April 22, 2012

Okay, comix return. Hopefully the length of this partly makes up for the preceding absence, for which it was partly responsible (paradox!!).

And thanks again for the consistently amazing support over the past five years, and i’m happy to finally get year six going (and the march to comic #200). And don’t worry, they won’t all be 3000 words and aggressively unfunny (although at least a couple more of them probably will be, knowing me).


208 Responses to “back”

  1. girabbit Says:

    100%, 6 gold stars, a true eleven.

  2. DV82XL Says:

    One of your best.

  3. Subtle, yet incredibly profound. I really want to buy a poster of this and hang it somewhere.

  4. Alan Says:

    One of your best, though I saw where it was going about halfway through.

  5. digip Says:

    Wow. That was awesome.

  6. You are someone special. A great artist. Keep up the good work. I really love your works.

  7. Also, please make a poster of this comic.

  8. Contriller Says:

    Could figure out the ending in the middle of it too, still it’s a beautiful experience. Made my night

  9. Esn Says:

    Yes… I saw where this was going right around the point when he chose to use “His” name for himself. What I like best about it is the artwork and overall atmosphere. Beautiful colour scheme.

  10. Lije Says:

    The art is absolutely stunning. I especially like the first panel on the third page (the transparent light).

    I hope I’ve understood this at least partially – does the colour change at the end to red signify that the old version of the world (which only got up to yellow) has been overwritten? I.e. the futuristic people erased themselves entirely out of history except for the time traveller they sent back?

  11. sonofevil Says:

    Predictable and kind of cheesy, though entertaining and the art is good as always.

  12. NZfishboy Says:

    Lovely. One of your most visually beautiful to date too – no mean feat!

  13. Edurne Says:

    Uff, amazing stuff as always… and to those proud few who ‘figured it out’ halfway through, you’ve missed the point completely- it’s not about knowing how it ends but about the act of storytelling itself… then again, if you’re the type to get your kicks predicting that the protagonist in ‘the passion’ eventually dies, kick away friends

    • Ignacio Cabrera Says:

      Completely agree. We are never told what ideas are being spread, but how they manage to do so is the central idea of the comic – an interesting viewpoint on the meme theory, in its original sense. The seemingly predictable plot twist, though enjoyable, is just a device to keep the flow of the story, in my humble opinion

      As for the artwork, not much to say that hasn’t been said yet… classic, eerie-style Subnormality. At times I was expecting this to be one of those animated GIFs used for scare pranks, such was the level of tension.

      Absolutely amazing stuff Winston, as always. Congratulations πŸ™‚

  14. Leak Says:

    Does “His” symbol remind anyone else of Klotski?

    Also – thanks for another great read, Winston. πŸ™‚

  15. adrunkenman Says:

    This reminds me of the Phillip K. Dick story The Skull:

    • Michael Steamweed Says:

      _The Science Fictional Dinosaur_ contains a story with a similar (but not as well executed) plotline. Time travel, Martians, and romance all combine nicely.

    • Literaryhero Says:

      I found it more closely related to Moorcock’s Behold The Man. Still, great comic.

  16. Pablo Says:

    You really have an incredible storytelling gift. Your comics are profound, subtle and they never seize to leave their mark on me. Thank you so much. This was wonderful.

  17. Joe Trudell Says:

    Calling this comic awesome is probably the closest I’ve ever come to using the word in it’s true sense.

  18. Ignazio Says:

    Awesome. I would say as ever, but this one is a head above most of the thers.

  19. deependzen Says:

    Thank for a wonderful tale. As always, your work makes me sit back and reflect in ways I never dreamed of.

  20. Kevin Keyser Says:

    What a wonderful story. Well done!

  21. Andy Brown Says:

    Beautiful. And I especially love the comments that seem disappointed that this story has been told before. In a nice, vivid way they reflect back on one of the main themes here . . . the misunderstandings people have about storytelling and authorship and the sculpting of truth or tales by the “network”. It’s like those reactions add an extra layer to your art-work.

  22. Teabiscuit Says:

    I enjoy your comix that are illustrated stories just as much as I enjoy your comix that are comics. This one in particular was beautifully phrased.

  23. bachterman Says:

    the end of eternity by isaac asimov and the man from earth. one is a good book and the other is a good movie,

  24. Alexander Erben Says:

    Very well done. I can understand that some people here use the word ‘predictable’ in terms of plot, but the ‘great twist’ is not the point here, I think. The whole thing becomes beautiful because of the conclusions he draws at the end.

  25. Mark Joseph Says:

    Not just “The Skull” by PKD, but also “As Never Was” by P. Schuyler Miller, and the one that popped into my mind first, “Behold the Man” by Michael Moorcock.

    Thank you for the best demythologizing I’ve ever seen in a comic!

  26. I love the trees appearing as his family grows. πŸ™‚

  27. carlos Says:

    did i just spend half an hour reading a comic to not laugh?

  28. hellblade Says:

    i’m laughing. at you.

  29. Nixie Says:

    Your comics have always left me with an interesting feeling. Thank you.

  30. TheDave Says:

    I really like the idea here. There’s something to be said about the predictable nature of the story actually enriching the point of the story told. A better wordsmith than I could probably clarify what I’m after, but an interesting story about stories.

  31. Brendan Says:


  32. CK Says:

    Amazing. Doesn’t matter when I saw what the ending would be, utterly amazing. I cried.

  33. Grant Says:

    I like the ambiguity. Is he Jesus? Mohammed? Moses? Buddha? Or someone else? Who he is isn’t the point…

    • Trey Says:

      Agreed, who He is isn’t the point. But I take the appearance of a ringed moon in the sky as a suggestion that this isn’t intended to be Earth.

      On that score, this reminds me a bit of Arbre in Neal Stephenson’s Anathem.

      I do have a hard-to-express disquiet with this episode’s stirring conclusion, though. It strikes me as having the flavor of navel-gazing, “if it’s great or terrible it’s because we (mankind) made it so”.

      In constrast, Stephenson’s Anathem focuses on the ideas like the Pythagorean Theorem, consistently given an alien name in the novel, to stress the Platonic notion that some ideas are consistent and discoverable, but uninventable. It’s the difference between “that tune’s great, and a credit to the species that composed it” and “isn’t it awesome that we live in a world where musical notes exist as things we can reproduce and rearrange”?

  34. lordwizardy Says:

    I have so seen that coming from the start and it still left me with this strange feeling that only your work can provoke.

  35. akx0 Says:

    Wordswordswords, as always… but as always, lovely wordswordswords. Thank you.

  36. lobos! Says:

    Just awesome! and I mean awesome like, Asimov or P. K. Dick, you are a genious!!!

  37. adsf Says:

    “comics” or novels?
    also wordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswordswords

  38. caps Says:

    Despite of it appearing at least twice in this comic, no one has commented why Saturn (or some planet with rings) can be seen in the sky.
    I think this comic takes place on Titan.
    The slowly changing colors might be due to the slow changes in Titan’s atmosphere (clouds or something. uh.. I wikipedia’d it.)

    But then again, it can be any other planet anywhere… and I guess that is the point. WR has kept this comic so general, that it cannot be associated with any place on Earth. The only common factor is that it is about humans, a certain religious philosophy and human nature…

    writing that I just realize that I’m stating the obvious because 95% of subnormality comics are about human nature….

    Not trying to demystify anything in this story, just adding food for thought…

    • Joe Trudell Says:

      Wouldn’t Saturn look a lot bigger than that from Titan? Anyway, good eye as I didn’t notice it at all until you pointed it out. Since then I saw it at least 3 times though.
      Perhaps I shall look for more now

    • JK Says:


  39. toronto Says:

    Gave me chills…

    btw: the new comic is not updated on the main page (just on the blog)

  40. dude.... Says:

    There was Captain Estarr, then there was this, so seriously WR, when are you going to do some kind of full length sci-fi graphic novel. That NEEDS to happen.

    • I fully agree that it needs to happen, and the stories lie in wait. No time right now though. When subnormality one day ends, if i have the incredible fortune to be able to continue as an artist then graphic novels are the plan– all of them sci-fi.

  41. Mike D'Aquila Says:

    This was well worth the wait. It hit the spot.

  42. Amanda Says:

    That was so incredible.
    It makes me so glad when I see people like Winston Rowntree. Though it’s becoming an overused phrase, saying that this gives me hope for the human race really sums it up as best I know how. Knowing that there are people out there so infinitely smarter than me gives me hope in the great heights humanity may someday reach that I can’t even begin imagine yet.
    Thank you.

  43. SAI Says:

    Honestly, I loved the big twist, and didn’t see it coming at all. No, not the whole “the time-traveller is HIM!” bit, but the shape of the symbol and the layout of the frames. Seeing it in pure yellow made it clear that this is a story being told about stories being told. And in the completion the frame changes. The medium is quite deliberately the message, or at least part thereof.

  44. Charlie Says:

    Maybe the holy symbol came from him talking to his friends about the holes in his doorway, and how he should really patch them up, but see, in the afternoon they let in sunlight to make shadow puppets for his family with. Which reminds him of this time he and his wife were…

    I really love these longer story comics, especially when they don’t require horizontal scrolling. My favorite was the one about the oil planet, but this was fantastic too. The only problem with these time-circle stories isn’t the time travel, but that self causation is even less probable than time machines. Kind of requires that the character be both the chicken and the egg. But that wasn’t the point of the story, so I’m not complaining.

  45. OldBrit Says:

    Imagine! You certainly did Winston, with an awe-inspiring version of a tale oft told,
    I like how the panels on most pages form His symbol, and the ringed planet shows that this is happening on another world, and so cannot be related to any earthly religion.

    Keep up the good work!

  46. Jo-ou Says:

    I just received my print of Choose Your Own Adventure. Shit is amazing.

    And now this.

    If only I had waited. Oh well, nothing wrong with two prints…

  47. m Says:

    i love you winston

  48. citizenuniversal Says:

    Yeah, I know from the very beggining that He was he. But I know you, WR, and I love you, and I knew you would deliver something more. The last panel, the last words, they take me by surprise and just hit something inside me. I cried of pure joy. So thank you. You are a wise man and I am happy to have stumbled upon your comic all those years ago. If youe ver come to Mexico (or want to come visit!) let me know.

  49. This is great. Thank you very much.

  50. Udug hul Says:

    I follow your comic now since Nr. 84. I must thank you very much for this wonderful piece of art. You manage to convey basic truths in a way other comics/graphic novels fail to do (even while tring hard) over thousands of pages. I salute you and thank you very much

  51. Graham Says:

    From the perspective of a Catholic (and assuming I’ve interpreted this latest piece correctly), I think this is the most tactful, polite, and respectful way anyone on the internet has ever told me they aren’t Christian as well. Thank you for your respect, Winston, as well as for your powerfully imaginative works.

  52. toater_pimp Says:

    hey dude, are u supporting urself through the comic, like sales and such, or just a pass time? just curious cuz u know, seems like it would take a lot of time to produce this sort of stuff…

    • With the combination of commissions, work for Cracked, donations, and poster sales, i can often cover the rent (and thanks So Much to anyone who continues to support the comix in such a manner), but it’s not quite at the level of Making a Living yet (i do apply for arts grants, but i never get any, in part i think because in the public eye comic strips=frivolous. Which is why i hate non-bill-watterson newspaper-style comix so much, for making that the milieu over what it was in the early 20th century). My current lot is, however, a ludicrous upgrade over the days of five years ago when i was selling $2.00 zines and mowing lawns full time, so i’m unendingly grateful for this opportunity. I DO work full time as an artist (as is necessary because my work takes approximately Forever to finish), and the livin’s meagre compared to a lot of people in western society i guess, but i am most assuredly where i want to be.

  53. Kev Says:

    That was great. The story and art is cool but I liked the little things like the tile layout mimicking the book symbol. That and i’m a sucker for Sci-Fi / Past stuff.

  54. Rotciv Says:

    first time i ever comment… that was beautiful, great comic i think i have a new favorite. Love to read your comics, the wait was definitively worth it.

  55. Tim Bratton Says:

    This comic was well worth the wait!

  56. Miles Says:

    Awesome. Worth the wait. Doesn’t matter that I saw where it was going it was totally awesome all the way through. I love the unique use of space and panels and the way that scrolling added a nice pacing in between panels. Great little story. Kind of heart-warming/hear-wrenching

    • Yeah, in the writing it quickly became clear that there was no way to make the story not predictable, but the twist wasn’t my motivation in writing it anyway so i was tenuously cool with that.
      Plus there’s this:

    • AkaP Says:

      If you do that at least go to the source:
      “.. spoilers helped only when presented in advance, outside of the piece. When the researchers inserted a spoiler directly into a story, it didn’t go over quite as well.
      Great comic regardless, underwhelming perhaps, until the notion of the “founders” pops up the second time because essentially they are God here & that did get me thinking a little. Always have issues with your work though, so nothing new; will still be back every other week & I’m not sure which I’m anticipating more GTAV or Captain Estar gets rebuffed again, at least from those sketches Peace.
      p.s GTA is big deal to me

  57. philipsargent Says:


  58. marcocap Says:

    Wow. Just wow.
    Reading this comic has been a wonderful journey, even though the thought everything may be of human origin scares me a bit. I wouldn’t call myself religious, but the existence of a little bit of “higher power” helps me not to feel purposeless.
    And the fact that, despite my “beliefs”, I found this comic that moving and wonderful says all abaout your storytelling talent.
    Thank you for sharing it with us.

  59. Eric Says:

    Everything you have ever done is great, but this surpasses ALL!

  60. The Old Wolf Says:

    Absolutely epic; this brought tears to my eyes. I won’t delve into the metaphysics, but the story and the artwork are stupendous.

  61. Tom Says:

    Fantastic comic. I have been reading your work for a couple of years now and love it almost every time – for the text as much as for the great art. Thank you, good sir, for making this.

  62. Hollis Says:

    Shit man, I cried.
    I missed these works of art – thank you

  63. Carl Says:

    That was fantastic beyond words. Thank you.

  64. A Subnormality recopilatory book is becoming more and more necessary. Compulsory, even. I’ve also felt teary.

  65. Alexromo Says:

    At first i was put off by the early realization of where the story was going, but it soon became clear that the “grandfather paradox” was not a secret to be kept but instead it was part of the basis of the story. In the end, and maybe being my on interpretation, i loved how the story portrayed the character as the big fingernail that came to scratch the scratch & sniff book that is humanity, not bringing enlightment, but instead helping it surface.

  66. Doyle Says:

    Wow… When I saw there was a new comic I grinned and when I saw it was long my eyes misted and I cheered, but when I had finished it? I cried a little. Winston, in my personal opinion, this is the best epic you have crafted to date. thanks.

  67. Archiguy Says:

    The last page brought tears to my eyes, this is truly, a beautiful work, a work which borrows ideas, concepts, pieces of other stories. It is a work of great meaning, because it is a work of mankind.

  68. Forest Johnson Says:

    People who have made me cry:

    bullies: |||
    my parents: ||||||
    Winston Rowntree: ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

    thanks for another magnificently human masterpiece

  69. Michael Steamweed Says:

    That, dear one, strikes a profound chord in this instrument. Beautiful writing; a very human story. If I ever teach a Comparitive Religion course, this story will be assigned reading.

  70. Daniel D Says:

    Nice work, truly. If this isn’t art, I don’t know what is.

  71. Jorpho Says:

    Truly, we live in an unjust world, for the name of Rowntree is not shouted from every rooftop. Or not.

    Is there any chance that some kind of clickable thumbnail index for the available prints might materialize? I feel an urgent need to throw money at you, but I am constantly paralyzed by indecision, especially since reading and re-reading and re-re-reading all the comics for which prints are available is such a time-consuming exercise.

  72. brashieel Says:

    Just felt the need to say that this was an awesome comic. The text, the art… epic illustrated storytelling. Thanks for making this and sharing it.

    • NZfishboy Says:

      You the same brashieel from SP? You should come back and visit the fleet some time πŸ™‚

  73. Justin C. Says:

    Thank you Winston
    I find it funny that someone else somewhere in the world read this just 14 minutes ago and it makes me wonder how they found it was uploaded.
    I just brushed my teeth and made my webcomics rounds and found this, 15 or so minutes, that means that I started just as soon as brashieel finished.

  74. Jeff Dworkin Says:

    Wow ….. I’ll have to think a lot more about this before I can say more than that. Brilliant as always, deeply human, hearfelt, moving,

  75. Joshua Says:

    Cool Story, Bro.

  76. Bertram Says:

    Wow.. That’s really the only thing that seems to cover this strip.. Wow.
    You have a really beautiful drawing style and some of the most fantastic stories in the comics, after i’ve read one i just spend a little time just.. feeling the story.

  77. Evan Balster Says:

    Another masterpiece for the pile. ❀ I feel like printing this one out.

  78. Nuurori Says:

    “fucking epic” would just sound too vulgar. This is the first time i compliment you, but some of your stuff is just beyond ordinary.

    I found Arcenstone by Summoning to be perfect soundtrack for this graphic story.

  79. Andy Says:

    Is this a sci-fi series???

    I’m really caught up in it now.

  80. Matthew Gray Says:

    I eagerly look forward to each months comic, This one is a gem! When these are combined into an omnibus book I will most assuredly by MANY copies. Thank you for all the thought provoking work, I love the places your mind wanders to!

    • Matthew Gray Says:

      Not a reply just a shameless blurb for the author, I bought my first poster recently #112 “a webcomic” with Shamus And Lara Croft. This has been a longtime favorite of mine. The posters are fantastic, and just having it up in my house has gotten other people reading the archives rabidly. Is there any chance of clothing? Many e-stores print on demand, and I would love a sphinx hoody or tee-shirt.

    • Thanks for buying a poster, totally appreciate the support!

      And to answer your question, I actually do have shirts available, which you can find here:

  81. Ryan Says:


  82. Russ Says:

    Absolutely fantastic.

  83. Tucker Says:

    Behold The Man!

  84. ChrisM Says:

    Thank you! I Stumbleupon’ed you about a year ago and have always come back. Your comic’s are thought provoking, funny when needed, and always have a nugget of truth and hope to them. I love your comic strips, keep up the great work!

  85. Francis Reed Says:

    I love you, and i love your work, thank you, it is truly wonderfull, πŸ˜€

  86. skye Says:

    I might have cried

  87. nickdwaters Says:

    That was beautiful. Bravo!

  88. animaniac Says:

    I understand the appeal and this is a truly great comic (although it IS very similar to the short story the skull), but please please please don’t shift the entire series to metaphysical rambling.

    • Ha, don’t worry, i won’t. And i genuinely appreciate the candor, so cheers for speaking up.

    • scarletpirate Says:

      How can you say that? It’s always been metaphysical ramblings….the aliens, the time travelers, the rich man who we thought was a homeless man, all of it random musings about life, the universe, and everything.

    • CellarRat Says:

      I like those metaphysical ramblings. Your art is well complimented by your ideas.

  89. Paul Says:

    Well done.

  90. happyjack42 Says:

    loved it

  91. Clarissa Says:

    That was beautifully written. Well done

  92. Jalopyshow Says:

    You can fit a better story in one webcomic than hollywood does in an entire movie. Just to let you know, if I ever see a movie (or graphic novel, or anything really) written by Winston Rowntree, I’m buying it. You’ve seriously earned yourself a lifelong patron (albeit one who’s broke at the moment).

  93. Wyatt Badi Says:

    You made me cry D: no fair.

  94. amir616 Says:

    Reminds me of “A Christmas Eve in the Future”, another of my favourites.
    Please make movies, you are awesome.

  95. Corrin Says:

    Some of your best work yet. It was absolutely touching.

  96. mjfgates Says:

    How many story plots are there supposed to be in the world? Five? Seven? Four? “Not many.” It’s the details that matter, and the details in this are wonderful.

  97. Yaniv Proselkov Says:

    And boom – you made another comic that blew my mind.

  98. GeoX Says:

    Anyone read Doris Lessing’s Canopus in Argos series? Not really the same, but it’s nonetheless what this reminded me of.

  99. pG Says:

    I was going through a bad bit here. Thanks Wince. I needed that.

  100. pooky Says:

    This reminded me of Behold the Man by Moorcock but just… So much better done. Jasgfhgshfgahsaaaah amazing.

  101. Richter Says:

    Awesome Winston, thanks for a great comic. Love the little touches that don’t seem much but have an impact. The guy’s blackened eyes give him anonomity, the shape of the panels is the logo of the book/recurring motif, etc…

    The story reminded me of ‘The End of Eternity’ by Isaac Asimov. It’s exactly this : a guy is sent in the past to seed it so his own world exists in the first place. The eternal loop, ecetera.

    Manly hugs. Hope you feel better now.

  102. NoVan Says:

    shee-yit Rowntree, this may be your best ever.

  103. Joseph Says:

    One of the best yet. Very good work.

  104. Obi-Wan Says:

    Thank you, WInston. I hope there’s a book some day.

  105. julienbrightside Says:

    I must say, this was definitely worth the wait.

  106. β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ Says:

    I don’t know if I’ve said it before, but thank you so much for drawing and writing these.

  107. John Loo Says:

    Urm… I knew how the story was going to end all along. I feel like I’ve missed something here?

  108. John Loo Says:

    Is it… “We write our own story”? Something like that?

  109. Otter Says:

    Really powerful comic. Although, yes, as others have said previously it is a bit predictable around the first quarter, but then again it’s the same with Ki-duk Kim films which doesn’t make it any less beautiful or emotional. Nobody could explain it before, but I think I now understand why they say that the story is not important, but how you tell it.

  110. Tons of thanks for this awesome and moving comic.

  111. Stiabhna Says:

    Like everyone else, I want to say welcome back and yes, truly, this was a beautiful story.

    I also figured out the ‘twist’ about halfway but… I thought that the twist was going to be that the ‘hero’ had been sent back to create and then become a mythical prophet, thereby either creating monetheistic religion, or a particular monetheistic religion.

    With that accomplished, a future world in which populations could be controlled and divided at will would remain. The generals and politicians would have their global conformity and perpetual war for all time. The world that had been, where people welcomed innovation and difference, fades away.

    The moral of the story being that even the most dedicated champions of good can be used for evil if they cannot tell the difference between good and evil.

  112. Leo W. Says:

    God-damn you are on a such a friggin’ roll at the moment. great to have you back rowntree, don’t ever change.

  113. scotthead Says:

    Loved it.

    I thought our time traveller and the real man would once meet throughout his life and affect one another to make the story of mankind, but your ending is much better.

    This reminded me very much of ‘The End of Eternity’ by Isaac Asimov.

  114. orion1836 Says:

    Absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

  115. Şpβ™ Ζ‰Δ™ Says:

    excellent strip, i really enjoyed reading it and i wondered if it was part of that one where the guy jumped through the portal with the other three dead guys in the room in spacesuits ..

  116. TJ Masterson Says:

    Serandipity brought me here. Compelling admiration drives me to write here. That was an amazing tale, with so many levels. You truly are a gifted writer.

  117. oda krell Says:

    “And if ideas ever cross the hills and are so persistent as to transcend the ages then they are the ideas of mankind”

    Amazingly beautifully written & drawn. In essence, the story seems to be based on a well-known thought, a thought that is at least worth everybods consideration for a moment: If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

  118. Autumn Says:

    As soon as I read a couple panels in, I was like “This guy is gonna time travel and accidently become his own religious figure.” But then, I’ve always been pretty good at predictiing twists like that… lmao.

  119. Steve Says:

    Poster schmoster, (in fairness, I was thinking first of the pillow slipcovers over the seats with characters on them; though feel free to punt democracy-size pillows; and it’s not like sun shades or rechargers are gonna be out this year) or POV microprojection (nevermind the biker, read the trail off the panniers!)

    Way to set up a MacGuffin, Rowntree. Clearly team 2 overshoots almost doubly to bury their payload of turned citations and missed tellings deeper, only to see alluvial migration fold people and tales deeper up under each others’ gloves.

  120. DH Says:

    Holy crap, Winston, no wonder the delay was so long. Glad to see you’re back and especially glad to read another of your serious story comix. Fantastic job on this one.

  121. Golux Says:

    Wow! It was worth the wait. It may not be a poster, but a short graphic novel, yes.

  122. madeleine Says:

    i really appreciate what you did with color over the course of the comic, as it shifted with time. very effective (especially as he first entered the past, with the yellow on blue)… subtly moving the reader back into that state of yellow. the solid block of yellow panels was so moving. perfect. and then, orange. lovely. it reminded me a bit of nietzsche, when he’s comforting.

    the shape of the panels was really brilliant, really subtle. i loved it. it was such a happy surprise for the reader, reinforcing the idea of his life as constituting his book…

    • kroati Says:

      the colour changes are truly amazing, but each part of your every comic is a precisely placed element that can be interpreted in its way on the masterwork art you produce.

      you are the best thing ive discovered on the internet. ever.

  123. Joshua Says:

    That one gave me chills.

  124. erin Says:

    Thank you.

  125. Iva Says:

    brilliant. when i realized the panels were the shape of the holy symbol, i stopped living for a moment.

  126. benS. Says:

    .Good Grief!
    Neither nature nor factoids in sight. Only artifacts.

    Funny allegory and a really nice piece of art!
    It’d be like pressing Edit-Enter buttons, though I doubt the “happy”, rural times would last more than, say, some millenniums extra.

    Investing tips 101:

    the Happy Asteroid, mining inc.

    Pennies from Heaven

    ben, philanthropist

  127. iamjimmy Says:

    I enjoy analyzing your comics backwards after reading them. Sort of like reverse engineering. Makes me think alot more. Thanks!

  128. George Says:

    A little bit sad but also inspirational.

  129. The causality paradox time travel story has been done before, of course, but I like your idea of treating a man as a seed and the past as soil. It’s almost like he’s Patient Zero of a benign pandemic.

    I love the use of color. He comes from a gold future and lands in a blue past. As the the years pass, he’s completely oblivious to the way that the world is becoming less blue and more gold. When he runs from the book, his village is just as gold as his future. And then he takes it farther than when he was an ignorant man in the future. He looks at his wife and the the world becomes red. This woman was originally a beard he took to maintain his cover. Now he knew her to be an angel; if our holy books are written by men who weren’t even trying, then we’ve been living in Heaven all along.

    If Captain Estar was your Inferno, then this is your Paradiso.

  130. Kyle Says:

    this was awesome.
    thank you WR

    i have goosebumps that won’t go away

  131. PaperBurner Says:

    Another amazing comic, and a wonderful picture of humanity. Your comix may be wordier than most, but even so each piece is laden with meaning. Your art ought to be used as a textbook. Here in India the number of textbooks using loads of words with no apparent meaning and with no ending in sight is Too Damn High ! ( My exams are coming)
    Thank you, Winston. Thanks for taking the time to craft this amazing story for us. Above all, thanks for coming back.

  132. Jase Says:

    amazing stuff

  133. Jinnai Says:

    I’m sorry, but I’ve been reading through your comic archive for the last week. Each panel has given me something to think about. Every character is someone that I can relate with in some obscure, self-revelatory way. You metaphors, your technique–they never fail to grip me. And this last one–I just couldn’t stop seeing the implications and the subtleties and how you managed t string them all together.

    You, my friend, are brilliant. And it is to my great sadness that my reading your work has ended for the moment, but it is also my great hope that you will continue to make these beautiful tomes of human thought.

  134. Justin Reed Says:

    I have never bothered to comment before, but, I have to voice exactly how beautiful this story was. No, not the story, but, the piece as a whole, it’s transcended it’s web-comix origins into true art. This should be in a museum, or sprawled across a brick wall as a mural.Kudos from me to you, and thank you for putting something wonderful into our world.

  135. benS. Says:

    Of course. The shift in colours. Very observant of you -Tomas Inguanzo-! (6 posts north). “Patient Zero” has probably been infected with Malus domestica, which SOUNDS… malignant sooner than benign though.
    And, to be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if that evil-looking woman is involved somehow. Apple pie?


  136. Gaber Says:

    Fantastic comic, beautiful and ingenious. Bet I’ll be daydreaming and reflecting upon it for a long time. Thank you very much (it was truly worth the wait)!

  137. AG Says:

    This is something I needed to break away a bit of the cynicism that was growing on me today. Thanks

  138. Scott Says:

    I know you may not read this, for it is one among many. Your work humbles me. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, but most importantly, it makes me ask questions. Sometimes the questions don’t make sense, and sometimes the people I ask don’t make sense, and sometimes the answers don’t make sense, but few questions and people and answers ever make sense. I am a simple poet, barely an adult, trying to find a way in this world, but every time I sit, for 20, 30 minutes at a time to read your most recent work, I am inspired to keep living until I find a purpose. I thank you for the teachings you have spared.

  139. Charles F Says:

    I used to and sometimes still psychoanalyze everything. Over the past year, I’ve shifted out of that frustrating loop of thought and learned to let go. Your comics offer a profound experience and I am eternally grateful for the work you’ve done and will continue to do. Thank you so much! Rock the fuck on!

  140. jb Says:

    this should be made into a movie!

  141. Tim M. Says:

    I’ve liked your comics for some time now, usually though they’re a little to verbose for my attention span to let me read fully (put it this way, when I read a book I tend to skim, absorbing the crux of the message without reading all the words), but this, this I went back and re-read just to make sure I had actually absorbed every single word. Thank you for writing it so well that I had to go back and make sure I had everything committed.

  142. Bill w Says:

    Hey Winston, now that you’ve done a lot of comix, have you thought about having a thumbnail system to make it easier to browse the comics. It would make it a ton easier to find a comic I’m looking to read

  143. Mina Says:

    Thank you.

  144. Thomas Says:

    Profound and beautifully written. Even though I knew where it was going the it unfolded was astounding

  145. Magnanimous Says:

    I hate gushing, because I do with seemingly every comic, but this gave me chills. Truly brilliant work, Winston. Don’t ever stop (please!).

  146. Aimee Says:

    Truly awesome (meant in the old, not-watered-down way). Keep up the good work.

  147. Terri Says:

    Epic as usual, Rowntree!

  148. Martin Says:

    thank you. a wonderful read, as always.

  149. Z Says:

    Would it be rude to ask you why you weren’t present at TCAF?

    • Not rude! Ask me Whatever. Why not at tcaf? Not a huge fan of shows, essentially. I used to do shows back when i was selling $2.00 ‘zines instead of having a website and i just never really enjoyed the experience. As an introvert, it’s frankly exhausting (i’m good for about two hours in A Massive Room Full of Strangers), and financially it’s just pointless– i could sell literally a hundred zines and that would be breaking even. Even if i had something to sell right now (my Stuff You Can Buy is all handled third-party) i wouldn’t feel like gambling on covering the cost of the table. Plus i have comix to make.

      And, again, shows are exhausting. I make comix because i like being alone in a room, y’know? I’m not saying i’ll never ever do a comix show ever again ever, i’m just really not into it. I do have an idea for a Toronto-specific comic that would make a nice poster, maybe get a bunch printed and sell them anonymously at Canzine (actually affordable tables), but that’s the closest thing i have to future plans in terms of shows.

  150. MTS Says:

    Beautiful, beautiful. Those of us a bit on in life understand.

  151. Ogrebear Says:


    Thank you.

  152. DT Says:


  153. JB Says:

    Really beautiful. Reminds me of something I read sometime ago?

  154. Benjy Says:

    Wow. This is my new favorite. Incredible work WR.

  155. drkslvr Says:

    After your last comic came out in February, I was checking the site every week for new comics, like I usually do. Then after a couple misses it became every other week. Then every month. I had about decided to start a search and rescue party. But my, this was breath-taking, and 110% worth it. I want to go on praising everything I loved about it, but after reading the comments, I see that’s been covered several times over. So instead, I’ll just say thank you. Thank you for this amazing thing, this incredible little bit of humanity you’ve taken the time to create and share.

  156. Robert Says:

    :’-) Wow, what else can I say? What a moving tale.

  157. 5ecular4umanist Says:

    This is the first comic of yours that I have read (after a link to “The Atheist Apocalypse”). I found it gripping from the start and enjoyed it a lot. I suppose the question is, where did this loop in time begin? Thought provoking, whatever the answer may be πŸ™‚

  158. Prashant Says:

    you sir/madam have been an inspiration for me to live a life spontaneous.

  159. CY-EV Says:

    Very well written and eloquent (as I have come to expect from this fine comic). Though I guessed the Jesus metaphor/Terminator time-loop quite early into the story – as soon as he decided to “go native”.

  160. Gene Says:

    Fantastic. While the “twist” was hardly surprising (having anticipated almost as soon as time travel was mentioned,) the delivery was surprisingly, phenomenally, well done. Thank you for the pleasure of reading it.

  161. Soe Says:

    I love you Winston!!!!

  162. Casey Says:

    That was amazing.

  163. Zero One Says:

    I don’t know what else to say, but thank you for that.

    And because I haven’t said so yet, thank you for making me read so many other words these past few years. They’ve been full of profound truths and beauty, and they’ve gotten me through many a time when the world seemed utterly bleak.

    Hey, the way I see it, we’re each a sole occupant of a richly beautiful island, but we’re usually limited to standing on our beaches and waving to each other from afar. You actually wade out into the waves and see how much closer you can get. Again, thank you.

  164. Mike Says:

    Sublime. I enjoy masters of Sci-Fi like Frank Herbert and Aurthur C Clark. The scope, ease in which the ideas are communicated and the mastery of story telling is on par with them. I cannot describe the joy and wonder I feel reading this. Well told stories like these help us mundane people break free the shackles of mediocrity in day to day life.

  165. Maze88 Says:

    Bravo great piece. It really would work well as a book, especially with the holy symbol shape repeating with the layout of each page.

  166. I fell in love with your work in just 3 comics. Congratulations. This one brought a tear to my eye.

  167. i think this is one of your best works yet!

  168. Sheila Says:

    I think I’m crying.

  169. Alexis Says:

    I do hope that you are a sincere fan of the old Heavy Metal magazine of the 70s … for you are among those who wrote like they did.

  170. Mystyr Nile Says:

    That was awesome.
    I smiled when I realized the symbol on the sacred book was the arrangement of the panels.

  171. Calvin Says:

    With some of these comics, I can hear my brain shrieking for joy at finally being used.

  172. Sasky Says:

    I know it’s been said about a bajillion times, but this one’s unreal, WR.

  173. Ivan Ilyich Says:

    This story reduces me to tears every time I read it. Thank you.

  174. The_L1985 Says:

    I began to suspect where this was going pretty quickly, but watching it happen was still hauntingly beautiful.

    I LOVE this one.

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