April 19, 2013


New comic, finally! Translation assistance from Tom Fummo and Google Translate.


Comix previously seen over at Cracked.com (as well as a few b-sides) are now also available over in these parts in the Abnormality section. There’s a link on the main subnormality page now as well!


This could be important: join me over on the new subnormality facebook page! JOIN ME.



68 Responses to “portrait”

  1. Flatline Says:

    I really love your work! ๐Ÿ™‚
    …but my inside Italian Grammar Nazi (is it a Grammar Fascist?) has to stress out that it’s “Benvenuti”, not “Bienvenuti” ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Seconded. “Bienvenuti” sounds like something Ivan Drago would say.
      For once I appreciated the absence of the giant wall of text and the story told almost without words. Still look forward for your next GWOT though, it’s just a nice change.
      Also yay! Leonardo!

    • TomFummo Says:

      Dammit, Winston! I specifically told you, BENvenuti!
      You’re embarrassing us both, Winston.

      Oh and beautiful work, as usual ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Harry Says:

    yes beautiful yes

  3. danjanon Says:

    Is it weird that I want that portrait?

  4. Francis Reed Says:

    Fantastic, initially i thought it was going to be the mona lisa, but this is even better, if one should stubbornly take pride in one’s natural state despite it all, you should take pride in your comix, it is yourself, it is beautiful

  5. RAIV Says:

    Love it! And I’d pay for that portrait.

  6. Alex Says:

    Another wonderful strip – I’d love a full size portrait of Sphynx!

  7. Caleb Says:

    Hooray! Sphinx is back! I love the idea of using her as an outside observer of human nature through the ages and how she can relay these observations and revelations to PHG, often as a means of supporting her through her insecurities.
    The conversations between PHG and Sphinx are some of my favourite comics, with PHG acting like a representative of humanity with all our foibles and insecurities. Then there’s Sphinx: a character who is able to see us through the lens of time and reveal our true strengths and weaknesses. But that’s just me, your results may vary ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Edwin Says:

    Great comic! The bigger central panel is epic!

  9. Jorpho Says:

    Huzzah! Abnormality, assembled at last! So many comics I have not yet seen! I think.

  10. Hmm interesting how the supposed “monster” is the clever observer of “human” nature. Great Cthulhu approves of this introspective social point.

  11. maxchaplin Says:

    I like this.
    I got the Mona Lisa reference but it seems like there are references to other works there as well.

    • Akap* Says:

      Replace sphinx in scenic rocky backdrop with the, although nicely smiling, mannish woman in blue – Photochop & Voilร !

  12. Leak Says:

    Gotta love those two… ๐Ÿ™‚

    By the way – Is it just me, or is there a lot of sphinxes in webcomics lately? This one here of course, several in Wapsi Square and now another one in We Shadows…

  13. Joe Trudell Says:

    Brilliantly shining a light on society as always. Keep up the good work!
    As your work so often does, this strikes a personal chord with me. I love your comics that feature the Sphinx because I always seem to be able to relate to her. She’s so used to being hated and pushed out of society for the way she is that she’s overjoyed when one person takes and interest and shows her kindness. Only to later discover that that person was only really interested in the one “normal” aspect of her, and wanted to discard the rest. Which is, of course, what she really is. I suppose that represents the monster that’s inside all of us that no one else wants to deal with, so we lock it away and cover it up the best we can, and some are better at doing that then others so they get to be considered “normal”. In the case of the Sphinx, it’s impossible for her to cover up her inner (outer?) monster, so she has to deal with it all by herself. Well until she meets Sometimes-Pink-Haired-Girl anyway.

    Of course, all that being said, the Sphinx does eat people. So there’s that.

    P.S. Love that you finally made a Facebook page!

  14. Sisiutil Says:

    While I agree with Sphinxie and your overall point here, one could still argue that there is an artistic validity to the portrait of her. Perhaps the artist was simply portraying one element of the Sphinx’s complex personality. Perhaps he was trying to humanize her, show the commonality between humanity and this “monster”. Or, yes, perhaps he was just focusing on the one part of her that he thought was aesthetically pleasing.

    I agree that Photoshop retouches are degrading attempts to objectify people (usually women). But I’m reminded of the Riace Bronzes–breathtaking classical sculptures which, when analyzed closely, portray the human body in an ideal and subtly unrealistic fashion. At some point, there’s a fine line that’s being crossed. Perhaps that might be a good subject for a future wall of text?

  15. The Old Wolf Says:

    Fantastico questo fumetto, Winston. C’รจ;molto da considerare qua.

    • Progenie di Giano Says:

      Today must be my day. A comic in my language (and what comic), comments in my language… by the way, keep up the good work, Winston!

  16. Fernando Says:

    Beautiful artwork. And I don’t mean the little painting.

    I feel so bad for the sphynx

  17. Selts Says:

    I would like to add that the new website design looks very crisp and well-organized. Good work on the makeover.

  18. Sir Exal Says:

    The thing to really note about this comic is that the sphinx didn’t just race in and eat the artist, as I thought she would. She has devoured for lesser slights, after all. But here, she doesn’t. I think she knows that, despite the disrespect to her normal form, she sees that the artist was inspired by and is exhibiting her beauty, and furthermore, is exhibiting it in a way that others can respect and admire. We’re all vain enough to want attention, even when it’s attention paid to a version of us that’s better/different than we really are. That’s what (f’r example) posting artsy analyses on the internet is about, right?

    I also enjoy the idea of a sign reading “Welcome to Italy in the Renaissance.”

    And screw the portrait–I want the big panel as a print!

    • Joe Trudell Says:

      I was sure the artist was about to be eaten at first as well. My interpretation is that she was so hurt that she didn’t even have the emotional strength to retaliate

    • Sisiutil Says:

      Possibly… but Sphinxie has shown considerable philosophical perspective in the past. Hurt she may have been, but she also may have realized in that moment that this is a underlying current/desire in human nature, and chowing down on one artist wasn’t going to change that.

    • Joe Trudell Says:

      That is true. Although considering the bulk of this comic takes place in the past, it’s possible that she’s gained a lot of her philosophical perspective within the last 500 years.

    • Thomas Says:

      The Sphynx is 3500 years old and so has had the opportunity to witness the rise and fall of at least half a dozen major empires, and witness everyday drama repeated a million times. I’d say she had humanity figured out a long, long time ago. Also, even though she affects an air of disdain and also dines on people, she is capable of affection and acts of kindness, although she tries not to. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • ThorstenV Says:

      Just you wait, until Shinxybabe sees Gustave Moreau’s version http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6e/Oedipus_und_die_Sphinx_%28Gustave_Moreau%29.jpg

      Than it’ll be: What would Weird Al do? So eat him! Just eat him! Please note, that no details of his death are given. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustave_Moreau

    • Brennan Barrington Says:

      She doesn’t seem to go out of her way to eat people who have pissed her off unless they continue to do so (e.g. they keep arguing with her, like the cop complaining about her walking down the street).

  19. GlitterBerri Says:

    Speaking as a professional translator: Stay away from Google Translate! It’s incredibly unreliable. You might get a comprehensible sentence out of it, especially if you’re translating to and from languages with similar origins, but the output will always contain errors that make the fact that it’s an automated translation very obvious.

  20. r10pez10 Says:

    Nice perspective work on the buildings ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Hafwit Says:

    That was good! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. James Says:

    Is it wrong to fall in love with Sphinxie ?

  23. Buck Says:

    She should have hung out with the Austrian/German Symbolists, those guys loved painting sphinxes.

  24. Magnanimous Says:

    This makes me feel so sad for the Sphinx. So subtle. I love this comic.

  25. Leak Says:

    By the way, your “follow Subnormality on Farcebook” thingy has it’s bottom cut off by the white of the strip’s image…

  26. Sulaiman Daud Says:

    Sphinxie can fly? I think this is the first time I’ve seen her fly. And awww I love her so much.

    • Sisiutil Says:

      The wings ain’t just for show, buddy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      (For the record, Sphynxie flew in her very first appearance, way way WAY back in Subnormality #4…)

    • Thomas Says:

      The Sphynx’s non-flying is explained in Subnormality #100.

  27. Francis Reed Says:

    Great ๐Ÿ™‚ , i also want to mention that i love the FB page and the abnormality section, thank you WR

  28. Henry Turner Says:

    Winston, have you considered selling life sized inflatable sphinxes (with three holes for added realism) via your online store?

    Farcebook page liked, probably much to the horror of people that ‘like’ me, whoever they are.

  29. Absolutely beautiful art! I really love Sphynx and Pink-Haired Girl and the friendship they have. Amazing work again from my favorite webcomic!

  30. Lex Says:

    I cannot express my adoration enough for your work, as both words and art individually and as a whole. Few people manage to nurture one talent this well, let alone two, coupled with an incredible intelligence that just makes me feel better about us as a species.

  31. Sphynxfan Says:

    Sphynx is awesome, she’s one of the best characters I have ever seen.

  32. Bill W Says:

    I’d like to quote the famous philospher Keanu Reeves and say: “Whoa”

  33. Grimm Says:

    Awesome, as always. Poor Sphynx, always misunderstood. Hope she finds happiness.

  34. Patrick Henry Downs Says:

    This strip is beautiful

  35. magic-esi Says:

    I was so happy to see the Spyhnx again! Especially a Sphynx/PHG comic. I often forget that the Spyhnx is so old. I really liked this one, because it was poignant and meaningful but it also had characters that I love. ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. V. F. Says:

    Pretty sharp critique of human…. nature, if there’s such a thing. I love the friendship between these two, and I also love it when we get an insight into Sphinx’s long life history…. Let me preface what I’m about to say by stating that you’re a far better artist than I am. It’s kind of bugged me, though, to see everything about your style evolve and improve so much over the years, but having her wings look pretty much the same. Hope it’s not presumptuous of me to share a resource that made me understand wing anatomy really easily, to the point of no longer needing much reference to draw realistic-looking wings. I mean this in the spirit of absolute fan-worship and constructive critique to one of my favorite artists out there… hope it’s not unwelcome. Keep up the amazing, amazing work. http://theantimonyelement.deviantart.com/art/Bird-Wing-Tutorial-150844565

    • Thanks for that– your point is well-taken, and i’ve had a good look at the tutorial you’ve linked to. I fully acknowledge that i’ve neglected to learn how to draw wings properly, so i’ll definitely take this as my opportunity to address that. So cheers! Better wings in 2013…

    • great tutorial, I used it too ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. Baeraad Says:

    I’m afraid that I am prevented from feeling as sorry for the Sphynx as I am clearly meant to here, because I am distracted by the fact that SHE KILLS AND EATS PEOPLE.

    I mean, she’s not irrationally hated and discriminated against. She’s very rationally hated and discriminated against because SHE KILLS AND EATS PEOPLE. I’m supposed to care that her vanity was hurt by one of those humans she considers snacks on legs? I’m just not feeling it, sorry. I mean, I eat cows, which is bad of me, but at least I don’t feel sorry for myself because bovine kind doesn’t love me exactly as I am.

    • ThorstenV Says:

      So your point is?

      While a comic having Sphinx and PHG discussing veganism might be very interesting indeed, this is not that one.

    • Baeraad Says:

      My point is that using the Sphynx to demonstrate that Humans Are Bastards (which is what she’s used for, over and over again) just doesn’t work very well seeing as the humans have every right and reason to be bastards to her.

  38. Aiarashi Says:

    What is this? Where’s my text? XDDD
    Oh, it’s at the end. ๐Ÿ˜›
    Interesting one this is, Winston. Though I kind of guess not as insightful as others but I do like the “humanity never learns” kind of message, that’s kind of funny, but at the same time gives a kind of hopelessness feeling.
    Nonetheless It’s always a pleasure to read your comics. ^^

  39. Very enjoyable comic. At least the Sphynx had some time together with someone who didn’t run upon seeing her.

  40. Shyguy9 Says:

    Poor Sphinx.

    She’s my favorite character of yours.

  41. karl Says:

    sphinx is so cool. and i feel sorry for her.

  42. Hello. I’m a stranger and my heroes include Henry Darger, Kilgore Trout, and now, Winston Rowntree. Your comics are inspiring, your message illuminating, and your wit is both refreshing and hilarious. Please keep existing.

  43. Ilmarinen Says:

    Ah, so the way to defeat the sphinx is to make her feel bad about her stupid, ugly body. Got it. We’ll use this fact to deter her for another generation or so. By then our weapons should be developed enough to simply destroy her when she chooses to mouth off about our social structures.

    I haven’t forgotten what she said about cars, and I’m still sore about it.

    • Joe Trudell Says:

      I haven’t forgotten what she said about cars either, which is why I’ll be right there by her side to the bitter end ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Brennan Barrington Says:

      The interesting thing about her and cars is that (if we assume this alternate universe where monsters are a fact of life is otherwise like our own) cars kill a LOT more people every year than she does (namely, thirty thousand a year in this country, and FOUR MILLION around the world every year). I think part of the point of the Sphinx is that how much we consider something that kills a lot of people a horrible danger to be avoided, versus just a fact of life, has almost nothing to do with the actual likelihood of being killed by it (e.g., the way people think & talk about terrorism, which is completely INSANE when you consider the numerical probabilities).

  44. Mystyr Nile Says:

    Am i the only one who keeps ending up calling her “The Lioness” mentally?

  45. fishboy Says:

    Sooo.. Where does she keep the map? Does the Sphinx carry a handbag?! o.O

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