November 8, 2012



Hey, comix return. Sorry for the disproportionate wait– i was out of town for a while, having a quite lovely time as it happens. OH THIS FREEWHEELING COMIX LIFESTYLE… Seriously though, i’m back, and this comic might have like six words but fear not, walls of text are forthcoming. I declare the rest of the year shall be text-heavy indeed.

more later,


PS: Thanks for the feedback regarding the zoom-in-style-thing that i tried out with the previous comic! I’m definitely gonna stick with it for appropriate comix (like the new one), as it makes me feel better about the tiny, illegible writing i like to stick in there on occasion. Now it’s like, hey, someone might actually read this..!


114 Responses to “Conversation”

  1. Sisiutil Says:

    Cool concept. I’ll try to keep that in mind.

    I like how you worked in so many of the recurring characters.

  2. 919BigT Says:

    Did you slip Cornel West in panel #2? nice.

  3. bachterman Says:

    that’s why people use headphones, to filter out these meaningless conversations. πŸ˜‰

    • Inune Says:

      And in doing so, inadvertently convince everyone around them to further avoid deep conversations because they see the headphones as yet another sign that person wouldn’t be interested in talking to them. Understandable, perhaps, but really only exacerbating the situation.

    • Mystyr Nile Says:

      Like Ethel(Winston?) said: Pretending everyone hates you is the best way to make everyone hate you.

  4. Sheedy Says:

    Yeah, you nailed that one.

  5. Esn Says:

    These are some good tips. πŸ™‚

    By the way, I’d also like to share one of my favourite other comics that also covered this topic – Bellen from Nov. 27, 2009 (no longer available on the original website, unfortunately):

  6. Doyle Says:

    This. This is my life unfortunatly. I always have things to say but when it realy counts I cant ever get it out. Also im kinda stoked about how many other people read these in the early A.M.s

  7. Alexis Says:

    chumbawamba! chumbawamba! (alas no more)

  8. K. Francis Says:

    I love your work Winston and this is another amazing comic. I think I will try another door next time.

  9. toaster Says:

    happy to see ur comics have been much more “up” recently. btw, looking back at “captain estar goes to heaven,” i was curious – does she decide that she doesn’t deserve a second chance (depressing), or that somehow skipping the consequences of ur decisions is wrong/dishonest? like – that id she did decide to turn things around, it would be something she’d want to do in her old life? or maybe she’s just not willing to accept a helping hand?

    u don’t have to answer that – just wondering how strongly u felt about a specific interpretation of the ending to that graphic novel there…

    • Aiarashi Says:

      Hi, sorry for replying out of nowhere, but I’ve been kind of wondering pretty much the same thing.
      Though my interpretation was more among the lines of Estar feeling like the world had just turned into a bunch of hypocrites pretending that nothing had happened and it was makin fun of her, in a way. She just wasn’t going to take that, because I would personally find it insulting.
      Now, I guess as an artist Winston’s the kind of person that likes leaving his stories up for interpretation, because it’s fun to see what people come up with.
      Again, sorry for replying so suddenly, and thanks for reading, friend. πŸ™‚

    • toaster Says:


      heh – no need to apologize: use the reply button, that’s what it’s for!

      yeah – i guess it is interesting that the “angels” changed her entire life, but didn’t change her at all – including her memories of a past life.

      so – world of hypocrites before or after the big change?

    • toaster Says:

      “i can’t – i won’t – forget…the kind of person i really am. The kind of person who’s way beyond second chances.”


      “There is no hell… There’s just the places we end up. And that’s where i belong.”

      so that’s her in the end…

      so yeah, i guess she believes that u get one life, and u have to live with the consequences of ur choices.

      i can agree with that.

      but it also seems a bit defeatist. like, well hopeless i guess – and perhaps that is also part of who she is.

      also i find it is interesting that she says “sorry if that sounds selfish” cuz that’s exactly wat it sounds like. u know, not quite self pity – but a really narrow view of life, focused only on herself. Like – she way think she doesn’t deserve a second chance, but all those people she killed – did they all CHOOSE to die, to be killed? raises the question of how much control we really have over our lives.

      like – complete responsibility requires complete control, no?

      i could go on, but this is quite a bit off topic for this comments section…

      anyways, well done WR – it’s been a while since i’ve seen a truly thought provoking comic.

    • You’re right, i’m definitely happy to not state some kind of Official Interpretation of the comic or whatever as it’s most definitely up to the reader. Rule# 1 of art: Art Is Subjective. Plus with that comic in particular, at the time of making it i wasn’t even sure myself what it all means, if it means anything (the story started from a dream i had, so it was based on something weirdly ambiguous from the start, which i really like actually. I’ve had a few artistically useful dreams over the years, and gotten a couple comix out of them).

      And i’ve REALLY enjoyed reading people’s interpretations in the comments section, as it’s really rewarding to see people pull things out of the story that literally hadn’t even occurred to me (i can’t overstate how neat that is). That’s one of the best things about storytelling, frankly– when something takes on a life of its own like that, to whatever degree, and when the artwork in question becomes a thing where the author can then learn from the audience (i like it when it’s about the artwork, and not the artist).

      So yeah, i’m definitely not gonna say there’s one official interpretation of the ending or overall message (if any) because there never was, nor should there be. I’m definitely happy to discuss any other aspect of the comic though.

    • toaster Says:

      any particular source inspired ur visual interpretation of the/a future?

    • ^ Yeah, george lucas, believe it or not…(this was back before there were prequels). I specifically remember being inspired by his notion of the “used universe” (spaceships and such that are all weathered and beat up as opposed to glistening and futuristic). It’s definitely a concept that makes sense.

    • toaster Says:

      huh – yeah, i mean the “used universe” concept has been kicking around in scifi writing for a while, but i guess lucas did popularize it in visual media – neat, thnx!

    • Aiarashi Says:

      That’s what I thought. =D
      I know some artists that love doing that kind of open-ended stories (and some who don’t), though as an author I’d probably have my own interpretation which would be as valid as any others, so it’s like there’s really no right answer.

      It’s also a bit jarring being tossed into this “perfect world” when she didn’t even want to go to heaven in the first place. She was taken there by force by the band of bullies, which I’m not sure about why they took her in particular, but it was such a mean thing to do even to her (everything they did, I mean). There’s also the thing about about where exactly they sent her back to, like I think it would have been better if she was sent back to before she accidentally killed that guy in the military, THEN she could make a different call, because that’s really what ended up causing it all, right?

      And something I was really curious about was, if the alien guy she killed was actually still alive in the new universe, wouldn’t that mean the guy who found heaven would be too? What if she looked for him and found him, would he remember her? would she ask him to put things back to how they were? I don’t know, I thought something like that could lead to an interesting twist, or maybe not, but I keep guessing. XD

  10. Niko Says:

    How true! How very, very true! Dammit, I know that Subnormality has pretty incredible intellectual and artistic standards but this particular comic is an absolute stroke of genius.

    This comic portrays brilliantly the odious situation where you might have something to say but for some reason you just don’t know how to bring it into the discussion in any meaningful way and you despair and loath yourself because of that as the discussion fades into oblivion. I’ve tried to express myself via metadiscourse on a few such particularly frustrating incidents (but obviously with little success). But now, should I ever find myself from the aforementioned position again I can point this very comic out and say “Look, this is exactly what is happening here right now. So, what I wanted to say was…”.

    Damn beautiful.

    Thank you Mr. Rowntree.

    • toaster Says:

      things that stop us from saying things? social norms, not knowing how someone will respond, how it reflects on us, how it might be interpreted, whether or not we ourselves even agree or disagree with it…

  11. mullisaukko Says:

    Totally made my day!

  12. Edwin Says:

    Great advise. When asked how are you? I used to give sarcastic answers, like rotten or ill or in bad mood. I didn’t see the point of asking that when their not actually interested in knowing. Nowadays i just give the expected answer just to get over it. I’ll try to answer properly fronm now on.

  13. Alexis Says:

    Beautiful comic as always, I’ll make sure to try another door next time I have a chance. Odds are they’ll be taken aback (we’re all affected by these doors after all) but it’s worth it!

  14. RKR Says:

    Normally your comics are great: thoughtful, funny and insightful. This one was, most importantly, helpful. Thanks and keep up the great work.

  15. The Old Wolf Says:

    I just love your takes on humanity. I find it so hard to wait for each comic, because I always learn something that helps me move my life forward.

  16. Leo W. Says:

    If I we’re king for a day, I’d abolish small talk…

  17. Kalle Says:

    Generic comment of praise.

  18. D Says:

    Why do I need a therapist when I have this comic?

  19. Frontier Psychiatrist Says:

    That’s me in the third panel. An oil painter that slaves away at a factory job for insurance/bills.

    The “what is your occupation?” related inquiries always put me in a similar social bind.

  20. Francis Reed Says:

    I am also the one in the third panel, only that instead of what is your occupation? the question that i always avoid is what are you gonna study ? Normally i just say “do i really look like a guy with a plan” but it is always hard for me to express in an honest way, to find somebody that i think can truly know me, and that is the reason why i love your comix, because of your honesty in reflecting human nature, and the walls of text.. it is like Shakespeare in those aspects!

    • Francis Reed Says:

      P.S. Also the new feature makes it so much easy to read those little details that you include in them, like finding an easter egg

  21. Evan Says:

    God, this is me. I was socially awkward (recovering, hopefully) in high school and since then I have this really powerful buffer in my mind that makes me not say things because I’m pretty sure the other person won’t be interested…
    And that’s just the one social deficiency I decided to mention.

    • Anders Says:

      I think everyone feels like this at some point. The society – our lives – needs to become a little less private. It’s awful that we can’t just strike a normal conversation.

      Fantastic comic, Winston!

    • toaster Says:

      now this may be a bit embarrassing, but i find tshirts can be like a secret code for meeting new people – or engaging new topics of discussion.

      For example, if i have a dnd t-shirt, then anyone else who plays dnd or knows about it can say something to that effect to me, cuz they can be fairly confident that i also am into it in some shape or form (unless i’m wearing it ironically i guess).

      anyone who doesn’t know dnd, well – if they ask about it…then i have a choice i guess – either “meh it’s just shirt” or try and explain what dnd is about.

    • ^ Totally, yeah. The key is to avoid the yes/no questions though. I’ve definitely had potentially interesting conversations torpedoed by my inability to go beyond “yeah” when asked if i’m into a particular thing based on someone noticing a book i was reading or the like. Workin’ on it though…

  22. Presence Eternal Says:

    I see very clear visual cues in panels 2, 4, and 5 that the characters have a strong potential connection, but I’m missing any similar cues in panels 1,3, and 6.

  23. Nate Says:

    So.. when can I buy that shirt?

  24. Sergeant Major Tom Says:

    Who do you think you’re fooling with those six huge words and your insistence on them being the only text?

    Seriously though, good work as always, and I approve of the stealthy, contrasting alternate methods of text delivery here.

  25. Carpenter Says:

    Been coming to this site for years. As a fellow Canadian whose also been to Montreal, your little nods to our Post-Industrial Americanized society really influence my thinking. I read your stuff, and I walk around the rest of the day thinking how out of place a sphinx doesn’t look next to my Canada Post Mail box. Have you read Ulysses? I feel I understand what you’re trying to say. Obviously I don’t, but I feel that way. I do random acts of kindness because I feel like you have to. I want to make art like this because you make it look simple- not easy, hell no, I can’t draw like you, but straight forward.
    What I take away from your oeuvre is an internal commentary on a machine-like grid upon which we’ve all been born into. That comentary is that we all need to
    a) make sense of the world
    b) take care of one an other until we can muster a way out of these blasted cities and the confrontational, debt oriented human interactions which we are brainwashed daily to foster.
    To me, you make art, buddy. Every one of your comics, even those that go over my head with endless text, is never-the-less a gritty, explosive hallucination.
    What you do with comics, the wordless sight gags: those, to me, are the gold. Silence is hard to master- its the basic principle behind magic tricks, which you can do without movement on just a frozen image- sublime!
    But when you do have words, you’re funny and if an art piece can’t bend to be cathartic, joyful or humorous, then the impact is less. You, my friend, have an impact on my thinking, more so than most of the university classes I’ve taken. Your stuff is the next best thing to a book. Your imagination rocks. Keep going.

  26. Joe Trudell Says:

    Guess I need to open more doors myself.
    Love the comic. Want the shirt.

  27. Phoenix_35 Says:

    You mate, are really doing something for us short-sighted people in the world who reads your comix periodically.

  28. Craig Says:

    Love the shirt!

    I may make one for my daughter or myself – as people who actually have Asperger’s syndrome it pretty much explains both our “shyness” as trouble getting from “hello” to a conversation we can have. Once again thanks for a brilliant comic. You rock.

  29. Joe Trudell Says:

    OH SHIT! Just caught the “Kodos ’96” shirt! Was that a little jab at our recent pissing contest down here in the states? Because that would be awesome πŸ˜€

    • I feel like that simpsons segment is pretty much the finest satire of american politics that’s ever been done. It just says it all, plus is perennially hilarious. “Go ahead–THROW YOUR VOTE AWAY!!” I think it’s one of those things that everybody loves and yet is still somehow underrated. So good…

      PS: “What is this, some kind of tube?”

    • Joe Trudell Says:

      That is probably my favorite Simpsons bit ever. It’s a shame the message is completely lost on so many voters. I’m a huge supporter of “third parties” and it’s super frustrating listen to people talk politics as if they don’t exist. My thoughts on the U.S. Presidential election are simple: Happy Romney lost. Unhappy Obama won.

    • Mystyr Nile Says:

      @Joe Trudell: Voting for a third party(under the First-Past-the-Post system) isn’t gonna do you much good.

      They won’t win
      Voting for them works against the democrat/republican that they most agree with, and helps the person that you dislike to win

      The voting system in the United States does not allow the voter to safely express their real opinion, so they don’t.

      CGP Grey has some videos on the subject.

  30. dusty668 Says:

    Loving the comic as always. I put my monitor resolution to 800×600 to get all the good bits then I see you have the zoomy link in here, which I love. Not just because it gives silverlight 2 things to do on my PC. (Other being netflix.) Hope you put a zooming button on the main page of the ones you make that way.
    Do you have any plans to make archived comics zoomable? There are a lot of details I’m sure I’ve missed and would love to hunt again.

    The comments on this page have made me realize something with it’s chorus of “Oh I hate small talk, it’s the worst.”

    One person opens a door, the other person decides what’s in the closet. Think about it.

    F’rinstance, someone asks about the weather, tell them it’s beautiful weather for Bengal Tigers, then tell them all you know about Bengal tigers-if they are cute, leave out the sad parts.

    Make a chart, weather = bengal tigers, Sports/team = the effect of Cretaceous coastline in the Southeast US on the recent election, ‘How you doin?’ = An analysis of the song “A Pirate I was Meant to Be!”, general work inquiries = the implications of population dispersal in a hydrogen powered economy if the production of local hydrogen hits 40% or better efficiency.

    You hate small talk, fine, don’t talk small.

    Let me know how that works out for you, I’ll be here under my rock behind my locked doors.

  31. Aiarashi Says:

    Okay, I was going to ask if I was the only person who also wanted Ethel’s shirt, but I see I am not. lol
    Anyways, nice one, I wonder what sequence of “little steps” everyone would have taken to get to the door they chose. I mean, it’s not like they just picked a door out of nowhere right?
    Personally my problem with small talk is something like this: comic from xkcd, because I get the feeling I should give a good sum up of my activity from the time I last saw someone, even though I know it’s just a manner of speech to get a conversation going. ^^;
    Anyways, it’s nice to see so many recurring faces even if just as background characters. And poor brown/pink-haired-girl, now she gets the same visions from this work she seemed to want so much. I’d love to see how that turns out for her later.
    Oh, and sorry for the long comment on your last news post.
    It’s nice to see more from you, so thanks. ;D

  32. toaster Says:

    hey winston, is there an faq on the site somewhere? i have a couple generic questions i feel have probably been asked a million times before…

    • Naw, no faq (yet). If you have any questions though, ask away! Here’s as good a place as any.

    • toaster Says:

      ok – have u considered a kickstarter for a book? i know it’s a ton of work to even organize that sort of thing, but in the end all u’d lose is time – cuz u know, the kickstarter is providing u with capital right – pretty low risk on investment.

      and also – maybe a bit too personal? – why don’t u attend conventions, like comic con or the webcomic artists one that was in t-dot a while ago?

    • Kickstarter i can’t do because i’m in Canada, though i think there are alternative like Indiegogo or whatever. I dunno, i don’t really see the point of kickstarter for books though when you can just self-publish via Amazon or something for minimal up-front costs (a couple thousand bucks maximum). If i was insane enough to want to store and ship the books myself i’d need the cash, but that’s so off-the-table it’s not even funny. I’ll definitely be doing a book, but i’d either do i through Topatoco (first preference) or a print-on-demand deal or something. No need to Kickstart anything, i reckon.

      As for conventions, i used to do them back when i sold ‘zines, but i just really, really dislike the process. As anyone reading the new comic may have guessed, i’m not exactly an extrovert, so sitting at a table for seven hours talking to people i don’t know is just a uniquely exhausting prospect. I’ve done it, and never once really enjoyed it (and i feel bad for saying that, because there are a lot of great people at such shows and it’s not their fault i’m weird and awkward and Can’t Deal). I dunno, it’s just not for me. Plus having to pay for the table generally invalidates any financial benefit to attending. Plus i’ve been at this comix thing for a while now, and while i wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility of attending any local shows in the future (i’d love to do something more structured, like a lecture or q&a or somesuch, i mean i have no fear of speaking in front of an audience, i’m just shit at small talk), i’d definitely prefer to be invited, as i feel the comic’s audience deserves the acknowledgement.

    • toaster Says:

      nice – appreciating ur own worth and that of webcomics- that’s very mature mr. rowtree, if i may say so.

      yeah, i know wat u mean – cons do tend to have an…odd vibe to them.

      glad that u r considering some sort of physical paper compendium of ur works at some point – whenever that is, i’m sure u’ll let us know.

      and i’m sure quite a bit of ur fans are from the toronto area – doing a q&a or lecture type thing at a cafe or bar or something could be cool.

      anyways, thanks for the response – i know Barthes said “the author is dead,” but i think it’s great to have the artist actively engaged in the dialogue of art/audience. if picasso or will shakesman were around today, they’d be all over the forums as well i think.

  33. toaster Says:

    hmmm…reading comments, thinking about the comic.

    I think it is fear that keeps us from opening the last door.

    Ultimately, fear of not being loved.

    Like – if u talk about something important to u, u open a sensitive part of urself to being potentially attacked/ridiculed/judged and the like, which is likely to make u feel angry/stupid/ashamed and the like.

    Likewise, if ur talking to someone else, about something important to them, same deal – they might react defensively (by ignoring u or ridicule), because they are afraid of being attacked/ridiculed/judged.

    what can be gained from a more open exchange though?

    well – consider this (just a theory): we are defined by our relationships/interactions with other people.

    almost any personal attribute i can think of can only really be understood in relation to other people.

    ex. i’m funny=i make other people laugh. i’m tall=tall in relation to shorter people. i’m good at dancing=better than other, worse than some (or even – HOW i dance with others, in ballroom or folk or line dancing)

    and so foth. it’s all a comparison, or some sort of interaction with other people.

    so – considering this is true, at least to some significant extent, and then considering that conversation is such a big part of human interaction, u kinda see how the fear that (possibly) is keeping us in small talk is also defining us as people.

    that’s kind of negative – look at it from the other side of the coin: the more u let urself really interact with others, and let them interact with u – the more u really TALK, the better u r able to know who u r as a person….

    umm…i have no clu where i was going with this anymore.

    • Henry Turner Says:

      I guess it is fear that stops people going through the other doors, especially to strangers, but there are many other fears than that of not being loved. In my case there are two others, first the fear that the person you’ve just started with will turn out to be a complete numpty that you would consider chewing your own arm off to get away from, and then the fear of the awkward silences formed by your faltering conversation as you both realise you have nothing in common.,

      And for people like me with defective hearing and no way to afford what audiologists are asking for hearing aids these days, small talk with strangers is it’s own unique brand of hell.

  34. toaster Says:

    question to the artiste: do u read much philosophy texts, and the like? u know – are ur comix a result of something u read that u then see in ur life, or something u see in ur life that u then read, or just straight up from life?

    basically – does ur creative process have some sort of structure – like a certain kind of routine or pattern that tends to repeat, the outcome of which is an idea for a comic/the comic itself?

    • toaster_pimp Says:

      maybe stupid question – but i’m fascinated by the rituals we take part in without even thinking …

  35. StiabhnaD Says:

    I keep wishing some of these guys ‘n’ gals could break through their shells and find happiness with someone who loves them regardless.


  36. Is the t-shirt at the end a riff of XKCD’s “Just Shy, Not Antisocial (You Can Talk To Me)” shirt?

    I wear that pretty often and so many of my friends tell me “no way you’re shy”. Put me in a situation where all I have is small talk, where I don’t know anyone and don’t really have a reason to talk, and I hide away. Or dance. I can dance alone. Small talk? Gah.

    The comments above about “don’t talk small”…I try to do that as much as I can, sometimes to the point of overshare. Like the “what do you do” question – I try framing it as “what have you been up to” which opens up the door for so many possibilities. But sometimes the atmosphere or timing or ambience just doesn’t have enough space for the deep and meaningful. And that’s sad.

    (Also while I was reading this comic Ratatat’s “Wildcat” came onto my friend’s speakers. Made this way more intense.)

  37. Kim Says:

    Beautiful. Perfect. Spectacular, Rowntree.
    I seriously need Ethel’s shirt, because I am so bad at talking to people and making new friends unless I am drunk. Socially awkward to the max, which is why everything is easier on the internet. You don’t see people’s reactions to what you tell them so you feel a lot more comfortable just throwing things out there because the risk is not nearly as big as when you try to approach someone in person and get rejected.

  38. David Says:

    I don’t try another door because the first doors are all I know.

  39. Z Says:

    WR, While I could gush for a while (not a whole day, but for a thought-provoked while) about this new comic, I have a question.

    Is there any chance in hell anyone could convince you to create a few shirts based on your comix?

    • Yeah, of course– if you have any preferences just let me know, because i certainly am not great at designing shirts. What kind of things would you be interested in?

    • Z Says:

      I am not sure how to reply directly to you, apologies… My problem is that I don’t know D:
      I just know that they would be awesome and I would buys some. I could suggest ideas inspired by your comix, but there’d be quite a lot of them. They would also be terrible, most likely.

  40. Mark Losavio Says:

    Howdy Mr. Rowntree!

    I just thought that you should take a look at this site called

    It’s this Australian guy who illustrates famous quotes and turns them into little stories(kinda)
    Anyway it’s kinda cool and I figured you might like it!

    • Yeah, i’ve definitely seen it, and definitely been impressed (i wish i’d thought of the idea of illustrating a quote). He’s even done a couple of quotes that were particularly important to me (dawkins and bill hicks), so major props to Zen Pencils for sure. Here’s the link for anyone else wondering about it.

  41. Spike Says:

    It’s funny. I had an office-mate in grad school, who would come in every morning and ask “How ya doin’?”, to which I would give him a description “Oh, I’m sleepy, insomnia last night.” or “I was just pondering how it was longer from the building of the pyramids to Cleopatra than it was from Cleopatra to us.”. One day after regaling him with the fight I had with my stepmother, he said “Ya know, when people ask ya ‘How ya doin.’ the answer is 95% of the time ‘Fine, and how you doin’?” Mind you, he wasn’t an asshole. He was actually a pretty stand up guy. It’s just, would you want to walk into the office every morning and be blasted by some guy who never takes anything lightly, and never asks you how your life is going in return? Learned me a lesson about being a self-absorbed ass that day. Still trying to learn how not to be so creepy intense 24/7.

  42. Alex Says:

    This owns. I love the subtle “outcast” theme.

  43. Never understood what small-talk was for, when I was a kid. I’ve since been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Couldn’t figure out why anyone would rather talk about the weather than the interesting stuff in their heads. Then I began to learn how some primates approach their groupmates gradually for social interaction, testing step by step what distance is acceptable and leaving themselves an excuse to back out if they aren’t welcome, and suddenly a light went on.

  44. Dan Plaat Says:

    Gotta remember to ask “who are you?” I asked “what you do?” my last social event; its usually the wrong question; I however try to have those questions be the same answer for myself and forget that’s not the case with others. But I do try to ask something specific, but that can also be a buzzkill. “So what did you think about specific thing x?” “I didn’t. I’m not into that” oh…(dull pause and walk away). I suppose the right question is needed for the right context.

  45. r10pez10 Says:

    Whoa, Justine’s dress is covered in USAF logos!

  46. Nishido Says:

    Well, I haven’t thought of that. I don’t try other doors because I’m mortally afraid of disappointment; and people don’t need to try my doors ’cause I’m too sincere and open for my own good. So, I guess they are afraid of what I may be hiding, since what’s there is in plain sight is so messed up. Though, in most cases, I’m in an “Ethel” kind of situation; people simply doesn’t hit my interesting doors… Tough live, hehehe.

    Nice job!

  47. Matt Says:

    Was that “I Saved Doug” T shirt a reference to the Walking Dead Game?

    • I thought Carley would be fine because she had a gun so i was like “DOUG, I’M A-COMIN’!!” But then surprise, she was out of ammo, and then at the stats screen it was like “99.6% OF PEOPLE CHOSE TO SAVE CARLEY.” Whatever, Doug was cool. I regret nothing!

    • Matt Says:

      Hahaha, I saved Carley like everyone else. I was surprised that more people didn’t save Doug. I didn’t think the results would be that skewed.

  48. Nice to see the return of the “I’m in the wrong job” monster

    As far as conversations, I see two major reasons I do not

    1. People want light and vacuous. Actually having one’s assumptions challenged is frightening (I want mine to be challenged – it keeps me honest and teaches me how to defend my views – kind of like an immune system needing some dirt to idle properly or, without practice the first infection from a cut and touching a subway “oh shit” strap kills you. Also, you never know when you may discover that you might be wrong!)
    2. Many folks think that a conversation means an opportunity to convert you, to lecture to you. Or, their view is so perfect, so utterly unassailable, that any question is like a god almighty slap in the face to their dignity

    And, a bonus.

    3. No one will read this anyway. People don’t post to comments to make their views known. Most post to spew.

    • Kalle Says:

      I read it. Have the feeling you are baiting Rowntree with this one. πŸ˜›

    • BigSoph Says:

      Kalle, it was not my intent to do so. I was confessing to venting

    • toaster_pimp Says:

      #3 – is not always tru… some people do want to have meaningful discussion.
      #2 – no point talking to those sorts of people reall
      #1 – people don’t want their opinions questioned? yeah, that one is often tru.

    • BigSoph Says:

      3 – most sites I have found where there is a meaningful conversation have some troll hijack it and reduce it to their level. It is almost as inevitable as Godwin’s
      2 – What of those folks are the only ones you know?
      1 – Like many things, I used a generalization. And, while some generalizations are not true, many have at least some basis.

      I certainly yield the point that I should have prefaced my comments “generally, in my experience”. I would actually be happy to find that, somewhere out there, is a forum that has and encourages honest and frank exchange of ideas, even diametrically opposed ones, in a civil manner.
      I also want a solid gold commode. The last one I tried turned out to be the tuba player’s instrument and he is still pissed at me

  49. FriendlyTroll Says:

    Sometimes, I admit, I don’t wish to talk. I might be tired, or worn through.
    But sometimes I talk, and something clicks, and I’ll joke with the casheir about why I;m buying rutabagas (not in depth, but light, because it’s a long, wearying job), or with a classmate about dogs we have own or movies we have watched. I will stop and talk to my old psychology teacher on the way to the bus about thanksgiving plans, and the art I made today.
    Sometimes it feels right to recommend a book, or a movie, and I talk to people.
    I think it feels like opening the right doors.
    (of course, sometimes with people I know very well, I will throw up walls of generalized or yes and no, or ‘just fine’, but I’m working on that.)

  50. Grimm Says:

    That fucking monster on the plane. He’ll never leave me alone.

  51. Tomas Says:

    My perspective as an Aspy who’s been seeing a speech pathologist for years:

    For some, conversation come naturally. For others it takes training and practice, like any other skill.

    The primary purpose of every conversation is the conversation itself. The path is the destination and all that. A tennis volley is a common metaphor. Some conversational responses keep the volley moving, and some responses make it stop. Avoid the latter.

    Avoid silence and avoid monologues. Don’t over-think it. When in doubt, pick the response that conveys the message, “I care about you”.

    p.s.: If you haven’t seen Cloud Atlas yet go see it now. Right now. Seriously, shut off your computer and go see it right now.

  52. Jamie Says:

    The “I’m not quiet I just don’t know how to talk about nothing” quote would make a great shirt. Lovely comic as usual.

    On a side note I was utterly in awe of that floor plan last week.

  53. toaster_pimp Says:

    hey anyone know why the viruscomix logo is a cat lady?

    • Joe Trudell Says:

      Because it’s awesome?

    • toaster_pimp Says:

      fair enough. the tee looks great for sure.

    • jay Says:

      I’ll try “is or not a furry” for 400, Alex. What is no (?). What does that mean anyway?

      Also, the first link on you-tube for “Jeopardy” is “Celebrity Jeapordy” with such titillating categories as “E TIMES THREE” (each answer will have 3 of the letter), “DESPERADO HOUSEWIVES”, “WOLF IT DOWN”, and “SEXIEST MAN ALIVE”. We’ve reached the point where “what is a corndog” is actually a correct answer on Jeopardy. TMYK

    • toaster_pimp Says:

      oh right – furries! are there any characters who are furries in previous subnormality strips anyone know? (the wiki is pretty sparse).

      hmm…now i’m thinking about that monty python skit about the mouse men… they weren’t alluding to furries, but still…kinda the same?

  54. phoenix3992 Says:

    One of my favorite. Would be quite interested in the poster.

  55. Hannah Says:

    I would buy that shirt in the last panel.


    I don’t do small talk, I jump on people’s faces and karate chop their necks when I have nothing to say. Then, I let out a flatulence that’s been held in for years and I leave the room after dropping a methane tank and a match.

    Some people say I’m too edgy, but hey. I speak my mind.

  57. My favorite thing about this comic series is hitting the Sphinx at the top and getting sent to a random past comic. A few are “eh,” but most are beautiful art, with a gut-wrenching story and punchline. Wow. Thank you.

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