October 30, 2011

Heeyy, i wanted to do a halloween comic this year, thus, here’s a whole lot of words/pictures for you in lieu of candy or chocolate or those little bags of chips with like three chips in them. IT’S NOT ENOUGH CHIPS!! Um, where was i? Oh yeah, so once you’re done with that, i’ve posted the no-words version of the comic right here, just for kicks. I dunno, there were a few things obscured by walls of text so i figured why not give y’alls a look.

happy halloween,


140 Responses to “Halloween”

  1. Edwin Says:

    Fantastic work! By the way whose house is it?

  2. Ben Says:

    City of Death!

  3. Sisiutil Says:

    This was cool. I started reading the comic, scrolling side-to-side just enough to see the house, and I knew there was more stuff off to the right, but I’m saving it like you used to save that favourite candy you got on Halloween, right? And I’m thinking, “Where’s the PHG? Several other Subnormality regulars are showing up, she must be here…” And then I’m done with the house and I finally scrolled to the side, and there she is! With Sphinxie! Yay!

    So did Sphinxie eat anyone, or was she still full from the guy in the Chaos comic? I’d hate to think that my favourite mythological monster didn’t get a treat on Halloween…

  4. Patrick Says:

    I liked that the owl pellet costume made a reappearance.

  5. monsterzero Says:

    That girl sitting next to demon girl is super hot. But I’m not sure what her costume is supposed to be.

  6. Esn Says:

    This had one amazing joke (the people in the tetris blocks) and the rest of it was really interesting reading. I loved it. Thank you very much!

    By the way, is there ever going to be a printed collection of all your comics?

  7. Esn Says:

    My favourite part of Halloween is the pumpkin carving rather than the costumes, actually.

    But yeah, it’s a really weird holiday. Even now, I can’t put my finger on what it’s supposed to be ABOUT. With the other holidays, that’s easy. With Halloween, I’m just not quite sure. The storyline is missing.

    • Ali Says:

      Originally Celtic in origin, Halloween or All Hallow’s Even(ing) is the time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest. The spirits of those who have passed over return to visit the living – helped by the living dressing as the dead.
      Then it degenerated into a costume party.
      The Wikipedia article is fairly accurate.

  8. dubusadus Says:

    Goddang Esn, have you never been neurotic and forced to attend an extremely social event where the conversation starters are all prepackaged? This is pretty much the gist of my Halloween weekend so far.

  9. Esn Says:

    @dubusadus, I have not, no. Which perhaps says something about my (lack of a) social life.

  10. r10pez10 Says:

    Likin’ the Tintin and the Era Vulgaris!
    Nice work.

  11. Joe Trudell Says:

    A Halloween comic featuring Pinky and the Sphynx? Can’t think of a better treat than that πŸ™‚

    • Yamara Says:

      It’s the Great Pyramid, Charlie Pink!

      Sphynx has a Snoopy costume on, and doesn’t know it.

      And beautiful mention of turnips! The original “Jack O’Lantern”, which were meant to carryable, before pumpkins turned up in the New World, and were easier to carve, and were more the size and shape of a head anyway.

      And Sphynx is being either/both coy or polite by not underscoring the emphasis on death on the holiday. “Pious harvest” indeed. The lady has class.

  12. Sahan Says:

    Is that Carmen Sandiego outside the house in the second room?

  13. James G Says:

    Surely if you are going to a Halloween party dressed as Agent-47, you are going as a somewhat incompetent Agent-47. Then again, going as Agent-47 dressed in a disguise is possibly getting a little meta.

    I must admit, I’m usually a bit half-hearted when it comes to costumes, although I have done passable Luke Skywalkers and Guybrush Threepwoods. (Neither for Halloween though.)

    Being British though, well, we don’t quite do Halloween in the same way over here. Also, our costumes tend to be strictly in the ‘spooky’ vein.

    Love the penguin on the roof.

  14. Caio Says:

    Lotsa cool costumes. Love the Stalker on the top floor and the QOTSA mascot for Era Vulgaris in the stairs.

  15. Otter Says:

    So much hidden eyecandy πŸ˜€
    Great job.

  16. Zack Says:

    Tintin?! That’s… that would have been a great idea. Fuuuuuck. Oh well, maybe next year…

  17. Benjy Says:

    I love it, especially Miranda from ME:2. Happy Halloween Winston!

  18. Palomides Says:

    infinite canvaaaaaas *shakes fist*
    actually, the structure of the house made it pretty easy to follow. nice stuff.

  19. The letters on the fridge! πŸ˜€

  20. Darkiush Says:

    the beak doctor costume protraied here is better than mine >.>
    damn it

  21. The Old Wolf Says:

    Nice shoutout to the Sphinx over at Doc Nickel’s Whiteboard comic today. And, awesome Hallowe’en strip!

  22. DoubleW Says:

    Now, I would have figured that the long Tetris piece would have been up for a foursome.

    Happy Hallow’s Eve, and a shout-out to everyone who’s planning on starting NaNoWriMo at the stroke of midnight!
    (There has to be a few here, right?)

  23. Jeff T Says:

    This is a brilliant comic. Fantastically human as usual. I hate to be that guy but I noticed a few typos in pink-haired girl’s dialogue “and it pretty much makes no sense at, to be honest!” No sense at all maybe?

  24. Jeff T Says:

    Love the penguin on the roof too hahahaa

    • Edwin Says:

      Bat(man) and Robin vs Penguin.

    • minkis Says:

      Edwin – I see what you did there!

    • Tobu Says:

      Thank you, Edwin.

      Strange that we have stories about a man dressed up as a bat (fighting a man dressed up as a penguin, and so on with cat and robin). What makes these more compelling than stories about either a man or a bat?

  25. Charlie Says:

    Good combination of story and details, though if there’s any significance to the ship paintings I didn’t get it.

    Now left I’m wondering if things fell apart with the demon and her date or if they’re just going to different parties.

    • No significance to the paintings, it’s just nice when there’s a motif to the decor. Even if the motif makes absolutely no sense…

    • Chris Says:

      I thought the strange ships was a reference to an earlier strip of Winston’s with the algebra teacher that went mad and got a job making psychedelic and terrifying boats.

  26. James K Says:

    I don’t have anything insightful to add, I just wanted to say that this is a beautiful comic and I think it came out quite well. Great job!

  27. Infanttyrone Says:

    Your comics are pretty much the best, sir. I am so entertained by every part of this. Thanks for making it!

  28. kevbot365evin Says:

    alt-text? I always look forward to your alt-text.

  29. Asdew Says:

    Amazing as usual. Thank you.

  30. Raphael Says:

    This comic helped me get over my mild panic attack at doing nothing for halloween other than working from 7 to 3, playing Legend of Zelda for 2 hours, and passing out on my couch till 12. Thanks!

    This is one of my favorites, I think. Man, you do such a good job.

  31. All that and Carmen Sandiego in a cameo. Hooray for Winston! My hero!

  32. tmgreebo Says:

    And…an Omar Bradley carry-over on this page, too.

  33. Harry Says:


  34. Alexander Erben Says:

    Great. Work. Happy. Halloween. πŸ™‚

  35. Şp♠Đę Says:

    i love you just for the simple fact you included S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
    also the transsexual girl/guy from streets of rage? or was it final fight? man it’s been so many years. i haven’t even read this yet it’s that good i’m just looking at the pictures. i’m saving it for tonight so i go to sleep with a smile. excellent comic as always sir.

    • Nishido Says:

      Final Fight. There is a legend about an awkward call from the guys at Capcom America to their counterparts on Japan, that went pretty much like:
      American: “Yeah, here on America we don’t believe it’s cool to have the hero beating women, bro”
      Japan: “Eh? There are no women on the game”
      American: “Of course there are, I saw them, Poison and Roxy”
      Japan: “Oh! Don’t worry, those are not women”
      American: “What do you mean those are not… OoO! Why, Japan, whyyyyyyy!?”

      Yeah, pretty much like that.

  36. Joe Trudell Says:

    Shit, I just realized I forgot to subscribe to the comments for this one

  37. Anonymous Says:

    So much text… and yet, not enough.

  38. Love the Penguin preparing for a fight with the Bat, as much I love all of your comics. They made my last month worth living-and-waiting.

    Thank you.

  39. Laurie206 Says:

    Once again, a fine display of intelligence.

  40. Elizabeth Says:

    I am never going to be able to get the image of the tetris blocks “fitting” together out of my head.


  41. Sir Exal Says:

    People keep commenting on Carmen Sandiego, but no one comments on the person dressed as Lynne Thigpen’s Chief in the next room looking for her! Hurray for 90’s nostalgia!

    Also good: The Shel Silverstein’s “A Light in the Attic” reference.

    Though where’s the Impossibly Hot Woman?

  42. karen Says:

    1. Somehow, “Why must life be like this?” was very nice.
    2. It’s “personnel”, and I’m thinking that it makes sense to think in terms of one who is just right for you.
    3. I’ve always felt that _forcing_ everyone to wear a costume is very wrong.

  43. Leo W. Says:

    carmen sandiego was really good. you gotta do one with wally though

  44. Luke Says:

    The references to Owl Pellet and Sexy Teddy Roosevelt made me smile with the same self-satisfied recognition as do all of your references.

  45. Mark Says:

    That is the exact reaction I received this year as the Hitman. Most people just think your a jerk for not wearing a costume. Only like 5% of people get it without seeing the bar code, and the rest are all standing behind you so you don’t get to see their reaction.

  46. Alex Says:

    Perspective man!

  47. Levi Says:

    Absolutely fantastic Halloween comic Mr. Rowntree! I really dug the references to your past comics among the partygoers too.

  48. fishboy Says:

    You’ve ruined Tetris for me…

  49. Innogen Says:

    Why are you so epic? Great job!

  50. Chris Says:

    Yeah, Sexy Teddy Roosevelt again! Love that costume concept, always thought it would be a good name for a band. Thought about going as it this year but then instead got too lazy to plan and just grabbed my Native Indian headpiece from like ages ago and went with that.

    Nice work as always.

  51. John Loo Says:

    You sir, are wise.

  52. Nick Says:

    I love this comic because it both has Agent 47 and a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. in it. Those are like my two favorite videogame series! Poison is a nice surprise too.

    • Nishido Says:

      Poison is the character that started my pink hair fetish; then I grew up, and discovered the truth about her. I then scream “Why, Capcom Japan, whyyyyyyyyy?” for about an hour.

  53. benS. Says:

    Just, One of Those Hints…


    The Sphynx resting on the roof of her well protected
    larder. What’s in there? Foodz? Who knows. Some night snacks and tomorrow morning’s super fresh breakfast, maybe.

    Thumbs up for PHG’s improved knuckle belt and the butterfly/… grassroots perspective.


    P.S. Your mom’s new book: new favourite story = #8 “The Rebel Doll”.

  54. Jack_Cookie Says:


  55. Sam Says:

    Nice job on the White Knight. Insightful dialogue as always, and totally true. People do that all the time.

    • Elizabeth Says:

      Tell me about it. It’s ****ing awesome always being the chick involved in that scenario.

  56. Richter Says:

    Damn Winston, gamegasm! I was one nerdy reference away from a cigarette.

    Gotta love PHG outside too : “you don’t need a costume, this is what I’d wear anyway”. If only it could be Halloween everyday. To be able to tell society, ‘fuck your codes and your judgement, as long as it doesn’t interfere with my job, this is what I’m wearing dammit’. If you feel better as a Tetris piece, who am I to judge?

    I think we should all look deep down within and ask ourselves this fundamental question :

  57. vanjohann Says:

    I don’t understand what’s going on with the chubby guy on the right hand side of the ground/first floor in the blue/grey costume, but he makes me laugh.

  58. Jason Says:

    Nice!!! I assume you were inspired by Mayhem at the Manor?

  59. Alejo Says:

    The stalker one is the best costume.

  60. Sasha Says:

    That lumber room is inaccesible!!

  61. Grisham Says:

    I love how you included the Owl Pellet costume. Also kudos for Asterix.

    But that scene of Tetris brlcks will haunt me for a long, long time…

  62. dusty668 Says:

    That roof is fowl!

  63. jesterraiin Says:

    Hatin’ Halloween, but this strip is awesome. As usual.

    DziΔ™ki piΔ™kne

  64. Mary Says:

    Your comics make me feel the way really good music makes me feel.

  65. Nishido Says:

    It took me a little to get the “animal fight” on the roof, but when it got me, it got me good.
    And just the other day I was passing trough a mall, when I saw a suit perfect for a 47’s cosplay. I asked the person who was with me “Do you think it comes with it’s own piano cord?”, but she didn’t get what I meant.
    Oh! And after the previous strip I started to think of a solution; I believe I have found it:

    Yes, no big hopes anyone would get what I mean.

    • I just assume all the strip’s readers have super deluxe five foot wide monitors. You do, right??

    • Nishido Says:

      Yes, but only on the command center of my evil lair; and I can’t let the lackeys find me reading comixs, they may think I have a soul or something.
      No, seriously, I had realized something: it’s better to be able to watch your strips part by part, scrolling up, down and to the sides, so one can take each part alone, truly observe them, and so slowly integrate them all in one’s mind. It’s usually a lot of information to digest from your strips; and it is always worthy the effort to try to fully understand each one.
      I guess I was trying to be sarcastic about all the complains I had seen about the (increasing) size of the pages; but it didn’t came out well.
      I do love your strips in all their immensity. Please keep doing a great job πŸ˜€

  66. Killjoy Supreme Says:

    The long winded rant in the bottom left describes me chillingly well 😦

  67. Would pay good money to know what, if anything, you dressed up as WInston.

  68. Josh Says:

    What is up with fish head dude? What are you referencing?

    • That depends. Which guy is fish head dude?

    • joshua Says:

      By fish-head dude I mean fish-hat dude. By which I mean the guy ranting about the lack of a party sign. I’m not sure if I get the joke/reference. Put it down to something that doesn’t translate well outside of the US or more likely to the fact that I’m a little clueless…

    • Oh, okay, yeah, the fish-hat, i forgot about that. It’s just the most half-assed possible costume, basically. Like, the bare minimum of effort (and possibly what i wore the very last time i went trick-or-treating, which was god knows how long ago now). There’s no reference or anything there, the guy just has a shitty costume to go with his spurious nature. Or something.

  69. TF Says:

    Already mentioned, but still…

    you win everything for including a bat and a robin facing off against a penguin.

    Nothing but love for you right now.

  70. Daryl Says:

    Amazing. Loved the costumes and references. You’re just… So damn good!

    Thanks for the comic!

  71. Libertariandude Says:

    That Teddy Roosevelt joke deserves to be posted at Cracked.

  72. Rex Hull Says:

    Ahhh another brilliant effort. Nice touch with the creatures on the roof.

  73. its in the email. Says:

    i liked it.
    i just like comics tho.
    and cartoons.
    i just like animation,man.
    cool sheeyut dude.
    im an artist also. any openings?
    cool comic tho.

  74. Heather Says:

    This was so so so so so great. I love reading the comments and finding things I missed and going back and laughing again. You’re the best.

  75. Tomas Says:

    Perspective Man and the Egyptian woman are a match made in Heaven.

  76. Line Noise Says:

    I always thought that Halloween and all the harvest festivals that preceded them where just the festival of catharsis. You knew that the harvest was good, that you will live ’till spring so why not thumb your nose at you fears. WHO would fear a one eyed creature? Halloween seem to be falling on hard time these days, the CBC even has articles about the danger of politically incorrect costumes… I dressed as, and did the job of, a school kids traffic guard on Halloween night but my STOP/YEALD sign was a KILL/SPEED sign.
    Many a horrified parent…

  77. Inga_O Says:

    I LOVE IT! I’m excited by your mind & thoughts and the depth of this that I will be sharing with the man who helped me fall in love with comic books as seriously wonderful reading, my uncle πŸ˜‰

  78. phillllllll Says:

    So I know your taxonomy of the 5/6 costume types is a little bit of a joke and not at all claiming to be objectively all-encompassing


    you left out a category that is pretty close to my heart, and gets to the reason why dressing up is so much fucking fun in the first place. The category might be called “conceptual costumes”: examples include dressing up as “winter” or “a planet” or “entirely fuchsia woman” or “guy with a terrifying handmade mask”. And you’ve got to have the attitude that it’s not how people REACT to the costume that counts, it’s about the costume ITSELF being a reaction to the world, like verging on a piece of art. What you dress up as is pretty arbitrary, I think, so you might as well do something fantastic and strange, rather than be a cookie-cutter cliche of yourself and your surrounding culture. The conceptual costume-wearer knows that dressing up is fundamentally exciting and seeks to accentuate that excitement as best she knows how.

  79. Jo-ou Says:

    I’ve been reading this comic for a long time, sometimes even commenting here. No praise from me, I would merely repeat what others have said, better than I could say it.

    But I just realized PHG’s “hey” might be what yanks characterize the Canadian accent as. Being from a country far away from both of those, this kinda blew my mind.

    I should re-read some of her earlier appearances now, I think.

    • Leak Says:

      The canonical and generally internet-wide agreed-upon faux-Canadianism is appending “, eh?” to every (other) sentence, eh?

    • Nishido Says:

      It is not just the internet; there is also an infamous “Angry Beavers” episode, in which they have “neighbourly issues” with a pair of “Canadian stereotypes”. The “eh?” thing was both constant and annoying; even for me, and I’m not Canadian.

    • Oh, canadians definitely say “eh” (in some provinces more than others though). “Hey” is just a regional variation (the region being my own mind, and possibly parts of Saskatchewan as well).

  80. pG Says:

    1. My moneys on the Penguin.
    2. Why so many extra shoes?

    And I used to pitch up at parties dressed as nun, with a serious five o’ clock shadow and smoking a cigar.
    Told everyone I was a Tans-sister. Quite sad now that I think back at it.

  81. VGer47 Says:

    Hmmm… isn’t the green one eyed creature from an old Dr. Who episode?

    Love your work by the way. Were I a publisher, I’d offer you a contract immediately!

  82. OH LAWD Says:

    So much text.

  83. wowzers Says:


    Anyone else know what I’m talking about? πŸ˜›

  84. Ben Zyl Says:

    Woo, the Count Carlos Scarlioni was super obscure (and great).

  85. Adrian Says:

    I think i see Stumpy the Pirate. Didn’t know the author was a Queens of the Stone Age fan.

  86. Mystyr Nile Says:

    The outcasts hanging out together, heh.

  87. Mystyr Nile Says:

    “These festivals seem to get whittled down to their most visceral aspects, so I’d expect it might become a further distillation of whatever it is that everyone finds most fundamentally appealing about the occasion.”
    Like the Glacier Spirits Festival in The Legend of Korra?

  88. Ben Zyl Says:

    No words version in response to http://learnfromwebcomics.tumblr.com/post/13287327552/lesson-three? Your version was prettier and they was wrong albeit using it as a vaguely valid example.

  89. Refreshing Waterboarding Says:

    So few comments about the Green Light Bulb Guy from Queens of the Stone Age

  90. Paul LJ Catlow Says:

    Does the red Tetris piece appear twice? Once on the sofa being insecure and once in the bedroom “locking into” the yellow Tetris piece? (Some sort of time-lapse, or are they twin pieces, one getting the luck and one who isn’t?)

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