12 Days

December 15, 2011

Phew, okay, an xmas-themed xomic is now finished, so set aside 400 hours to plow through it some time. New comic over at Cracked this month as well, complete with Over The Top Comments Section for maximum entertainment value.

So that’s it for now; i’d like to appear here again before the end of the year, but in the event that i don’t, please do have a nice christmas and a very fine holiday season in general, and i’ll surely see you sometime soon.


143 Responses to “12 Days”

  1. Sisiutil Says:

    THAT was great. I loved Sphinxie’s gift-determination method (especially the resulting headlines!). Reminded me of when she figured out the capital of Spain. For a flesh-eating mythological monster, she’s laudably rational.

    But she doesn’t hug, huh? No one’s perfect, I guess.

    Merry Christmas to you too, Mr. R., and thanks for this early gift.

  2. The worried pedestrians are lovely. Can surely identify with the girl with no-longer-pink hair. (Though I am not a steward)

  3. This is absolutely one of your finest.

  4. Infanttyrone Says:

    You are the best. I really love watching this relationship develop; as a prickly, aggressively unfriendly person myself, I am very fond of the Sphinx, and as someone who can’t seem to grow up and not have a parade of crappy jobs, I like the Pink-Haired Girl just oodles.

    And that Sphinx is a better gift-giver than, well, anyone I know.

  5. drkslvr Says:

    Long time fan here, but I think this is my first time leaving a comment. I’ve read everything in the Subnormality archives, and some of your other work, too. This comic was perfect. I guess I’m a little dense, but I didn’t figure out the 12 Days theme until I read the alt text after I was done with the comic. But this is perhaps my favorite holiday spoof ever. As Sis said, it reminded me of the Madrid question comic as well! Really, thanks for drawing Subnormality and for sharing it. I look forward to reading it as often as you put it out. XD

  6. Védís Says:

    Merry Christmas to you too. This was a friggin’ amazing comic. I’m always so happy when I see a new Subnormality in my RSS feed. Thanks for making my day every time you post one.

  7. Jo-ou Says:

    She ain’t fooling anybody, Sphinx wants that hug.

  8. Ross Presser Says:

    I have one thing to say: Yaay! This comic really made me happy.

  9. We really did celebrate Christmas a little early w/ this comic. Thanks for going out of your way to make our holiday season a little more joyous!

  10. Line Noise Says:

    And for the sphinx PHG gets her a voice dictation system connected to a web browser. Say hello to google, wikipedia and anomaly while interacting with the masses. Considering the addictive nature of both, the death toll will probably decrease too.

  11. brashieel Says:

    Awesome Christmas comic. The Sphinx/PHG interactions are some of the my favorite comics.

    Happy holidays!

  12. Elaborate Says:

    Awwwww… ❤

    The interactions of these two are consistently awesome 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  13. LeHack Says:

    Love the comic 🙂 Happy holidays!

  14. Mudora Says:

    I sang for the spynx who’s shirt I wear proudly, but it’s shitty and annoying so don’t listen to it loud.

  15. dusty668 Says:

    I love these comics, so intricate and wonderful! Thank you, and happy whachaveyou to you guys!

  16. James G Says:

    Aww, PHG and Sphinx, however did you know, exactly what I was wanting.

    Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings to one and all.

  17. You are a Genius Winston. I love reading your comics.

  18. TF Says:

    I wish I could come up with characters and stories as entertaining and endearing as yours, Winston.
    This is magnificent. Happy Pagan Violence Jamboree.

  19. Joe Trudell Says:

    I was a little bummed that this got posted right before I had to leave for work, but it gave me a little something to look forward to, so thanks 🙂

    And Merry Christmas from one who reads file names 🙂

  20. Edwin Says:

    Excellent comic! I great to see how you care for these characters. I wonder how the next monster poker comic will be.

  21. Phil C. Says:

    Oh, man, you totally made me tear up on this one. Sphynxy got PHG a Christmas present! And, good grief, did she go through a lot to get it for her. Now THAT is a true friend.

    (Side note: the panel with the Sphynx waking up under a snowdrift was utterly hilarious).

    Thanks so much for this one, Winston. It really made my week. Merry Christmas to you and yours.


  22. Yusef Says:

    Of course its pink.
    Can’t have pink hair…but you CAN have a pink carry on.

  23. Anthrax451 Says:

    That was beautiful, thank you WR

  24. dasanjos Says:

    Amazing! Bonus Lolz for the “What is this I don’t even…” 🙂

  25. DoubleW Says:

    I would work at all of those stores. When someone asks me what I do, i just say, “Hats of some kind?” and do this shrug/eyeroll thing.

    Happy Adapted Pagan Festivals!

  26. The Old Wolf Says:

    And Merry Christmas to *you*! This strip was totally the best gift ever – you nailed it to the wall.

  27. Leo W. Says:

    Oh my god, this just the perfect friggin’ comic. just amazing. i’m gonna read it like five times in a row now if you don’t mind.

    • Leo W. Says:

      also, i was just comparing the comments section on cracked to this comment section. I can’t believe it took me this long but i just realised that the people on who write in cracked comments sections are insane.

    • Yeah this is a pretty rare (dare I say unique?) web comic in terms of the quality of its comments section being worth reading.

  28. Michelle Says:

    This just made me smile so much. Merry Christmas!

  29. Joe Says:

    Wonderful. Thank you.

  30. Elizabeth Says:

    Trying to find a thoughtful gift in a stuff-driven culture really is that insanely difficult.

  31. Sili Says:


  32. Ragnar Says:

    Wow. A web comic made me tear up! I thought I hated Xmas…

  33. Asti Says:

    Sphynx just reverse-engineered Christmas gifts!? She’ll last a few more millennia if we don’t get too crazy.

  34. Godel Fishbreath Says:

    At some point in this universe, someone will create the word ‘sphynxshit’. As in ‘she came here and yet I am not sphynxshit’. Or ‘The sphynx wants to interview you but not for future sphynxshit’. Those poor people who helped, who are professionally helpful, and no doubt found that professionalism tested to the limit.

  35. OldBrit Says:

    A December calendar in the last panel, with the memorial parkette, with Sphinx and PHG, on the 25th lot, ‘boxes’ on the 26th, and ‘EVE’ on the 31st. Does it say ‘solstice’ on the 21st?
    Great comix as usual Winston.

  36. Hafwit Says:

    Wonderful. Put me in a holiday mood. Thanks.

    Loved the ‘wrong kind of everything’ store.

  37. Obi-Wan Says:

    Thank you, Winston. Merry Christmas!

  38. Ms.Woot100 Says:

    “Merry xmas again to those who read the file names”

    You. Are. AMAZING!!!

  39. lordwizardy Says:


  40. fishboy Says:

    That was.. extraordinary. And sweet. It almost makes me wish I liked Xmas – definitely makes me wish I had someone to spend days looking for a present for.

    Happy holidays WR.

  41. Nat Nat Says:

    That was great! Best Christmas comic I’ve read.

    Edwin mentioned monster poker. Can we get the monster poker in a print? I went thru all the prints on offer and couldn’t find it.

  42. YOU CAN TRY! Haha!

    Also, am I the only one that noticed the prevalence of the ‘explaining hands’? There’s one in almost every panel?
    Were you doing this on purpose? I’m tempted to think so, since every detail is always so meticulously planned.

    In other news, EXCELLENT work as usual. What a fuckload of work. Every time. Your conversational tones, the developing relationship, the tones per character are perfect, observations and considerations…..Wonderful. You deserve $320.000,00 per episode. I wish i could give you that.

  43. dotmatrix Says:

    The Sun!


  44. Was chatting with some people this evening and willfully restrained myself from asking “what do you do?” or words to that effect, thinking about this strip. And had probably a more interesting conversation than the one that would have begun that way.

  45. Tessa Says:

    OH my gosh best Christmas comic ever.

    That is all.

  46. forrester Says:

    Long time lurker here. Can’t put it better than others before me, but I still felt the need to say how frikkin amazing your comics are.

    Thank you so much, and especially for this moment of happiness for these two awesome characters. So many great details, love it. Happy Pagan Jamboree ya’ll!

  47. Sabrina Pandora Says:

    Absolutely brilliant and funny and logical and well-thought out and warm and touching… thank you for the Sphynxmas present. It’s just what I wanted, especially because I didn’t even realize that I wanted it 🙂

  48. Niels Says:

    Complex, funny, unique and no trendy stuff – this comic will be relevant for a long time!

  49. mrkirkmath Says:

    This may just about be your best comic yet. I didn’t even notice the numerical progression in the “12 days” Sphinx spent searching until I read the alt text.

  50. Asti Says:

    Oh, I’m trying to decipher the Sphynx’s handwriting on her “nine points of data”:

    Available goods | Needs | Wants | Character | Personal resources
    things I am usually right about | what seems to be important to people | social context — ??? | h?torsal pacement ?

    • Asti Says:

      Available goods
      Personal resources
      things I am usually right about
      what seems to be important to people
      social context — ???
      h?torsal pacement ?

    • Itchy Ike Says:

      I think the last two are “societal context” and “historical precedent.”

  51. Dhatz Says:

    Sometimes it makes me feel like all the words you try to give me will make me grow into a dragon. (don’t finish this unless you are certain what i mean:)bro-

  52. dvilla Says:

    Thanks for the Sphynxmas present, Winston! I hope whatever I get you is half as good.

  53. Otter Says:

    Loved this one. Probably the best Christmas comic from all the comic websites I read or will read this year. 😀
    Heart warming.
    (Is there a previous xmas comic the Sphinx mentions that I forgot about or did that just happened off-panel?)

  54. Sam Says:

    That is really sweet.

  55. Libertariandude Says:

    Great One!!!!! Loved every bit of it, especially the Sphinx waking up beneath a pile of snow.

  56. Tom Ragatz Says:

    Really hit it out of the park with this one. Love all of your work, but this one stands out. Thanks!

  57. Doom Says:

    Finally found time to read it.

    This is GREAT! One of the best works. The small pictures on the right of sphynx explanation are priceless.

  58. Lightcaster Says:

    Such a sweet comic. Love it.

  59. Joe Trudell Says:

    Sooo, Rumbutter McSquash died? That’s sad. Is someone else hosting Not Worth It or has it been cancelled? 😦

  60. A phenomenal print to have would be the first panel by itself, the pedestians fleeing, NLPHG walking calmly in her pale jacket and her boots. Or for that matter any of a number of panels here as prints.

  61. Zette Says:

    WOW! Will you marry me?? The author of this strip has such incredible emotional intelligence! Someone who REALLY GETS IT!! This is hardly the first time I’ve thought so, but it just staggers me that one person can so thoroughly understand so many important human issues so well. Lots of smart people are emotionally uninvolved and lacking in compassion, but you are the real deal man! Merry Christmas and to all a good night!

  62. Timothy Weber Says:

    I also feel that this may be your best strip yet. The Sphinx is my favorite anyway, but this one just had me guffawing throughout. Her character has so much integrity and believability, and yet is so plausibly alien. And I am self-satisfied that I got the “twelve days” as they were going on, without the aid of alt text.

    The only minor flaw is that I want to share this with everyone I know, and I can’t without having them read about twenty specific previous strips first. I’ll manage.


  63. Ellemar Says:

    I don’t think I can express enough how much I love this comic – and all the others. Thank you for all the work you put into them.

  64. Richter Says:

    Every time I read Subnormality, I feel a bit more human. Thank you WR for this wonderful gift.

  65. Ryan Says:


  66. oh my goodness. Awwwwwwwwwww

    Do you ever make a less-than-spectacular comic? I swear, it’s one masterpiece after another. I don’t even understand.

  67. This is really, really nice. I hope there is a hug going on in that last panel.(I’ll assume there is anyway.)

    Merry Christmas, and thank you.

  68. Hendrik Says:

    i love you!
    this isn’t even a joke

  69. Sutowato Says:

    Initial comic story arc was strangley applicable to me and has actually helped me make a big decision. Remainder, not so much, but good as always! Have a happy Newton’s Birthday Winton (Something everyone can celebrate by giving and eating things with gravitational mass) and I hope everyone has a great couple of days and spares a thought for us poor shlubs who have to work on Christmas.

  70. Adaon Says:

    *Happy and contended sigh*

    Thank you 🙂

  71. Pim Says:

    Do’t know how to express this as well as it was expressed above in the comments, but I love it. That’s about it.

    How come the Sphinx looks like she’s ill? Or was this just because of lack of sleep?

    • benS. Says:

      Oh noo, please! Not sick!
      Assuming you are referring to panel #11: can’t we just say it’s sort of “an introspective, veiled glance?”

      I’m sure her voice would be as nicely veiled too.


  72. jon Says:

    just loved it

  73. gueibor Says:

    There is a point when you are suddenly confronted with the fact that you don’t just love something, but you’re literally and effectively IN love.
    I just crossed that point with Subnormality.

  74. Livvi S Says:

    Without the alt text I would totally have missed that. You’re brilliant. I love you. Just don’t tell my boyfriend 😛

  75. pG Says:

    Hmm. I tried a method like the Spinx’s once. Got my 5 year old nephew a drum kit. My sister-in-law is still not speaking to me. So I guess it worked out fine for everyone involved.

  76. migue Says:

    Loved the zoom out in the last panel. Like “no one has to see this”
    This two characters turn to be a great pair and my favourite ones…

  77. Şp♠Đę Says:

    Great comic as always. I was going to take “offense” to some of the ways you spelled things, then I rememebered you are canadian. Hence, more of the french lean in the english. It’s much more “brusque” around here, what with people spelling things like offense, and checks and whatnot. Oddly enough, I usually spell things like “armour” and “colour” myself. Fairly sure we all have a common bond somewhere far back enough.

    • VividGrim Says:

      Haha, I’m totally like that, too, even though I’m Texan. I just like the way the extra ‘u’ looks.

  78. Chevette Girl Says:

    Longtime reader, first time commenting, just looking at the pictures before I read Sphynx’s explanation I was laughing out loud. And “For me, Christmas definitely involves going to a lot of trouble for someone and automatically not thinking of it as a lot of trouble.” just so neatly wraps the whole thing up in a nutshell, I had to say something.

    Thanks for putting a smile on my face as I take a break from going to a lot of trouble for people!

  79. TheoX Says:

    Thanks for wishing me Merry Christmas in the file name! 🙂

  80. Dvana Says:

    Truly lovely. Thank you for this.

  81. VividGrim Says:

    Wait – how did she did wrap that?! Did she unintentionally threaten someone(well, granted, she’s the Sphynx; her very presence is unintentionally threatening) into doing it for her?

    Anyway, lovely heartwarming fuzzies, and so on… Merry Sphynxmas.

  82. Elle Says:

    Just to let you know, you had 3 college students attempting to sing The 12 Days of Christmas to your comic. Good show.

    Merry Christmas, sir 🙂

  83. ThorstenV Says:

    Merry Christmas also from thoses who don’t read filenames but use an old firefox which forces them to read Alt-Text in the source. So call me a maniac out for World Domination, but I defenitely will Control You in the Future 2!

  84. DaveB Says:

    This is just the best. Thanks WR, Merry Christmas to you.

  85. Darkiush Says:

    this was meaningful, hilarious and clever at the same time happy holydays and thank you

  86. Nathan (Wilson) Says:

    This was totally a fanservice comic. Making it a perfect christmas present. 😀

  87. Bob Says:

    I read the file names… Happy Christmas to you too! And thanks for the wonderful comix 🙂

  88. GGearing Says:

    Awesome comic, thank you so much! Christmas or not, it doesn’t hurt to go to some trouble for someone you care about.

  89. Zac Caslar Says:

    Hypothesis: the proper application of logic and sleep are the tools to solve any dilemma.
    I love the Sphinx. She’s terrific.

  90. audadvnc Says:

    That Christmas comic was lovely, thank you Winston.

  91. Nishido. Says:

    Whoa… Thank you; step 11 is just the solution to all my gifting figuring out problems. It’s certainly easier and less illegal than hypnosis.

    Thank you again!

  92. Trevor Says:

    You’re a sweetheart! Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  93. Magnanimous Says:

    This comic made me so happy. I wish I had a Sphinx as a friend.

    Merry Christmas, Winston!

  94. Liz Says:

    Ohmanohman so late commenting but PHG and Sphynx comic is the best Christmas present ever. The Sphynx’s expressions always kill me, and the little miniature self-contained 12-days comic is too precious for words.

    I love playing “find what you missed the first two or three reads, dummy” and noticing all the little extra details like the calendar in the final panel and stuff, too. So much work aaa!

  95. hvglaser Says:

    Merry Christmas!

  96. desmond anthony Says:

    lol the train that could kids book i had that…by the way just heard good luck!about the strip and love it g

  97. Golux Says:

    Terror in Terminal Three… Definitely the most important part of the investigation.

    Sphinx just made the “Ultimate Guide to Choosing Christmas Gifts”.

    And the look on her face as she says, “You could be the first person to try.”

    Thank you as always for an insightful look at things!

  98. Julien Brightside Says:

    The sphinx definitely deserves a hug.

  99. Rebecca Says:

    Excellent comic. I actually reconsidered my whole way of considering presents thanks to this page :).

    Guess I’ll have to get to it now. Late, I know~

  100. Marc Mielke Says:

    I want to hug Sphynx. I think she would be soft.
    More seriously, I think Sphynxie totally needs to eat more people though.

    And I bet she’d start with people who call her ‘Sphynxie’.

  101. Merry…whatever you celebrate Winston. Hope the coming year treats you and your many personas well.

    I considered becoming a flight attendant, as my boyfriend has recently started traveling for business, and is away from home more often than not. I figure becoming a waitress will be more depressing but ultimately less stressful…tips would be nice too, but I’m not holding my breath.

    If pink-haired-girl can fight her apathy enough to find work, I suppose I can too.

  102. Kyle Says:

    This is beautiful. I laughed uncontrollably at the description of the library staff, and was close to tears by the time you got to “we fully just had Christmas.” You managed to skewer the consumerist haze and encapsulate the most meaningful parts of my favorite holiday (free shit from people you like) at the same time. Excellent, excellent work.

  103. doyle Says:

    i come here now and then to read the comics. first time to post, and i have to just share that these comics actuly on certain ocasions like this one turn my day around into something awesome. anyway i have no clue if you read these or what but anyway keep on making these comics because im selfish and i would miss them. rock on winston, you create what i would call the best kind of art. (the kind that makes you think). thanks winston! adios, Doyle

  104. words can’t express my enthusiasm for this comic. it is simply wonderful. But this..this one forced me to comment..it is, quite possibly THE BEST THING

  105. Kironimus Says:


    I’ve been reading this for about three years now and have wanted to leave a comment along the lines of, hey man, this shit’s amazing, keep it up! but always felt a bit like a douche so never did. i read the the comments and agree with them but still feel not cool enough or clever enough or litererate enough or whatever to even say i agree with them but tonight im drunk so fuck it. i just spent two years training to do a job i think i want and basically feel exactly like the PHG. Except now i wished i had a friend who would consider it no trouble to go to all the trouble that the sphinx went to. WR, you are a lengend, and somehow you make me feel less lonely and more yearning for friendship than i ever would have thought possible. If you ever fancy a pint in essex (in england) i’ll happily shout you one. Take care, take it easy, and happy new year, k
    ps, the sci-fi comix are fucking amazing. just saying.

  106. Benjy Says:

    This was just beautiful. You’re my favorite comic artist. Period. Happy new years!

  107. ClaudeLaMont Says:

    I have read every Virus Comix for the last two years or so, but this is probably the best I have ever seen. Thanks for bringing a little joy and laughter into my life. I love the sarcasm and wit, it just nails modern life.

  108. Dawn Says:

    You, sir, have a gift. Thanks for that.

  109. Snake Says:

    Update your site! GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  110. Bill W Says:

    Random question: when you draw your comics what size paper do you use? Is it ANSI D?

  111. Gorilla Film Magazine Says:

    Aww that was lovely!

  112. These comics keep reminding me, that when I am legal (I’m 17) I really need to send you the donations you deserve, and I’m not just saying that, I enjoy your work for the great aspects you put in them, especially the growing relationship between PHG and the Sphinx and exploring in depth both of their personal traits, you defiantly make you audience happy with such wordy comix, you deserve a great deal more in recognition for your work than most people can seem to realize, but then again I’m a 17 year so what should I know, all in all great comic, great series of comics and please do keep up the good work.

    ~Eternal Fan, Skully

  113. Olivier Says:

    This is extremely good. I love it.
    Keep it up!

  114. Simon Blake Says:

    This is awesome. Heart sufficiently warmed.

    You’re really onto some good shit here man

  115. vodka sandvitch Says:

    I’m pretty sure I have a mindgasm after reading each of these comix. It’s pretty amazing.


  116. Hannah Says:

    Just finished reading through your whole archive. Amazing work 🙂

  117. tenthmoon Says:

    argh! It’s been a whole month! where are my Comix With Too Many Words Since 2007? I inquire because I adore. no pressure. ok just a little. I miss you.

  118. Did she really hugged her in the last panel? Just wondering. I think the friendship between those two is one of the most compelling and original relationships ever, I love each them, but together they are pure magic.

  119. Sean Says:

    Oh man. Breathtakingly awesome.

  120. Ruhee Says:

    you are AWESOME!!!!!!!!!
    I love these
    they are so deep and thoughtful and…
    and I just spent 3 hours looking at these and not studying (~consequences~), but it was time well spent!

  121. Ryan Says:

    Is it bad that I teared up a little bit at this one? No? Okay good.

  122. the chinese Says:

    That last comment by the sphynx made my laugh so hard 😀

  123. resplendeo Says:

    Was the mouseover text SUPPOSED to make me break out in song? (It totally did.)
    I… kind of love these comics of yours, you know. They – make me think, and that’s pretty much what I hope to do with whatever stories I write. They’re pretty much fantastic.
    I also love the building friendship between the Sphynx and the Pink Haired Girl over the course of the strips, and the wall-o’-text method you use – the only reason I skim over ANY of the words is because I read them a year or two ago and I wanted to read all the ones with Sphynx and Pink Haired Girl in them.
    It makes me want to paint, draw, write, do something fucking creative in what stolen moments of free time I can grab – even though they’re mine to begin with. Uh. Wow, I just realised that it’s June and I’m commenting on a Christmas strip. Huh. Probably cause this one is awesome… but hey.
    Keep doing what makes you happy – or start doing it, I guess… unless it hurts people or something, in which case feel free to be miserable? Unless that’s really annoying and causes problems in consumer-land…
    Anyway. Have a lovely, lovely time in the plane of existence you are currently inhabiting, however long you remain there, people that I probably will never see or talk to ever again, but will remain in my memories always – unless I get Alzheimer’s or amnesia, that first one’s been in my family, or maybe that dementia one, are they separate?
    Wow I’m surprised you got this far, but you’re reading the comments section of a webcomic that uses the wall-o’-text maneuver to such great effect. Or writing said webcomic, whichever.
    Hmm. I think I’ll go follow some awesome (hopefully) creative pursuits now, thank you. Am considering faking whatever details I put below; how would it change anything? If you can answer accurately I will be creeped out.

  124. Elias Garcia Says:

    I can connect with your thoughts whoever you are, I feel happy and in good company. Keep going and thank you!

  125. Andrew Erdman Says:

    Just amazing and heartwarming. I’ve spent the last week reading every single comic you’ve wrote. My mom is studying buddhism and read that everyone needs a master to reach enlightenment, but there’s people like you online that can help people move through difficulties they may face within their own characters (mine being ego and this damned judgemental quality). Just amazing. You inspire me to push onward doing my art and make me proud to be a canadian when it’s usually hard to do so looking around at my oil sucking province and it’s quietly submissive residents. Thanks again, I’m going to send my thoughts out to the universe that I can be blessed enough to share a conversation with you some day.

  126. promtech Says:

    weapons as gifts for everyone but especially the kids is a nice and subtle touch of humor. I like that.

  127. Mystyr Nile Says:

    And Sphynx is still scared of a hug. Even from Pinkie.

  128. Nigel Says:

    I’ve actually read this a few times since it came out. Gets me every time, and I read all the text every time. Just good stuff. I really appreciate it existing.

  129. Fester Says:

    These are addictive.

  130. Prof. Godel Fishbreath Says:

    Wouldn’t the fast way be to mug and eat a flight attendant, thereby creating a job opening for your friend?

  131. Earthling Says:

    I love this Sphinx.

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