Elevator Antics

January 23, 2011

Comic for January 23rd, 2011.

New poster available in the shop this week! It’s the Maturity comic.

98 Responses to “Elevator Antics”

  1. aguy Says:

    Yet another brilliant comic πŸ™‚

  2. Spike Gomes Says:

    When you wear seersucker suits, you get enough experience to know when someone is waiting for you to leave the vicinity before they make a comment to their friends. You can actually see it in the eyes.

    Me, I find it more amusing than anything else.

    But what I sincerely enjoy most is when people work up the guts to say something about it while I’m in earshot.

    I’m weird like that.

  3. Andy Dean Says:

    Nice to see a Nathan Barley reference slipped in their, that show was well good…

  4. Sawyer Says:

    Just so you know, the homepage is still showing the Sand Witch comic for me.

  5. YK Says:

    I had to think for a moment after (3rd row down, 6th panel across) “pink” makes that remark about “deafening cries of “success is for losers.”‘ I went through a period of awful anxiety and depression a while back working through success/failure issues. A while ago, I would have said the deafening cries were of “SUCCEEEEEEEEEED!!!11!,” but I suppose it’s all pendular, and that society has swung back against itself with a new idiot refrain?

    Also, the next panel over (“playing ‘trivial pursuit’ and everyone thinks OMG you’re so smart . . .”) is now my FB status. Love it.

    • Tobu Says:

      > success is for losers

      I didn’t get it either. Or I can parse it as, β€œsuccess is for [Pinko’s idea of losers, although the losers must have phrased it differently]”.

  6. becky1965 Says:

    Ha ha…awesome!!!
    Oh to live in a building with enough floors to hide in!
    Eventually we all have to leave the elevator.

  7. Weylin Says:

    So, I’m not sure how to start this. I’d like to say some things, and only one of them seems important at all. I’ll start with that one.

    I really like the way you deal with how intelligence is greeted by the masses. Trivial Pursuit (in this comic) and Jeopardy (which got its own comic) are the sort of stand-ins for actual thought that are hardest to bridge, but also the least valuable. I mean, memory is mostly genetic, right? The people with good memory (especially fast recall) are going to do good at that trivia bullshit, and there’s not much that anyone else can do to catch up. But actual thought, the kind that “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” ignores, can come from even the least “book-smart” people you’ll ever meet. (The trick is getting them to try, and that’s an entirely different rant.) So there’s one thing I wanted to say. Way to understand the difference between answering questions and being smart.

    The next thing is that I really liked the character Diamond Earrings’s presence (from now on, DE is her canon name). She is exactly the sort of person with which the universe would call your dead-baby joke.

    • Nach Says:

      It’s the memory/intelligence argument. Somehow our society regards good memory as a sign of intelligence, but the truth is that it is not. Intelligence is about finding creative ways to solve problems, about thinking out-of-the-box and developing a critical point of view on everything that surrounds you and, even more importantly, everything inside you; questioning your own beliefs and principles regularly to see if they are still valid.

      Memory, on the other hand, is just a tool that helps us a lot on our everyday tasks if we put it to good use, but more often than not we waste it on meningless thing; namely 98% of what’s shown on TV.

      Sadly enough, memory is what is being improved at schools, while intelligence is being shunned. Have a look at the TED talks of Ken Robinson on youtube, they’re awesome.

    • Will Says:

      If you’re interested in changing education paradigms give this a shot, It’s a really cool way to spend 11 minutes

    • Gillsing Says:

      I don’t get how this comic shows any understanding of the difference between answering questions and being smart. Pinko seems disappointed in that the “OMG SO SMART”-crowd showed “ignorance of Eurasian bodies of water” (row 4, panel 2), and the other one doesn’t raise any objections to that interpretation.

      So the message to me is that in the land of the insane, the moderately educated is OMG SO SMART. The message did not seem to be that trivial knowledge is not a sign of being smart, and that the party crowd should have made that distinction.

  8. rapchee Says:

    i really hope that the file name is not too serious. everyone does short, snappy comics.
    well except if it`s because you don`t feel like it any more, probably forcing it would be worse

    • Joe Says:

      I agree. Please don’t start just doing shorter comics. I love your longer comics like this one. I guess because I look to this comic as kind of an oasis of intelligent thought in a desert of stupidity. Your comics are great because they challenge my perceptions and ever time I read a new one I feel like my world view is altered just a little bit. I feel like I’m in that “Trivial Pursuit” situation so often in my daily life it drives me nuts. I guess your comics just make me feel a little less alone in the world…

      Anyway, anyone remember Super Mario Brothers 3? That was awesome

    • Oh, i love longer comics, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that drawing something like this elevator comic is… a Lot of work, frankly, and i have side stuff i need to work on as well if i’m ever gonna make a living at this, so i only mention that as a reason why these massive installments may not continue to be the norm. Fear not though, by “shorter” i sure don’t mean snappy, i just mean like a third or half the size of this one, like in the olden days of subnormality. It’s frustrating, because writing stuff like this is Great fun, but drawing/coloring it just goes on and on and on and on and i’m not in a position to be able to do that with every comic just yet. Not complaining! Just readjusting.

  9. I like what you did with the shirt in “public”/”private”.

  10. Random Reader Says:

    But donkey is before my time. Can we nostalgia over the legend of zelda?
    Also, another great comic. Ty.

  11. Deckhouse5 Says:

    I know the word Nostalgia’s meant to be about deeper things than videogames, but isn’t it a different kind of nostalgia? I mean, how many generations had such an identical experience that millions of people can relate to each other about years later, no matter how childish it is?
    Well, that’s also true for most literature, but games could be intelligent
    and deep as well right? I mean most adults still think comics are dumb but…y’know

    • Schadenfreude Says:

      There are dumb comics and videogames indeed, but there are also heaps of dumb literature. It’s the content that matters; the means you use for that content, while important for many things such as being more or less efficient or attractive at conveying that content, tell nothing about its quality.

      At least that’s my opinion πŸ™‚

  12. Thomas Says:

    Love it. Realistic characters waxing philosophical in beautifully illustrated walls of text. Quintessential Subnormality FTW.

  13. Nalano Says:

    Thanks for this.

    Sometimes you need a different perspective.

  14. JG Says:

    I absolutely adore your comics. They give me something worthwhile to focus on and actually consider instead of just going from page to page without really thinking about any of it. I always get excited whenever I see that you’ve updated and I’ve yet to be disappointed.

  15. Anonymouse Says:

    Just wondering but did anyone else notice that in row 3, panel 6 she is holding the cigarette backwards and then in row 4, panel 5 she has it in her mouth backwards?

    • Joe Says:

      heh. howabout that? Stupid me I didn’t even notice she had a cigarette.

    • kittencake Says:

      Hahah, I noticed. At first I was pretty annoyed with her for smoking in an elevator, that’s just rude… but then I realised she wasn’t actually smoking it, and half the time it wasn’t even the right round…

      I love those little touches.

    • Will Says:

      I call it “sacred time” it’s the space between taking out the cigarette and actually smoking it that makes the smoke that much more enjoyable πŸ˜‰

  16. Kim Says:

    Excellent comic, Rowntree. I, too, appreciate what you did with the Pinko/IN shirt. And I think the last couple panels are a great perspective for anyone who feels insecure about the command to “Just be yourself!”, especially in public.

  17. Esn Says:

    I was hoping it would never end.

  18. GerryB Says:

    Nail, meet head, with slatherings of funny and a PHG cameo; the thing I will love most about rereading this comic is that the first reading’s like a menu, and going back to each frame is making delicious. I know no other comic where this is true. Just f*cking smart hilarious, thank you.

  19. Dusty668 Says:

    Loved the flipping cigarette! Just can’t do that in a short comic! Thanks for the story, excellent as always!

  20. bachterman Says:

    wizard of wor. all time favourite.

    • Gillsing Says:

      My mom loved that game. The rest of us liked it too, but I’d say Boulder Dash was more fun.

  21. GerryB Says:

    Just caught the roofers’ joke. Wonder who’s next to fall off the list…

  22. Ben Says:

    I completely clam up in an elevator even if I’m having a philisophical conversation with someone as soon as the doors open. I think next chance I get I’m going to keep talking about whatever it is I’m saying. (Don’t think I have the gumption to make a dead baby joke like that… but I laughed at the prospect.) Anyway, like the new characters. Checked just about every day for the update and was not disapointed. You’re on a roll Rowntree. ❀

    • Jason Says:

      They’re not new, they’re Annaliese (blond with occasional black tips) and Marie (or is it Maria?), and they pop up occasionally. I’ve been wondering what they’ve been up to lately.

  23. Scott Says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I am always amazed at your insight and creativity. Thanks so much for your work, it is really appreciated. I too consider myself to be intelligent and outgoing, but clam up in the presence of strangers. Grrr.

  24. Melvazord Says:

    Since “emotionally stunted fuckfaces” made me laugh it probably mean I am one. Oh well.

    Fuckface away! *whooooooosh!*

    (Great as usual)

  25. Jason Says:

    Speaking of video games, not only did I love and attempt to master Donkey Kong, I also loved and attempted to master Elevator Action!

  26. Will Says:

    Been a while since we’ve seen that overweight guy who melts into apartments and gets guilty in grocery lines… What happened to that guy, Rowntree? I feel like he would live in that building.

  27. LaurenM Says:

    This is beautiful. Small detail, but I particularly love the strip of light that appears as the elevator doors open.

  28. Simon Says:

    Not that I’m complaining Winston, but why aren’t any of your protagonists men? Don’t we also have something to say?

  29. Richter Says:

    NOT ENOUGH HORSE PORN! πŸ™‚ LOL! That’s gonna become a Subnormality meme.

    Winston, dammit, another pure gem. Beautiful. Thanks for it. The whole thing had me laughing outloud all the way. I didn’t want it to end either, it was such a pleasure to read. The rythm, the pacing, the continuity, the PHG cameo. Brilliant.

    (Side note : see how people are quick to judge? Some people actually tan a lot naturally, even in winter.)

    Comic note : the dark-haired girl was a bit confusing at first, I thought she was Hot-Girl-with-male-interests. But then I realized she was the “Aaoogah” girl from previous comics. Other than that, the art was excellent and colourful, as usual.

    Question : Winston, was the “IN” thing intentional on her t-shirt? Like, she goes back ‘in’ herself when there are others around, and when she’s with her friend, she can be ‘open’. I thought it was just practical to draw that way, but the comment above made me notice it happens in every panel.

    • Chamale Says:

      I’m pretty sure the “IN” was intentional, since it’s the name of the comic.

      Winston, I’ll definitely try that “sack of water” comment next time I’m riding an elevator with friends.

    • It was intentional, but just barely. I randomly chose the shirt design, and then serendipitously noticed the whole “IN” thing, and just went with it. My work is like 83% serendipity…

    • Ben Says:

      Haha… I’m alright with helping facilitate the meme-useage of that. ^_^

  30. Richter Says:

    And sharing my videogame nostalgia? Two words : ARCH-VILE, MOTHERFUCKERS!! You can’t call yourself a gamer if you don’t know the absolute “Oh SHI-” panic that comes with stumbling across one of those horrors. Dishes insane damage, knocks you back AND runs around reanimating dead monsters around him. It becomes a frantic race to down him fast or you know you’ll be thoroughly mob-fucked in 5 seconds.

    That’s the Arch-Vile kids. The fiery granmpa of badass. Respect the old school.

  31. opal Says:

    This is most excellent!

  32. Frank Says:

    Hi, uh, been reading for, like, two years and nevr commented. Just wanted to say, I love how there is at lest one setting where you can get all your characters together and show how they feel about each other. (Well, most-all; we’re going to need a bigger elevator for the sphynx πŸ˜‰ )

  33. Paul Says:

    Really excellent comic! You pack so much detail into it. I’ll echo the sentiment above, the comics are great at this length, no need to make them shorter.

  34. Raj B Says:

    Hahah I always love reading these conversations. Nice way to tie it in to the elevator

  35. hadge Says:

    I’m elated that the maturity poster is available. I showed the comic to my mother when it came out, and she said specifically that it would make a great poster. Now it’s available, just in time for her birthday!

  36. Leo .W Says:

    Brilliant, just brilliant. I swear to god, Mr Rountree, you have been on top form lately.

  37. Hostile V Says:

    That guy with the beard and the coat totally looked like Rorschach from Watchmen.


  38. Angie Says:

    I know that feeling of never wanting to stop a really good conversation. All good things have to end sometime.

  39. Paul Says:


    …sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Thanks Winston; you never disappoint.

  40. Joe Says:

    Just ordered the Maturity poster. Thank you for making that a thing! I look forward to hanging one of my favorite drawings ever on my wall πŸ™‚

  41. pG Says:

    What happened to Chuck, Allan, Kirsten and Jean?

  42. Redka Says:

    Hello Mr. Rowntree.
    Been reading your comics for about a year now and I’ve noticed a vast improvement with the consistency between panels and the finer details of your characters (differences in structure, lighting)…however Captain Estar is still my favorite. Hollaaaa

    Do what you gotta do with the shorter comics. Size doesn’t matter people, it’s all about the technique.

  43. Sir Raiu Says:

    Donkey Kong Country was an amazing game, and I do in fact remember the level “Elevator Antics.” So ends my video game nostalgia.

    Sometimes, the candidness of your philosophy that you present in these comics is amazing and inspirational. Sometimes, your unmitigated cynicism is trite and underdeveloped. Nevertheless, you have a perspective that is glorious in its freshness, and for that I thank you.

    This was one of the comics that was “amazing and inspirational,” by the way πŸ™‚

  44. Uhclem Says:


    Great comic, again. Thanks!

    If I’m in Toronto can I buy a poster directly from you, give you more money, save S&H fees?

  45. Will Says:

    So I tried that knock-knock YOUR GAY MOTHERFUCKER! joke on my friends and they pretty much lost their shit. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing…

  46. Ben Says:

    Hey, I was wondering… if you do happen to add some things to the “other comics” will you post about it to let us know to check?

  47. benS. Says:

    Vow! A 60-floor high town house. Would that be enough for safe trashbatting?

    Let me see –
    thinking out of the box (lift cabin):
    roughly 5 seconds of free falling.
    Nah…Not enough time. Parachuting would be the intelligent kind of falling in this case.

    Straw man ben.

    P.s. Last panel: WHY do the “roofers” have duckt-tape, a possible transmitter and plastique-like stuff in their buckets?

    • Joe Says:

      they were sent by the government to help stage a terrorist attack?

    • benS. Says:

      Fatal typo alert : “Wow!” not “vow!”

      (Thanks baddy) …*Phew*

      Joe !

      I think, maybe THEY would’ve used the olive-green military circle’s “Duck Tape”

  48. butt sniffer Says:

    Oh man, video games! I fucking love that shit!

  49. Laura Says:

    At the bottom, the R in a square tucked up like that, that’s not a Twin Peaks thing is it?

  50. Johannes Says:

    I remember playing Super Mario when i was a kid.
    Back when only my cousin had a Gameboy, i spent huge amounts of money just on Batteries.

  51. ALCAL Says:

    So, is PHG going to get the job?

  52. None Says:

    Great affirmation by the blonde girl at the end. North America is not a continent, though.

    • Steven Says:

      Wow. Nothing they told me in school is true.

    • fishboy Says:

      *America* (when the term is used to denote the USA) isn’t a continent but North America certainly is.

    • Nico Says:

      Geography fail. North America and South America are the two continents that make up the Americas.

    • Daniel Says:

      Continent: North central and south altogether…

      North America: Canada, USA, Mexico,Cuba.
      Central America: Guatemela and Belize.
      South America: Chie, Argentina,Brazil etc…

      Country: USA tends to call itself America.

      Greetings from MΓ©x. πŸ™‚

  53. Steve Says:

    So the elevator is the internet?

  54. Steve Nordquist Says:

    It’s set in the future where genes tie new pigments to coping mechanisms, depending on the educational trope^Wparadigm. Rah Rah Inky Clyde College etc. Old videogames left it possible that the setpieces would sashay into canny reality, and weren’t out of place well-set in architectural features. That’s before Kapoor’s lipstick cannon loop, though. Area 51ish games might or might not have found their ideal perches in security theater much. Zaxxon and crunching permafrost can be a fun pairing…or was it more fun than rebedding a garden?

  55. Nico Says:

    I love the pinko reference. I wear the Bike Riding Pink button, myself.

  56. Lonnie Says:

    This is good!I stumbled upon your comics and now I’m a fan.

  57. Herpius and Derp Says:

    Passing judgment upon people without knowing a back story is shortsighted and unfair to the person. Even worse so when it’s based off of their appearance. Just because someone identifies with, say an internet subculture doesn’t mean they agree with the internet as a whole. Many people that I immediately want to pass judgment upon I.E. someone wearing a “Sex Pistols” t-shirt, don’t deserve to receive my pissy opinions. Just because some of the people that wear those t-shirts are, “Hurf durf let’s break the gobment,” anarchist wannabees. Many of them are intelligent people that enjoy a few songs by the band, or maybe want to get with a girl that does like the Sex pistols.
    tl;dr stop passing judgment on people without knowing their story, their whole story.

  58. Matt Says:


  59. Pinkie Says:

    PSX all the way!

  60. 1XCygnusX1 Says:

    Well first off, i guess i just wanted to see if anyone else who read this comic likes Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, for N64 as much as i do. I feel like every time i play that game it brings me back to the really good memories of my childhood.
    With that said though, i also think that you write great comics, the one about the old guy and pink hair girl in the bar particularly speaks to me. I stumbled upon the one about the monsters, something like 165 and was instantly hooked, im gonna go back and read all the previous ones too! thanks a lot for creating this beauty!(haha i know that sounds awkward, but its the only way i could express what i feel). πŸ™‚

  61. Aiarashi Says:

    Aw, Winston, you just made me so self conscious about liking videogames. XD;
    Still love the comic to bits, though. πŸ˜‰

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