choose your own adventure

August 4, 2010

New comic strip for you. Three panels, premise-setup-punchline, everyone chuckles, you know the drill.


150 Responses to “choose your own adventure”

  1. Drgals Says:

    I’d say the last panel would be an awesome print/standalone image 🙂

  2. Hafwit Says:

    Thank you! That was awesome.

  3. gaw Says:

    i would have said no. i said yes.
    one is never ready, one leaps.

  4. schtroumpf Says:

    Now the chronically depressed have their very own Choose Your Own Adventure game! That’s what’s called finding a niche and filling it. 🙂

  5. Ignazio Says:

    Great one.

  6. Max Chaplin Says:


    Don’t be afraid to take risks?

  7. mrputter Says:

    This one was very awesome. Thank you, Winston!

  8. Kohl Says:


  9. mr. purple cat esq. Says:

    Right! some of those vents look promising, I’ll use all the extra ammo to shoot them open and try and squeeze through. Hmmm.. they look pretty tight, probably got to ditch the armour and clothes, also might have to lube myslef up possibly using something from the food supplies, is there any mayonaise in there?
    ah! you got me! I’ll take any excuse to get all naked and mayonaised up!! …


    so, i won the adventure right?

  10. M.C.Muffin Says:

    Anything’s better than staying put.

  11. “When faced with a challenge, you scream and leap.”

  12. EvilEngineNumberNine Says:

    This is the first comic from you that’s made me want to actually BE in it. I was ready to jump in and head for adventure or obliteration before I finished reading the second paragraph.
    Great premise and prose.

  13. @Kohl You just said what I was thinking! I don’t suppose we’ll get a sequel to this one?

  14. Mal Says:

    Awesome. This one should be a poster, too.

    …Loot the weapons and other gear. Step onto the teleporter…

  15. ChronoSamurai Says:

    We going all MSPA on this? That would be hilarious.

    :Realise you also have a skeleton face which is completely normal for your race. Tell your buddies to quit their stupid poses and go kick some ass!

  16. John Says:


  17. James G Says:

    I’d jump in the teleporter. Might hang around for a couple of days before hand to get a handle on things, possibly see if I could rig up a device to test the teleporter before I went through it. But I’d go… might end up leaving the gun behind though. A) I wouldn’t be very good with it. B) I might jump into the middle of an alien shopping mall, and be gunned down out of fear. C) I might jump into the middle of an alien shopping mall and gun someone else down out of fear.

    I’m sure there’s a metaphor here somewhere, and I’m not sure if my answer above is honest. Even with hindsight it can be difficult to tell which of life’s decisions were the teleport, and which were staying in the room. Other decisions probably demand a different metaphor.

    On a less personal perspective, I can see the comic reflecting on humanities future. The room then reflects the Earth, current socio-economic structures, possibly even some exotic boundaries in the current laws of physics or biology.

  18. Kenny Says:

    I really did not need this comic today. I REAAAAAAALLLLLLY did not need this comic today.

  19. DoubleW Says:

    There is no exit in that direction

    There is no exit in that direction

    There is no exit in that direction

    There is no exit in that direction

    >Loot bodies
    You don’t see any ‘bodies’ here.

    >Loot predecessors
    You can’t carry any more.

    You are carrying:
    Blastomatic rifle (full)
    Emotional Baggage
    A matchbook
    >open emotional baggage
    The Emotional Baggage contains:
    Little Susie’s Mocking Laughter
    The Thump of Your Father’s Boots When He Came Home Late
    The Way Your Mother Said ‘That’s Really Good, Honey!’ But You Could See She was cringing
    The Swirlies, Oh The Swirlies
    Books Is For Fags, Are You A Fags?
    You’ll Never Make It In This Economy
    Take Some Responsibility, Get An Adult job
    (type ‘more’ to continue list)

    >close emotonal baggage
    You don’t see any ’emotonal baggage’

    >close emotional baggage
    You close the Emotional Baggage

    >enter teleporter
    The Emotional Baggage gets caught on the edge of the teleporter! You don’t get anywhere.

    >throw away emotional baggage
    Throw it at what?

    >drop emotional baggage
    There is no room!

    Sorry, I didn’t understand you

    You drift off to sleep for a while…

  20. DoubleW Says:

    But really, this strip is a really good one. All the right details.

  21. Infanttyrone Says:

    Is this another one inspired by the artistic process? Boy, it sure seems like it. Excellent stuff. There is so much small detail in those panels, no wonder you get daunted some weeks and have to call off– I don’t blame you. Thanks for this one!

  22. Hagure Says:

    Rule #17.

    I think I’ll head out to the teleporter soon.

  23. Doom Says:

    Dude, you’re a genius. Well, not always a genius, but this comic is certainly a rare gem, I think it is one of the best you ever made. Great job. Would be nice if every comic here was of the same quality.

    When you live – you face a choices, many of them. Frequently you have to choose between safety and unknown. But no matter what you do, in the end you still die (well, unless you’re lucky to find immortality medicine). This comic perfectly captures that.

    Also it reminds me a question I saw once somewhere on the interenet:
    “Let’s assume there is afterlife. But instead of going to hell or heaven, once you die, you have two choices: true death (your identity will disappear with no trace) or eternal torment in hell (your mind will exist forever). Which one would you pick?”

    Sorry for a kinda morbid comment.

  24. Jonathan Says:

    I find it somehow fitting that there’s no alt text. No more hints and no more stalling. CHOOSE NOW.

  25. DataPacRat Says:

    Try teleporting the predecessors first – it’s not like they’re going to stop you, and they might draw some fire away from yourself. Or reveal that the self-proclaimed teleporter really /is/ a suicide booth.

    After looting their bodies, of course. And rigging them to explode.

  26. Sam Says:

    I *love* the see no evil / hear no evil / speak no evil in the panel with the predecessors.
    Awesome comic all around. Great work!

  27. Spencer Says:

    I’m the sort that usually goes outside only for class, groceries, and bookstores. Thanks for writing this.

  28. Matthew Fox-Humphreys Says:

    Fucking brilliant. You brighten the world.

  29. Graham Says:

    Maybe the teleporter is broken as it is flecked with blood. That could be the reason for the sign. Then again the danger could be in the room and they put the sign there as it would be easily spotted.

  30. Hazza Says:

    I’m terrified of saying this because everyone else understands it so well, but I don’t get it. Could someone please explain it to me? I know, I’m an idiot. 😦

  31. me Says:

    So you can either get bored to death or use the teleporter? Not much of a choice, really.
    Until some kind soul explains what’s so interesting about this I’ll assume you’re all under the spell of some sort of wizard.

  32. DoubleW Says:

    I guess you have to decide if it’s a situation that demands a tactical analysis of teleporting into a dangerous area, or if it’s one of those artsy thingies that look like one thing but mean something, whatever they’re called.

  33. wanderlust Says:

    Option 3.) “Hello?”


    “Is anyone here?”

    Option 4.) Use hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, speak-no-evil dudes, put them in stop-action-style poses, and do voice-overs as you pretend they’re The Three Stooges performing their various antics. After the reality of the situation seeps in, THEN salvage what you can off their guns and armor, and moonwalk into the fateful transporter.

  34. TentacledBeast Says:

    Taking the story literally, it’s a no-brainer. Unless I have reason to think I’ll be found soon, I’ll eventually have to use the teleporter. The supplies can’t possibly last for more than a few days, and I’d rather die in a shootout than slowly starve to death, thank you very much.

    But since this is a metaphor on taking risks, I don’t know what I would do. What worries me is that I might be facing such a choice in the next couple of years. :/

    @Hazza: It’s supposed to be the beginning of a work of interactive fiction. In these stories, you choose between possible paths and get a different outcome depending on your choice. Look up “interactive fiction”, you’ll get it.

  35. Carl Says:

    i like your comics because you make true art.
    i find this comic really inspiring, thanks.

  36. JP Says:

    I would really love the last panel as a wallpaper sized picture. nudge. =D

  37. Andrew Says:

    Very interesting comic. Reminds me somewhat of amnesiac videogame starts, but more unsettling since, well, if it was real life, there is no restarting, but just like them, what is there to do other then to take the risk and go for it? Stagnate and not play the game of life? 🙂

  38. Crosspondian Says:

    I love Subnormality, but IMHO, this week’s comic wasn’t as funny and clever as DoubleW’s text adventure.

    Emotonal baggage = my record collection with The Smiths LPs, Snow Patrol CDs etc.

  39. pG Says:

    1. Loot the other guys for more ammo. you can never have enough ammo.
    2. masturbate
    3. cry
    4. try to figure out what all the cool armour can do.
    5. put back all the looted ammo after thinking about it.
    6. see if there is anything to drink.
    7. masturbate
    8. cry
    9. do all this while slowly moving closer to the teleporter. And when I least expect it- jump into it an see where it goes.
    10. Stand on the other side shooting the shit out of everyhting for 10 minutes before realising my dick is still out.
    11. Add to my emotional baggage the image of a 15 foot alien beserker with grenade launchers for hands giggling at my exposed member.

  40. Cy the thylacine Says:

    A wise man once said to me, When life offers you an action sequence, the only correct answer is ‘Yes!’
    Or possibly ‘Get to ze choppah!’

    Also, I wanted to say, those are some cool-ass rifles you drew there, Winston. Actually they seem vaguely related to Shango’s fusion cannon, although the magazines and cocking lever kind of imply bullets.

  41. Richter Says:

    Awesome. Pure awesome. As Courage Wolf would say : “Ask her out! Only the good ones say yes!”

  42. Saurabh Says:

    The build up seemed eerily similar to the first version of Doom. Man that was good.

  43. Ackapus Says:

    The eventual choice is obvious: take the teleporter. You’re pitting the unknown against absolute boredom lasting either a few decades for old age, a month or so for starvation (assuming the supplies in that crate are analogous to actual military rations in terms of volume) or a few weeks for asphyxiation if the room contains no air scrubbers. And on the other hand, adding sci-fi elements on top of “Running Man” suspicions means that expecting the worst fate from the teleporter involves your entrails being eaten before your final conscious thought flees the dying body.

    In this very dramatic match-up, only the most lethargic cankle-sporting slouch would choose to stay. Boredom is like that- it builds up over time. For all you know, those three skeletons were posed like that by the last guy to pass through, who stuck around long enough to start doing silly things with dead bodies. For all you know he decided to cut himself up a bit, fleck the teleporter and make the next guy a little scared. The problem with this kind of metacognitive second-guessing is there’s no end to it- risks in real life are never this black-and-white.

    Take the teleporter. Dying on your own terms is overrated.

  44. Spencer: Me too. This comic is me not being entirely content with that lately, i suppose you could say.

    Hazza: Not “getting” it doesn’t make you an idiot, especially when you WANT to get it. What’s it all about? That’s up to you. To me it’s a metaphor for cowardice (loosely structured like those unintentionally creepy “Choose Your Own Adventure” kids’ books) but that’s just me. A coward wouldn’t post a comment he/she was terrified of saying, so good on yer for taking the teleporter (to pretentiously harness my own metaphor..).

    pG: Hey, you just described my weekend.

    Richter: I like it.

    Saurabh: Yeah, Doom was certainly an influence (favorite game ever), to possibly understate the issue.

    Ackapus: Agreed.

  45. e Says:

    > enter teleporter
    You have been eaten by a Grue.

  46. Eth-Zee Says:

    I, of course, would do what I always do in these situations:


    (Or, since this is Choose Your Own Adventure: stick a finger where the page is, and choose option 2)


  47. MH Says:

    There were actually six others. Three stayed, three left. You are the seventh. How does this knowledge affect your decision?

  48. Jorge Says:


  49. Martin Says:


  50. Melvazord Says:

    I get it.




    I just did, upped and gace my notice at work today and Im off to be a Pharmacokinetic Scientist. Whats one of them do? I HAVE NO IDEA! But I was sick of my current job and wanted a change.
    Change Is Good. Ask a frog.

  51. Mikko Says:

    Nice one, especially enjoyed the three wise monkeys reference (“see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” :). I suppose it is like refusing to face reality in the context of this comic.

  52. Utilityinfielder Says:

    My choice:
    Strip to my underwear. Perform from memory the libretto from “The Sound of Music”. Enjoy the trip.

    Thank you.

  53. Leo W. Says:

    this comic is the story of m life…

    lately i realised that sometimes you just gotta say fuck it and jump through the teleporter. dont think, just act.

  54. Hazza Says:

    I understood that you should take a chance- it was the see no evil hear no evil speak no evil dead guys that I didn’t get.

  55. dj Says:

    Teleport! I’m not afraid, I can hold my breath for 10 minutes.

  56. Snarkyxanf Says:

    That was one of the creepiest, most disturbing comics I’ve ever seen.

    I love it.

  57. Usoki Says:

    I have to admit… I’m impressed by the message and all… and I found the CYOA format rather hilarious…

    But my pull-away reaction to this strip is “Holy Crap! Look at all of that wall detail! How long did it take to get that heavy of an industrial look for the room? So much detail! And numerous panels, no less! I’m not that patient! Look how fine those lines are!”

  58. oh Says:

    where’re the jokes? this needs more jokes.

  59. Vole Says:

    maybe it’s the gate to heaven eh

  60. Eth-Zee: God, if only real life had a quicksave. That or an undo button (which i am constantly reflexively reaching for while i’m drawing, only to find there isn’t one. Goddamn real life).

    Hazza: With the good comes the bad, as they say. Avoid the bad and you avoid the good too. I reckon. Avoid the bad and you avoid reality.

    Usoki: I guess it took a while, but unfortunately that’s how i’d envisioned the setting: some horribly detailed walls.

    oh: Are you being ironic with these repeated comments? I honestly can’t tell, so you’d better let me know.

  61. Alex R. Says:

    I loved this one! I rarely comment, but I read every week, and occasionally I need to comment on the brilliant ones (they’re all brilliant, but some are truly inspiring). I take it as a metaphor for those people who see an injustice in the world, but do nothing to stop it. They might shut their eyes and plug their ears to pretend it’s not happening, or shut their mouths and just stay with the status quo. It can be scary to go against the majority, like how the flecks of blood represent the social turmoil others have gone through when they try to change things for the better. Most just sit around and let bad things happen, even if they’re fully prepared to deal with the situation. They keep thinking about all the things that could go wrong, or waiting for someone else to do something, when they should just jump right in and solve it out themselves. Truly inspiring Winston, and it can be applied to so many different situations.

    Of course that’s just my interpretation, and in no way do I feel it is the “right” one. I love ambiguous art. Thank you.

  62. Rob Says:

    Well, the comic was okay. Make the room a cubicle and there’s 100,000,000 examples of it every day. Too obvious right from the start, but not every swing turns out be a home run.

    I got a much bigger kick out of the Zork comment. DoubleW, you’ve gotta lot of nerve, being that funny.

  63. Christian Says:

    I have to be honest up until the end, I wasn’t really feeling it, but that last line and picture gave me chills. This makes me want to go do something, anything that’s a worthwhile change.

  64. Meghana K Says:

    It is the best… Makes me want to do something.
    And the last panel is killer!

  65. Jenny Says:

    Great now you want us to write the end of your cartoon!

    This is how I would do it.

    Picking up on the fact that the dead guys had been rearranged in poses, and that their armour was not marked or scratched and the guns were fully loaded, ie. never fired.

    And also that the walls and floor were unmarked.

    Suggests a set up.

    If I found myself in a totally enclosed space but armed with powerful weapons I am sure as hell going to test them on the floor and walls and maybe on the ceiling as well.

    That the dead guys never did this, suggests that they were never were alive in this room, not in that armour and not with those weapons.

    Therefore they were doubly posed.

    To what purpose?

    It is just like Saw I through III.

    The hidden observer is waiting to see if I will voluntarily walk into the teleporter/execution chamber.

    Or maybe there is more than one observer and they are taking bets on which option I choose.

    After attempting the obvious ie. blowing the walls with my and my companions weapons, I also take the opportunity to inflict as much damage on this set up as possible to make it useless to restage this scenario for any other victims.

    It’s what a friend would do.

  66. Illuminatus Says:

    Don’t overanalyse things. Don’t let your life pass you by. Go for broke.

  67. Nrst Says:

    One of your best pieces so far, without fail.
    Art and writing are absolutely stunning.

    I think, though, the title could be better chosen; after all, the choice the protagonist is faced with is not to chose among the many adventures possible his own, but to chose an adventure at all, or rather, he is faced with making a choice. Is that one adventure among many other possible ones?

  68. durg doog darrg Says:

    Brilliant as always. It’s rare that a comic can suck me into the moment and make me get lost in fantasy. I really felt it. Also, the message resonates strongly with me right now. Coll stuff, d00d.

  69. Link Says:

    Read-laugh-comment, you know the drill.

  70. Mike Says:

    Thanks, great comic which allows the reader to supplement the meaning. Really touching.

  71. Nathan Says:

    With your reasoning, I agree that this is probably a set up, but blasting the room and scoring the walls with laser fire would actually demoralize the next person put in the room even more than you. You can see that this might not be as bad as it originally looks, but the next person would see a room blasted up and ruined, and with still no way out other than the teleporter. I’d personally clean up all the blood flecks I found before entering the teleporter, Maybe carve an arrow above the ventilation grate you can see in the middle picture right after the 3rd paragraph down. Make the room appear to have more choices than it actually does. I think that would help someone cope with their first sights a little bit better.

  72. adam Says:

    I’ve read all your comics over the years, every week I look forward to a new one. Sometimes I browse through the archives in search of some of those gems you have created.

    Reflection and self awareness especially in regard to cowardice are a recurring theme in your comics, best illustrated in “A Cowards Tale” maybe one of your best.

    Choose your Own Adventure was far from bad, I wouldn’t be writing this if it was shit. The premises was there; to remain in what seems like a comfortable place or to verge out and face the seemingly dangerous unknown, the atmosphere was right, drawn well, and how wise were the three monkey?

    No it was the medium; it was the scenario it was the teleporter! that turned something that could have been a masterpiece into something that I would describe as very good.

    I am not saying the Sci Fi scenario doesn’t express your message in a creative, original and entertaining way but it just doesn’t do the subject matter Execution Style justice.

    If you’ve had any reservations about this comic and feel as if it is inadequate I am encouraging you to go with your instincts and redo it.

  73. Vivian Says:

    That was… shockingly inspiring. The same message I always want to take, find so very powerful, and somehow NEVER NEVER GET, not fully. I’ve loved Subnormality ever since I was initially linked to it months ago. I suppose I have more than one favourite. But this? This, I would buy a poster of.

    Time to stop poking around on the internet and pack for my impending cross-country move.

    Sir, I like your brain.

  74. hmason Says:

    Wow. This is brilliant, even for Subnormality.

  75. Simon Morris Says:

    I read the room as a womb. I wonder what says about me?

    One of the best Subnormalities yet, IMHO, anyway.

  76. Paul Says:

    Reminds me of the end of Half-life. When your on that train and you have to pick to get off or to stay on.

    If you decide to stay on, you are teleported to a whole lot of monsters and not even your crowbar.

  77. LightHorseman Says:

    Fuck, don’t leave us hanging like that you bastard!

  78. I really don’t think you should be holding your breath for a sequel LightHorseman. I wouldn’t mind being wrong about this, but the point seems pretty well made.

    (You might want to re-read “take the tightrope”, Winston’s explored this theme before)

    I have to agree with Rob, replace the room with a cubicle and the teleporter with quitting your job to pursue a more meaningful future, and you’ve got a couple of billion cases of reality.

    A tried and true motive, wanting something badly but being afraid to go after it: “thus conscience does make cowards of us all”, sound familiar?

    Then again, SOMEBODY repositioned those three skeletons and left a bunch of blood on the teleporter, which doesn’t inspire much confidence in taking the leap.

  79. Illogic Says:

    It’s “My Life the Game! Space Edition”

    The fact that that doesn’t depress me must either be a good sign, or a very bad one. I’m feeling lucky, I’m going with good.

  80. Nicole Says:

    Whatever the next comic is, I’m just going to assume it’s the universe this protagonist goes through after stepping into the device. So there!

  81. yoche Says:

    very moving!!

  82. woof Says:

    The last panel is possibly the most beautiful comic panel, print or online, I’ve ever seen.

  83. Joey Says:

    Do Option number 3!

  84. GerryB Says:

    “Is it real yet? Should I start? What if I’m wrong? Why have the Judges got no badges? Where’s psi-Anderson, she’d know what to do. “
    There are no wrong choices. Only try. And. Learn.


  85. Dusty668 Says:

    “Mooooom, the guy’s doing nothing! I reloaded the game again! Take me back to Game Rip, this game’s busted!”

    Thank you Winston, this is a great comic!

  86. benS. Says:

    Look at the three pathetic sofa potatoes. No guts, obviously.

    YOU ARE different. Unlike your close forefather?/mother? YOU won’t be yawning. You’ll defend your beloved homeland territory against type A- and B-blood til your last O-drops. No one will be allowed to teleport alive into your secured area.

    Shoot First, Ask Later.

  87. richter Says:

    Every time SB moves me – laughter, grinning, thinking. Rereading this week’s comic makes me want to do something… following my own damn advice and asking that salesgirl I like out; or putting down the beers and hitting the gym… anything.

    Thank you Mr Rowntree, for getting us out of our little comfort zone. Comics that do that are rare.

  88. dethtoll Says:

    Well, this gave me the motivation I needed to get up off my ass today.

    Props for the Doom love.

  89. calvin Says:

    I’d buy this poster in a heartbeat.

  90. thesorehead Says:

    This is the Subnormality I have come to love.

  91. Jonno Says:

    You talented s.o.b., this is awesome.

    I demand that last panel as a poster. I need it.

  92. myles Says:

    This is brilliant. You really captured the anxiety ridden and over-analytical mindset and the hesitation that it can bring. I especially liked the line
    “you are good at being alone.
    you are so good at being alone”
    and the the last line was great too.
    This strip retreads ground already covered by “A Cowards Tale” but I think I find this one has more emotional impact. It’s especially great how a sense of desperation and fear seeps through the justifications.
    I love the art and am one more person who tottaly apreciated the Doom style feel to it.
    Keep up the good work and thank you.

  93. Aaron Says:

    Every once in a while you truly amaze me exactly how well you capture a world within your words. This comic, for example, takes five minutes to read and already feels like an existing world on par with works like the Cube film. The sense of mystery is everywhere in this strip! I caught myself not only wondering what is on the other side, but also what else is there to the room? What would happen if I was in there? would I climb up? Do I have as long as I want to decide what I want to do? Also, why are the previous subjects positioned in such a way? Is there an evil in the room that makes the one on the other side of the transporter pale in comparison?

    I hope to see other creations from you on par with this or your last Christmas strip in the future!

  94. PLF Says:

    At first I thought that the three dead guys had gone through the teleporter, and upon meeting/hearing/laying eyes upon something that man was never meant to see, and promptly died of shock. Perhaps it was some sort of Elder God, or some great cosmic revelation, that instantly would destroy any man’s sanity. Then, whatever forces dragged you here put their bodies up on display, just to make you wonder. Or maybe not. That was just a first impression.

    Or maybe they just got bored, and struck some weird poses. Either way, I’d rather go through a quick, and probably extremely painful death, as opposed to rotting in that room, slowly going insane from solitary confinement, elements of sensory deprivation, and boredom. After all, I’ve got a chance at surviving through the teleporter, and it strikes me as fun, blasting through alien zombie hordes or whatever.

    Maybe I’m taking this too literally. All that aside, this comic was genius, in a very unconventional way.

  95. YK Says:

    That. Was. Amazing.

    Choose Your Own Adventure holds a special place in my childhood heart, as do the (Jack) Kirbian themes you used (was that intentional?).

    I’ve been nagging for a while now for something different, and you certainly delivered. I love the undertones of the narrative’s metaphor, and especially the ending “resolution.” But it isn’t really a resolution at all. As a writer, I understand and appreciate that endings don’t have to, and often shouldn’t, follow a traditional arc. I don’t think this needs (or even wants) a sequel as a comik, but it’d make a hell of a first chapter.

    CYOA as existential metaphor? Yes, please, and thank you.

  96. foolishsensei Says:

    Winston, I find this either the most or second most striking of your works to date, and I definitely second the requests for prints.

    Personally, I find this comic a metaphor for our whole lives, from birth to death.

  97. PB Says:

    Maybe I’m stupid and I missed something, but how does he know it’s a teleportation device?

  98. No Hablo Ingles Says:

    Hi Winston, No Hablo here again. I just wanted to let you know that this is the first time I’ve felt any sort of inspiration in months. Literally months. Lots of them, too. Unfortunately I still don’t give enough of a shit about myself to choose the dignified choice: 2.


  99. TentacledBeast Says:

    @PB: I think we’re supposed to assume that he knows what teleportation devices look like.

  100. Hafwit Says:

    I’m scared I’d just stay in that room.

  101. Jamie Says:

    GAH. Took me a second read of this to get the full meaning of it. At first i just thought, “that’s pretty cool.” But now, there’s a message to it, as per usual, nice work dude. =)

  102. damnstraight Says:

    nice one. you had such a good setup I was mad I didn’t get to see what happened after my choice

  103. Tomas Says:

    My favorite details:

    An all to rare and wonderful example of second person narration.

    “They are franticly waving you onstage.”

    “You may poll your predecessors for advice.” One of the most brilliant punchlines I’ve ever read. It provides a final “boo!” in the revelation that you are not alone. It changes the game in the revelation that you are not the first. It’s absurd to ask a skeleton anything, and yet they grant the greatest advice of all, despite being posed as the universal symbol of willful ignorance.

    The second skeleton stayed right where he was seated despite one skeleton in the room. The third stayed despite two skeletons. How many skeletons would have to be there before the thought of staying became unbearable.

    “It appears you have been prepared for a task.” This reminds me of something I read in an essay by one of those British Vertigo comic writers. Fifty years ago, superheroes were the only ones outside of government or university who owned computers; they were the only ones at all with portable communicators. We are the best educated and equipped generation in human history. We are mighty.

  104. Tomas Says:

    Oh, one more favorite detail: the last word of the title.


    It implies that, yes, there is a “correct” answer.

  105. She Says:

    That this is amazing. Very good questions, with suitably poised (answers).

    Also, artwise, that last panel is da bomb, possibly one of the best demonstrations of your craft. Not that all of it isn’t grand.

  106. Polymachine Says:

    This has got to be the best comics i’ve ever seen on this site.

    it’s motivational and thought provoking and masterfully done.

    kudos to you.

  107. Essidus Says:

    There are quite a few ways to interpret this, and I wonder if that wasn’t the artist’s intentions all along.

    For me, I feel that it is an expression of the human condition- We tend toward comfort of risk- even when prepared, we would remain in the known, knowing how it will end, then go out into the unknown. The three sinless monkeys (or predecessors in this case) are an allegory for ignorance, as they always are.

    It is easy to remain comfortably ignorant than to face and embrace reality.

    The choice was no choice for me. I would enter the teleporter and never look back, whatever else may happen.

  108. Ad Says:

    Man, this would have made Doom a very short game indeed…

  109. Steve Nordquist Says:

    Heroes against the Trollbait; still, who says it was a beneficent Carmack who canned the backstory? Take time to chuckle at the evidence of futile search for water by the predecessors, and test that thing first!

  110. Simon Says:

    Brilliant. I know a lot of people (myself included) would wait a while in the room, looking for some other way out, without the courage to proceed.

    However, eventually, I’d take the teleporter. It wouldn’t be easy, but in a situation like that, you don’t really have another option. It’s always better to take a chance with the unknown and do the best you can with whatever life throws at you than to sit in mundane comfort forever, alive but not really living.

    Which, I suppose, is the entire point of the strip. Really great stuff.

  111. Chacho Says:

    Well, if I’m faced with only those 2 choices I’d say go for it. If it’s inevitable death either way, I’d like to do it in the most bad-ass way possiable.

    So yeah, firey/Duke Nukem death > sitting and rotting.

  112. jenny Says:

    Looking at this strip again, made me ‘recall’ that the ‘teleporter’ is not a teleporter at all, but a time machine stuck in an endless feed back loop. The three skeletons, are all me from earlier loops back from a future that hasn’t happened yet.

    So who arranged me, in the classic three monkeys poses?

    I’m afraid that was me too, but I can’t disclose to you the reason I did this, without needless risk to the whole reality time continuum as you know it.

  113. Slicer Says:

    My first act would be bewilderment; why do I not remember the circumstances in which I was placed?

    I would shout to the room: “Hey, I think I lost my memory- you guys are going to send me somewhere without remembering who I am?”

    Then I would realize: My people have given me the memories of someone extremely experienced in video games where this situation is commonplace. I would laugh.

    Curiosity about my predecessors would stun me for only a couple of seconds and provoke a mild giggle.

    I would test the function and the use of my armor and every weapon in the room. I would carry as many supplies as I could fit with me into the teleporter, attempting to strike a balance between food, water, and ammunition. I would make sure that my armor was sealed as much as possible, helmet down and all systems engaged; it’s quite possible that the teleporter opens directly to an environment not habitable by organic life.

    After double-checking, I would enter it, ready to react.

  114. Azzam Zubairy Says:

    You must enter the teleporter. a life not explored is a life not lived. you are prepared for what you face, now is right of fire, a second birth. you must embrace the future in all its wonder in all possibilities.


  115. Esn Says:

    This is one of the only comics I’ve ever read that I found genuinely terrifying. It reminds me of some horrible nightmare I used to have, the memory of which I seem to have almost entirely blocked except for the feeling of enormous dread.

  116. Brett Says:

    This is my mind when i’m high. Pretty cool synchronicity, thanks man

  117. derp Says:


    I wouldn’t think about the next guy. I would be more concerned with my own survival.

    I would take or eat most of the food, blast the room/skeletons to test my weapons, and maybe, just to be an asshole, put easy-to-read-through cross-out marks on the “Extreme Danger” sign and write “free cookies!!”.

  118. Kc Says:

    Outstanding. I was completely absorbed from the beginning, but the final panel is killer.

  119. alex Says:

    The lack of alt-text, hahaha.

  120. Manny Says:

    I think you should get these printed and sell them as posters. I really think you would find people who are happy to buy these. I would buy this one

  121. Noelia Says:

    woww love this one

  122. Nik Says:

    This reminds me of the old Heavy Metal, when the stories were often bewildering, unsettling, and thought provoking no matter how good or bad the translation was. The tone is the same, and the artwork too. Corben, Frazetta, Moebius; stories that start and stop suddenly, wrought with meaning but only hinting at origin, context, or resolution. The better Anime [FLCL, Big-O] have continued this tradition, and then sometimes we’re treated to gems like this one.

  123. Jukka Says:

    Wonderful. This comic told me something.

  124. renato trevisani Says:

    awesome! fantastically disturbing!

  125. toby Says:

    i dont get it, if its supposed to be funny, anyway. if its supposed to be existential, or some sort of metahumor, whatever. im reading the wrong website apparently

    • Carlos Says:

      At first I thought the comics on here were supposed to be purely funny, too, and was caught off-guard when I learned a lot of them were just philosophical and deep. But they’re really good. If you’re just looking for laughs, I’m sorry, you won’t find that here, although there are more than enough funny moments in the comics.

  126. greg Says:

    make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~make a book~I would drop sick chedder on said book

  127. Ryan Says:

    i love viruscomix, there soo deep; unlike all the other stuff…

  128. Abel Stearns Says:

    I really like how this one looks.

  129. Phil Says:

    Fuckin A, man.

    Fuckin A.

  130. Morbalus Says:

    This was simply wonderful. there is no other way to describe it. its a perfect example of why this comic is so good, a deep and intersting work that is still not devoid of humour. i loved ever word of it….

    Wow im a suck up.

  131. Benjamin Says:

    The Edge
    There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know what it is are the ones who have gone over.
    Hunter s Thompson

    Fear is that edge. the paralysis onset by the mind. stuck on future outcomes instead of present realities. Engrossed with what if’s and should haves. Doubt of ones own will and ability to survive. The stripping away of ones Godly divine rights to survive is done by none other ones own mind. Some say the mind is the most powerful thing on the planet separating us from animals. But what is a mind if its god is not present enough to control it…It is doubt, and indecision. THINKING about the possibilities and ways to survive will ensure the mind survives. To act, turn the mind off and surrender control of an outcome. this is what much of humanity struggles with. Good comic.

  132. Bob from Accounts Says:

    Had the fighting fantasy novels I perused as a child been of this caliber, I would doubtlessly have grown up more cerebral and introspective – which would probably have resulted in me being shunned even further.

  133. backus Says:

    Great comic, I have to say I havent read any personal scenario that thought provoking. I know this isnt really called for, but this is basically what I’d do in that situation.

    I would accept the circumstances as they are, the peace, the quiet, the solitude. Seeing the portal in front of me, I would not go through. Though given supplies and ability, the ability to reject a possibility can be seen as a reward in and of itself. You have power, the ability in to essentially destroy all that lies beyond the portal in the visage of insignificance. I at least, would have peace. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. After all, isnt the base of evil suffering?

  134. ik Says:

    I would do the following: 1: Write commentary on the walls. Include “cowards die many times before their deaths the valiant die but once” (Shakespeare)

    2. Shoot the walls, etc. Try to break out.

    3. Wait a few days. Speak to anyone who is listening.

    4. Dump some random stuff though the teleporter, maybe a message. Try to rig observation.

    5. Plan out. Have plans for people trying to kill you, creepy/horror, teleporter trys to kill you, teleporting into a civilian place, etc.


  135. Noelia Says:

    so you may think this is stupid but this strip in particular was very inspirational for me, i’ll be leaving to China for a year because I decided to take risks, I don’t know if that is what the strip tried to say but it meant that for me, so thanks

  136. Xulsrom Says:

    My god. I’m probably one of the… less outgoing people here, but reading this this late at night creeped me the hell out. Big time. If I was that scared with a creepy narrative in that situation, I probably would’ve stayed in that chamber until I died T_T The metaphor still kicks ass, though, so great work as usual.

  137. Phil Says:

    This one. This has always been the one that hit me hardest, or affected me the most, or whatever the proper phrase is for that particular combination of emotions and trains of thought and what-have-you.

    I love it all. But. This one.

  138. Jason Says:

    This is fantastic.

  139. Aiarashi Says:

    Reminds me a little bit of Bioshock.

  140. Mystyr Nile Says:

    I really like the eye in the ear.

  141. Jim Says:

    I love this one.

  142. Sam Says:

    This is by far my favorite out of all of them. You should offer the artwork in the last panel as a print.

  143. Ann Says:

    This is one of the most moving pieces I’ve ever read. “They are frantically waving you onstage.”

  144. Katherine Says:

    Is there please a poster available of this?

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