March 7, 2012

Okay, i’m back finally, but hopefully it’ll be apparent why the new comic took so long. Wanted to do something irresponsibly large for the ol’ 5th anniversary, since you only get one of those. God knows there’re probably some typos/hilarious mistakes/game-braking bugs in there, so if you find any please let me know in the comments as usual.


Yeah, thus marks five years of this here comic strip, so i’d just like to offer thanks to each and every one of you out there for reading and then reading again and then coming back month after month despite the crushing walls of text and general weirdness on offer. Huge thanks to everyone who takes the time to leave comments or send an email, and apologies to anyone who hasn’t gotten a reply over the years as i occasionally lose track of the occasional email. And thanks So Much for buying so many posters, and for any such purchases in the future because it’s a huge help, frankly. And of course thanks so much to anyone who’s donated over the years as well! Oh my, the generosity of You Out There is pretty inspiring at times, so thanks for wanting me to shut up and take your money because it’s genuinely an honor (and helps offset my raging food & shelter addiction). Handshakes to all, for you all are pretty special. I know updates are Not Exactly Weekly anymore, but thanks for understanding the realities of working as a Comix Person (entailing the taking of commissions for the paying of bills, and such).  Let’s see what happens in the next five years…


This month also begins my poisoning of the minds of an entire generation of children!! Children in the Czech Republic, to be precise, who will have a pretty good chance of running into one of the 10,000 prints of The Goats Comic that’ll be distributed in schools there as a Promotional Thing for education services company SCIO (click the picture below to see the translated posters lying in wait). Thanks so much to Jiri and everyone at SCIO for their interest in my work, and i’m so glad to be part of a project that once again shows the potential and relevance of webcomics. I look forward to the media catching on in about 50 or 60 years.


Yeah, so Thanks Again to Y’alls, because it’s been unquestionably The Best Five Years Ever, and i honestly can’t even believe i got here sometimes. Half my brain is still back in some sketchy apartment making zines for seven people and is still unused to actually having an audience, but holy hell am i ever grateful to be where i am now (wherever it is that i am). Oh, and just a reminder that there’s a Subnormality Wiki going now, so anyone who feels like contributing is to be commended in advance, and if it starts to fill out nicely i’ll do up some exclusive character art or something to say thanks. Until then, i genuinely love you all, it’s off to bed for me, and i’ll see you again soon…

Cheers and high-five,




Oh, and this month also sees an ebook release by my mom, which i’m of course happy to mention here (standing offer: give birth to me and get free publicity). It’s available here, and is summarized thusly: When Elspeth Finnie is falsely accused of having signed a pact with the Devil, and of having procured a human infant for him, both Elspeth and Enoch are forced to choose between their humanity and their God. 

220 Responses to “A L I E N S”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Oh Winston, I love you.
    You’ve even managed to make capitalisation funny. ❤

  2. Meryl Says:

    I can’t even formulate an appreciative enough comment for the things I feel and come to understand through reading Subnormality. So just THANK YOU, I guess. You’re one hell of an inspiration.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    The comic made me cry, by the way. And I can’t help but be envious of the aliens. What I wouldn’t give to be ‘just visiting’ Earth. (Well, I mean other than in the whole ‘laughably brief lifespan in a tiny portion of the planet’ way.)

  4. AYawn Says:

    Too good. Just too good.

  5. Stutkhartz M. Says:

    Wow. Thanks for this!

  6. Dominic Brown Says:

    Even by your high standards, this is special. Thank you.

  7. p-e-c Says:

    I think I actually never been to the comment section, but the caption was to close to a “goodbye all” and that was *scary*.

    Thank YOU for all those comics. I don’t know when I stumble on subnormality, but it is definitely one of the sweetest and most delightful things out there. Gorgeous, interesting, funny… somehow demanding too, but always rewarding. Some webcomics are entertaining, some make my day, but subnormality always changes the mindset and mood until another one comes up (and that usually means for a long time 😉 ).

    So thank you sir, I feel privileged to be able to read, and read again, your work.

  8. maarvarq Says:

    I must admit that I find your walls of text daunting on occasion, and I found the layout of this one disconcerting for a little while, but the journey turned out to be particularly rewarding. Thanks for 5 years of thoughtful strips, and here’s to many more.

  9. Miika H Says:

    I suddenly feel like doing out and doing some qualitative field sociology.

    Also, if the comix get any larger than this, I’ll need a video projector or something.

  10. Mark Says:

    My first glimpse of awesome was at the age of 18 listening to Dark Side of the Moon (1st) by P. Floyd (1st) on a high quality stereo (1st) on headphones (1st) in the company of real friends (1st) while smoking dope (1st).

    Nothing has ever come close. Maybe lurve. Maybe fatherhood.

    This comic is awesome.

  11. Yes, thanks so much. Interesting: Subnormality shares a birthday with Gabriel García Márquez.

  12. Mie Says:

    I understood… Some of that.

    Also, I bet that women in the story did sign a pact with the devil. I mean, it’s the sort of thing people do.

  13. Mie Says:

    Also, she should have charged ’em 2 bucks anyhow for the awesome band names she gave.

    Maybe they would have had to busk for the bucks to pay her for the “band names” (what’s life like on earth?).

    Also, my answer is: life is mostly water.

    Also, the pads should have had “don’t panic” written on the back in large friendly letters.

    • Şp♠Ɖę Says:

      I’m kind of ashamed i sit around and come up with band names myself sometimes for fun. I have a list somewhere, that i won’t share, but i’ll drop two:
      7th day inventists (band members dress up like tesla, or einstein, or any famous inventor)
      and Lycans Likin’ Lichen.

  14. bob Says:

    Thank you for writing for these past 5 years! Subnormality is too awesome.

  15. Agustín Says:

    I always get mad at how long the comics take, then something like this comes along and I’m reminded we don’t owe you anything and you can take as long as you goddam want to, and I feel like a selfish prick. Then I take the 20 minutes it takes to read the whole thing and I’m left with a mixture of feelings out of which the most discernible one seems to be gratitude. Happy birthday man.

  16. Ariel (magic-esi) Says:

    Wow, this is the first time I’ve ever left a comment on one of these comics, and I’ve been reading for three years. This is my favorite webcomic and I have been really inspired by reading it every few weeks. I absolutely loved this comic. I almost cried reading it. It’s so strange how my main source of philosophies in life is a webcomic, but the stuff you write here is truer than a lot of professional books on philosophy and life.
    Anyway, congratulations on a 5th anniversary. Hoping for 5 more great years!

  17. Joe Trudell Says:

    Now THAT’S how you celebrate a 5th anniversary! From the Enterprise cameo to the file name. Pure Rowntree excellence

  18. Emily Alice Katherine Bell Says:

    Your comics always make life worth living. Happy five years.

  19. Joe Dan Says:

    You have a brilliant way with words, my friend.

  20. Leak Says:

    Happy 5th anniversary!

    And I do hope there’s non-lie cake for this occasion… 🙂

  21. OldBrit Says:

    A magnificent tour de force! Thank you.

    Beatles, Pink Floyd, Hitchhiker’s, & Trek references and no doubt many more to be discovered on re-reading, plus just about all of your recurring cast. Can’t see where the bus is going though.

  22. kroati Says:

    I always loved reading your comics, the sheer amount of details put in each is just amazing, especially with the hidden references and similar.
    This one is amazing, id say, one of my favourite things ive ever read on the internet.

    Congrats on 5 years, keep up this amazing thing, and lots of cookies, love and luck to you.

  23. The Old Wolf Says:

    Huge congratulations on 5 years of wildly insane, sometimes incomprehensible, often eye-fatiguing and always consciousness-expanding artwork.

  24. Phil C. Says:

    Congratulations on five years of fantastic comics. I hope to see many many more from you, walls of text and all.

    Specific comments on this particular comic: the alien’s final paragraph was so on-target that I actually teared up a little. And I absolutely love the little alien figures wandering about in between the panels.

    So awesome. Keep ’em coming, Winston. We’ll be here, reading and enjoying, as long as you care to share with us.


  25. Alexander Erben Says:

    Sums it all up pretty well. 🙂 Thank you!

  26. gt7h1 Says:

    Thank YOU for this five years! And hoping more texts… er, comics for the next years ahead.

  27. Nishido_Satsunoyama Says:

    Great! This was the pick me up I just was needing! Thanks! 😀

    If someone asked me what is like to live on Earth, I would go with either one of two responses (depending on my mood):

    A. Straight honest say what I really think: that life on Earth, as I see it, depends on three factors: the actual physical elements of the environment (like weather, flora and fauna, etc.); the cultural elements of the environment (religion, politics, the behaviour of your neighbours, etc.); and how one responses to those two previous factors.

    This would mean, I believe, there are 9 different ways in which one experience life on Earth. Lets say a good situation is “1” and a bad one is “0”, then a life situation that one would see as “111” could be translated as: “I live in never-ending spring, my neighbours are wonderful/generous people, my country lives in perpetual peace in all levels of our society, and I just love to be alive”. But then of course, it a way, it all depends of the third factor.

    A person could live in the tundra, but have good people as neighbours, and if said person were a good person too, even the tundra could be a paradise. The same way, a person could live in Vancouver, yet have horrible neighbours, while being said person a good one; and in such situation living in Vancouver may get difficult at times, but it could still be a pleasant situation. But if instead, no matter how good or bad be the environment, or how nice or unpleasant be the neighbours; if you are a “0” kind of person (like a bitter, heartless, soulless, selfish, and/or gratuitous violent kind of maternal fornicator); then no matter what, life on Earth should seem like hell to you.

    Or… B. Quickly say with an emotionless voice “I don’t really know; excuse me”, hoping the person asking would believe me to be an Alien just passing through, walking away; some times even pretending I’m calling the mother ship for directions.

    Like I said, it depends on my mood 😀

  28. Great uh, installment of the series? Grats on the five years, and I’m glad I have a decent-size monitor, heh.

  29. Niels Says:

    Congratulations! You can stop now, we are content and you did a great job.

    (Just because I hate comments in the vein of “good going, now do it all again for another 5 years).

  30. Leo W. Says:

    Five years already, huh? I guess time flies when you’re reading the greatest thing on the entire internet.

    By the way this comic was just the PERFECT way to mark your anniversary. It is completely fucking epic and I’m gonna have to read it like 20 more times. You completely fucking nailed it as per usual. Here’s to another five years.

  31. Wizardy Says:

    You’re welcome! Five more maybe? Please?

  32. DaveB Says:

    Truly epic. Like, the way I felt after reading Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 or Heller’s Catch 22 or Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. Or, whatever it is that makes you feel like you’ve just experienced something profound, and you know it might take a long time to process the whole thing, but what matters is that you had the experience and now you can never go back to the way you were before that happened. Winston, dude, you do with a web comic what should not reasonably be possible, so, um, damn.

  33. Jeremy Says:

    I’ve been reading these comix for a while now, not sure how long, but I get a great big smile on my face every time I see that there’s a new one up. So thanks for all of the smiles, and may the adoration of your audience continue to be enough to keep you fed and sheltered.

  34. Benji Says:

    Beautiful. When will this be available as a print?

  35. Matthew Says:

    I’ve never left a comment before and I’m not totally sure why I am now, it just felt appropriate. For me these comix have become an addiction. I read one, get nice and high from the new ideas or viewpoints that race through my head and then fiend for a new one. I know there won’t be a new comic the next day, but I involuntarily check each day until a new one arrives. Repeat. It is a habit I hope I never break. Thanks for taking the time to share something you love doing with the world.

  36. Yaniv Proselkov Says:

    See above. I just read te last one and I LOVE how this is a big fat homage to what EVERY single comic is trying to say. And fun fact – I can’t write it down. It’s a giant amalgamation of all the characters – whatever their names may be – and all their opinions and all their mindsets and it just blew me away. This is something I might actually buy. Or not. I’m cheap.

  37. Chris Says:

    Thanks for the last five years, I really love reading your comic and it always makes my day when it pops up in my RSS feed.
    Keep up what you’re doing, I for one appreciate your work.

  38. Profound on many levels, as always. You are a brilliant and talented artist, and I eagerly anticipate each comic. Thanks!

  39. ali Says:

    I loved it. 🙂 ❤

  40. Thomas Says:

    This is wonderful and epic, and it really needs to be a poster as well. 🙂
    Congratulations on your fifth anniversary, and many happy returns!

  41. daniel Says:

    I love you, never stop.

  42. Yamara Says:

    Someone shut that old goat up I’M TRYING TO ENJOY THE PLAY.

    But srsly, bravo. You have to keep this going till at least 2067 now.

    For one thing, Barbara looked over my shoulder and was amazed at how your art’s improved. It was the panels with Justine– “She is really pretty,” was her comment.

    Oh, I’ll just let her take the keys. Bar?



    where’d she go

  43. nealbirch Says:

    please make this one a poster…

  44. Sean Patton Says:


  45. fishboy Says:

    You are, as always, awesome. Thank you for what you’ve produced, congratulations on five years, and here’s to another 25 to come 🙂


  46. DoubleW Says:

    I wish I had a monitor big enough to make this a readable wallpaper. I need to be staring at this at all times.

  47. hmason Says:

    Very cool. It was nice to see all those characters together .

  48. Melissa Says:

    I cried.

    Thankyou so much.

  49. Wat Says:

    Oh, sweet Celestia! This was so good I was afraid it was Subnormality’s Swan song.

    Thank you so much for the last 5 years. These comix have meant great deal to a great many people, I think. To me, anyway.
    Looking forward to walls of text for another five years.

  50. Matthew G. Says:

    I am always MORE than happy to wait however long it takes for your amazing comics! I’m so glad this is just the latest in a still-growing archive and not a “Good-Bye, thanks for reading!”

  51. Sisiutil Says:

    Congrats on five years and yet another comic filled with so much truth it makes my eyes moist.

  52. Sometimes I need arrows and directions to read these comics…

  53. Jorpho Says:

    I feel like I just watched another Charlie Kaufman movie. And that’s a good thing.

    Now I want to buy a print. But how on earth am I supposed to choose one?

  54. Morty Says:

    The negative effect was awesome.

  55. Bill Weiss Says:

    And thank you for all the comics and text 🙂

  56. SuckMyComment Says:

    reading your comics has been… therapeutic. i can’t thank you enough. absolutely incredible.

  57. Jason Says:

    Really awesome. That was like 11 comics in one! At some point, with the little aliens strolling around the big blocks of comic, I was reminded of the board game Clue.

    Now, how are you gonna top this at strip #200? 😉

  58. Sometimes it feels like your comics should be a part of a philosophers study.

    I really think you hit a lot of nails with this one.

  59. TentacledBeast Says:

    There’s something that really bugged me about this comic. I always take issue when falling in love with someone (and subsequently having your happiness depend on them) is presented as a choice. It isn’t. It’s just something that happens to you.

    Anyway. Congratulations on 5 years of great comics! They’re usually very thought-provoking. Whether I agree with them or not, I thank you for the experience.

  60. Mark White Says:


  61. Nikolaos Says:

    Thank you for your work all these years! Here’s to another 5 years of excellence!

  62. J Says:

    Do you know if you’ll be making prints of this comic purchasable? I doubt I have the money or a wall large enough to hold it (which is in no way a bad thing), but it’d still be awesome to own.

  63. orion1836 Says:

    That was absolutely wonderful… I’ve been reading for a long time and haven’t left nearly as many comments as I should have. Thank you very much for five amazing years, and here’s to many, many more. You’ve got a gift, Winston, and I’m just glad you live in an age where you can share it with as many people as you do.

    lol, just noticed the ‘sweet Celestia’ above and it occurred to me. If there’s one person who would benefit from becoming an MLP fan, it’s you. Try it out someday.

  64. Paul Says:

    Wow, I never realised how many fans you had until i decided to leave a comment.
    I’ve been reading these comics for quite a while now but never left any comment and I would just like to take this moment to say that your comics are wonderful.
    My favorite so far was the Christmas in the future were the man tells his horror story about the planet that was destroyed for fuel.
    I wish you all the best and have a nice life!

  65. Scott Says:

    Fan-freaking-tastic.Thanks so much!

  66. lakejm Says:

    By Nature, WR, you just forced me into an epiphany of my life. I’ve been searching for what life is about here on Earth since just before New Year’s, when I tossed all the drugs and rigs (two months eight days clean, yay me).

    I think you might have struck at the very heart of the matter – which is that there is no true heart to the matter and that everyone has their own meaning for it, when it’s said and done, and their own perception when it’s said and done.

    Thanks. I’ve not been with you all five years, but I’ve read every page (and then some). I’m off to try to find what this whole crazy planet means to me, now.

  67. Thank you so much for all those comics.

  68. Libertariandude Says:

    If some aliens were to ask me that, I would answer “Well, I can’t give you any good answer, as I haven’t been to any other planets, so I have no context, I can’t make any comparisons.” Then they would take me to visit some other planets, and only after thus getting some context I would give them my opinions… about like, climate and atmospheric conditions, because that’s my mindset. Looking everything with the materialistic, science-y eye!

    Also, what in the world is a browner??

  69. raspiral9 Says:

    All the imagination, creativity, and effort put into your work shows in every panel. Congratulations on 5 years of awesomeness, and thank you!

  70. bullestock Says:

    Hey, nice to see the Generals again!

    And as usual, the comic rocks.

    • Steve Says:

      It was great seeing so many familiar characters, especially them and the Sphynx 🙂

      This is my favourite Subnormality comic in quite some time.

  71. Rauten Says:

    First time commenter, and all I have to say is:

    No, thank YOU for writing these past five years — AND I DO MEAN WRITING.

  72. Holy crab, this is the first ‘toon of yours in a long time that took me two ‘sessions’ to read. I mean that in a good way: I didn’t want to miss anything. And yet, even so, I think there’s way more there than I’ve noticed.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  73. Sean Kerrigan Says:

    I’ve been reading Subnormality for about 3 years, and I have to say you’ve been knocking it out of the park for the past 6 months. Thanks so much for your creative insight. This one in particular was just grand.

  74. This was amazing! I love the multiple-perspective pieces you do and this was the brood-mother of them all. Also it was wicked to see the guy from The Generals again, I always wondered what happened to him.

  75. Korey Says:

    This is without a doubt my favourite one. a perfect way to round off five years of Subnormality When I get a reliable source of income you can bet your ass I’m buying this print.

  76. Ivann Says:

    Such a daunting remark over what it is to be human; here goes for more years that your art will inspire others!

  77. Shiva Says:

    Really good comic. I always check back once a week, and always feel sad that there’s no new comic. Then that one day I check back and BAM! there’s a new comic. The waiting is half the fun. All the different perspectives was a really nice touch. And I almost recognized all the black and and white from previous comics. You’re really that memorable.

  78. James Says:

    love the photonegatives

  79. David Webb Says:

    ive been reading your stuff for a while now, so much of what is written has resonance with my own existence. well played sir. well played indeed

  80. Bill W Says:

    congratulations on the deal with the schools, that’s really great news

  81. Bill W Says:

    Just in regards to the band “the generals” Western Canada’s premier novelty rap-metal band, how about those “Flight of the Concords” New Zealand’s 2nd best folk polka pop group. One of those guys just won a grammy and an oscar. What I’m trying to say is, you can do what you love and still live. You don’t have to do what is expected of society. Can’t wait for a new comic focusing on “The Generals”

  82. forrester Says:

    WR, you outdid yourself, again, and that is already one hell of a task. Thank you so much for your thought-provoking down-to-earth brilliant comics.

    And thanking just feels… not good enough. I seriously have to put my money where my mouth is.

    Happy fifth, and here is to another five!

  83. Thank you for five years of inspiration and heart-piercing truth.

    Thank you for keeping me sane, Winston.

  84. Anonymous Says:

    I feel bad for the aliens, all that work and they couldn’t find a single scientifically-minded person, or at least someone who could point them to Wikipedia.

  85. Ina Says:

    This was the perfect reward, when checking my rss, after a no-sleep 24 hour sociology-examn.
    Thank you!
    You just made me remember why I want to be a sociologist, again.

  86. Bender B. Rodriguez Says:

    I wish I had a 4-foot monitor so I could easily see/read these…

    Aside from that, loving it.

    Thank you.

  87. SamN Says:

    thanks for the last five years of comix

  88. zac Says:

    hope to see (at least) five years more 🙂

  89. Stef Says:


    you exceed yourself. This was most excellent. Also, happy anniversary! I love your work.

  90. Fan Says:

    I have the goats poster in my office (I’m a university Prof.). Always good to remember these things..

    Congrats on making it to 5 years!

    • Geoff Nate Says:

      I have the goats poster too! and if i were to become a university prof, would no doubt hang it in my office prominently. Everyone can learn from it

  91. Bob Says:

    It’s amazing.

  92. Magna Musica Says:

    Thank you. For everything. You are truly inspiring.

  93. Daniel Ross Says:

    Holy… The whole epic sprawl of it was amazing. The final single paragraph essay was pure poetry.

    Subnormality is art in the best sense.

  94. Benjamin Hellouin. Says:

    “Crushing Walls of Text” should be a trope. Thanks a lot for those five years. And since you mention it is some comics, I’d appreciate to know a bit more about the kind of music you listen to – if you have the time, that is.

  95. erdosain Says:

    What can be said that hasn’t been said already? Thank you for sharing yourself with us. It’s a real treat, and kind of feel bad for not paying to read it (not having credit card and living in the ‘developing world’ it’s still a drag).

  96. Mike Frank Says:

    Great one! Any plans to publish a Subnormality collection as a way-oversize coffee table book? I would definitely buy at least two – one for myself and one as a gift.

    • marie Says:

      Me too! Me too! Just read through every comic in this site and wish so much i could carry them all around or show them to kids at important times. Is this a possibility?

  97. Mike Frank Says:

    P.S. I love Subnormality! Since I discovered it, it has always been by far my favorite webcomic, even though it only comes out once a month and even though it takes a half-hour of scrolling and zooming to read it. Yours is some of the most interesting and thought-provoking material I have ever seen in comic form. And I love your characters, every one of them is like a familiar friend. Congrats on hitting the five-year mark, and I hope you continue doing this for many many years to come. You clearly love your work and pour your heart and soul into doing it well. Kudos.

  98. wright1 Says:

    Thank you for your wonderfully thoughtful, funny, sarcastic, insightful, very human weirdness. Happy Fifth!

  99. ThirdSection Says:

    They should have just gone with “mostly harmless”.

  100. Geoff Nate Says:

    I’m just so pleased to see The General again. My favorite character by far, no matter how minor. Is novelty rap-metal a real genre? because it sounds perfect.

    • Şp♠Ɖę Says:

      I think rap metal is novelty enough by definition.
      (insert bad chocolate in my peanut butter pun)

  101. Sabrina Pandora Says:

    Be sure to offer a print of this one 🙂

  102. Pierre-Emil Says:

    Thank you for doing this. Each and every comic you make is a work of art.

  103. Lucy McGough Says:

    I bloody loved your fifth anniversary comic.

    You are one of life’s good guys.

  104. richie Says:


  105. calilac Says:

    This is the third time one of your comics has made me cry, I feel like such a fangirl right now you do such awesome work. Gorgeous.

  106. Molly Says:

    I’ve been a fan for a rather long time, although I’ve never commented before. The Fifth Anniversary seems an appropriate enough time to start.

    Unfortunately I don’t have anything terribly interesting to say, I just wanted to add to your virtual pile of gratitude, admiration & congratulatory remarks.

    Walls of text and general weirdness are enough to make my day any time. As long as you keep posting, I’ll keep reading. (“Yes, of course, THAT’S all the motivation he’ll need to keep making comix forever – the approval of some random Canadian! My plan is foolproof!”)

    I encourage you to have a nice life and celebrate your accomplishments over a refreshing glass of limeade with a person you particularly enjoy.

    /successfully contains Inner Fangirl

  107. Anthrax451 Says:

    No comment I leave here could adequately describe my appreciation and enjoyment of this comic, so I’ll just say: Thank you.

  108. Sam Says:

    Always hard to sum up a comment for these, but ‘awesome’ goes part of the way I suppose. Always nice to see such a broad, detailed comic from you, thank you.

  109. Dylan Says:

    Bang on with your take here. How do you cram all the complexity and experience of individual lives into a single, legible statement?

    Glad I’m not alone!

  110. Thanks again, Winston. You always manage to give me food for thought and some weird peace of mind.

  111. St0815 Says:

    I guess I’m not a sufficiently hardcore fan, but as much as I’d like to read this, it’s just too cumbersome.

    Of course you don’t owe me anything, it’s just meant as feedback not as a complaint.

  112. Kamaria Says:

    Thank you for that. You just sold a poster. (As soon as you make this a poster… which I recommend doing soon.)

  113. Otter Says:

    5 years and we still don’t know the true identity of Winston. But I’m a late joiner to the party so I can wait a bit more 😉

    Thanks for all the awesome comics, I still check for a new one every day. (Or just too lazy to use some kind of update notifier)

  114. Ross Presser Says:

    You’re actually a computer monitor salesman, right? Because it’s impossible to read these wondrous things without a dual monitor setup. 🙂

    Keep on truckin’. This stuff is awesome. Brings to mind the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.

  115. Al Says:

    Once again, you give us an amazing comic.

    It’s honestly pretty hard to think of a proper comment for your strips… The only thing I can say is thank you for giving us 5 years of a truly amazing comic!

    • Al Says:

      *you’ve given (creative writing minor couldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t correct that…..)

  116. Doyle Says:

    ok. i only found one. you said game braking instead of breaking ;^p but realy Winston may you be blessed by the grand holy power of your choice. I actuly dont know what I would hope for during the week if not to find another mind bending wall of text. and if you take requests? more Pink Haired Girl and Sphynx if you would.

  117. Lazarus Says:


  118. MrSmith125 Says:

    Simply brilliant. Thank you.

  119. benS. Says:

    .Great strip!
    Thumbs and Big Toes up for four years of awesome.
    For my part, starting with “The Atheist Apocalypse!”-virus strip #66(6) in 2008.
    There was a link at horseman Dawkins’ (white horse) site, and, also at some other guy’s (red pony) HUGE site as I remember it. Kudos kudos!

    Funny thing is: in that 2008-strip and in this last* very strip, the same blond girl appears in the first as well as last panels.

    * Just a rythm** thing. Should be “latest” of course.

    **There is no free will, according to Harris (black horse).

    ben, wating for pitchfork guy.

    P.s. Does anyone know from which strip the band-aided hitchhiker-girl comes? I recognize most of the other negatives.

    • Amir Livne Says:

      But she does appear a lot in between…
      In the Apocalypse comic in in this one she wears the same shirt, but along the years smething happened to her, she lost touch or something, and became homeless.

  120. Nat Says:

    Amazing comic! I can’t believe it’s been 5 years. I’ve been looking forward to each and every update for the past 5 years.

    You know what would be better than a poster of this comic? T-Shirt Girl’s “life in 3 panels” T-shirt. I’d wear the hell out of that shirt. Pleeeease?

  121. Anita Says:

    Happy Anniversary
    Love You and as always
    Thank you So very much

  122. F.R. Says:

    Thank you so much for giving us this piece of gold year after year, for showing us that there is no such thing as “normality”, thank you
    with love

  123. Elizabeth Says:

    Once again, you have beautifully explained something that has been clear to me all along, but I didn’t know it until I read it here.
    Thanks for edu-taining me.

  124. BrianX Says:

    …Justine Murray?

  125. Dusty668 Says:

    ❤ All I can say.

  126. Blasco.vj Says:

    Re: just visiting
    excellent stuff, as always
    I think I’m in love with the guy in the movie theater.

    Thanks for continuing to put your work up, it’s always fun to read.


  127. John Loo Says:

    Personally, I would just have said, “I don’t know. We’re still trying to figure that out.” Lol. 5 years eh? Congrats man. Great work as always.

  128. Evan Says:

    Thanks for doing this comic. It’s damn good.

  129. Yenz Says:

    “It’s garbage, but it’s having a job because there’s garbage”

    That one was probably my favourite of the entire lot, sums it up quite nicely :).

  130. Mike Says:

    You… complete me.

    Uh, ironically.

  131. Sam Says:

    loved it dude

  132. German Says:

    Great work men. I have been reading your work fomr some time, and i love it (specially the sphinx strips). I have to admit that all the letter walls becomes a little hard to read (specially when english is not your original lenguage), but i enjoy it a lot. Thanks.

  133. Levi Says:

    This really made me tear up, and it’s not easy to trigger that. It’s been a brilliant five years Winston, keep up the good work as always.

  134. Sorry, i’ve been to busy/flu ridden to respond to individual comments this time out, but let me just say a Huge Thanks to All of You for such obscenely nice comments– it’s been a privilege for sure, and i most certainly plan to go for another five years.

    Also: i’ve made this comic and eight other more recent ones available as prints in the shop, for anyone interested in that. I even fancied up the print of #196 here with a bunch of different/extra character art in the black areas, so it’ll hopefully be worth the cost. Cheers!

  135. Mike Says:

    You… complete me.

    Uh, ironically, obviously.

  136. Jake Says:

    I loved that. Thanks for the thought 🙂

  137. Benjy Says:

    You give my brain an erection. Happy 5 years WR!

  138. Travis Wakeman Says:

    Subnormality is a meditation on the human heart and soul, not just a petty source of humor. Through looking at these strips I have learned something larger about myself and the world around me. There aren’t really that many places where I can find this sort of contemplative thought. I personally wonder which character you most identify with, although you would probably answer that you are a conglomerate of all of them.

    I have never commented before, but I felt that for a strip this good, it was warranted.


  139. alex Says:

    It always makes me happy to see the couple from “Stairs”, young version or old (I see both!). Maybe it’s the ultimate awkward person fantasy, that friendship can be upgraded to romantic love. Not that I’m counting on it.

  140. Finn Says:

    I just want to say thank you Winston, for all the work you’ve done over the years. Love the strip. Also, stop doing stuff for Cracked.com. It does give you more exposure but the idiots there don’t appreciate what you do.

  141. moop Says:

    Coming from a long time reader, there’s really no other webcomic like this one. Keep it up and don’t change your style.

  142. pG Says:

    Ok. First of all – ‘I understood some of that’ is getting printed on a tshirt as soon as possible.
    Second – Their question reminded me of a long forgotten incident at my bachelors party. It was long after all the chaos, the french maid costume, the stripper, etc. It was a great Bachelors Party. I was severly drunk – of course – and only have brief flashes where I remember anything of that night. The strangest one is where I’m sitting with a good friend, and he is looking at me with this wierd expression of grief, anger and sadeness. I have no idea what I’d just told him, but I think I’d been rambling on about life and choices. Thing is – next thing I hear he’d broken off his engagement, and started dating a girl at his office. They are still together – have a kid on the way. I still wish I knew what I’d told him. Probably the only time in my life I knew what I was talking about.

  143. Keenan Kornegay Says:

    This is the kind of thing that is so good that I can’t even formulate an opinion as to why it’s so good. I’m essentially speechless here, Rowntree. This is amazing.

  144. Gorilla Film Magazine Says:

    This is probably the most enjoyable comic I’ve ever read.

  145. benS. Says:

    .I’ve just ploughed through 196 strips, searching for the positive of that damn negative hitch-hiker. Negative…

    On the plus-side though: finding, again, super-funny strip #151 “This job is Hell”.

    On the minus-side: feeling as groggy as the guys in todays Piranha Club-strip.

    ben, Subnormality expert in spe.

  146. José Gabriel León Z. Says:

    Wow… It’s amazing how one person can conclude as much in one drawing. As always, I am amazed. As Keenan Kornegay said, “This is the kind of thing that is so good that I can’t even formulate an opinion as to why it’s so good. I’m essentially speechless here, Rowntree. This is amazing.”

    As usual, thanks for this. Keep on.

    (I can’t read the ending, though: it is pixelated as Hell. [I’ve tried to reload the page and open it in other cmputers and in other devices and checked my glasses and so on…] Can you fix it?)

  147. Pokéfan Frank Says:

    Five years, and never a bad comic.

    You know, it would be interesting to meet someone who is actually happy with their life.

  148. Daniel O. Says:

    I absolutely love this one. It’s ones like this is why Subnormality is my favorite webcomic!

  149. Ouro Angel Says:

    I’ve been reading Subnormality for a while but haven’t commented before, although I guess I should have. It’s one of my favourites, for having so much to read that is completely good and thought-provoking, wonderful characters and designs and fabulous inventive layouts 🙂 Basically, awesome all round. Which I could have just said in the first place if I wanted to be succinct. Which I’m not very good at.
    Also congratulations on having some of your work nationally distributed as educational material, it is certainly good for it for children in any country 🙂

  150. voskhod Says:

    *slow clap*

    Bravo. Braaavooo.

    Five more years! Five more years!

  151. AntMac Says:

    I love your art, and the depth you put into your writing.

    I pity the poor aliens sent to make sense of us!.

    Just a random thought, but you could have a few less ugly male characters, or maybe some balancing ugly female ones?. Or is that wrong somehow, to want equality?.

  152. will Says:

    bloody hell…. that was incredile

  153. Kim Says:


    I wish I could verbalise my thoughts the way you do – it’s a rare gift you have. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    Subnormality is, without a doubt, the best Webcomic I have ever read and congratulations on five years!

    So much more I want to say… blah blah etc! 🙂

  154. Sal Says:

    simply awesome.

  155. Volder Says:

    I dig the art-style and don’t mind what other people would think as excessive dialogue, but I hate the layout. I get what you were trying to do, but believe this strip might have worked better in separate pieces. Other than that it was a good read.

  156. James Says:

    Congrats on five years Winston! You’ve consistently blown my mind and put it back together again.

  157. Paul Says:

    So, I just found this comic today and this is what I’m greeted to. I think I’m gonna like this. You certainly have a way with both words and pictures my friend.

  158. Nathan (Wilson) Says:

    I daydream of a Subnormality book, but then I have no idea how pages like this would actually be laid out. In order to read it, the book itself would have to be poster sized, or you’d have to split the larger comics into several pages. Have you given thought to how you’d do that yourself?

    • Yeah, i’ve definitely thought about it. That’s the handicap of not having a consistent format of course: if/when it makes sense to do a book, it’s gonna be a gigantic pain in the ass. On the plus side though i made the comix i wanted to make. And they can always be cut into sections for the printed page. As fun as a coffee-table-sized book would be, i severely doubt it would make sense economically. Any book i do is still a ways off at this point though. Hopefully in the next 12 months it will start looking like a good idea.

  159. unfocused Says:

    This is beautiful.

    You are a good person and you should feel good.

  160. Comments with too few words since… well ever.

    Yeah! Nice one. ^^

  161. Beck Says:

    Hell of a lot of reading. But I loved every bit of it.
    My favorite part was the General, I wish I could be like that dude. Thank you so much Winston!

  162. toaster_pimp Says:

    Whether i agree or disagree with a particular piece, i still enjoy the work.

    Well done – please keep it up.

    btw – will you be at http://torontocomics.com/ ?

    • Naw, i won’t be there. I used to do shows back in my ‘zine days, but i honestly hate the whole process. Sitting at that little table for 7 hours, it’s just diabolical… So you’ll not see me at TCAF unfortunately, but i’ll, uh, be there in spirit.

  163. Dafydd Says:

    Happy Fifth Anniversary, Mr. Rowntree.

    Your comics are utterly, fantastically, mind-blowingly brilliant!

    That is all…

  164. aylapuella Says:

    Awesome! Congratulations on reaching the five year mark! These comics are well worth waiting the time it takes the images to load, and I look forward to many more in the future 😀

  165. Rohan Says:

    holy crap that was a big one…
    like so many others here.. another first time poster…
    I think I started reading about 4 years ago.. and quickly back-read everything.. and then stayed for the rest.

    I usually read late at night.. zooming, and panning around on my big screen, to take it all in..

    But this one… this one.. I think it was almost 2 weeks ago, and I could tell that it required a bit more time to dedicate to it..

    So finally tonight… found time (in between procrastinating over doing a work-timesheet due tomorrow), to sit down, and take it all in.

    I might be 16,000 km’s away… but reading your comics, when they happen.. is like catching up with an old mate, and having one of those deep and meaningfuls, over a coffee, or beer!

  166. Justin Says:

    i really like the ideas about the big picture in these comics, not to mention the fact that they are so beautifully drawn as well. I’m glad for the internet were these ideas can be shared.

  167. It’s funny, just a couple of weeks ago I was thinking about the stories told by alleged alien abductees. The behavior of the aliens in those stories is consistent with the behavior of grad students who are doing just enough research to finish their thesis and go home.

  168. Love this webcomic, much more thoughtful than any other I’ve encountered. While I disagree philisophically, and therefore politically with the artist/author I do enjoy it a lot. I think I started reading years ago, I don’t remember when, but I check for a new one every once and a while. Here’s to five more years! 🙂

  169. James Lewis Says:

    I’ve been reading Subnormality since it was first posted on DrunkDuck, and it’s always been one of the highlights of my week. Your work has made a huge influence on how I write comics, and in some ways on how I see the world. Thank you for five years of philosophy, time travel, monsters, and beautiful women who know entirely too much about the Cold War.

  170. The Outlaw Josie Wales Says:

    You’re a fantastic writer and artist. Thank you.

  171. Ady Says:

    Wow. just wow.

  172. Bryan Says:

    This comic fills me with joy! To know that there are people away from where I am now that I can relate to and sympathize with makes my week worth getting through. I don’t know if you can imagine the type of dull un-imaginative type of people that populate my day-to-day life. They personify these characteristics more than any other group of humans: slow-witted, clumsy, irritable, lazy, and narrow-minded.

  173. Ben Talley Says:

    I just stumbled onto this site by mere chance and clicked on the first thing I saw and this comic is what appeared on the screen before me and I have to say with the deepest of truths that this is one of the greatest things I have ever read. It fills me with joy to read something from someone with such deep thoughts and who is willing to express them when no one else will even though we’re all thinking the same things but maybe just too afraid to say what we feel. You have captured the meaning of life in one “little” comic and I don’t believe anyone has ever said it better than you. I will from now on be a regular to this site. Thank you!

  174. Pragmatism Says:

    Winston – I hate to gush, but I’m going to anyway. This is pure genius. Your comix are a voice that rarely finds the words to express itself, but when it does, it’s beautiful.

    Thank you.

  175. Francis Reed Says:

    Winston, i don’t know how you do it but you always manage to express how i feel a lot better than what i do it, i truly love your work, but even if i would like to see it more often i understand how hard must it be to write comix and truly, your comix are worth any waiting that it takes,
    Thank you so much 🙂

  176. 1onett Says:

    I loved this comic. Such high quality literature =)

  177. Katie H. Says:

    Hello Wr,
    I was curious where you got the idea for the heart design on the blonde’s burgundy sweater. It almost looks like some kind of rock formation. I know this must sound like a trivial question for such a complex strip (which I loved), but what was the original inspiration for the heart?

    • i can’t really remember but i don’t think there was any special inspiration behind it other than it fit the character (sorry, boring story…). If you liked it though i’m glad!

  178. Richter Says:

    “Work with what you have. Write stories about the rest.” has just become my motto in life.

    Thanks Winston.

  179. I always like to speculate on what the next comic will focus on, subject matter wise. I’m leaning towards politics, but then I never see you attack the system that passionately, more so in a philosophical sense. I’d love to see the Sphinx take Parliament Hill though, one day.

  180. yeoldescum Says:

    As a avid reader of this comic I know that there are times when it is put on pause. I find this time though, maybe it is my mood, or my lack of ever reading any of the comments here, it feels like if the comic ended at this, I wouldn’t mind. It seems like Aliens would be the perfect ending. For me subnormality has always been a quirky window into our own reality. There are often fantastical elements, and creatures, but what I think many don’t realize is how fantastical reality can be. There have been some elements I have noticed in life that almost appear like magic. There are people so amazing that it is hard to believe that they are not some other worldly creature. I think I have gotten off track here. What I am trying to say is that, though this comic is dear to me and it drives me crazy waiting for it to update and yet this last comic, going back through many of the characters, their ideas, and what living on earth is to them, it’s so simply complex that it creates this perfect beautiful tranquility. It feels like saying good bye to an old friend. That sad little smile on your lips, as your brain tells you that you will meet again but your heart tugs at your chest as you separate.

    It’s perfect.

  181. Amanda Says:

    Your comic is phenomenal. if you ever decide to publish this entire piece of genius (in a physical can-pick-up-and-flip-through format), my/my friends bookshelves would be happy to make room. Keep up the wonderful work! 🙂

  182. Ninja Congo Says:

    I would SO like to live in a decommissioned Soviet cargo helicopter, eating nachos all day long! I’d set it up with solar panels powering a small but state of the art sound system, a projector and an ice machine (I like my drinks cold, ok?). And a properly comfy hammock, big enough for two.

    Little garden patch outside, with space set aside for hemp. For like, err, rope. A few chickens. A dog.

    Hell yeah.

  183. toronto Says:

    wur are you ???

  184. mikeyofoz Says:

    Really appreciate these last 5 years of awesomeness thanks WR!

  185. That was really cool. Nice job

  186. Şp♠Ɖę Says:

    awesome comic as usual. i personally like how checker pants black t girl sitting on the steps of what looks suspiciously like a pyramid with her girlfriend talking to the alien about life on earth has absolutely no nose whatsoever.

    and if you think thats bad, i once bs’ed my way through an english assignment by writing a page and a half sentence using every conjunctive word i could think of.
    i got an -A and my teacher called me robert frost 🙂

    keep it up winston.

  187. Ashish Vora Says:

    I’ve been following this comic since 2008. This is my first comment here. While there have been very good pieces before, comic #196 is fabulous. Congratulations on completing five years. May you continue this work for as long as you wish.

  188. StClair Says:

    “Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.”

    Seriously, that was amazing and profound and genuinely thought-provoking, like so many of your works. Thank you, and congratulations on your anniversary.

  189. BrianB Says:

    Wow, awesome comic!
    I’ll be following for sure, glad to have found Subnormality.

  190. Devin Wilhelm Says:

    You, my friend, have done it again. Good job, i will always be mesmerized by your drawings, words, and themes in each and every comic.

  191. Kai Handberg Says:

    Im just an occasionally humble fan of monstrous discrepancies stumbling in one night to find this – and I’d just like to say this thing pretty much floored me almost to the point of tears.

    And also I got all of that.

  192. Shane Gifford Says:

    I was really afraid after reading this, because it would be such an excellent way to let the series out that I was afraid this would be the last comic!
    Once again I have to say thank you for an amazing series, the best thing I’ve read in a long time, maybe my whole life. It’s practically making me tear up at the simple beauty of your ideas. Really just an incredible work.

  193. Bryan Oliver Says:

    Yesterday I read a blog entry about how to find your purpose in life, why you are here. The process was to simply write out various purposes you might have until you find the one that makes you cry. I had planned to do this some time over the next few days when I had some alone time. But, while sitting here at the table with my partner reading your comics (which I have increasingly enjoyed since I Stumbled upon it) I made it to the end of the General Pete section. “I understood some of that.” I started to cry, right there at the table. I then had to explain to my partner what was going on, and through tears of explanation he held me. That simple statement is my propose, why I am here. Thank you so much for creating this comic. In a span of seconds you have given me an incredible sense of peace with myself.

  194. promtech Says:

    Man, the 57-year old ex-teacher is all about The Society of the Spectacle.

  195. Mystyr Nile Says:

    Anneliese and Marie from the future are in the background of Anneliese and Marie in the present?

  196. James Says:

    Goddamn gorgeous. Thank you, and I know I’m late to the party, but I’m just catching up!

  197. gwen Says:

    I’ve been reading this comic for I don’t even know how long. Years. Since I was 13. But I think it touches me a bit deeper now that I’m older. And I’m really thankful for everything about it. Thank you.

  198. Olivia Says:

    I first discovered subnormality on stumbleupon, years ago. I fell in love immediately, and have revisited many times over the years. Each time it crosses my head, I peek in and discover another comic that blows my socks off. This is no exception. Your ability to communicate the complication, magnitude, and beauty of the human experience takes me breath away. Thank you for doing your part to speak a collective truth. You are a shining star, and I want this as a poster on my wall. Thank you so so so much for what you do. It’s magic.

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