January 26, 2010

Comic’s done. I think it’s still monday on the west coast, so let’s all pretend like the comic isn’t really late.

Thanks for reading,


PS: Why did no-one tell me about this video?! I always knew he played a mean guitar. Video of The Millennium, and we’re only 10 years in.

PPS: And here’s a relevant clip from when Canadian post-grunge wasn’t a room-silencing embarrassment. Ah, memories…

105 Responses to “shyness”

  1. Mr. D. Says:

    I am going to be completely unoriginal and boring. Maybe it’s because it’s 1:33 AM and I’m dead tired, or maybe it’s just because what I’ll say is just the simple truth.

    I don’t know if people around me necessarily see it, but you are a creative genius. Usually, I don’t comment. I look at them, once in a while, and they all seem to convey the same message; some very short and simple, some critiquing your work down to what color your text should have been, some deeply well thought out. Maybe I’m commenting because I’m the first one. Just maybe. And again, I bring the same message, and I am just another random guy, reading your comic, posting the same message you’re constantly getting after you draw comic after comic that never cease to amaze. I am still in awe, every time.

    Keep it up. There is nothing quite like it.

  2. Oh god that is all too similar…..
    Thank god i have a girlfriend that has that happen to her too or i would have strangled myself by now.

  3. michaelezra Says:

    It’s like Herman’s Head, only truer to life, with more self-hatred and self-sabotage, hold the easy, happy ending at the 22-minute mark.

  4. MH Says:

    Alright, I confess. I’m too dense to figure out who the missing brain person is supposed to be. Clue me in please?

  5. paul Says:

    In the last brain panel, the chair in the middle is slightly turned around and says “Confidence.” Any ideas on who the others are besides Implusiveness?

  6. Jeff Says:

    HAHAHAHAHA the brain reps got real issues

  7. Offendi Says:

    The left-most is definitely Intellect/Logic, and the one next to Impulsiveness must be Hormones. Or whatever else you want to call him. Thinking with your dick is the key phrase here.

    Who’s the tired one, though? She looks like she’s supposed to be organising these conferences, but the only guess I have is Action (or maybe Will/Intention).

  8. you are god, possibly

  9. Trenino Says:

    Quit gatecrashing my brain, Rowntree.
    Those were very personal thoughts.
    You know what I mean.
    That is all.


  10. josh Says:

    arghhh, this is all too familiar

  11. LaZodiac Says:

    I think the one next to Intelligence is Laziness. She decides to just go to bed when the arguement gets to hot, and she’s also being a downer, pointing out excuses to not do anything that are somewhat shallow (atlest in my opinion) so they don’t have to do anything. She’s also got bedhead.

  12. GerryB Says:

    Meisterwork Winston, this is beautiful.

    To my mind from L-R they’re: Overanalyticalness, Hopelessness, Confidence, Horniness, Impulsiveness.

  13. David Alvarez Says:

    Really nice, Mr. Rowntree. I liked this one a lot, specially the huge tomes of regrets and unrequited loves in the back; I’d really like tor read those… I’ve always loved the little details you put in the background of your drawings. Perhaps someday you’ll make a comic bringing to the foreground one of those details from a previous one? Just a thought. It’d be nice.

    But anyway, congratulations for another great comic, I was worried because I didn’t like the couple of previous ones so much and it’s good to see you in good shape again.

  14. Applehat Says:

    I’d hazard a guess that the other three are sloth, lust and critical thinking/overcritical thinking.

  15. Hafwit Says:

    I always suspected that my mental processes was an unchair round-table discussion by people in crumpled Star Trek uniforms…

  16. TentacledBeast Says:

    That’s the inside of my head alright… tragic thing is, the nerdy guy in the committee (that usually takes over) has got the numbers wrong; i.e. I commit a lot of goofs, even trying my best not to.

    Yeah, I feel pretty pathetic.

    Incidentally, what are they supposed to be? My guess would be:

    1. internalised rules/social norms and analysis thereof
    2. indifference
    3. we’ve seen that the missing person is “confidence”
    4. desire to connect with other people
    5. as we’ve seen, “impulsiveness”.

  17. GlitterBerri Says:

    Haha, I enjoyed the flipping of the kotatsu at the end, that was a nice touch.

  18. JTWilson Says:

    Very very nice. I second every single comment above me. Very clever as always :D:D

    I did notice a difference in line quality? Your lines are usually a lot thicker, now they almost have a Herge/”clear line” like look, most specifically in the hands. Care to discuss that? 🙂

    Poor guy, muttering something random, especially when the right answer was right there!!

  19. LaZodiac Says:


    What about the comments that disagree with each other on certain things?

  20. Pirogo Says:

    A nice snack for Princess Washburn, here.

    As most of the people here, I really liked the comic, I can see that most anyone can easily identify with it – although it seems to me that the internal mono(or penta-)logue of shyness is not really groundbreakingly new … I do like this particular Rowntree-ish variation/execution of the topos, however, wonderful flow.

    As to who the brain staff consists of, it does not look too familiar to me – with five people I would have thought of the “Big Five” personality traits, but they don’t seem to fit so well – or perhaps they do, with some tweaking. Let’s see:
    Conscientiousness – spectacle guy
    Extraversion – missing confidence
    Neuroticism – sleepy lady
    Openness and Agreeableness – the “right hemisphere” team (more power to them!!).
    Nah, wrong track, anyway, I’m sure, TentacledBeast seems more on it.
    Enjoying the discussion/guessing about it, WR, please stand in the back a little longer 🙂 !

    @GlitterBerri: do you refer to the desk as kotatsu, semi-metaphorically, or do I miss something?

  21. JTWilson Says:

    LAzodiac….nobody likes a smart ass (except me);)

  22. Mr. G Says:

    Great! Simply delicious, especially how you ladder the dialogue balloons to emphasize the exchanges between them. This cracked me up completely. I just sent it to a committee I’m on which has been going back and forth by email on whether to even have a meeting. All of the personalities/points of view are represented.

  23. Adam Says:

    Holy carp, it’s Herman’s Head. Awesome!

  24. D Hue Says:

    I find that I get so involved with the dialect in your comics I completely ignore the art. I need to change that.

  25. Elbanana Says:

    I enjoyed the books and reference tools in the background of the meeting. It shows how much thought you put into putting this together. The five figures at the table are I guess the main currents of thought that are going through his head as he tries to make his decision while the books are his sobconcious. Particularly I enjoyed the revenge list.

  26. Abu Dhabi Says:

    This comic is awesome. It’s somewhat similar to the model I’ve come up for myself (Paranoid, Cavalier, Angry, Wise and Apathetic).

  27. Clark Bar Says:

    that was Fucking awesome! I ROFLMAO!!!! Its even better reading it out loud!! again, ROFLMAO!

  28. Stiles Says:

    Great stuff, as always!

    If you like the “Nickleback Shreds” video you mentioned above, I also recommend the follow installments:

    -“Kiss Shreds” Complete with outstanding non sequitur lyrics lip-synced to the original video.

    -“Santana Shreds” instrumental, but great nonetheless, especially for the random high-intensity drum riffs.

  29. Buldwren Says:

    Man, I’m totally the bespectacled advisor on the far left.

    Oh well, at least I have my computer!

  30. J Says:

    I’m with D Hue. Your dialogue is so engaging that I find myself having to read each comic twice: once for the dialogue and again for the art. That is by no stretch of the imagination a bad thing.

    This is definitely the best one since “A Christmas Eve in the Future.” Bravo, Mr. Rowntree, bravo.

  31. Lew Basnight Says:

    Excellent as usual. I like your decision to color the different speech balloons, which along with the laddering made the argument really pop.
    And I also noticed the line-work looks a little cleaner, or maybe more processed– maybe you have a different set-up for drawing now?
    Anyhow. I totally recognize that debate. And I am always the one who comes out the loser.

  32. brian Says:

    – aww, poor guy.
    – “there are pie charts, goddamnit” hahahaha…
    – It’s always a little strange to me that your awkward guys are typically follows-trends types, to a degree, when it comes to appearance. Although it makes sense.

  33. Jen Says:

    This was wonderful.

  34. That guy Says:

    You, sir, are a genius. I think that’s already been said many times, I just have to reiterate. Well done, I loved it.

  35. Davie Says:

    Awesome. This is exactly what I do in situations like this.

  36. Melvazord Says:

    *Leans back in red leather chair, lights pipe, narrows eyes, smokes pipe, nods*

  37. Tengis Says:

    Thank you :]

    Loved it – as almost always.

  38. Alberto Says:

    You did it again Winston!!! Dude, you have just portrayed mine and many guy’s brains. I must now thank you for advancing the cause of shy people.
    So, will he ever show up?

    (oh my god…, that is the most stupid post I have ever written… should I go ahead with it? oh no, this is the lamest case of meta humor, I can’t post it, everyone will think wtf? this it’s not me…. should I go with it, shouldn’t….

  39. Kat! Says:

    Oh, is this my brain in comic form?
    Why yes, yes it is.

    I loved the details.
    False, I always love the details.

    Best Comic since…last best comic.
    (Last Monday? Probably.)

  40. KG Says:

    Is he holding a Jones Soda?

  41. Cleo Says:

    So much truth to your comics…

    You never seize to amaze me.

  42. MH Says:

    GET OUT OF MY HEAD RAND–errr, Winston.

  43. winner Says:

    I can’t really relate to this because I always go on first impulse which works most of the time.

  44. javadlux Says:

    Did anybody else first hear Remote Control from one of the NHL games? 07 or 08 maybe? The first time I heard that I went home and acquired all of Age of Electric’s albums… great stuff 😀

  45. pG Says:

    Sigh. Yep – that was me untill the day of my wedding. Now that I’m off the market I’m cool, relaxed, glib, can handle the patter.

    “Why? Oh, why, cruel fate?
    Why only now?

    What do you mean ‘entertainment value’?
    That’s it – the reincarnation is off!”

  46. cptjeff Says:

    Impressive as always. And the background details… I love the books. Unrequited Loves and Regrets being larger tomes, along with Revenge List, Fading Pictures…

    This guy has issues in his past. And I can sure as hell sympathize.

  47. Chris Says:

    Truly Brilliant as always Winston. Keep up the good work, never had that kind of discussion inside my own head I have the opposite problem of not thinking through what I am going to say at all.

    Works very well sometimes as you can be quick of the mark with a witty retort and people think you are the most awesome thing since sliced bread. The rest of the time you can just plain offend people within the first minute of meeting them… which is also fun in a way but then again I do delight in the suffering of others.

    God how does my wife put up with this crap!

  48. Maggie Says:

    I love that he is wearing an Age of Electric shirt and she wears a Limb Lifter shirt! Whatever relationship they may potentially have is doomed from the start 🙂 I have been listening to so much Age of Electric lately and lamenting the fact that I ever stopped, so thanks for sharing my 90’s Can-Con nostalgia. By the way, I love your comic, I think it is truly brilliant and I really appreciate all the detail (not to mention words!) that you put into them. Thank you!!

  49. R. Bartolucci Says:

    Nice reference to basically the same band on the T-Shirts. I believe Age of Electric had two sets of brothers ( different families ), while Limb Lifter had the two shorter ( height ) brothers from Age of Electric. IMHO


  50. Mike Says:

    Wow. Well that certainly hit close to home.

  51. Gabriel Says:

    Favorite detail? Chris is holding a bottle of Jones soda.

  52. wunderbear Says:

    I liked this one, being one of the afflicted.

    But I have good reasons, since I suspect that I may be a jerk of the highest measure. My analytical person is probably a GOOD thing; stops me saying nasty stuff (most of the time).

  53. EthZee Says:

    Also, Wide Hips magazine sounds like an enlightening read and I heartily endorse it.

  54. Da Says:

    So one of them is Impulsiveness, one of them is Confidence… I didn’t see names on the other two. Who are they? Or are to figure it out ourselves?

  55. No Hablo Ingles Says:

    I want to move to your city so that I can go to coffee shops and book stores and parks and street corners just so that I could watch everyone, and decide on which one is most likely you based on outward clues, and then go home and fall asleep thinking about which one could have been you and what you would have said if I were to walk up and ask you, “Hey, are you that guy that does those comics?”.

  56. EthZee Says:

    He’d probably stab you to death, in order to ensure that the secret never gets out. Never meet your heroes.

  57. No Hablo Ingles Says:

    Bruce Wayne never stabbed anyone to death.

  58. Nick Says:

    As soon as I saw the dude’s shirt in the first panel I was mentally playing Remote Control. Then I headed over here and found you were kind enough to link to the (albeit disturbing) music video. Though for some reason I was expecting a video from Rusty right before I clicked it.

  59. EthZee Says:

    @No Hablo Ingles:

    No, but Batman doesn’t kill people, it’s his thing. (Patrick Bateman, on the other hand…)

  60. Reignonyourparade Says:

    Green apple is my favorite jones flavor.
    That is all.

  61. No Hablo Ingles Says:


    You seem to have missed the implication that Winstown Rowntree is yet another pseudonym employed by Bruce Wayne.

    Listen, “Winston”. I know you’re out there. I know you’re real. I know the general area where you live, and I’m going to find you. I’m going to find you, throw a large salmon at your feet, hand you a box of chocolates, and tell you that Forrest Gump’s mother was dead right, and that today’s gift from See’s is a dead aquatic organism from the Seas of Alaska.

  62. Eps Says:

    What i think each one represents (*seen of course)

    1 – Logic
    2 – Indifference
    3 – Confidence*
    4 – Desire
    5 – Impulsiveness*

    The matchup between both left and both right is important because they have a synergy about them.

  63. TentacledBeast Says:

    @wunderbear, it’s pointless to feel guilty about thoughts. If you don’t actually say nasty stuff to people, you aren’t a jerk 🙂

  64. Teal'c Says:

    Excellent. This is me down to a T. Great comic as always

  65. JoeR Says:

    Favorite line: Well don’t forget your DESK!!

  66. phoney Says:

    i didnt read the comic because the premise looked stupid but i liked the art in the middle frames i think you used thinner lines or something?

  67. EthZee Says:


    That’s a ridiculous thing to say. People can say nice things but still be jerks; haven’t you heard of the Nice Guy principle?

  68. shockdoc Says:

    Wow, I actually feel sorry for Chris.

  69. Matthew Gray Says:

    You know, I’ve read every comic done. Every one has at least made me grin. I have never bought shwag from a website before, but I’m ordering a shirt.

  70. Andrew Says:

    Fantastic piece as usual. I’ve been reading you ever since you were featured on Cracked but never felt the need to comment until now.

    Never before have I seen anyone expose so eloquently the grand vice of shyness, one I would rank as far more insidious than anger, fear, procrastination, or plenty of other demons that haunt the human psyche.

    I’ve had some disagreements with you (mostly on the Jeopardy issue – I love that show beyond words and grew up on it), but here I am all apologies to you. Shine on, you crazy Pinko diamond!

  71. Chris Says:

    @shockdoc Don’t feel sorry for me, it is actually very good as I end up hanging out only with people who like/tolerate my personality and appreciate my bluntness. I think my wife is occasionally embarrassed when it happens that somebody she is a friends with already, but that is incredibly rare.

    Most of the time the stuff I come out with isn’t too offensive, however if when I first meet you and you are wearing a Good Charlotte t-shirt… well I can’t miss an easy target.

    Also I find it difficult to empathize with people I do not know so I really am not bothered if I offend them.

    Does that make me a bad person? Probably, but also a happy person with a wife and a good group of friends!

  72. TentacledBeast Says:

    @EthZee: Obviously, I meant “If you don’t actually say OR DO nasty stuff…” The “nice guys” you describe are manipulative. They act on an agenda. That’s nasty behaviour.

    I stand by what I said: Just *thinking* bad things doesn’t make you a jerk. I see countless flaws in the people around me, but I’m tactful enough not to rub them in their faces.

  73. Ayn Rand's Queef Says:

    Jesus, it’s like you’ve drawn a case study of my inner workings of my head!

    It sort of reminded me of the Numbskulls (Other Brits will understand) cartoon in The Beano…not sure if you’d get that over your side of the pond though.

  74. EthZee Says:

    Ahhhh! The Numbskulls! They were awesome. Ah, the Beano was great reading when I were a lad.

    I don’t think I’ve ever imagined the different aspects of my personality as separate characters. I do have a character for my Id, however.

  75. hi Says:

    this was so well done. you’re kind of a genius.

  76. Dirt Dog Says:

    I liked this comic, but would you please stop name-dropping shitty 90s indie bands? I looked them up and they were nothing more than typical whiny-voiced alterna-rock. Why did rockers decide whining was awesome in the 90s? Why did rock n’ roll start being for pussies?

  77. No Hablo Ingles: Sorry, i’m not actually real, i’m just an unmonitored experimental Soviet computer program that’s been going since 1980. Still wouldn’t mind some free chocolates though.

    Matthew Gray: Hey, cheers!

    TentacledBeast: I definitely agree with your basic premise. What we think and what we do are two very different things. One day someone will make a comic about it. Probably me.

    Ayn Rand’s Queef (oh god, that username…): You know what, i actually do remember the Numbskulls! I had a Beano collection when i was a useless little kid with a bad haircut, and i can vaguely recall a comic about some little guys who lived in a large boring guy.

  78. Tomé Says:

    hey dirt dog, you’re the one whining here…

    comic is great as usual… i have episodes of such shyness once in a while but my confidence manages to show up for most comittee meetings =]

  79. Trenino Says:

    Winston Rowntree read the Beano.

    You are now virtually a god in my eyes.

  80. Richter Comics Says:

    Wow. That was one of the best comics you’ve ever done. Excellent. Loved everything. The social commentary, the little visual details, the fact that you can’t see all their names on the chairs. Just 2 out of 5 is enough.

    The Star Trek uniforms, absolutely hilarious. The over-analytical guy… I think we can all relate to that one.

    And that’s the major strength of this comic; all of them, in fact. Mister Rowntree, once again, hats off to you. You have a knack and talent for going straight to the heart and soul of social issues, and the intellectual process of people. Really, amazing talent. Thank you for all these stories.

  81. EthZee Says:

    @WR: Those cartoons have some quite useful lessons in them! I’ll have to remember them.

    Is it right that my reasons for being nice are as much for making social occasions easier than for actual goodwill? I guess so, as long as the end result is the same.

  82. curlpop Says:

    One of your best!

  83. simon Says:

    Wow EthZee, I hadn’t thought of the Beano or the Numbskulls in 20 years or more. Winston, you got this English comic in Canada or were you raised in England? Did you get The Dandy too? Sorry for the questions, I hope if you answer them you don’t give away your location to the Hasta La . . erm, No Hablo Ingles terminator android.

    Plus, get outta my head Wintreeeeeeee!

  84. EthZee Says:

    Comedity also does the “multiple characters representing parts of the psyche” thing:

    It’s a fairly common device. But no less awesome.

  85. S Says:



  86. Mike Says:

    Good one! I like the sweet girl. Maybe she is the sister of the formerly pink haired lady?

  87. benS. Says:

    UTC (GMT +/- 1 s) 19.22.13
    Just pondering around some devils in the details, while waiting for amazing viruscomix to update.

    That owl ! Why does it utter 222 and not ZZZ ? (compare with Z in vocaliZation and eZacharel and analyZing)

    Do panels 3 to 6 show the dim light in The Ego Tunnel ?

    Those bright yellow logotypes… are they light bulbs ?

    UTC 19.22.22 (still waiting)

    Oh Jesus .. those scuffing slippers.

    UTC 22.39.22

    benS., downtown

  88. Thaif Says:

    Oh. This is. Well.


    Why do I have to be shy!? FFFF-


    Painfully accurate, as usual.

  89. Anna Says:

    This is amazing and although it’s totally irrelevant, I enjoy the 90’s Canadian band shirts. You’re so smart! You should make a manual for high school students and put stuff like this in there. Love you.

  90. Aquarius121 Says:

    OMG! I preserve my “OMG’s” for special occasions, so I don’t overuse them and they won’t lose their impact. Kind of like apologies.

    So, yeah, this was amazing. I’m a very shy girl myself, still in high school, and I think part of the reason I have trouble making friends is because of the urgent panic that takes over whenever someone approaches me. So you got that down.

    And another plus, it was hilarious. I’m so glad I found this comic! They’re so good that they make me want to give up writing for fear of never topping them. 🙂

  91. ME Says:

    Wow, logic dude needs to back off a bit!

  92. Ganga Says:

    What I loved the most about this comic: The pixelated eye. Pure Understatement.

    And the walls of text. But they’re… obligatory. Pixelated eyes are not. So keep up the walls of text but don’t use pixelated eyes no more. Because we have seen this one. Just let us experience the unexpectable. Or whatever.

    Uhh. My English is quite chopped n’ stuff. Well. Mi no hable ingles. Mi habla alemán. Scusi.

  93. mross Says:

    Eh, it’s what he deserves for being ugly

  94. Brewster Says:

    That comic describes me perfectly. Actually I think by now the guy with the glasses has completely taken over.

  95. Paul Says:

    I was expecting/hoping that he’d just go bug-eyed and start screaming in the final panel…

  96. B Says:

    I smiled, you really pin-pointed my life with this one.

    I always find myself thinking over every aspect of conversations most of the time, even alone I think about conversations I could have with people and how they would go.

  97. Twistedram Says:

    These comics you produce are smart and very funny on how they relate to what people think. I would like to think this comic is like what my brain goes through. Anyway, I don’t think my Confidence rep is employed anymore. He just comes in rarely and randomly for volunteer work. I think the over-thinking rep got on his nerves too much…

  98. jims Says:

    hahaha, this is exactly how my brain works

    Except I’m considerably, ah, “more average looking” is the way to put it, I guess?

  99. spade Says:

    you simply do not understand how pleased this makes me, being a fan of, AND doing a google search for (just last night!) hermans head. at least thats where i think this idea came from, feel free to correct me.

  100. Isaiah Says:

    You have no idea how often this happens in my brain. its ridiculous how much I have this happen.

  101. SotiCoto Says:

    Wow… you have no idea how often this NEVER EVER happens in my head.
    No really. Can’t even remotely relate in the slightest.

    Nobody ever talks to me of their own free will…
    That would be a pretty stupid thing to do and everyone knows that just by looking at me. Sometimes I like to talk to them JUST because interacting with me causes them 1D6 social damage per round, and I want to make them feel uncomfortable.

    Because I’m a horrible, horrible person… just like everybody else.

  102. feh Says:

    LOL is all I can say. And those of us who do this, do it all in a few seconds too.

  103. Liam Says:

    Thought it was just me who over analysed conversation like this makes social situations tiring trying to figure out the meaning from context. (sure that was what they said but how to interpret?) Somehow I am worse with written form (text message, IM etc.) oh Exhausting just to read this.

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