September 21, 2012

Comic! New!

back soon,


PS: Huge props to XKCD for the recent Huge Comic. That’s doing a Huge service to this medium, i reckon. Respect.


81 Responses to “Booth”

  1. breaker5 Says:

    As usual, a great work. I may have glazed over some of the confession (I’ll have to go back and read it when I’m more awake) but it’s a really interesting idea.

    Also, that huge xkcd was amazing. I’m still wondering if there might be something in the air I missed

  2. wrincewind Says:

    really enjoyed this strip! i can only wonder if the person in the booth was a familiar character….
    oh, and what’s with the burning man-in-a-suit in the last panel? [top right]

    p.s. there probably was something you missed in the air – you can check the forums for a smaller version of the comic where you can see everything – but that’s kind of cheating.

  3. Quirel Says:

    Good to see that those two are still at it.

    Wow. Skimming back over it, I just realized that the speaker is moving like a mouth. Amazing what you miss at four in the morning.

    The flaming handshake from Wish You Were Here, in that last panel. Awesome!

    This one was a little light on the pop culture references, but I guess that’s to be expected since most of the action takes place inside a techno-confessional.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Harry Says:

    I love your CONCEPTS in your comics, WR! The museum of the theoretical, the super convenient non religious confessional, the anomalies… Just… gold. I don’t even know. You’re amazing. I keep spamming you with compliments and I know that kind of makes me seem like one of those creepy internet losers and ugh but you’re just so DESERVING of being showered with compliments by creepy internet losers, y’know?

    This one was, again, an instant classic. I fucking loved it.
    Also, Bernard speaking has made him go from scary, possibly mentally unwell card-holder to intelligent, cynical awesome guy. I especially loved him in panel 5 saying “Heh. There you go.”
    He looks rad.

    I have more things to say but then I’d just be listing every aspect of your comic saying “This is good and THIS is good and THIS is good and that’s good too” until I’d covered all of them and freaked you out

    aaaand now I’m rambling so I’m just going to hit the social eject button and post this comment and oh god i’m sorry

  5. Joe Trudell Says:

    God damn it Winston, you’re always in my head, or maybe I’m in yours….or maybe…. anyway, Awesome wall of text yet again. Always love to see Bernard 😀

  6. themodestokid Says:

    Winston, this is like uncannily timed (for me). Thanks again.

  7. lynchy Says:

    God I love reading your comics,
    keep it up or don’t keep it up, whatever makes you feel good

  8. Injygo Says:

    Other people have that same fantasy as me about the nice mental hospital dealie? Wow.

    And that whole “I’m not doing anything adultlike and it’s hurting my partner and I want to change but don’t know how”? Yeah, that’s my life.

  9. Edwin Says:

    Fantastic work. I think someone could do this for real. Maybe as college project or something. It think it would very interesting.

  10. The Modesto Kid Says:

    Winston, do you save transcripts of the text in your comics? Any chance you could make those available online? That would make it much easier to Google an old Subnormality strip I remember dialog from but not title of.

    • Tobu Says:

      Oh No Robot integration would let us readers do the transcription job.

    • I…only sort-of do. Like, the scripts are all typed out beforehand, but i do so much revising as i write out all the lettering that none of the scripts match the finished comic exactly. And yeah, a few people have mentioned the ohnorobot thing, but i’m always hesitant to integrate anything into the site. Plus i’d feel sorry for anyone who decided to transcribe the archives…

  11. Wait, have we seen Bernard before? Some of the other comments imply that we have.

    • Harry Says:

      The Bernard guys are in two other strips; the speed dating one about making new friends, and the one where they run a weird shop and end up taking over a shopping center. Basically they’re kooky entrepreneurs

  12. mecha_shiva Says:

    Another creepy internet loser showering you with compliments. I am usually-mega lurker and rarely ever comment on anything, but I had to say that I love your comics, and they really exemplify (for me) that fiction is a place where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved (yes, a creepy internet loser who is also obsessed with DFW, surprise surprise).

    tl;dr: ❤ you fo-eva, OMGZ.

  13. Ryan Says:

    Thank you. It took me years of focus to reach a version of that realization. There were two important steps that helped me.
    The first was accepting the fact that every single person is individually awesome in some way, and thus I am as amazing as I think I am.
    The second was that no matter what happens(death, injury, apocalypse, etc), as long as you can still reach A goal that will better yourself and those around you, you’re doing it right. Anyone who says otherwise can go elsewhere.

    Thanks for this comic. Someone really should make one of those booths.

  14. tacocat Says:

    This comic really hits home. I’ve always been quite and reserved, never the one to speak up living in my own world. I’ve always lived on the notion that the grass is always greener on the other side, but that always just seemed like a nice vision, never able to fully find myself having the initiative to change.

    The last few years have particularly been a trip for me. I did get married (sounds like this man’s marriage is the same as mine in the aspect he’s lucky to find someone to put up with him) I lost my job, and hit it back, and attempted school again, and and have attempted to be honest with myself for the first time ever, which I feel like has brought up a lot of weird things (anger towards parents, hatred of mankind, I dunno… Lots of stuff.)

    The weird thing is I had a huge anxiety attack back in the Spring, quit school in an attempt to become an artist in my free time. My wife started grad school and some days if I have the strength to cook a piece of toast and share a few worry-less moments with my wife while we eat the lukewarm bread it seems like I’ve made it as good as its gonna get.

    I still think my brain is either in the middle of the anxiety attack or on the verge of a new one. Some weeks just seem like odd blurs where I did a few things here and there between long periods of staring at the wall. I feel like I’ve been hard on myself so much in the past the I haven’t improved myself (especially with my art) since I was a little kid. I’m trying to put myself out there more, try new things, and keep my chin up but more often then not i still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing or can never be better than the next guy and that sucks.

    I was seeing a shrink until I lost my insurance and just stopped going without even a notice, and I wonder if he wonders how I am. I’m not sure if accrue happiness exists or that’s something we’re lead to believe through adds and tv. My anxieties and neurosis remind me I’m human and it’s probably good I have them, and I dunno. But I think it’s important I do know how to properly deal with them, make sure I don’t let the darkness keep me down to far. I think I’m going to start going to therapy again, I did really enjoy it before I stopped, and if I can do something to keep going I’m sure I do owe it to myself and those close to me; I just hope I can make that call.

    This is a really long comment and I don’t even know if it really goes anywhere, i’m at work and should be doing something but for whatever reason time has slowed to a trickle and typing this on my phone seems to be all that matters in this moment. Thank you so much for making comics that remind us what it’s like to be human, sad, crazy, confused, and as this particular one points out, that we are not alone. At the end of the day it may not seem like it but we are all going in the same direction, all in this together as one.
    Thanks for the beautiful art!

  15. Ryan Says:

    Had to laugh when he started describing/confessing that relationship. I was slowly growing into that mold once and got the hell out. Didn’t even know why at the time. Luckily, when the moment of clarity hit years later, I was looking at my best friend across the table and not the ghost of something beautiful. I’d be terrified to meet the hypothetical me that didn’t listen to that warning from the universe…

  16. Joe Says:

    Just plain thanks.

  17. steamr0ller Says:

    Another beaut, WR! you do so brighten up the internet.

  18. Adam Says:

    So many people eat stuff off the floor? That’s disgusting.

  19. Alejandro Says:

    I love you, no homo

  20. Nathan Says:

    Great stuff as usual. Has anyone tried:

  21. Burds Says:

    This is my favorite of all your stuff so far. I wish so hard that I could visit that confessional.

  22. Evan Says:

    Really nice, I liked it.

    Also, the xkcd comic? Man, I wish there was a forum on that site where I could express how cool it was, so this’ll do I guess. I’d pretty much call that comic too big, but so interesting that I had no choice but to spend about 45 minutes at work looking at it. Wrist pain!

  23. The Old Wolf Says:

    Psychiatrists and psychologists and counselors and coaches and mentors and self-help consultants do a booming business because everyone has this internal dialog going on, and whether we like it or not, life does not come with a bloody instruction manual. Each day is just another attempt to figure it all out, and I love that about your comics – regardless of where we are, pretty much everyone has those insecurities and longs for the definitive answers, as symbolized by that mental institution fantasy. Awesome work again and thank you for making the world seem a little less cold.

  24. Dan Says:

    Thanks for this warm thought. You’re a nice guy. 😉

  25. Sergeant Major Tom Says:

    Long post advance warning.

    Having found Subnormality and Abnormality relatively recently, I’ve just now finished the mammoth self-set task of reading them from start to finish, as well as looking right through all the Subnormality comment threads in parallel*. I’d be here all night if I wanted to list all the highlights and general features I like of your work so far (or more likely give up trying to collect my thoughts and abandon my attempt), so let me just put it this way: despite the aforementioned process being mentally and emotionally exhausting and hard to keep at for more than a couple of hours at a time**, and taking quite some time as you can imagine, I consider it on the whole to be the diametric opposite of the Not Worth It! game. I hope you can appreciate that fully as the compliment I mean it to be, because that’s the best I have for the moment. Oh, and the fact that my Topatoco wishlist contains a fair few of your prints, there’s that too.

    * Okay, that’s kind of a lie – given the length of some of the comment threads, it became skimming first and then Ctrl+F searching for all instances of “winston” (winstances/winstonces?) and investigating their context.
    ** By which I mean I’d get to a point where I was finding it hard to concentrate on and go do something else until I got sick of the other thing, then be ready to come back to this – kind of get into a cycle of that sort. I remember Nicholas Gurewitch saying something about potentially being able to be very productive with such an approach, but I’d need to find more things to be productive with first. I relate to an uncomfortable extent with the wants-clarity-of-purpose person in this comic and a lot of Ethel’s mindset at present. >_>

    • I’ll just say this is not the place where you need to apologize for long posts (walls of text?! HOW DARE YOU). And thanks for your comments, i’m really glad that the comix can bring in new readers, that they’re not completely impenetrable or whatever. Really honored by your kind remarks anyway, so cheers!

    • Sergeant Major Tom Says:

      Definitely wasn’t apologising, just acknowledging in advance that I’d have a lot to say, given how late I am to the party while still having gone through the entire archive. And I still haven’t even started commenting specifically on any comix yet…

      Curious, by the way: has anyone asked about Abnormality prints, assuming those would be doable? The Classic Fables comic was the first thing of yours I ever saw, still a favourite, and (I think) would work well as a hard copy.

  26. AkaP* Says:

    Man on Fire.

  27. J42 Says:

    Just wanted to say thank you, WR, I really enjoyed this one.

  28. Burds Says:

    Also, I got blonde-girl-who-doesn’t-shave vibes from the confessor. Anybody else?

  29. Olly Says:

    I read this one thinking the whole time how it really related to me and how I’m feeling these days (bar a couple of details but still), and reading all the comments attached to it with people also saying it’s how they have been feeling has kinda helped me feel better, pretty much in the same way as the booth in the comic except online.

    If I ever saw a real booth like this I’d certainly give it a go.
    But yeah, Thanks 🙂

  30. Prashant Says:

    great use of angles to give life to the confessor on the other side of the screen. Reading you is like watching a movie with slides flipping at frequencies less than 1/10 of a second. That slight jerk of gaze or position as the eyes dart across the page, zooming in to verify that it is the “free trial” version of VoicePro. The inversion of gaze moving the camera onto the listener is a performative move those more rational would do well to try. As always, a frozen cinema served vivid.

  31. Joshua Says:

    Glorious… nothing short of glorious. It’s a shame these booths don’t actually exist.

  32. Damn, man. I wish those existed in the real world.

  33. fraoch Says:

    Damn this hits home. Everything you post is so fantastically detailed and contemplative. Thanks 🙂

  34. Doyle Says:

    and again! I have to say thats some great reading for 5 in the morning. This kinda reminds me of when I had someone who I told those kinds of things to. God how I wish i could talk to her again… Anyway, just came in to say, “Great work!”. and also one day I want to make some increadibly inciteful comment that warrents a reply from the author lol.

  35. Dan Plaat Says:

    As a member of the secular movement, working towards a religion free society, we look for and try to create structures that do what a confessional do, that make people feel like they have a clean slate. To provide moral and social support which isn’t tied to unchanging beliefs involving afterlives or magic carpenters. Perhaps something like this will appear after the Atheist Apocalypse.

  36. pG Says:

    Dude. Stop it!
    I was wondering why I was with her today. and now this…
    Really – stop it. You’re freaking me out.


  37. Francis Reed Says:

    Exceptional… you Sir are a inspiration, thank you for giving away this comix free to the world, otherwise i would have never knew of it

  38. zack (fellow canadian) Says:

    ive spent the last three days reading every comic on this site including the roll over text. ive been so enlightened and amazed, i thank you for giving us your art to enjoy. my onlyregret is not finding this sooner. i look forward to reading this for now on. i also think im in love with PHG. is that healthy?

  39. John Says:

    It really did help knowing there are other people not knowing what to do with their lives yet. Thank you.

  40. Grimm Says:

    I read the dude’s part in Hulk’s voice.

  41. SuckMyComment Says:

    i spent the whole damn comic trying to guess the confessor. blonde lesbian, gotta be.

  42. Olimar Says:

    I like the “Wish You Were Here” reference in the last panel.

  43. William Says:

    Haha, Bernard, awesome. 😀

  44. Adam Samsa Says:

    Off topic: I have a complaint about your JOY t-shirt. It should have an antimicrobial and stain-resistant coating, so I can wear it every day.

  45. Kyle Brennan Says:

    Its funny reading/seeing this. I came here looking for a different comic that a friend posted on facebook, and it ended up on my feed, the climb to maturity with the goats.
    Anyhow i ended up on your main page and clicked a button and got to this.
    2 bubbles into the confession thing i was crying. I had heart surgery back in 2008 and since then i have been literally nothing. Not changing, non evolving, Truly frozen in mentality. Looking back, i dont really know why anymore.
    About a year ago, someone who was one of my best friends just severed ties with me, and It made me think into who i am and why i was how i was. and i started changing, and learning things. But ill wholly admit, i diddent change much. Its been some time, and i have discovered different cultures that i had enjoyed and wanted to look into, but never really had a drive. About a month ago, i found a kind of income source, and never really realized that i needed to push myself to become something for once, I had allways had dreams, but no real drive.
    Three days ago, i got a call from a art group that i had allways looked upon with awe, and it turns out that me keeping tabs and emailing them from time to time to ask how everything was going, They took notice. I have been saving up since then to take a trip to san francisco in about 7 days.
    I cant tell you how much in awe i am about how my life has suddenly have a few doors thrown open, and the people i have interacted with in the past month, obviously existance telling me in its own way that its time to stand and run, take a odd leap and see where i go.
    I have decided to just run and figure things out on the way, I know ill fail alot, but thats how you learn right?

    I post this because its fantastic to share with people, and it makes me affirm in my own way what i have been thinking.

    I loged into this on my facebook (i think) and would love a responce to the next question:
    In a year from now, maybe shorter, would you care if i made this confessional idea a reality?

    • Thanks for sharing that, that was actually really inspiring and i’m just generally glad to hear about anyone who’s come a long way in their life. So cheers, and kudos also, and yeah, if you wanna consider making your own confessional booth that’s surely fine by me.

  46. Alex Says:

    Nah, it’s the dark-haired one. She was the one all flailing around for an identity in the guitar shop that one time.

  47. Psychethos Says:

    I know that was essentially the whole point of this comic and without even checking I know there will be many other comments here saying the same thing, but that confession gave me shivers because of how much I felt like I could have written it. I mean, I am in exactly the same place in my life right now. Unemployed since I graduated almost half a year ago and only having applied for (and failed to get) one job since then. Literally one. Sleeping late and staying up at nights when I know my husband wishes I went to bed at the same time as him and we could have breakfast together. Just not dealing with anything. And I worry that he is questioning our relationship as well, but I also tell myself that he knew that he was getting with someone who… was like this? And that it was part of the attraction? I don’t know. And I’ve been committed and times like these I really miss the release of being in a mental hospital. It’s like there’s practically no place on earth where less is expected of you. Well, maybe if I keep not dealing with my mental health I’ll end up back there again. I’m just waiting for something. I wish these booths existed, maybe they would give me some clarity of purpose as well.

  48. Lenore Says:

    I just wanted to come in and say real quick – I had just been recovering from a really terrible anxiety attack over the fact that I wasn’t working hard enough to make enough money because I keep telling myself subconciously that it’s better to not try than to try and fail, and I’m terrible at adult-ing, and I’m pushing all my friends away, and I don’t know what I actually want to be doing, and maybe I should to back to the hospital because at least I don’t have to pay rent on that…

    …and then during my recovery, I come to check Subnormality and find this comic, and find out that I’m not alone. (Including the floor food. Five second rule, goddamnit!)

    So, um, thank you. I’m crying again but it’s the cathartic getting-over-things crying, not the bad crying, and I no longer feel like I’m a freak/alone/Literally The Worst Failure Of An Adult Ever.

    I needed this.

  49. Nat Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Winston!

  50. Liv OG Says:

    I’ve read many of your comics, and I’ve gotta say-
    Thank you. Thank you for putting so concisely into words and pictures and humor the oxymoronic, ironic, confusing, counter-intuitive pulchritude it is to live and be a Being in this world. You shine many lights on the truth of this place, these people, this state of living and dying and being whole (or trying to!). Thank you for doing so. You make the world shine brighter.

  51. HDOefrtdh Says:


  52. happlezzz Says:

    Very nice and touching and I liked it a lot! It’s so true and really helpful.

    FYI the QWERTY layout was designed to minimize key sticking in typewriters by placing letters that commonly follow each other as far away from each other as possible. It is the least efficient keyboard layout possible which is why Dvorak exists.

    Have a nice day!

  53. Frank Says:

    “Graffiti” is the best graffiti ever!

  54. AYawn Says:

    This confessional sounds like tumblr at times.

  55. V Says:

    Interesting thing: I was in a bar in Seattle last week, and for some reason there was a non-religious confessional booth there. A girl at the bar asked if my husband or I would go in and try it and report on our impressions. I did. Apparently the guy has been doing this for five years or so, as a relatively unspecified project of some sort, and he moves the booth to various places at various times. He said he hadn’t heard of this comic. I recommended it.

    Unfortunately, if predictably, the point was not the same as in the comic. I’m not quite sure what it is for the gentleman doing this. However, it was oddly freeing to be able to go into an anonymous place and let out the sticky and horrible bits. As for the confessor above. When I read this, it seemed to me that I would not have as much use for one of these things as most people might, because I don’t really keep too much hidden. However, I was wrong.

    So there actually is something like this floating around out there. And even if it’s not quite as awesome, it is surprisingly awesome. And one hopes the guy in the booth wrote down the name of your comic when I mentioned it.

  56. Nanorider Says:

    Isn’t the girl in the lower right corner the girl with the pink hairdo?

  57. Ben Zyl Says:

    So was that Marie then? Just about enough clues but not enough, perfect really.

  58. I’m so happy to rediscover this as I read through all of Subnormality for the second time. And really happy that this became a video in People Watching! (Long time fan here. Subnormality is one of the most important comics in my life. Thank you, Mr. Rowntree.)

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