling things out? Do you go subtle knowing that a lot of people will miss it, or do you spell things out knowing that a lot of people will feel talked down to? In this case i felt that there was still a lot for the reader to decide on their own based on the relatively overt ideas at the end of the strip. Can prejudice be changed or not? I didn’t think i provided an answer, mostly because i don’t know the answer. You suggest that the answer’s yes, that the end is about the “impossibility of changing racial and gender attitudes,” whereas to me if the comic was about anything it was more about the subjective nature of the historical record in light of racial and gender attitudes, and maybe to someone else it was about mules and maybe to another person it was just a bunch of silly jokes about cowboys, and i’m fine with any of those interpretations. You’re right in that humor was sacrificed for commentary at the end, but to counter i’d sat that i’m not sure if that’s what i’d call a sacrifice (but that’s a whole other issue…).

  27. Exceive Says:

    Somebody just turned me on to subnormality a few days ago. Since then, I read the entire series.

    This one just rocks.

    I was a little worried because the dates aren’t obvious – this one looked like a conclusion. Closer look, it’s just the current episode. Whew.

    Ya know, these two characters could easily have their own strip.

  28. I say nice commentary at the end. It is in essence the same that is happening with the Grammy nominations.

  29. grant Says:

    “I bet this ain’t even escape velocity” bwahaha genius.

  30. Kathleen Says:

    This is my favorite comic so far. Just awesome!

  31. J Says:

    I don’t know how you do it, but each week you manage to blow me away yet again. Bravo.

  32. Sean Says:

    SO GOOD!

    Morgan. Ahaha, this is great all around.

  33. vole Says:

    Downright wacky!

    Don’t indulge too much boss, you might end up with one’a them “Webcomic” whatchamacallems.

  34. bookfisher Says:

    Blody absurd, absolutly loving it.

  35. pG Says:

    Its a intellectual Tank Girl! Cool!

  36. bromwyn Says:

    My favorite bit was the Gulch-Gap thing in the 8th to last panel. πŸ˜€
    Mondays are my favorite day of the week because of this strip. Please never stop.

  37. NoVan Says:

    I may not be a fan of the social commentary, but hot DAMN to I love the dialect, artwork, and characterization. Best panel is the hooker, in the barrel, suspended in midair. I had kind of envisioned the cowboy in panel 10 hitting on her: “Well boy howdy, little lady, if’n you’s looking for a MAN that’s ten thousand times stronger than er’rebody in the town rolled together, ain’t you fergit my name…” *sleazy over-the-shoulder glance*

  38. NoVan Says:

    I also envisioned the mule with a New Zealand accent; I’m not sure why. All saying “aptitude” as “AP-ti-tyood”

  39. Questo's Dad Says:

    Gotta get me a Prescription Beaver Suit and cyberized hind legs for Christmas. In that order.

  40. Thomas Says:

    The talking mule reminds me of Jolly Jumper from the Lucky Luke comics. Good times.

    Love this installment of Subnormality! My favorite comic anyway, but stories like these (along with the epic Webcomic About Video Games, and Ethel Blackmore of course) totally rock.

  41. Troy Says:

    Funny, I read the entire comments and saw nothing on how you’re some type of feminist NaZi or whatever.

    Quite enjoy your comics, though I do take them more facetiously then you may hope.

    This one was especially enjoyable. Though I must say if you try to continue this it may grow redundant. So as a bit of advice, if you do decide to continue on this, try to keep it fresh, and maybe expand from the “cowboys are sexist” realm.

    In conclusion; Congrats! can’t wait until next week!

  42. blargh Says:

    Golly…I’m not sure, but I think I want Shango to meet my mom.

  43. Kat! Says:

    I love the dialect.
    I could understand it.
    AND I had the accent in my head.

  44. Chuck Says:

    The strip was great. But “Gulch” was what made me laugh the hardest.

  45. hahaha Says:

    Your backgrounds reminded me of this!

  46. Exceive Says:

    Definite Krazy Kat influence in the whole series. That’s a good thing.

  47. muzu Says:

    Great stuff. One of your best

  48. Roadtoad Says:

    Oh, good Lord…

    Part of the fun of this strip is that it IS so outrageous. You never know what’s coming next. I’ll wait for when Shango meets up with the time traveling Nazis, unless, of course, the Sphinx eats them first.

    With Dijon mustard, of course.

  49. Aleph Says:

    Dude, yes.

    I wish I had something more deep and nuanced to say, but that sums it up so well.

  50. I’ll be darned if this here comic isn’t one of those new-fangled meta-furs we keeps hearin’ ’bout.

  51. Patricia Says:

    Wow, I wasn’t expecting atomic Wild West steampunk here! But that’s part of why I keep coming back, of course — I never know what to expect. I hope Shango and the mule become recurring characters.

  52. Eric Says:

    Well don’t that beat all, a canuck thinks he can draw a comic book with some sort of intellectual pretext like a real american. Now ain’t that just adorable? Now I’m off to go shop for hats and the li-

  53. […] Sluit me trouwens – maar net wat minder dramatisch – aan bij de commenter op de VirusComix Blog: It’s sad but true. It don’t matter if you can move mountains or hover eons ahead of the best […]

  54. TheBrummell Says:

    Another one here hoping for another appearance of Shango and the mule (does the mule have a name?). And “Sheriff leaves town” was my favourite little visual joke.

  55. SirMadness Says:

    Long time reader, first time poster:

    Can’t help but notice an interesting possible parallel:

    Female cowgirl who is clearly a billion times more capable and intelligent than most of her contemporaries, can’t get a single solitary iota of respect simply because she is female.

    Webcomic artist who is clearly a billion times more talented and hardworking than most of his contemporaries can’t get a single solitary iota of respect simply because he publishes on the internet.


  56. phoney Says:

    yes! i love these kinds of non-sense comics that you do! they’re filled with ridiculous people and outrageous plots. I was disappointed that there was a message, though. I just want absolute mind rot. You get so preachy sometimes, you know? (:

  57. NoVan Says:

    Eh? Phoney, where do you get the idea that this was a non-sense comic?

  58. Sam Says:

    Yeah…welcome to the 2000’s. Honestly, I see as much gender inequality in advantage to men as with women…or complete equality as a lowly middle class person. I have no idea what this comic is about.

    The main character uses unnecissary violance to get her point across, wow…didn’t know future capable women end up being just as stupid as men from the 1800’s to early 1900’s. Real leaps and bounds.

    Blaming your own issues on gender equality…I’m pretty sure women who actually had issues such as sufferage to deal with would laugh in your face.

    So yeah, I didn’t enjoy this comic. Bring back the purple haired girl and her real life issues.

  59. Sam: The WHAT haired girl?? Purple??! I don’t even know where to start with that one.

  60. Exceive Says:

    Sam, in that idiom, violence is not unnecessary but a normal form of interaction.

    It would be just danged un-neighborly in the mythic old west to deny a varmint a taste of hot lead. Or fusion plasma, as the case may be.

  61. Grant Says:

    Did anyone else notice that the Assay Office was located right next to the Ass Office? It’s really embarrassing when you walk in the wrong door.

    Why, just last week I had a terrible experience when I tried to take the kids out to see a movie at Cinema Six…

    It was my daughter who first noticed that this was DEFINITELY NOT Implausible Premise XVIII.

  62. LievenDV Says:

    Finally an artist I can relate to.

    I hear “where the H*LL to you keep getting that stuff from”

    after reading this, the previous (on the bus) and the “weird” comic, I am now 100% positively sure there are people thinking like I am and therefor answering one of the main theme questions from my “being-a-kid-phisically” period in life.

    keep doing what you do; dunno wht it is but you’re doing it “right”

  63. Hi, I was stumbling around online and I think I found one of your comics…and I thought I’d excerpt it on my blog…but it wasn’t credited…so i took a couple of lines and googled and found ten references….and only ONE of them seemed to imply it was by Subnormality. So I found your site and have been spending some time enjoying it (although I didn’t see the original comic, which I think is called “Things they don’t tell you but should”) and I want to ask you…does it piss you off when you’re not credited? Or don’t you care? This is probably an obvious question because it would certainly piss ME off, and if I excerpt something on my blog, I always link back and only use photos I can credit (with a rare exception, where I can’t find the original source) but it seems so many sites are sloppy or selfish…

    Anyway, I like the way your mind works!

  64. Chamere Says:

    That comic was pretty good. I like the art style and how you write. Keep it up

  65. Thomas Says:

    @Michaelann: “Things they don’t tell you but should” is on this website, at — you can reach it from the main page by clicking “other comix”.

  66. Mike Says:

    This is phenomenal.

  67. Sid Says:

    Am I right in construing this as a commentary on the lack of people to acknowledge the peaks of true talent/expertise/whatever in a society that is only alive because it has been stabilized by seeing everything and everyone in a prejudicial light that gives the abnormalities a normality we can bear?

  68. Zartemis Says:

    I’m not sure how much this’ll count for in the creator of this comic’s book. Or hell, if he/she (I assume it’s a she because of seemingly main female characters but being on the internet of a good fair time has taught me that the expected isn’t always what it appears to be) even reads these. But there’s a little part of my brain. I’m not quite sure where it is, or how it works honestly. I gave up on figuring out those kinds of things when I realized that if I tried to keep figuring out how my own mind worked I might just quite get lost in it, and in a dozen other things, that in the end, would either leave me in asylum, crazy, poor, or stupidly rich or quite possibly moderate, and chance isn’t my thing at this point in life. But when I read this comic…for a while, that part of my brain is satisfied, -because- nothing is how it should seem or would be, a subtle underchanging in the way the minds of men work, pleases me. Sometimes, it’s nice to think how much different the world would be if all people were fair-thinking like this. But it’s not quite off I’d imagine. It’s just that I can’t find those people, or that I’ve just neglected listening to them. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to. And that most certainly will be a happy day. Bravo, and keep it up.

    • GerryB Says:

      Sorry to butt in on your reverie again Zartemis, but you wouldn’t be related to a certain loquacious Egyptian import would you?

  69. Zartemis Says:

    It’s also lovely to wonder if anyone will ever find this because it’s under the comic I stopped at while rebrowsing the archives. One can always hope though.

  70. GerryB Says:

    Artemis: can I use the word ‘underchanging’ in my everyday anything please, since that’s a slow-slipped gear that I imagine I’d drive in if I could drive.

    Winston Rowntree I do urge you does read all of us down here. He has some kind of helium gravity that eschews the gravitas of what you might expect from The Artist.

    So, for all intents and purposes there is no ‘down here’ down here.

  71. GerryB Says:

    Though somehow my Z got kidnapped by my insomnia, Zartemis. I’ll get back to my alphabet of apologies.

    • Zartemis Says:

      Apologies unnecessary friend, the letter will live, and I can no more hold claim to a word than I can say the seas belong to me! Carry on about it! And looking forward to the next comics and such Winston!

  72. GerryB Says:

    “Carry on about it” – a turn of phrase to swell Canute afloat for sure and true; marvellous in all its selves.

  73. Gregory Says:

    This was the funniest comic i read all day. Great work. if it pays the bills, keep doing it

  74. Grrrlfriend Says:

    I love this! time for some herstory!

  75. pat Says:

    I feel that someone should point out that “tar-nation” is a racist expression, which given the comic’s intent is sort of ironic.

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