Book Store

December 5, 2011

Okay, i’m back, new comic, let’s do this. Had some of my usual boring trouble with the ol’ endless loop of rewrites and getting trapped in my own head, BUT where i usually give up and scrap everything this time i fought my way out and emerged on the other side. Hope for the future, then.

More stuff planned before the Xmas break, by the way, so don’t go anywhere!



The Best Feeling Ever is when another artist draws one of your characters and sends you a link just to be nice (i guess some people call it “fan art,” but i’m not a, uh, fan of that particular f-word). Anyway, said Best Feeling is further intensified when said drawing is Amazingly Good; thus, have a look here at what is just a freaking great picture of a monster. I definitely aspire to be that good. Thanks so much to Liz for the picture, and you can see more of her art right over here.

139 Responses to “Book Store”

  1. Harry Says:

    Loved it!! Took me a minute to get the whole changing appearances thing, but as soon as I got to the music badges it clicked. Brilliant and insightful, as per usual, WR! ❀

    P.S., because I'm obliged to do this as a user of the internet, F1R5T!!11oneoneleventyone

  2. Sisiutil Says:

    “I am large, I contain multitudes…”

  3. stryde22 Says:

    i want this as a poster. thats for sure.

  4. fishboy Says:

    Wordy awesomeness – love it. I’m going to go have this conversation with someone in the bookshop up the road right now.

    PS Moomin t-shirt FTW!

    • capsized Says:

      dito on the moomin shirt. that stuff is popular outside scandiavia and japan?

    • Alexis Says:

      man the moomin books are the phat dope! i grew up reading them in california in the 70s/80s. how come so many of my favorite children;s book authors turned out to be queer women? (tove janson, e. nesbit, louise fitzhugh).

  5. stryde22 Says:

    also, im drawing a sphinx / pink haired lady fan art too!! i’ll link it when im done, but i already know its ogot nothing on that piece of awesome you just linked πŸ™‚

  6. Aeron Says:

    Thank you for making Subnormality. It’s my infrequent intelligence fix.

  7. Ada Says:

    Speaking of books, would you ever publish a Subnormality book? Because I would love to have your comics in print – they’re awesome.

  8. Joe Trudell Says:

    I hate that whole feeling of being trapped in my own head. I wish I could get out of it as much as you seem to manage.

    Was confused about the whole changing appearances device at first. Once i figured it out, about 3 frames in, I decided that it, like many things you do, was among the most brilliant things ever.

    Side note. I don’t quite agree with Hitler disproving that people get the government they deserve. But that’s just me talking.

    • Will Says:

      Wait a second… you think the German people deserved Hitler? Or have I completely misunderstood your last comment?

    • Joe Trudell Says:

      They elected him and they followed him didn’t they?

    • Thomas Says:

      The Nazis got 43.9% in the 1933 elections. That, combined with some violence, enabled the power grab that made Hitler dictator. While the Nazi party was indeed the most popular, I’d still say that at most 43.9% of all Germans “got the government they deserved”, and of course the real percentage is even lower since you can’t very well go blaming those people who were too young to vote, or whose votes disappeared because of ballot rigging…

    • Joe Trudell Says:

      ok so 43.9% got the government they wanted. The 56.1% who stood by and let it happen got the government they deserved.

    • Will Says:

      Joe: I recommend you read Winston’s excellent illustrated essay ‘The Line’, read a bit more about how many German people died and/or were tortured in camps, and rethink your statement and statistics.

      Unless you genuinely believe everyone who died in the camps had it coming, in which case we’re arguing on completely different levels here.

    • Dhatz Says:

      binary logic is what holds mankind back.

  9. Elizabeth Says:

    Nope, I don’t buy it. After traveling gods-know-how-many light years just to get to this planet, I think aliens searching for a book would desperately go into every single establishment with print materials that they could find, rather than skipping a store based on how it looked.

  10. Mark O'Leary Says:

    Great concept. Love the punch line. And I am totally stealing the “Mein Kampf” thing.

  11. StarryGordon Says:

    You must judge a book by its cover.

    If you go into a bookstore or a library, you are
    confronted by thousands of volumes. You can’t
    possibly read them all. So you pull down this one
    or that as its cover catches your eye.

    Well, perhaps you read the blurbs, or look for
    certain titles or authors. The blurbs, the
    titles, the names of this author or that — these,
    too, are covers.

    Perhaps, being a dedicated lover of books, you
    look at the pages of the text within. First page,
    last page, random pages in the middle. But these
    are not the book, they are in effect simply
    different covers of the book. You must go

    So let us say, with infinite time and energy, you
    plunge in, read the book front to back, back to
    front, consume the index, cut up the text and read
    the sentences at random, place the book under your
    pillow as you sleep — alas, the text is only yet
    a further cover, because under the text, indeed,
    under every word, every letter, an infinite
    network of relations, associations, connections,
    echoes, reverberations spreads out, luminous
    threads, to every other book, every other text,
    every utterance, indeed, every other thing on
    earth — and still below the surface text, there
    falls away an infinite void down into which yet
    more glimmering threads descend into the darkness
    beyond sight or thought.

    And what we see of this void is yet another cover.

  12. Godel Fishbreath Says:

    Still has some valuable things to think about.

    Yeah, that was not part of your main point.

  13. W Says:

    Loved the comic, as always. Thoughtful and worth the read. Did have a question though: if the lesson is to not judge people by their appearances, then the cliched representations of the different sides of the everywoman and bookstore owner don”t follow through, does it? Because we would then be judging these other appearances, assigning them personalities based on their looks.

    You could argue that it’s a limitation of the artform but there was so much more that could have been done with the narrative. Instead of aliens, why not have one of those apparent traits break from their expected responses? There was also the possibility of combining these discrete traits, to show the influence of one aspect of ourselves with another! The judge displaying a little fishnet under the robes, the academic poindexter with the National Masturbation Team shirt showing underneath.

    Just a thought! Wasn’t a huge issue given the quality of the rest of the dialogue. Thanks for the comix.

  14. Edwin Says:

    Fantastic work! I really like the convergence of other of you comics in this one.

  15. John Loo Says:

    Love this comic! Got the changing appearances thing right away. But seriously, National Masturbation Team? Now I got to…… LOL. And I love how at the end the store owner turned into a judge again. Awkward…. but happens all the time. You have an engaging conversation with someone and then you or the other person says something just slightly off, and the whole conversation ends.

  16. John Loo Says:

    Oh and the Hitler Bonus was great too πŸ™‚

  17. Marc Says:

    That was a great comic, thanks for making it. Also, the NIN lyrics were an interesting find; right now I’m listening to the “With Teeth” album again πŸ™‚ .

  18. John Loo Says:

    Oh and I forgot to mention, love the details! Absolutely necessary for this comic.

  19. Benjy Says:

    So I didn’t quite get into the last strip because I don’t think I got it…. However this one was awesome. I love how you articulate abstract concepts both verbally and visually. Rad comic. πŸ˜€

  20. Otter Says:

    Humor and Dilbert, that was harsh πŸ˜€ Although could have guessed from the last but one panel here…

    So many references… πŸ˜€

  21. Melissa Says:

    I aspire to be *you*, man. Subnormality is my favourite comic, by far. And I believe this strip is the best one yet.

  22. Pinko Says:

    Totally clever. Just a note, though, Hitler wasn’t elected. He was appointed. I remember that from my sophomore history class.
    That said, loved the comic. The changing appearances really helped get the point across.

  23. Killjoy Supreme Says:

    The fact that porn in general is such a taboo topic weirds me out. Like literally every single human being on the planet with internet access has checked out porn at some point(or at least every guy), and yet everybody is all “YOU WATCH PORN!!!!!!1!! You weirdo!!!2!!!”

    • Zeus Says:

      Not always the case. I’ve had frank conversations with people of both sexes about porn. One female friend (not my girlfriend) is perfectly open about liking the campiest and cheesiest of pornos. Her hard drive stash could probably rival that of any middle school gym teacher’s.

    • Elizabeth Says:

      I have to agree with Zeus here, Killjoy. In my experience, the mature and comfortable a person is in their own skin, the more willing they are to admit that they enjoy porn– or at least given an objective answer to why they don’t like porn.

  24. Killjoy Supreme Says:

    Also, the combination of Hitler and conforming thought reminded me of something I was thinking about the other day.

    So ever notice how if a crowd is moving through a doorway, everybody who passes the door holds it open while they pass it? It doesn’t matter where the crowd is going, it’s just human instinct to keep the door open so that the next guy wont have to re-open it, slowing down the entire crowd. Because of this, each individual person holds the door as they pass. IF you don’t believe me, just watch the doorway next time you are in a line/crowd moving through. Once that door is open, each person holds it for the next person until the entire mob has passed.

    Anyway, so as I observed this the other day, I wondered if the Jewish people, as they were being forced into the death chambers during the holocaust, were holding the door for each other. Basically, how far do our learned instincts go? Kind of a dark thought, but it sparked my curiosity regardless

  25. kungfuhampster Says:

    I love your work so much. Please never stop. You view the world on a poetic basis, finding the oddities and beauty in things. This is something that has been needed for a long time.

  26. Liz Says:

    Another awesome one. I loved the changing appearances technique, though it took me a panel or two to catch on aha. I like how I go from contemplating the deeper nature of the message to snorting like a twelve-year-old at two-headed Hitler.

    And thank you for featuring my drawingthing, so happy that you enjoyed!

  27. Glenn Says:

    It takes serious wank-skills to make the Nationals

  28. Does Bluebird Books have online ordering? I need that copy of “Her Smoke Rose Up Forever”

  29. localvagrant Says:

    I liked the surreal changing appearance thing. Reminded me of Waking Life.

  30. bachterman Says:

    for the walls of text and the opinions:

  31. Spike Gomes Says:

    Quick show of hands, how many people have read “Mein Kampf”?

    I have, out of curiosity and a deep sense of masochism in high school that drove me to also read “Ulysses”, “Atlas Shrugged” and the Bible from start to finish.

    It is a monstrous piece of outrage. It also an excellent example of propaganda, and due to that fact is far more complex and nuanced than most people would be willing to believe. To dismiss it out of hand is to live up to Santayana’s words about history. To read it from the perspective of the average citizen of Weimar Germany is to inoculate yourself against the possibility of it happening to you.

    On an unrelated note, one of my favorite scenes involving the text is from Truffant’s imagining of Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”, where the Captain pulls it during his scene lecturing Montag on why books must be burned.

    Reading the above, man do I sound like a pompous ass. And I am, I truly really am. Might as well own it.

    • No, you don’t sound pompous– you sound Correct.

    • Zeus Says:

      My big issue with the one dimensional Hitler stuff is also that it’s a very, very simplified view. Yeah, Hitler was horrible. But his party gained power not on a platform of killing the jews, but on one of building the economy.

      The Versailles treaty raped Germany. With a rusty spike. Any money generated in Germany immediately left the country. It couldn’t be reinvested to build business and a prosperous, peaceful society. People were starving in the streets. The existing government was trying to play nice internationally, and work within the system to get Britain and France to relax things until the economy got better, to reduce the reparations… We (the allies, and that includes the US) stiffed ’em.

      To give you an idea of the scale of these reparations, Germany just paid them off last year, though I don’t know if they had been restructured or not since. My guess is that they had.

      So then this Hitler guy, leader of a fringe party, starts talking about how he’s going to tell the allies to shove it, how he’s going to rebuild their economy and restore german honor.

      Well, sounds pretty good if you’re starving and need money now. And Hitler followed through. He stopped the bleeding, and remilitarized, creating lots of new jobs. It was a stimulus, in many ways.

      Yes, the holocaust was the natural result of a strong anti-semitisim and virulent nationalism. Certainly, the history books aren’t wrong on that one; It was a comic villain scale of evil. But that doesn’t mean Hitler and the Nazis were comic villains. There was much, much more to the story then the caricature we get shows. This is absolutely not to excuse anything they’ve done, but even with Hitler, there’s more to the picture.

    • Crypt Sphinx Says:

      I indeed have read ‘Mein Kamph’. A volume , 3rd or 4th edition English language printing for the US (if I recall correctly) with a rather interesting introduction. (something along the lines of “big business supports mister Hitler”) , Atlas Shrugged is on the list. All of these I read out of a sense that I should expose myself to ideas that I know I will disagree with but attempt to withhold critique until the end so that I might at least be better equipped to understand and possibly combat them.

      The comic itself is excellent , the limited ‘cast’ meant we could quickly catch onto the visual metaphor being employed. I do enjoy spotting the reference to ‘Ministry’ (I remember seeing a RevCo “Piss Army” button in a previous comic).

      In many ways the comic reminds me of the kind of rich visual style of Alan Moores or Neil Gaimans or Warren Elliss attention to detail. Each panel is often swelling with detail ,one way in which this series best uses the comic as a medium that can be painstakingly explored by the reader.

      As a long time reader of this series I’m often unlikely to comment on a strip but


      and frankly , with that bit of fan-boyish flattery done with I would like to congratulate the Author for a consistently excellent series , both for the quality of the narrative which despite being subject to the ideas being explored still allows room for character development, That and the willingness to utilise whatever artistic forms and layouts best suit the delivery of an idea. This series is still fresh and wonderful.

  32. KEB Says:

    Sigh.. I hate that usual sexist porno shite. However, I just might have found my perfect website πŸ™‚

    • Şp♠Đę Says:

      well, heres hoping something good “came” out of your reading experience :p isn’t it great to find actually enjoyable and useful links in others conversations though? works for me.

  33. Pedals Says:

    I love the artwork and the use of massive dialogue but every time I read your work I just fundamentally disagree with the conclusion.

    Have you ever considered making an opposite comic? like maybe in this one the manager is able to decipher exactly what book people want based on how they dress and act, perhaps including a flashback in which slightly naive Jewish industrialists funded the Nazi party on the assumption that all the talk was just to win over rural support.

    Not that I would want to tell you how to write your comic or whatever -just that you are wrong.

    • No WR is right – aliens are massive douches.

    • Sisiutil Says:

      So you think WR’s point had something to do with books? Really?

    • I would posit that my existing comix are made in disagreement, as you demonstrate, with existing ideas– and thus are in fact opposite comics. Well, sometimes, anyway. Sometimes they’re just Stoopid.

      As for any conclusions you might disagree with (and feel free to elaborate, OR I’LL ASSUME YOU DISAGREE THAT HITLER WITH TWO HEADS IS A BAD THING!! YEAH THAT’S RIGHT YOUR TREMBLING LOVE OF BI-HITLER IS LAID BARE FOR ALL TO SEE!!), you should feel free to further the discussion beyond “i disagree” (or make an opposite comic of your own)– otherwise we’re not getting anywhere. For god’s sake, I genuinely want to hear contrasting opinions if you think there’s something in a comic that warrants further discussion.

      I’m not a gigantic ideologue (believe it or not). I’m not here to tell everyone i’m right about everything– i’m here to look at the world and get my thoughts down on paper (before i’m hit by the proverbial bus) and then see what happens. And tell stupid jokes about hitler. And then some other things too. I’m sure not perfect, and there’s a lot of stuff i Fucking Hate, but i honestly am interested in the truth. If i have an ideology, it’s that mainstream cultural content infrequently conveys what it’s actually like to be a human being. If that is indeed subjective enough to be an ideology.

    • Dhatz Says:

      lol, now I see why Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy is by far not as lame as the movie (idea about as dumb as filming Transmetropolitan)

  34. Chris Says:

    loved the simpsons reference with “how to cook for forty humans.”

    Also Winston, can I just say that the lessons you teach here make me aspire to be a better person.

  35. Do all men actually fantasize about themselves as gorgeous, highly-intelligent women? Because that would be pretty cool. I like pretending that she’s your alter ego.

  36. Ric Says:

    I hurt my eyes and my brain trying to absorb every little bit of this comic, including what I knew would be hidden jokes and clever book titles. And of course, it made the Nails-fan in me grin.. not to mention that I spend all day selling books. Hard to think, however, when someone buys something like Ann Coulter or Bill O’Reilly, anything other than “this person is a colossal turd from skin to core”. But they’re right, what ‘they’ say about appearances.

    • BigSoph Says:

      Just like when I see someone reading Naomi Klein or George Soros
      It says to me “I am a self-aborbed ass who has no grasp on reality” and “I want others to pay for my hobbies”
      It is funny how Hitler remains the icon of evil but Stalin and Mao, who both easily surpassed his death toll, are just misunderstood
      I guess it remains okay to murder people en masse if they have stuff as opposed to who they are

    • Thomas Says:

      Which one of Hitler or Stalin or Mao is the greatest embodiment of evil depends entirely on whom you’re talking to. I personally think they all sucked, but I think Hitler deserves a special place in hell for his murderous racism.
      I am curious about your statement that Stalin and Mao both have more blood on their hands than Hitler. That seems to me an unorthodox reading of history, to say the least. References?

  37. John DeWolfe Says:

    Did anyone else go back to read comics 173 and 176?

  38. Oskar Γ–man Says:

    It’s really interesting how your comics are put together, you really have to read it over a few times to get the nuances, whether it’s intentional or not it’s effective that you don’t just blaze through it but actually stop and think what they’re saying. Another reason why I continue to read SubN is because of the intelligent way your ideas are presented, I’ve so often been preached by mary-sues through strawmen, and you’re a master at rather subtle visual-gags.

    On a sidenote on Gandhi and Hitler as men of the year, I gain endless hilarity whenever someone juxtaposes against Gandhi as a paragon, though not as bad as Hitler, he was a racist, sexist, bigoted old man.

    • Joe Trudell Says:

      … I guess I have to read a bit about Ghandi…

    • LiliannaByron Says:

      He once wrote a letter to Hitler with the greeting ‘my friend’- however, this was simply in an attempt to talk sense into him. He was racist in the same way I am, being that I have a problem with Romans and other conquering cultures. Finally, all traditional Hindu’s are sexist, it’s just the way they are raised.

    • Adam G Says:

      So who would you have used as an example of a paragon of virtue? I find it interesting that we can all identify Hitler as ‘pure evil’, but the moment someone brings up Gandhi or Mother Teresa as ‘pure virtue’, there is always somebody else on guard to point out these paragons’ flaws.

    • Joe Trudell Says:

      I mean, I’m sure even Hitler wasn’t “pure” evil. He didn’t even kill nearly as many people as Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, etc. Yet you seldom see them used as examples of pure evil. Of course, none of them invented the expressway, making people more dependent on car travel. Now that’s pretty damn evil.

      Now a nice little irony in the Hitler bonus section would have been using Hitler to disprove Anne Frank’s quote about people being good at heart.

  39. toronto Says:

    Thanks for pushing through with this one. Well worth the effort. This is one of the best.

  40. Leo W. Says:

    oh my god I love this so much. just… wow. I’m gonna spend all night just reading this over and over.

    • Leo W. Says:

      oh and by the way, just because your drawings aren’t 100% photo-realistic doesn’t mean you aren’t a kick ass artist. your style of drawing sets the perfect tone for the sort of work you do. i for one can’t get enough of your particular art-style.

    • Thanks man, that means a lot to me. I definitely worry about my appearance, art-wise.

  41. Richter Says:

    “I think I’m a pretty decent bookstore”. That’s my new catchphrase for picking up chicks.

  42. GlitterBerri Says:

    Ah, you make me happy.

  43. alystair Says:

    Ok, seriously – kudos on the Platinum Grit shout out Winston, too unknown a comic to most.

    • Agreed! I remember reading it wayy back in university and being so intimidated by how good the art was. I’m definitely pleased x100 at Trudy Cooper’s recent success with Oglaf. So very deserved.

    • alystair Says:

      HOLY CRAP – I never realized that Oglaf was created by the same Trudy, I should have known. I guess that explains the lack of work on PG these days and the reason I loved the ‘fountain of doubt’ strip oh so much. Wish she made more like that one.

      Thanks for making my day a bit better, great to know she’s still around.

  44. ogaitnaS Says:

    These comics just keep on getting better and better Winston, and they teach some pretty good lessons; I wonder why not many people have picked up on these.

    You should seriously make a poster filled with metaphors and idioms being disproved with Hitler, I’d buy it.

  45. Floyd gondoli Says:

    I was really hoping to see a printed and bound copy of Captain Estar on the “Comix” bookshelf.
    Maybe someday…….

  46. Johannes Van Acker Says:

    I’ve read all the stuff of this site, and still wanting more… I definitely love your work, and what’s you’re putting in. Keep doing it, and I’ll keep reading it.
    Hard to explain what I felt about your work, cauz don’t speak english as my mothertongue (I’m French if that matter, and uh, no, It doesn’t) but I think you’re making a hard work, and deserve to receive my gratefulness, because that’s an awesome work. Not that important to me, but it keep my eyes occupied for a while, and my thought for a quite longer time. I hope I don’t appear as a weirdo, writting all that’s stuff, but I like to make people known when they appeal and please me.
    To end this (more and more boring) entry, one more thing: Do your stuff been selling in euros?

    • Thanks! And i consider “weirdo” to be a compliment, so i think you’re alright. As for my stuff selling in euros, if you mean are people in the EU buying stuff then i believe they are, and if you mean is it available in the EU to begin with then i believe the prints are but the shirts less so.

  47. SuckMyComment Says:

    you’re a total philosopher, i love it! i want to wallpaper my house with your comics.

  48. Hexadecima Says:

    Regarding “Hitler disproves almost anything”: that’s been considered illegal in polite discourse for 21 years.


  49. Scott Wilson Says:

    I stumbled upon your comics when a coworker of mine got a print of one. The Maturity Climb if I remeber correctly. And that’s when I realised that there really was something different and special out there in the world of webcomics! So as a bit of fan mail, I appreciate all the work you put into these, sir, and keep it up. There is a hunch in the back of my mind which tells me that these comics will always be relevant so long as there are humans as we know them (avoiding transhuman tangent). Like, in fifty years I think if someone read through all of these they would have a pretty good picture of the world now, and maybe understand that people have always been, well, people!

    Sorry if there are any misspellings, my spellcheck is in Dutch and I’m too lazy to fix it.

  50. Niels Says:

    The moomin shirt – where did that come from? i think I can count the Ango-saxon moonin references I’ve bumped into on one hand(the most prominent being a Russian gangster trying to find the author of the Moomins to get her to sue the Japanese- while overthrowing the Γ…land government-in Bruce Sterling’s “The Littlest Jackal”). Loving it!

  51. This is pretty much how feminist art gallery Femina Potens in San Francisco got started actually – the founder Madison Young funds it largely through queer porn.

  52. C. Says:

    Casually I was assigned to do a paper about nuclear power, when I read this comic. Man, people never imagine how hard is to control a actual plant of nuclear fusion, even with the least enriched isotopes of Uranium and Plutonium; the sole control of the radiation and slag levels on the water is pure science and engineering working at its best. And even though some mishaps on the management and location of many plants have made huge tragedies, I do believe nuclear energy has been the “Concorde” of power generation. (Guess Nazi Comparisons on threads are just signs of debater’s mediocrity, using extremism against the ideas she/he feels “extremist”, leaving ignorance and weakness as a result.)

  53. Error Says:

    Laughed so hard at David Sedaris, just ribbing a friend about it 3 days ago.

  54. asdasdffasd Says:

    *Literally* destroy the planet? You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    The gravitational binding energy of the earth is 2e32 Joules. That’s the equivalent of 1e15 kg of antimatter, or 1000 km^3 at the density of water. A Teller-Ulam nuclear device is less efficient than antimatter (about 0.1% conversion efficiency, I think?), so it would be correspondingly larger. Mining enough uranium for it would take … oh, maybe ten billion years, at current rates. That’s longer than it will take the Sun to run out of fuel.

    Saying that we have the power to destroy the Earth with nuclear weapons is about as plausible as saying that we have the power to destroy it by bashing it to bits with squirrels: there are no absolutely fundamental theoretical obstacles, but it’s far, far away from practicality.

    • In this context, Destroy = Wipe the planet clean of life and turn the surface to radioactive molten slag with nuclear hellfire.

      The English language has a habit of bucking anyone around who tries to ascribe a 100% concrete definition to any word.

      Also, it could be a poke at the use of the word ‘literally’.

    • asdasdffasd Says:

      Wiping the planet clean of life is well beyond the capabilities of our current nuclear arsenal. Even at their peaks, the US and USSR had less than a hundred thousand warheads in total. Most of these could wipe out a substantial chunk of a city, but this is mostly through the shock wave – the “nuclear hellfire” and “radioactive molten slag” bit only really applies to a fireball a few hundred metres across. So either superpower had the ability to wipe out all of their opponent’s major cities and medium-sized towns, but not enough to kill every hamlet and hermit, let alone scour the countryside of every living thing. And that’s just land-based life: most sea-life wouldn’t even notice a nuclear holocaust.

      The greatest long-term effect would be a nuclear winter: explosions put a lot of dust into the air, which blocks out the sun for a few years. But this has happened before, whenever there’s a big enough volcanic eruption – and, even in the most pessimistic possible interpretation, it couldn’t possibly harm the life that clusters around deep-sea thermal vents.

      This is a bit of a diversion, though. The most likely explanation is that the cartoonist read the bit on wikipedia where it says that a Teller-Ulam device can be “scaled up to an arbitrary strength”, and put it into the cartoon without thinking about the practicalities.

  55. Anonymous Says:

    Did anyone else catch the Nine Inch Nails lyrics printed on the side of the books?

    • 4nonene Says:

      Yeah, I was wondering if anyone else was a NIN fan! Not too many people, I guess…

  56. Fantastic! Going back through for the easter eggs made my day.
    Fucking-great Abnormality today, by the way. Love it.

  57. Julien Brightside Says:

    I love your comics. They make me think.

  58. char Says:

    God, emailed the author before I noticed the comments section, and see that people are a) already complimenting the comic and b) someone already pointed out that Hitler wasn’t elected after all. I feel kind of like a heel.

  59. bryan Says:

    I have always loved reading your comics and hope to some day have the funds to buy a volume or two!

  60. Şp♠Đę Says:

    I’m just wondering who that is in panel 21 (silhouette in bookshelves)
    And i’m counting the intro pic as a panel because it has relelvant info. Also being too lazy to scroll up and read :p
    Yet, i took the time to read the entire comic.
    I think i will fill out a niche on one of those shelves quite nicely.

    Great work, as always. πŸ™‚

  61. Dhatz Says:

    the bonus must be transated into every language and taught at schools. Perfectly sums up all truths about aphorisms.

  62. Chondrin Says:

    Anyone else feel like Winston should just write a book so that he can be both brilliant and wildly regarded as such and paid for it adequately all at the same time?

  63. Rob Says:

    I see the achievement in terms of insightfulness, observational skills, etc. Which is fine and I don’t intend to demean. But recent Subnormality strips (approx the last half-dozen or so) do seem to warrant raising the question: Have you given up entirely on humor?

    • Sisiutil Says:

      So neither the “National Masturbation Team” nor the cynical aliens elicited a single chuckle?

  64. Libertariandude Says:

    Very good, as usual, especially the Hitler bonus.
    Bear in mind, however, that it would be relatively easy for some contemporary Nazis to bring Mein Kampf to popularity again. Just design an attractive, rainbowy cover, and market it as “a heartfelt insight into racial issues in Europe, by a sensitive vegetarian artist whose convictions made him a political prisoner of the German elite”. It would sell like hotcakes.
    Politicians know they can carefully choose the right books to put in their shop windows to gain sympathy (and votes). And Nazis are no exception.

  65. pG Says:

    Hee hee. Wrap your heads around this one.
    There was a store in a old section of town in Johannesburg that used to sell LP’s and mixing decks. Then the market changed, the owner decided to change stock to something more profitable. As luck would have it – South African law had just changed and legalised pornography…
    So he turned it into a sex shop. Thing is to still keep his old customer base happy and so as to get rid of his old stock – he kept part of the shop as it was.
    Most of the shop was filled with the run of the mill hardcore material – a lot of stuff from Germany at that time. And then near the back, all his albumns and Diso gear. It was next to a awesome little Brazillian coffee shop. At least once a month I’d pop in, sipping a good Latte, browsing the stacks while actually watching the customers for the ‘wtf!’ moment they hit the records and decks.
    The whole looking up, checking if they are still in the same store, hiding the video in their hand behind their back, then flipping though the records to see if there is anything interesting. Priceless.

  66. benS. Says:

    .Two chameleon (= Earth Lion) ladies in a mummy-brown book store with color sorted books? What does that mean?

    Let’s see: first we have the purple and livid shelves in panels #2-8, then yellow, red and green shelves in p#10, then diverse mixed colours, and last, the green drabs in prisoner’s panel #21…

    This means….
    well, jury’s still out, as are the aliens/kids.
    Anyhow, VERY GOOD ONE!


    No wrap rage at stake.

  67. Jo-ou Says:


    Impossibly Hot Chick might have been a dude?

    I am ok with this.

  68. Annie Says:

    Commenting for the first time; I REALLY liked this one

  69. Chrestovenator Says:

    I absolutely love this one. The whole “people as bookstores” analogy is one of the better ones you’ve ever put out there (right up there with the “stairs” one from way back). The weapons-loving lady is one of my favourite characters as is (and not just for the obvious lowbrow reasons) so her being the center of this one made it that much better. The way they change appearance throughout is really clever as well. Definitely near the top of my list of favourites already.

  70. muzaffar Says:

    “Wheelbarrows of Kamchatka” on #9 – author is a cripto-stalinist? πŸ˜€

  71. Nishido Says:

    But there are exceptions, right? I mean, it’s still ok for me to think that a group of guys wearing hoodies and holding switch knifes, walking towards me while I’m on a dark alley on a big city, they more surely would meant me harm; I could still judge them in base to their appearance given the context, yes?

    It was rich in detail and delightfully well though. I loved the little Hitler thingy at the end.

    Please keep the good work πŸ˜€
    (Hey, there is a smiley at the bottom of the page… I hadn’t ever seen it before…)

  72. Wizardy Says:

    Yeah, took me a moment to figure out the appearance changing, but great job as always! Also i loved the book titles (at least those that i had enough patience to have closer look at)

  73. Hafwit Says:

    Another brilliant comic. Thank you.

    The quality of the comments is high too. πŸ™‚

  74. PCP Says:

    Beside congratulate you on the awesome comic, I have a little question: The brunette girl, obviously is the girl that talks like a dude (one of my favorite characters) and makes dude explode, she is also extremely similar in appearance and some aspects of personality to the other brunette girl that is normally accompanied by the blond girl with the beret (from the guitar shop, apple and theoretical museum strips). Well my question is are they really two different characters or the same only trough a different perspective of her life?

  75. Blatantly Obvious Cherry Blossom Bubble Gum Says:

    There’s one thing that has me confused: The panel with Impossible Hot Chick as a huge bald guy (it’s either that or some kind of dwarf). Does this hint at something porn-related, or does she simply like digging too greedily, too deep?

    And by the way, I’m nearly done reading your past comics. Consider me hooked on any future ones.

  76. ebonicplague Says:

    I’ve got to comment on the last bit with Ghandi’s Time cover next to Hitler’s. While the whole genocide extreme was definitely Hitler’s schtick, Ghandi was also racist. Look up some of his comments about South Africans and see that non-violent doesn’t equate to benevolent.

  77. Aiarashi Says:

    This has got to be my favorite comic ever by you. Yes it is!! *nods*
    I love the changes in appearance, like they’d have to look like that for someone to actuall think/believe/know they are that… in part, because even people that have those appearances have totally different aspects of their personalities and selves than that. This, I believe is the one single comic that’s really moved me and really deep levels of understanding, and I gotta thank you for that Winston.
    Now I have to think about it and a way to apply this newly found insight into my life and others. ^^

  78. Aiarashi Says:

    Oh, man!! and I just thought about this. There’s also the fact that so many people put up a facade, and totally dress up to give an impression of something “they’re not”. But then again appearances are nothing like the comic says, so it’s awesome to think about it. Man!! this is pure gold, so much pure gold, it makes me reflect so much. X33333 ❀ I can't even exress it enough. owo :heart:

  79. Scott Perry Says:

    The whole Hitler schtick is one of the biggest cons around. Hitler did more to please the Germans than the Germans did to please Hitler. How do you think he got elected. Everybody blames the holocaust on Hitler. How convenient. Thus nobody has to look at themselves (or their parents.) For however so long as there is racism, nationalism, totalitarianism, or pretty much anything else that ends with “ism,” there will be no shortage of suffering.

  80. Scott Perry Says:

    I loved the rotating avatars. We each have so many sides of ourselves, sometimes I even surprise my own self what’s in there inside of me!

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