Comic for April 25th

April 25, 2011

Comic’s finished, at last. Thanks for the patience, the nice emails, and the Best Comments Section Ever. I definitely love y’all, and i apologize for the weeks i don’t end up having time to participate in the discussion (ie: last week). All comments definitely get read though, at least.


New one over at Cracked this past weekend, seemed to go down pretty well.


I’ve updated the After Hours page with images from the last couple episodes, for those curious.


Bit of an interview over at this blog right here. Thanks again to Hamish for the opportunity to foolishly shoot my big mouth off once more!


Thanks again, y’all, and i’ll be back.


PS: RIP Elisabeth Sladen! You were THE Dr. Who companion, period.

134 Responses to “Comic for April 25th”

  1. Joe Says:

    Awesome work. An excellent illustration of why I pay as little attention to management as possible

  2. Joe Says:

    oh. love the Cracked comic too. I missed it when it originally went up so I’m glad you posted it on your blog

  3. fishboy Says:

    I was going to say ‘lovely comic!’ but the news of Elisabeth Sladen’s death kinda took the shine off it right now. I agree – she was the definitive companion.

    (it’s still a lovely comic tho)

  4. Kalina Says:

    Voting – Not Voting
    Damned if you do – Damned if you don’t

    *snort* HA

  5. Edwin Says:

    Fantastic work! That rocket just lacked a kitchen sink! By the way i she-demon talking to her human girlfriend? I would like to think they worked things out.

  6. Mike C. Says:

    Absolutely gorgeous. Thank you so much for making such great comics.

  7. E.R. Says:

    I always find my self liking your more supernatural comics; I think it’s the contrast… Or maybe just my tendency towards the fantastic.

    By the by I don’t suppose a larger version of the rocket could be found anywhere? I kinda want to read all the little bits of text.

  8. GeoX Says:

    Now I want to know what a Hell accent sounds like.

  9. PersonPlaceOrThing Says:

    For those who are curious about the Russian. The first thing the guy says (to which #76 responds with “It’s not my fault you awful man”) is lyrics to the band Leningrad.

    His response is something like, “What? Yes, you yourself goat(a**hole)!”

    The later panel is simply, “F*** you! Nobody tells me what to do!”

    (it kind of loses its impact censored, but the first thing is pretty much, “F*** Everything! F***! F***ing bi***!”)

    The cyrillic:
    всё заебало! пиздец на хуй блядь! что? да ты сам козел!

    иди на хуй! никто не говорит мне что делать!

    • Esn Says:

      Russian swearing is a lot more creative than English. English just has one bad word: f***. Well, and a few more that don’t approach it in offensiveness except the one beginning in “c”.

      Russian has dozens and many variations on them.

    • Aisu Says:

      Russian student here – am I correct in reading иди на хуй as “Go to a dick!”? Because that is my new favorite insult if so.

    • PersonPlaceOrThing Says:

      Aisu – That is a more literal translation, but in use it simply means “fuck you”.

      German insults tend to be similar, where a (somewhat) innocuous phrase has a harsher meaning. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is “kannst mich mal!” which, literally translated means “you can do me” but the meaning is closer to “fuck you”.

  10. PersonPlaceOrThing Says:

    lyrics FROM* the band.

  11. Ada Says:

    Awesome comic! Is it just me, or was there a subtle reference to the upcoming Canadian election?

  12. Doom Says:

    Hey, using real russian obscenities (heavy ones) in your comic is not a good idea. While it may add atmosphere, it is a really bad taste.

    • Mystyr Nile Says:

      What? He’s been cursing here for years; he’s not gonna stop just because he’s writing in a different language.

  13. BuccaneerRex Says:

    Best gag in the whole strip: Repenthouse magazine.

  14. DoubleW Says:

    I thought it went ‘boink’…

    Further testing needed.

  15. Shashwat Says:

    CnH joke!

  16. PersonPlaceOrThing Says:

    I fail to see how using Russian obscenities is a bad thing or somehow going to cause problems. He has used curse words in previous comics. For the sake of people who may get in trouble for them being here (as stupid as it may be), I chose to censor my post.

  17. Sheedy Says:

    Excellent. The little flying cigarette demon was the cherry on top of a great comic.

    I’m a manager, but focus mainly on ungainly flying-wing designs.

  18. DNTMEE Says:

    The thing being missed here is that this is heaven for these guys. They’re doing what they love to do, and having the time of their deaths. Unlimited resources. They Get to do it over and over, forever. Yes!

  19. eric h Says:

    now that i know that the demon chick doesn’t speak with an american accent, i imagine her with a british one. it’s sexy.

  20. TentacledBeast Says:

    From what I gather, these guys aren’t engineers, they’re politicians. That’s why they can’t set their differences aside for a common goal, and that’s why they can’t make it work.

    RIP Elisabeth Sladen… quite possibly the best Dr. Who companion ever. Her death was a bit of a shock for me, I wasn’t even aware that she was sick 😦

  21. Rex Says:

    digging the comic. bloody management. i had to take an IT management course last semester, most painful experience of my life to date.

    i’m not sure which side to come down on on the swearing. i’m pretty sure saying ‘fuck’ in russian might not be such a big deal, but swearing in some languages that place a heavier weight on cursewords (some asian languages maybe?) could conceivably really offend someone for no real benefit to non-languageX-speakers who read the comic. it’s cool that you took the time to look up the swears, but yeah…dunno whether i’d do it.

  22. fishboy Says:

    I’d suggest that anyone who is going to take offense at swearing in Russian in an English language web comic probably needs to stay away from the internet altogether. This is really not an issue.

  23. Sheedy Says:

    I speak both Russian and English and didn’t find it even remotely offensive. Russians swear a lot, so it makes sense that a Russian, particularly one who finds themself in hell, would swear a lot.

  24. Dusty668 Says:

    Not as Russian as live journal!

    Lovin the comic & Green Demoness relationship peek!

  25. Joe Says:

    Hey Winston, I’m not sure why I just thought of this, but are you an Eve Online player by chance?

  26. V.A. Says:

    So she’s got either a British or a um… ‘hellish’ accent, huh? I always read her dialogues in an Irish accent, I dunno why.

  27. benS. Says:

    Wow! She’s quite outspoken. It’s hard to even imagine anyone putting a gag on HER! Maybe that huge tub of popcorn would help for a while. Also, it could be interesting to take a glance at her “blue”print. It could be “indigo” and photoshopped.

    Too early for Goodwin.

  28. raspiralnine Says:

    Great comic as always! I wonder though, is the sexy demoness sitting in lava or blood in that one panel…I just had a thought…ewwwww.

  29. Doom Says:

    “i’m not sure which side to come down on on the swearing.” The problem with russian swearing is that it is significantly heavier than english equivalents. Russian п****ц roughly 20 times heavier than english f***, so this particular comic has way more swearing than all previous subnormality panels combined. There’s a place for heavy swearing, but its usage should be justified – place swearing at the wrong place, and it will ruin the experience. Another problem is that you can’t call a chick “козёл”. “козёл” means “male goat”, for a chick there are many other words (starting with “дура” (female fool), “сволочь”, “скотина”, “падла”, “гадина” и т.д. – please note that those words aren’t the heaviest swearwords, but are quite insulting). This means that this sentence and the next one aren’t properly formed, which ruins the experience for bilingual readers. The author also tried to use russian (unsucessfully) in the past (“стирать” in the “down at the used car dealership”), and obviously haven’t learned the lesson. In short, this comics repeats common mistake – using russian words without doing proper research. If you aren’t fluent in russian, I’d advise to avoid using russian language in comics (because even slightest mistake instantly ruins entire comic) and stick to “tяaditional ameяikan яepяesentation” of russian, “engrish” or russian accent. That would work way better than out of place heavy swearing.

    Regards, Doom.

    • You know what, i apologize for getting it wrong (again). Can you do me a favor: can you suggest replacement text for the panels in question? (grammatically, at least, as the heavy swearing was kind of part of the joke). As in, “1st Word Balloon: [russian dialogue] etc.” I’d be more than happy to replace the incorrect words. Seriously, i’d be grateful. I mean i know i botched it with that used car comic, and so i tried harder this time, but not hard enough unfortunately. I mean well, i swear!!

    • Esn Says:

      I agree, you have him referring to the woman as a male – it looks a little odd. Should be “сама” rather than “сам” and probably something other than “male goat”.

      Unless that’s part of the insult, that he’s so pissed off at her that he’s calling her male.

      But the rest of the dialogue is frankly fantastic, both English and Russian!

      I also think a special place in hell must be reserved for the more minor sins of anal-retentive Wikipedia micro-managers and the people in [ this Bizarro comic].

      There are tons of people who have a Grand Plan, but leave the hard work of maintaining it to anyone except themselves.

    • Rex Says:

      “roughly 20 times heavier than english”
      i have no idea how you’re managing these metrics, because i can’t even work it out between seperate curses in ONE word.

    • Doom Says:

      @Winston Rowntee:
      Since it is already published, the best idea would be to keep it as it unchanged (you could say that the guy mixed up words because of explosion shock or something). I saw worse mistakes in larger projects, this one is tolerable. Besides, there’s improvement compared to last time.

    • Doom Says:

      @Winston Rowntree
      By the way there are several forums that help (english-speaking) people with russian language questions. You could ask for help on one of those forums next time.

    • Alright, fair enough. I’ll get it right next time though, goddamnit!

  30. GeoX Says:

    You know, there’s literally no English profanity that, per se, offends me, and I’m finding the argument “yeah, but Russian is a SUPER INTENSE language! You’d be offended by this, trust me!” somewhat comical.

    And seriously, “slightest mistake instantly ruins entire comic?” Sounds to me like the issue is more hypersensitivity on your part than anything else.

  31. Sakaki Says:

    I’m pretty sure if you just spent like 2 years working with a bunch of people you came to hate over the past 30 years building the 15th rocket to escape hell only to have the fully fueled thing explode right on top of you… you might just maybe want to swear as much as possible at the nearest demon.

    Just seems logical to me.

  32. PersonPlaceOrThing Says:

    Doom –
    One, козел / козёл is slang for bastard/asshole and similar. коза is not.

    Two, as Sheedy above said, and personal experience with the matter, Russians swear a lot in normal life, also to reiterate Sheedy, it makes a lot of sense for a Russian, in hell, to swear a whole lot (in addition to being in hell, his rocket just blew up). (Also, if Russian swears somehow carry twenty times the weight of English swears, why do they swear so much in day to day life?)

    Three, the Russians response to #76 comes from a book, where the lines are (one side of a phone call):
    “Что? Что? Да ты сам козел! Говно, мудак! Что?
    Да пошел ты сам на х…й!”

    Four, to reiterate the person above me, if the SLIGHTEST LINGUISTIC MISTAKE ruins the ENTIRE comic, then you seriously need to re-evaluate your priorities.

    Five, because I feel this needs to be hammered home, the Russian is IN HELL. HIS ESCAPE ROCKET JUST BLEW UP IN HIS FACE. I’m pretty sure that if I was in said situation, I would be >inventing< new swear words.

  33. PersonPlaceOrThing Says:


    • The swearing etc i have no real interest in changing, because it was definitely a deliberate choice (given the context and the idea of showing Decision Makers as they perhaps really are). But any linguistic errors i’m definitely willing to fix, so if someone could rephrase the goat remark for me i’d love to change it.

    • PersonPlaceOrThing Says:

      Winston- The comment about a goat is perfectly fine, even though he is talking to a girl, because of the colloquial usage of the word to mean bastard or asshole or similar. Similar to the word “bitch” in English, while the “proper” usage is a female dog, when it is used as an insult, the gender of the target doesn’t matter.

      (a better example might be to compare it to German, since that has gender specific names for animals, but the insults incorporating them ignore the gender of the target)

    • PersonPlaceOrThing Says:

      Also, because it should be said (and sorry for your comments getting flooded with the petty “Russian good! Russian bad!” argument. I think you for consistently making high quality comics that I look forward to reading.

      Also, seriously, you need to option that oil world / ghosts of everything that died in the time bubble concept from the christmas brothel in to a movie.

    • Benjy Says:

      But if you let Michael Bay direct it I’ll never read another Subnormality again. ;p

      Seriously though… I re-read that comic from time to time because it’s so visual even with all of the actual story told through words.


      (seriously though, thanks for the kind words, and fear not: in the exceedingly unlikely event that someone wanted to option the story, i’d be very careful indeed)

  34. Kargathia Says:

    This would get rather confusing, as my perception of heaven just changed to “being able to watch that with some popcorn”.

    And whether it’s flawless or not: thumbs up for actually doing the homework on the Russian – it’s a pretty awesome change from all the movies/books/whatever where they can’t be arsed.

  35. DaveB Says:

    Repent House! BwaaaaHahahaha!! Dude, you’re great. I love Green Demon Chick. Russians, a couple of things. One, come on, lighten up on the artist. How do you say “Jesus H. Fuck” in Russian? Is it more “offensive” in cyrillic? Really? Two, you guys get to have the international space station now that the USA has become too cheap-assed to build a decent new spacecraft. Please remind your people to keep the place picked up and to close the lid on the toilet. Thanks.

  36. pG Says:

    Ooh! Wince – you’re in trouble! There werent any solid boosters made by a certain US company in that design.
    Everyone who gets that one, I know, I know – Lets just dust off and nuke the site from orbit, its the only way to be sure.
    Everyone else – Its a very sad long story that not even our esteemed Cartoonist could have dreamed up.
    To give you an idea – ‘U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, who rarely misses an opportunity to court the tea party, shot out a press release moments after the Senate passed the budget. Shelby “announced that he has successfully added language to the final Continuing Resolution for 2011 that requires NASA to fully develop its heavy lift capability. Through this addition, Sen. Shelby has saved hundreds of jobs at Marshall Space Flight Center.”

    The budget language he added specifies that Marshall should spend $1.8 billion to build a rocket with a 130-ton lift capacity. The mission for which this rocket will be used remains unknown, and of course that’s not the point.

    In a separate release the same day, Shelby announced his conservative voting record won him the “Taxpayers’ Friend Award.” A clue to his award may be that he voted against the same 2011 budget that he amended for Marshall’s benefit.’

  37. Njam! Says:

    Glorious. Lovin’ that retro mobile phone of hers.

  38. LightHorseman Says:

    Awesome comic.

    Could have been left after just the first panel, actually. But the Ka THOON was awesome.

  39. Ben Says:

    First, congrats on the Abnormality! First one I’ve seen in a while with primarily positive comments. You’re breaking the ice with those cracked-heads. ;D

    Second, the art for After Hours is all phenomenal! I saved the biker chicks on my phone background from the first time you posted these and the updates/new ones are sweet too.

    Third, that censored girl doing it in the After Hours looks suspiciously like PHG… minus the PH. lol

    Fourth, congrats on yet another interview! Inspiring thoughts on the comic world.

    Fifth, I liked this update (demon girl is an interesting character to play with) to the extent that I enjoyed the art and what I could pick out of the message. I did like the one-sided conversation but I felt that the overall message was either overly simplistic or too convoluted for me to grasp. Is the idea “ha-ha politicians can’t work together”? If so then my reaction is “meh”; I’ve come to expect more (in the way of depth of meaning and story) from this comic. Maybe that’s wrong of me.

    Sixth, I fucking love you and Subnormality anyway. Just my thoughts. ^_^

    • Esn Says:

      Hmm, I actually didn’t like the latest Abnormality comic all that much – turning fairy tales upside down isn’t exactly new, rather it’s been the mainstream ever since Shrek, and it’s almost more daring today to admit that some old fairy tales DO have a point worth making. Or if they don’t have a point any more, it’s because public perceptions have changed rather than because they were ridiculous to begin with.

    • Benjy Says:

      Mmm, I see what you’re saying. But you’ll note that I said he was breaking into their community, not that it was his best comic ever. I think the video game one was is my favorite Abnormality.

      And thinking about the art of the Abnormality, I prefer his more complex (visually) comics anyway, but he does simplicity aight.

  40. Alex Says:

    I choose to believe the demon woman is talking to the human woman from the “Hookup From Hell” strip.

  41. Sheedy Says:

    To add to the above, as I was scrolling down I thought it would be only one panel. I’m glad there was more, but the first panel is genuine gold.

    And to defend our Russian friend who is getting a lot of stick, it would perhaps be fair to say that “п****ц” is worse than “f*ck”, as “п****ц” translates as “c*nt”, a word I think most of us find worse. Not sure where she got “twenty times worse” from, but hey, it’s a good ballpark figure.

    I’d add to those saying don’t change it though, it does work, and Russians do use “п****ц” a lot. Also, cursing is f*cking great fun sometimes.

  42. Bee Says:

    Demon girl is starting to become a favourite of mine. Want her job.

  43. stan Says:

    I liked this one a lot.

    Is that what a handwritten Б looks like? I couldn’t guess what it was, knowing so very little Russian.

    I’m always a little surprised when you put smokers in comics because I think of it as something people did a long time ago because they didn’t know any better — and something that only true idiots do today.

    • Joe Says:

      I pro9bably would take offense to that if I hadn’t had the good sense to quit. Of course, I don’t think a demon would have the same vulnerabilities to smoking related illness as us mere mortals

    • I’m definitely kind of afraid that it looks like i’m promoting smoking or something sometimes. I dunno, i just ask myself, “does this character smoke,” and yeah, a couple of them do, because let’s face it, a lot of people smoke (their reasons being a whole other debate). Plus it’s really useful artistically, because it gives you something to do with the character’s hands (i never know what to do with their hands). You’re definitely right though: you see less and less smoking these days (in north america, at least) and it indeed is starting to seem kind of antiquated. All the better, i reckon. I would expect to see less smoking in the comix in the future as well.

    • Joe Says:

      Perhaps it depends on location. Where I live, almost everyone I know smokes. I’ve been around smokers my whole life (I just quit myself less than a year ago). Seems to me that hell would be the kind of place where everyone smokes.

    • Esn Says:

      I can only hope that the declining trend continues here, or switches to less-noxious e-cigarettes. Smoking is a public nuisance, much like carrying around a boombox playing sound at ear-splitting volumes would be.

      Oddly, I’ve discovered that I don’t mind the smell from pipes and mini-cigars, but second-hand cigarette smoke damn near makes me cough my lungs out. No idea why – must be one of the chemical additives, I guess.

    • Joe Says:

      I’d have to rate E-Cigs as one of the greatest inventions of this millennium so far. I’d still be smoking if it wasn’t for them.

    • Esn Says:

      Damn, looks like the Canadian government banned nicotine-containing ecigs in 2009. What’s the point of banning those, but still allowing regular cigarettes, which are certainly much worse? Corrupt hypocrisy and bribery by the established cigarette manufacturers, plain and simple.

    • Joe Says:

      Wow seriously? That’s ridiculous. Well, at least it’s one thing that makes me feel not quite so bad about living here in the U.S.
      Although it is our cigarette companies selling their cigarettes to other countries while our own government slowly bans them one small step at a time. Blah

    • Leo .W Says:

      I live in England. People like to smoke when they drink and EVERYONE drinks.

  44. JesterRaiin Says:

    Idi na huj… Truly sir, you never cease to amaze me… 🙂


  45. Leo W. Says:

    You only get such an awesome comments section because you make such a fucking awesome web comic. Subnormality is hands down my favourite thing on the internet.

  46. Wellwellwell Says:

    Your scope of fantasies does never stop to astound me.

    This ist great!

    keep them coming.

  47. brent Says:

    Your artwork is getting better and better. I dont know how you produce this kind of line mileage on a weekly basis, anyways, keep up the good work!

  48. Go Says:

    The rocket lookes like modern architecture to me.

  49. Grant Says:

    The Russian os fine, The smoking suits the character and the comic is both hilarious and brilliant. Well done

  50. justin clitheroe Says:

    I heard an Oasis song, and was instantly reminded of Subnormality, so I came here, and to my suprise, A new comic was up! good show!

  51. Astral Says:

    “Nothing makes a situation impossible to manage like leaving it entirely in the hands of managers, d’you know what I mean?”

    Brilliant. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  52. Alfredian Says:

    I was reading something else the other day and came across a link to one of the early strips. I loved it so much I have had to read them all.

    I think the idea of eternal torment via design-by-comittee is brilliant.

  53. John Loo Says:

    Oh nice nice nice!! Every one of your comics are worth the wait. 🙂

  54. Saylone Says:

    Brilliant and to the point!

    Being from russia, i can tell that the dialogues are quite good. I haven’t paid notice to the male/female issue until reading the comments. Won’t be surprising for him to treat a devil as male regardless of shape.

    Сам козёл is kind of a stock reply when spoken to in language you don’t know (probably like english “i love you too, freak”).

    Пиздец is not c*nt by a long shot, it’s what happens when you screw up. Большой пиздец – end of the world, пиздец подкрался незамеченным – suddenly, something failed spectacularly, Пииииздец – that’s it, we’re dead. Can also be a reference to something plainly wrong.

    • Esn Says:

      Heh, I’m happy to be proven wrong on this. I’m Russian but due to living away from Russia for a long time, I’m not really fluent in Russian cant conventions these days. If the male tense is okay here, all the more respect to Mr. Rowntree!

  55. Zac C. Says:

    So, hmm. How long until they build one that’s tall enough to just scale and climb out?
    Not that a man among them could manage a single chin-up, probably, but isn’t that proper hellish as well?
    Yeah, Hellish accent. I dig. Probably sounds like New Joisey Shoah.

  56. craG Says:

    sometimes i feel Rowntree is a bit up his own ass with his opinions (see cover songs, he thinks Vitamin string quartet are useless apparently) but this is definitely one of the comics that everyone should take a look at. I think his hell setting is a good one for social/political commentary that he’s so fond of. Keep it up man!

  57. The Old Wolf Says:

    Absolutely superb. Somewhere on earth there must be a few successful businesses who manage to prosper without the benefit of a single [by definition] “manager”. As for the rest… well, it appears that Hell is somewhat redundant. Thanks, Winston.

  58. Will Says:

    Am I the only one who hears her talking in a deep, raspy, smokey, whispery tone? I didn’t when she first showed up but I thought about what voice she would have (being a demon) and now I can’t un-hear it.

  59. Hexadecima Says:

    I’m banking on a posh English accent, and probably with a perfectly pretty voice—after all, it’s not like her figure is coarse, so it doesn’t particularly follow that her voice should be. She called her American accent a “rubbish” one, which pretty much definitely establishes she’s got to be from the Isles or Australasia.


    Congrats, Winston; you could probably do a pin-up calendar and make a killing.

  60. Zac C. Says:

    Wait. I’ve got it.
    That rocket’s the setting of the next Castlevania series spinoff: Allegro of Hell.

  61. Cha Says:

    My Son turned me on to you , I love your stuff, Art And Content. Awesome .and very heavy and at times depressing, It hits to my bone thanks , YOU ARE GREAT

    When I was young I wanted to be a Comic illustrator. Art Major and then life happened.

    I like the smoky sultry voice for your Demon babe, I’d hang with her any time she’s a lot like me

  62. Broggly Says:

    I don’t usually like your Hell comics because the whole “these people deserve torture” thing feels a bit mean spirited and depressing to me (then again I’m a bleeding heart liberal who gets disgusted at the way people seem to think the biggest problem with the justice system is that prisoners don’t suffer enough), but I like this one because everything bad that happens to them is directly caused by their own pig-headedness. Dystopia is a boot trampling a human face, satire is a human smacking himself in the face with his own boot – forever. *WHACK* “Ow” *WHACK* “Ow” *WHACK* “Ow” *WHACK* “Ow. Maybe if I do it like…” *WHACK* “Ow”

    • I definitely concur. I have sort of wanted to get away from “SEE THE BAD PEOPLE SUFFER! LOL REVENGE FANTASY ETC.,” and am glad this one was maybe at least a little beyond that.

  63. Tom Says:

    This is the first comment from a longtime reader, and I must say bravo.

    This is just excellent stuff, well drawn, intriguingly complex, with humor and commentary and characterization. Everything a comic should contain in a wonderful balance.

  64. Richter Says:

    Love how she’s using a prehistoric cell phone.

    @ Winston, there are other things you can do with a charater’s hands. Think body language. Where is the character looking at, what would s/he be doing while looking at it, etc…

    You said you ask yourself if they smoke or not. Well, you can ask yourself similar questions (ie : is that character the kind to daydream, touch their chin, rearrange their bra strap, etc…)

    So Hell girl, she’s on the phone with someone she likes. That already comes with a ‘natural’ set of postures. You know what we do when we’re on the phone, we shift on our seat, we switch the handset from one ear to the other, we wedge it between elbow and ear, suddently one of the damned needs to be looked at so her facial expression changes, etc, etc…

    Not trying to tell you how to do your job, just saying there’s tons of little body language cues you can use to make the characters feel like they’re actually living, interacting with their environment. Especially since comics offer the possibility of merging different actions in a same panel (ex : you did it in panel 10, it’s physically impossible to speak, hold a phone and light a fag at the same time, but totally blendable in a single frame, and it all works).

    • In all honesty i’m pretty willing to be told how to do my job if it’s objectively good advice, so i definitely appreciate the ideas. Really like what you said about merging multiple actions in one panel as well, i’d never really thought about it like that (even as i was doing it).

  65. Johnny McAnna Says:

    Great comics, love the art stile.

    i really enjoy reading the long texts and looking at each panel for little details.
    They motivate me when i`m feeling down.

    Little suggestion, could u add a random comic button to the strips. i come regularly to read a comic and always end up reading the same ones.

    sorry for the grammar, not my native language.

    • A random button i have no idea how to implement (being rather html-illiterate), but if anyone knows a relatively simple way of doing it i’d be willing to try.

  66. Golux Says:

    “Slip the surly bonds of Damnation”. Must remember that for one of the next staff meetings.

  67. snap Says:

    KA-THOOM is my new favorite word.

  68. Everdark Says:

    I knew those Russian lessons would pay off some day… that guy is really pissed off 🙂

  69. Robin James Says:

    Panel 1: Bureaucrats sure are bumbling fools! (killer drawing)
    Panel 2: You know bureaucrats? Those guys are bumbling fools.
    Panel 3: Guess who are bumbling fools? Bureaucrats!
    Panel 4: KATHOOM
    Panel 5: Filler
    Panel 6: Filler
    Panel 7: Filler
    Panel 8: Bureaucrats: Bumbling Fools? Yes.
    Panel 9: Bureaucrats are foolish bumblers.
    Panel 10: Foolishness + Bumbling = Bureaucrats
    Panel 11: A joke… sort of.


    • Hadge Says:

      Hey, that’s a fun game, saying the theme of the piece over and over and calling the rest of it filler.

      Here’s Lord of the Flies:
      Page 1: Filler
      Page 2: Filler
      Page 3: People need law and order
      Page 4: Filler
      Page 5: Filler
      Page 6: People need law and order
      Page 7: Filler
      Page 8: Filler
      (more to come!!)

  70. purplechimp Says:

    I like the idea of “Repenthouse”. I am pretty sure the articles would be interesting to say the very least.

  71. cbobgo Says:

    I just spent the last 4 days reading through the entire archive after seeing the post on io9. Now that I’m caught up what am I going to do?

    These are great! Keep up the good work.

  72. muhammad Haris Says:

    Normally I dont write comments on the blogs or sites because its time consumming. But this site is the coolest site I have ever visited. The comics are great and especially the ones about sphynx and hell are my favourites. Whoever the artist is, he has done superb works on these comics. Cant wait to read more of these.

  73. Lou Says:

    I don’t get this one.

    The space program had an impressive string of successes. Bureaucratic? Sure…especially after some tragic consequences of the earlier, free-wheeling ways.

    I could understand the Department of Education Bureaucrats being mocked — 30+ years later, and look at our education system.

    But the space program? Apollo, Hubble, ISS, Viking, Rover? Mir and Soyez? Seems like those bureaucrats knew what they were doing. And as for working together, what about Spacelab?

    • Lucy McGough Says:

      It’s not about any earthly space program. It’s about bureaucracy and managers and a task they set themselves in Hell. Perhaps it’s about what would have happened had a certain type of bureaucrat been in charge of the earthly space program (which they weren’t – hence the lack of kathooms).

    • drstupid Says:

      Do not confuse the press packages with the reality. Challenger exploded because management didn’t want to miss the deadlines, even though the engineers said that a fuel joint would break.

      The Soyuz 1 fiasco was also a management disaster, possibly from the intervention of one Leonid Brezhnev, who makes a cameo in this strip.

    • Rick Boozer Says:

      Really, have you not seen the impractical fiasco called SLS that certain Congressional politicians are forcing on NASA? Some representaives from both major American political parties are mandating that NASA build a super rocket using obsolete shuttle technology, even though an independent study commissioned by the government reported that its cost would vastly exceed its budget and thus probably not be finished. The Ares-I rocket was cancelled a couple of years ago for the same reasons when it blew $9 billion dollars without ever sending anything to orbit. In the meantime, SpaceX has launched three of its vehicles to orbit for NASA at a cost of less than $800 million.

      As a disgruntled American who supports spaceflight, but who also knows what is actually going on, this comic strip was spot on.

  74. Nathalie Says:

    Hello! Russian fan here 😀 Great comic, great Russian swearing and great joke! I don’t agree with those who say it’s blunt: personally I think the idea that a crowd of superiors couldn’t build anything due to each of them being too full of himself (as a man in power is supposed to be) is incredibly witty. So witty, in fact, that I’m not even sure there isn’t another execution of the same concept out there, but even then your version won’t do any harm 🙂

    Oh, and for the language: I’m suprised no one pointed out a little mistake in the decent part of the last balloon (probably all the Russians here are emigrants?). Well, sure, it’s pretty accurate, no major faults, but we just don’t talk like this in Russia. You made a calque (word-to-word translation) of an English phrase “No one tells me what to do!” while a more natural Russian phrase would sound like, for example, “Нечего мне тут указывать!” (~You really shouldn’t tell me! ) or “Я сам знаю, что мне делать!” (~I know full well what to do!)

    Hope I didn’t make many grammar mistakes myself (not an English speaker, so yeah). Keep up the great work! Remember that you’re loved in Russia! (at least by one person lol)

  75. Nathalie Says:

    *you really shouldn’t tell me (what to do)

    Ah, I should have known that placing words in angle brackets gets them eaten 😦

  76. Joel Says:

    All I can say is that I am just a little bit (read: INCREDIBLY) in love with Subnormality. Being something of a newcomer, I’ve taken to browsing through the archives when I’ve got a wee bit of spare time, and in my eyes, Winston, you can do no wrong. Every now and again you’ll get a pathos-injected gem of a comic, and both the visual and textual aspects of the comics are always incredible. I don’t want to sound too much like a review, so I’ll just reiterate the following; I love Subnormality.

  77. Lou Says:

    The sphinx is the best. The concept of some immortal, human-eating creature trying to come to terms with a constantly evolving human society is a captivating and endearing one, and I have enjoyed seeing it evolve.

    The girl with a red hair is a good character too. It is easy to empathize with her, and she draws the viewer into the strip.

    I am not as fond of the hell/demon cartoons. Any depiction of hell is vulnerable to the same weakness — the irresistible urge to populate it with ones enemies, leading to tedious moralizing and editorializing. such a scenario rapidly devolves into a Jack Chick tract.

  78. Tim Says:

    I thought adding Russian to the comic was hysterical.

    If you’re going to make any changes, might I suggest adding Osama bin Laden to one of the panels? Preferably one with fire in it? It would help. With the accuracy and all.

  79. Jorge Says:

    Awesome as always Rowntree, keep it up, if you ever wish to include some spanish on the comics feel free to send me an e-mail, so your spanish and latin-american readers get freaked out at your 1337 language skills 🙂

  80. Iain Parkes Says:

    Wow! Fantastic work! I look forward to future pages! 🙂

  81. Tcat Says:

    Pure awesome. Reminds me of my superior’s during staff meetings.

  82. iamforrestsmom Says:

    what a wonder-full stumble to discover this awesome Comic~
    ‘it’s easy being green’ LOVE it!! :-))

  83. Phil Says:

    Been reading this for years, love your comic strip you always have something interesting to say. Just happy that there are people like you doing stuff like this.

  84. Jonston Says:

    I liked that big green ass!

  85. sfury Says:

    Russian swears are spot on! 🙂

  86. Salamander Says:

    Oh come on, it’s Dear Leonid Illich, he can call anyone a goat if he wants to, and no one tells him what to do. Although he was quite a ladies’ man, but perhaps his time in Hell left him somewhat bitter (not to mention his great physical shape!)

  87. Zette Says:

    Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!! By Jove, we’ve finally got it! Ready for lift off people…

  88. Zette Says:

    If I had money I would give you some! But if you come by my place I’ll feed you full up!

  89. spade Says:

    i just had to say, that copy of “repenthouse” was a brilliant idea.

  90. Tom Says:

    “Sisyphean”, love it. One of my favorite words and it never gets used. 25 points for you.

  91. Ben Zyl Says:

    Not that far from reality, or was this what you were thinking of –

  92. Gary Says:

    Best cartoon on traditional aerospace culture yet.

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