Friday Night

April 8, 2014


Okay, holy fucking shit let’s get back on track here, new comic available (and here it is in that scalable format for anyone who prefers that with the larger comix, since this is the Largest comic).

Thanks for waiting, i’ve hated being away for so long. And apologies to anyone who’s emailed lately and not received a reply, i’ve been just unusually busy and am behind on literally everything. Is it weird to reply to emails from like a month ago? Well, let’s go and find out…

i platonically love all of you,


232 Responses to “Friday Night”

  1. Nathan Says:


  2. whee i’m almost like the writer girl except i don’t write

  3. molly Says:

    oh my goodness that was incredible.

  4. notquiteabd Says:

    Winston, you just fixed everything that was wrong with this week. Happy Tuesday!

  5. Augustine Says:

    YES yay.You know how you glide over the good comments and the bad ones really stick with you? This is a good comment. You rock. Make this stick.

  6. Sergeant Major Tom Says:

    Damned if Ethel’s profile wasn’t right on target for me right now. Fuck. :/

  7. Benoist Says:

    I fucking love it, people’s conversations should be more honest like these!

    I actually don’t know how to say it, but, you know!

  8. Joe Trudell Says:

    So, after waiting so long for a new comic, I was honestly beginning to wonder if the next one could really be worth this long of a wait. And of course it was! My apologies for doubting you even if it was for just a split second.
    Also that took me over an hour to read through, and I’m ok with that. Looking forward to seeing you outdo yourself again.

  9. Artaphia Says:

    I don’t even know what to write, it’s so awkward, but I really appreciate the comic, this has got to be the most elaborate yet! Your ambition is stunning and you manage to carry it out. I platonically love your comics.
    The news about Putin really made me laugh, nice touch!
    It was also cool to see General Pete again 🙂

  10. Clai Says:

    That was just magic, it really captured something true. Several true things actually.

  11. Nicole Says:

    You know that old saying about reading – the one about how you feel less alone, because you know that someone else has felt this too? Everything you write makes me feel like that. Your work is brilliant and it means a lot to me. Thank you.

  12. fishboy Says:

    That was beautiful, really grabbed me deep.. Magic.

    And stunning! Audacious use of the infinite canvas – keep pushing the boundaries man.

  13. startupgroupie Says:

    (Wow, Justine’s got some heavy stuff on her mind and she isn’t even anywhere near the TV…)

    Winston, you put a doomsday plane smack in the middle of a crowd of single people at a bar named Often’s (ha!) on February 14th…far from it being a proper depression-fest, you made everything that happened, just…matter. You’re amazing. I’d wait a year of my life (but please don’t make it so) for comix this good.

    P.S. was it Anneliese who inspired “Trench Periscope”? 🙂

  14. So awesome! I got jitters reading this thing–I like became more excited as I was crawling through the lines of text~

  15. Anthony Says:

    Goddamn this was amazing. So awesome to see the whole Subnormality cast in this. Excellent work as usual, Rowntree.

    Also: Been reading Dan O’Brien’s Presidents book and your illustrations are fantastic.

  16. Hairybad Says:

    That was another awesome hour long read. I thank you.

  17. Lex Says:

    When I read this comic, I feel more alive and more in touch with the outside world than I ever have. I don’t know how you do it, but you do. Thank you.

    I love you too, WR.

  18. Sisiutil Says:

    Awesome as usual. Nice to see you slipped in Marie and Anneliese necking in the corner.

    • Dylan Says:

      what where was this

    • Mystyr Nile Says:

      @Dylan: It’s near the top. The second panel that shows the bar, which is the first panel to show the interior.
      It’s right after Ethel’s profile and Sphynx and PHG talking.
      They are visible on the rightmost part of the panel.

  19. Nat Says:

    That was fantastically beautiful. Glad I took the time to read it.
    Keep being awesome.

  20. Hanshishiro Kami Says:

    It was worth the wait.

    Thank You

  21. JeanPootis Says:

    Damn there are too many words. Damn the page configuration is awful. Damn why do I have to play with the zoom to view the entirety…
    Damn it’s just so great.

    • I know what you mean, and this is why i’m so grateful to y’all for enduring all the imperfections associated with reading my work.

    • Daniel Says:

      I believe the complexity is part of what makes this amazing like no other “comic”.
      What are your strategies to reading it? I usually pan out to get a birds view (kind of like seeing a painting in a museum), to track the information flows, see if I’m not missing anything, then start slowly from the edges… top down, then right to left, then bottom up to see if I haven’t missed anything…

  22. Thank you for fantastic story. This just comic just jumped into my favorites.

  23. Juan Says:

    Your work its fantastic. Im not really good at English, im from Argentina, but when you put a new comic it makes my day a lot better. Its deep, its beautiful, its sad, its whats life its all about.

    Thank you. I hope someday you could make everyone read your comics.

  24. Kalle Says:

    Really good as usual! I think it’s good to have returning characters, but don’t forget to have a mix between new and old! Not that anything is wrong now – just keep it in mind, and keep making awesome stuff!

  25. Tamfang Says:

    My computer crashed as I was reading it. How awesome is that?!

  26. who took that profile name on okc, dammit? On a similar note, I can’t claim that URL ( so please someone else thankyou.

    Sorry I made the only remotely negative comment (iirc) on your last blog post, Winston — entirely unwarranted. It was about this comic taking too long and it definitely doesn’t matter now. I echo the compliments of everyone above and thank you immensely for giving me yet another day of the year to come across as unsettingly intense. Mark Feb 14th 2015 in your calendars people.

    I love you all and shall entertain a naive fantasy of us all somehow improving the world collectively.

    When WR’s readership grows larger and more varied — the threshold I’d like to cross is noted fans from every language group on earth — could we have a survey to see how our priorities in the world and perceptions of reality vary?

    In closing, my total inability to imagine how your work could possibly not completely enthrall anyone comfortable with reading and basic english makes me a terrible person but I’m working on it. Please never be afraid of putting part of yourself into your work, even if only in the cheeky meta-method that you exhibit through Ethel. That comic made me feel like we just hugged for a bit.

    • Don’t apologize for being negative– i welcome dissenting views, as opposed to creating an echo chamber (and believe me, i was upset about the hiatus too). And thanks for the very kind words! I’ll always be afraid to put part of myself into my work, but i’ll always do it anyway.

    • Mystyr Nile Says:

      Don’t apologize for being negative– i welcome dissenting views, as opposed to creating an echo chamber (and believe me, i was upset about the hiatus too). And thanks for the very kind words! I’ll always be afraid to put part of myself into my work, but i’ll always do it anyway.

      this is me attempting comedy

  27. joeC Says:

    Make “This is a one way flight” a poster and I’ll buy it instantly. Hauntingly beautiful!

  28. Julie Says:

    Sometimes I have the feel that I exist in the corner of one of your comics, surrounded with me stuff and way too deeply in my thoughts (and possibly commenting great Internet webcomics) to properly get in touch with the people around me, Winston.
    Thank you !! I relate ! And that was a great read ! And fantastic drawings !

  29. Joe Monterrubio Says:

    Gobsmackingly brilliant, thanks very much Winston.

    Are you sure you’re not a hyperintelligent, telepathic alien with a profoundly overdeveloped empathy gland?

  30. Ben Zyl Says:

    Welcome back, and there was me starting to feel stupid(er) for checking the site for an update two or three times a day for the last three months.

  31. Amazing as usual, and even larger than most. I’m starting to consider buying a massive monitor, just for your work. would totally be worth it.

  32. SM Says:

    There’s just too much in here for anyone to not relate to some of it. Pink’s “they practically had to sit me down” line hits hard.

    I had to wander around for 10-15 minutes after finishing, just trying to get something done after work, feeling like I’d been smacked between the eyes with a hammer of whoa. And to think you’ll top this…scary.

  33. Alex Says:

    Wow I would seriously jump at the chance for some Subnormality playing cards. You do commissions right Winston? Let’s hear a rough estimate for that huh? I’d love those

    • I actually like that idea, but i’d want everyone to have them. I’ll keep it in the back of my mind at least…

    • William Brennan Says:

      I was going to say Sphinx as the ace of spades, but she’s not just that. Problem with this idea is that just like RL you can’t pin these people into numbers in a deck.

    • L. Says:

      I would order one in a heartbeat. Who’s with me?

  34. SteveB Says:

    Another fantastic comic. God, I love your work. You go on taking as long as you want/need, every single one is worth twice the wait.

  35. Anubis Bard Says:

    Phenomenal. It just kept getting better. Kudos and Thanks.

  36. Tim Says:

    Great content but I feel like this could have been divided up into easier to read pages without losing anything.

    I get that you like the freedom in panel size and shape that unlimited page size affords, but the scrolling around in the browser is awkward, even using

    I remember you using the size of the canvas to good effect in ‘The Rude Stranger’ but here it feels like a barrier.

  37. James Rosso Says:

    I’ve said it to myself but i’m saying it out loud now: Your characters say what i think and feel. I always read the entire text bubbles because they’re echoing what’s in my head. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone in there.


    PS I like lots of webcomics but i love Subnormality (and the sphinx is awesome).

  38. DoubleW Says:

    Here’s to feeling like an imposter just because you’re in a not-horrible place in life.
    This was draining to read, in a good way.

  39. Caleb Says:

    I got the email notifying me of a new Sub comic while I still had two more hours of work left (you horrible bastard)…. I don’t remember ever looking forward to anything so much in a long time.

    Now I’m home and still my grubby work clothes, with dried out contact lenses after sitting here for an hour reading what I think is most definitely your Masterwork.

    You’ve created characters who are perfect mirrors to so many facets of my own existence it’s a little scary, but hearing them talk about their own insecurities and somehow work their way through it to find a level of self-acceptance and support gives me hope.

    Thank you so much.

    PS, if you ever find a way to format all of Subnormality into a book of some kind I will come to wherever you live and throw judicious amounts of money at you. Just putting that out there.

  40. Timothy Buck Says:

    The irony is not entirely lost on me, but I would totally buy a “there is no part of knowing me that will make your life easier” or “I won’t waste my love on a nation” shirt. Of all the webcomics I read and enjoy, Subnormality is the only one I feel I supremely connect with.

    I platonically love you too, WR.

    • Thanks! I’m just glad that webcomics can connect with people, that’s always what i aspire to and what i know the medium can be.

      (And just for the record, “I won’t waste my love on a nation” is actually a line from a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club song, i take no credit for that one.Technically their logo’s on his shirt too, but it’s sort of hard to interpret.)

  41. illuminoid Says:

    Winston, you’ve outdone yourself this time, and I mean that in the best possible way!

  42. Grimm Says:

    Welcome back Mr. Rowntree. Great comic. The sheer scope of it… it floored me.

    I hope Ethel gets some help because that’s bona fide clinical depression.

  43. Mike W. Says:

    Definitely worth the wait! A lot of stuff in the comic resonated with me (which is why I’m commenting instead of just lurking, like I usually do).

    I take it you’ve been listening to a lot of Guess Who lately? I also liked how Pete didn’t know the words to “Bad Moon Rising”, but I was thinking “Lodi” might have fit his situation better 🙂

  44. Fuck yeah! So good to see the new comic up, This one brought the warm feelings/thoughts just like I love. Can’t wait until next year for 218 ❤

  45. Wow. That was an incredible read, holy crap

  46. Sam Wells Says:

    Goddamn, mr. Rowntree the work you do is so damn astounding. I`ve been reading for a couple years and It`s always felt so special. It honestly kind of frustrates me that you can express these wonderful, layered, beautiful characters and ideas that hit me to my core every time and I can`t even figure out how to explain how good your comics make me feel. Every time you post a comic it feels like christmas. Thank you so much for this awesome thing.

  47. TentacledBeast Says:

    This is just amazing. Perfect use of the medium, tailored to your strengths, I think.

    Ethel is so much like me it scares me. (Well apart from the fact that I’m perfectly happy being single. And that, despite all my insecurities, at the end of the day I think pretty highly of myself. And perhaps a few minor things…)

    I haven’t finished reading it yet (I’ll probably post a more through comment), but before I forget I wanted to ask; what’s ICBJ?

    • TentacledBeast Says:

      Also, what’s the wordplay in “how it’s her”?

    • “How it’s her” sounds like “Howitzer” which is a kind of short-barrelled field gun or any artillery piece with a particularly pronounced arc due to high projectile mass and relatively low muzzle velocity. They tend to have calibres over ~76mm and fire high explosive rounds.

      I have no idea what ICBJ is either. Doesn’t seem meaningful in cyrillic.

    • Matt Says:

      “ICBM” is the acronym for “intercontinental ballistic missile”, so presumably an ICBJ is an intercontintental ballistic Justine.

    • ^ Yup, what they said.

    • Jason Says:

      Sounds like General Pete and Justine have a lot in common!

    • Esn Says:

      Aaah! I interpreted ICBJ as “I See Blow Job” – I figured that panel was from the perspective of the man trying to hit her up.

      So, I completely misinterpreted it, but maybe that way makes sense as well?

    • Tomn Says:

      I assumed it meant “Intercontinental Ballistic Jet,” myself, since from the way she was describing it that’s what the Hustler seemed to be.

  48. bachterman Says:

    please don’t do this again. i got carpal tunnel syndrome by moving my mouse all the way.

  49. Phil Roberts Says:

    “What if this whole time there was a point of no return, and you passed it without seeing?”

    Yeaaaah you may have clipped a bone there dude.

  50. Jonathan Opperman Says:

    Jesus. You get me every single time. You so artfully(excuse the pun) and tenderly illustrate our own insecurities, burdens and egos. Thanks a million for reminding me I’m not alone…and many others I am sure.

  51. Fellow Says:

    Did the hustler girl say all of that out loud?

    • Yes, but it’s not meant to be realistic. This is somewhat tangential, but how do you write about things that go unsaid? I think you just give ‘er and trust that there’s a difference between being unrealistic and being untruthful.

    • Fellow Says:

      I just asked because I couldn’t see her mouth, and the speach bubble changed color, which might indicate that it’s not what was really said. If I were looking for realism I’d pick a comic without spinxes. (spinxi?)

  52. holy damn. outstanding. also, thank you for the scalable version, the effect of the hustler sequence was originally kind of lost on my laptop. also, favourite detail has to be that Justine’s thought bubble was the same colour as her hair used to be.

  53. rpressergmail Says:

    Tremendous work. If you spend any of your own time feeling the same insecurities about your art as … um … I don’t actually know the character name because I am pretty new here, but the girl who thinks she can’t say I love you … anyhow, your art is tremendous and you should feel no insecurity whatsoever.

    • I spend a healthy chunk of time feeling insecurities about, well, everything, so thanks, i genuinely appreciate the kind words.

    • Leo W. Says:

      Totally concur, your art kicks ass (Oh my god, that one panel of Justine. I spent a good 10 minutes just staring at that alone).

  54. Brian Moon Says:

    This comic felt like a movie. Your skill at managing multiple stories but all around a singular theme amazes me.

    Reading your work just makes me want to write more, myself. Thank you, Winston Rowntree.

  55. Phil Carter Says:

    There are very, very few comics (web- or otherwise) that I would classify as real art. Subnormality passed that threshold quite some time ago and with every new creation you’re exploring new ground.

    Also, this comic hit me right in the feels, as so many of yours do. Ethel and PHG connecting, refining their friendship, opening up to each other. Poor Justine trying to open up, be herself, and frightening the guy away….but making another connection with the second guy later on. Pete making a connection with Zoe….seeing the little slip that she wrote him just put a lump in my throat.

    I just….you know what? I give a damn about these characters. I want Justine to find somebody that she doesn’t make explode. I want Zoe to find somewhere warm and safe to live. I want PHG to continue on that journey of self-exploration. I want Ethel to hit the NYT bestsellers list and have as many fans as she by rights ought to. I want Pete and his group to go multiplatinum. I want ALL of these characters to be happy and successful, to enjoy life, to succeed in every way.

    We’re all of us broken or breaking in some way. But those who love us don’t care. Your comics help remind us all of that. Thank you for continuing to create.


    • thanks, eh, that’s some of the nicest feedback ever. Creating characters that are cared about by anyone is all i can hope for as an artist, so i’m pretty honored. And I want them to be happy too…

    • Mancuso Says:

      Phil – Stop reading my mind, it’s scary. Seriously.
      Winston – Everything Phil said. Word for word, I couldn’t change a single space.

  56. monsterzero Says:

    Thanks for this.

  57. rgriffit Says:

    I had a crummy week, and this made me feel better. It’s like each of your characters voices one of the many insecurities in my head, and it’s great to know I’m not alone.

  58. Fish Says:

    Man I wish girls like this really existed. Maybe they do, but I’ve never seen them.

  59. Izzy Says:

    dude, you honestly just put everything that i’ve felt about okcupid, relationships, friendships, and everything inbetween into words

    i may be a guy but i’d fucking take you out to a 5-star restaurant, make you a 3 layer cheesecake and fuck you wildly into the next century for being this amazing

    never stop being so fucking awesome
    never do it

  60. c Says:

    I really liked this one!

  61. Katete Says:

    I’m bedridden and delirious for days, and when I finally gain some semblance of lucidity, there’s THIS.

    I have a bunch of things that kind of make me feel heady and high when I read them. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn chapter from Wind in the Willows. The last few paragraphs of Plato’s speech in Symposium. The entirety of Star Maker or First and Last Men by Olaf Stapledon. And other pretty unconnected things. A few songs, also, like Echoes by Pink Floyd, and one or two films. It’s a good feeling when I read/listen/whatever these things. Good being a very poor approximation, mind you. I feel giddy and off my face but entirely cognant. Any problems I have going on suddenly seem just as small and insignificant, in the grand scheme of things, as they really are, and I’m better able to just accept and deal with it if they’re things beyond my control (as they so often are), rather than stressing over things pointlessly. But the problem-solving isn’t the main point. It’s a convenient symptom, I suppose.

    It’s almost religious. I don’t let myself experience this daily, or even monthly. I feel like it’s special and shouldn’t be done for the hell of it. But oh, the feeling is amazing. It’s the most amazing high. It’s just… unexplainable. I’ve not done drugs so I can’t compare it to anything like that, but I can say that I get much better at a lot of bizarre things while I’m mentally soaring through the cosmos. I am measurably better than my spouse at topology (lovely spouse has a phd in said area so this is significant) when in this state. I feel like I’m the star child at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    And now, dammit, I have to figure out another way to add one more super tall comic to my collection of high-inducing stuff. It’s ridiculous: if it were a regularly-shaped comic, it just wouldn’t be on the same order of magnitude of awesomeness. But it’s freaking cumbersome to read.

    Thank you, Winston.

  62. Oh god. I live in a basement apartment just like Ethel’s. Oh god. oh god.

  63. SayanD Says:

    This was absolutely excellent. I don’t feel like I’m ‘waiting’ for your comics anymore, it’s like every once in a while you decide to share something with us and we’re privileged to get to read it. Amazing work.

  64. Who needs to know? Says:

    you are, without a doubt, one of the most talented (although i know for a fact the “talent” came through hard word and shit) webcomic writers I have ever come across. Your ability to characterize people and give them such a 3-dimensional personality is almost at the point where I felt like I was a personal friend of those characters in real life. The fact that I can read all of the dialouge and still remain interested throughout the entire page attests to that. Plus I love the way you just do art, like i dont really know how to explain it as well as your writing, but you just draw really goddamn good.

    just, you are just a fantastic writer and artist. I dont care if I have to wait a year for updates, I just love each and every one.

  65. ikurus Says:

    Just want to tell you that your comics are absolutely amazing, all of them.
    Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to make and share something so good.

  66. Doyle Says:

    Hey Winston, It is me again, I doubt you remember me but I sure as hell remember you! (notice that I am here right? seems like it occurred to me well enough to visit and see if there was something new.) Anyway I just wanted to go into some back story I guess, I dunno. I have been having a bit of a hard time lately, I fell in love the wrong way again, and it just sucks. I try to look strong and interesting and all that, but Today I am tired and a little stressed and your comic made me actually cry. I feel Joe so much because I can relate to him the easiest I guess, but I just want them all the be happy and shit, because if they can I can right? And I am just a wreck right now and spilling my guts all over this nice comments page… Anyway, thanks so damn much for the comic, and if you could do me a favor get Zoe a sandwich or something next time she makes a pass by. Going to go try and put myself together again.

    Until next time, Doyle.

  67. jemontague Says:

    I want to say something but I don’t know what to say. Aside from noting that these comics make me wish my monitor was eight times bigger, I read this in a one-er (as I do all of them, normally) and my music went silent some way in and I didn’t notice. I’m just hunched over my screen reading every word in dead silence. After I finish reading, I take a long slow breath and lean back with my hands on my head. I know describing how I physically react isn’t the same as describing how I mentally or emotionally reacted but I’m just speechless. Winston, you are so talented, you always take my breath (and words) away.

  68. Dennis Says:

    I see my son in this, I wish I could help him more but I can’t

  69. G. Kis Says:

    I really liked the hidden clue about what she really wants.

    • acidic Says:

      fuck, i spent WAY too much time poring over the text until finding it, of course, right in the panel where it would be.

  70. Abel Says:

    Well that took 2 hours to read.

  71. Doug Says:

    Wow, you continually outdo yourself, Winston.

    Oh, and “History is composed almost entirely of people not getting things ” is the best line I’ve seen in a while.

  72. Never enough words. To convey the respectful awe.

  73. John R Says:

    Winston! That was amazing! Thank you so much!

    I feel like in the last several months the comix have taken a daring turn of some kind that I can’t precisely characterize. But even if it’s just the, erm, seeing less and loving more talking, it sure feels like this particular strip featured some of my new favorite art (end of the Hustler story being just one example, reminding me of “what I wish I drew” from long ago), writing (too many examples to name), and characterization. I hope that the seemingly momentous positive developments in your characters’ lives are in some way related to similar positive-ness in your own.

    Thanks again! Here’s to General Pete!

  74. JESUS HAPLOID CHRIST that was a big comic! And wonderful, too. I don’t think it home for me like it did some other folks — I’ve been lucky and privileged in a lot of ways — but there was some awesome emotion in that. I will admit skimming some early dialogue, but not anything after the first scene.

    The bomber sequence was stunning. The fact that it didn’t fit on my screen even after zooming all the way out made it even better. It felt like it was too much emotion for her too contain, represented by the sheer size on my screen. I also liked the ambiguity of the subject of what she was saying/thinking/feeling.

  75. Flem Says:

    Could it be possible for a leaving being to be so lost,and still be honest with himself and don`t flee it or lie to himself about it,apparently yes.
    Your strength is something admirable despite your intense negative and mislead vision of yourself.
    I can almost feel the pain and the torment just by reading the words your writing.
    Sharing with others about that require a lots of inner strengths,and none inner,external thoughts,peoples should make you doubt about that,because it`s a fact.
    I can`t read until the end,it was to much for me,no misunderstood not to much boring or uninteresting but to much painful.
    Seeking a companion while still being full of fear and conflict inside yourself is just the more stupid act than people who leave in these actual society do everyday.
    Seeking a companion is for most part of the people seeking a sexual security and the security to have a companion,and this is what people call love even if in fact it`s attachment and the companion become a possession,a produce than you can own,and come the jealous,conflict,drama,sadness.I don`t whant in any case told you what you have to do or not,what you have to think or not.Maybe this could help yourself to help yourself

  76. Liam Says:

    None of these characters feel like real people.

    • That’s interesting, why? If you could modify Ethel, for instance, to “make her real” what you do?

    • Liam Says:

      I guess Ethel seems inconsistently open to me. She seems at once to have social anxieties and depression but there she is telling PHG intimate details about her life.

    • Jason Says:

      If anything the comic is pretty consistent about that. Ethel describes herself the same way you did in her dating profile at the top.

    • Esn Says:

      To me, these characters sometimes feel like people who are unusually articulate and lucid, with an uncanny sense of good timing. Perhaps in that sense, they are a bit unreal – but if that leads to revelations which let me wash away some of the fog in my life, I am fully in favour of this mild brand of unreality…

    • Lyam Says:

      @Jason The comic may be consistent but the character is not. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a real life Ethel.

      @Esn I get where you’re coming from, in fact I’ve just seen WR said this about the comic:

      ‘…there’s a difference between being unrealistic and being untruthful.’

      But personally I feel like everything being laid out on a plate takes something, for me it makes characters harder to empathise with.

  77. Al Says:

    These always seem to come out just when I need ’em most. Incredible work, as always- gonna be one of the ones I return to on shitty nights.

    Great to know that when I’m connecting with every word General Pete says (that trench periscope story was super, by the way), that probably everyone returning to the comic gets that and feels the same, too.

    Gonna be one of the ones that I keep coming back to on rough nights. Thanks for the distraction/ the mood boost/writing the thoughts that I have but can’t articulate.

  78. Mark Says:

    Man. I could write essays about your comics. I’ve always been really inspired by your awesome, awesome characters in my own writing, and seeing them come so vividly to life in this comic made that wait absolutely worth it. Ethel’s and Pink Hair’s growth together is so tangible. They’re both so consistent and endearing in their mannerisms and personalities. You pack them with self-awareness until they’re real. How they see themselves is obvious in every interaction, and it’s incredibly satisfying to have them reflect a sympathetic image that isn’t relentlessly critical back at each other. It’s obvious that their friendship is absolutely real. And that awkward sort of jittering into talking about something embarrassing and personal that you can only really broach at all with someone you really trust and are maybe slightly drunk. You nailed that too. And Ethel’s manner of speech is genius all around, sort of pissed off and self-deprecating and profane and always finding the perfect phrase or image to illustrate even the most casual point. Dilapidated, creaking shack, no footprints in the dust. Awesome. (My “Big Words Are Cool” shirt is probably my favorite that I own.) And how war history girl (has she ever been named? I can’t recall….) blasted that guy’s fucking face off with her intensity toward the setting for a suicide mission to imminent nuclear holocaust. Also awesome. And I would definitely buy General Pete’s album, because that motherfucker has something to say, and is also hilarious and likable. Actually all your characters have something worthwhile to say every single time, which means you have a fuckload of somethings worthwhile to say, which means keep making these even if it takes a long time, because reading them is like devouring a ten-course meal of Truth at a restaurant that pretends its your birthday and brings out a cake every time you visit.

  79. Hafwit Says:

    I’m in awe as usual, but more than usual. That was beautiful and moving. I identify so strongly with Ethel you wouldn’t believe it.

    Thank you.

  80. Mary Says:

    Had to remind myself to breathe as and after I was reading. I’ve been a fan of your work for a long time, but this felt like a gift. Your characters are more realized than most actual humans are and I wish you a wonderful day, with love.

  81. lonelydisco Says:

    And I thought that “they all meet in a bar” was my idea. That was an oddly smooth thing. Mein Gott, you’ve come far from Marie.

    Congratulations on finding out what Subnormality means to you. Whatever it is, it’s a quiet epic.

    I’ve seen someone grow with their art. I just realized that you count as an amateur. I hope I haven’t been sounded sentimental, but, what can I say? Captain Estar did a number on me – and believe me, it wasn’t pretty.

  82. redkraken Says:

    Wow. Hit it right out of the park yet again. By far the most unique story-teller on the internet. I lack the words to get across how glad I am you are part of the weave of the net.

    That was excellent!

  83. Kay Says:

    Now I’m not alone on a Friday night. Thanks!

  84. Sulaiman Daud Says:

    This was absolutely worth the wait. And I agree with Phil Carter, I care about these characters. They seem real to me. I want them all to find the happiness they deserve. Keep making art Winston, I will always be interested in what Ethel or Pinky or Sphinxie or General Pete or Zoe or Justine are up to.

  85. Jack Says:

    Goddammit, Winston – that was STELLAR. I was super glad to see that you worked all of the regulars in there. The interplay was, as usual, “realer than reality,” as you seem to do so well.

  86. Wow that took me just about an hour to get through.
    Fantastic work.

  87. Vabolo Says:

    I’m sorry if this sounds like a suck-up comment (also sorry if this sounds like a friggin’ academic dissertation), but here goes:

    After years of reading your work, I have got to say that I’ve yet to be disappointed, and I’ve found my enjoyment of your work to be on a steady incline. Every new page makes me identify with your characters more and more, despite the fact that I probably identify more with them than I do myself at this point, which is to point out how profound you can weave their issues, problems and broken points into the most amazing (and longest, hardy-har-har) of tapestries.

    In fact, the way you so uniquely make use of the infinite canvas that is web-based comic publishing makes appreciating your work all the more enjoyable: with most webcomics, you read through the panels once, and you get the gist of it, the set-up, delivery and punchline and then the end. Your style of work, on the other hand, makes it impossible to fully read a page without zooming out a bit, without looking at the big picture, or looking at the tiniest of details. It’s practically an adventure to read each new publication of Virus Comix, and what an adventure it is! (I just realized the scope of the ICBJ segment when I clicked the scroll-and-zoom link)

    How you manage to incorporate so many different vantage points and levels of view in sequential story telling is one of the most notable things that make these kinds of pages real pieces of art in my heart, along with how your characters express themselves in their own ways, through different life experiences (albeit fictional) and points of view, and yet still realistically manage to communicate the same idea, the one you so chose to present before us.

    The intertwining of the visual and literary in your art inspires me to make my own (despite the fact that I can hardly manage to get past a few panels whenever I start to make a new comic, heh), and is what makes me visit your homepage every few days despite it not updating for months at a time at times, most of the times.

    Winston Rowntree, thank you for making one of the things I enjoy most, and by all faiths, I wish you the best in your enterprise!

  88. Thanks a lot! Says:

    I love your work, and I love you. I truly, truly love you for doing the work you do. You make the world a little less lonely, you’ve helped me continue to realize that I’m not the weird dude in a world full of normal people. That I’m not some super-self-conscious ass who has managed to somehow make some makeshift friends.

    I almost didn’t write this, but I figured you are probably as self conscious as I am, and a little positive energy never hurt anyone.

    So thanks. Thanks again.

  89. Jason Says:

    This was really cool and worth the wait. Like others said I’m really invested in the characters. I like the parallel between the Sphynx-PHG and PHG-Ethel relationships (maybe PHG should introduce the two), and it’s interesting to see how all the characters have changed — not necessarily for the better. Like, PHG seems to have it all together now, and Ethel’s feeling better, but Justine seems to be in a worse state than we’ve ever seen her in before. And Zoey…Zoey looks and sounds ROUGH. I’m worried about her! It really hits home for me because I just moved to Philadelphia last summer and the number of people who I encounter every day, living on the street and begging for money…I don’t know how to handle that and it’s hard.

    But there were lots of funny parts too. Like the Sphynx not understanding sex! And non sequitur, but I think I spy in the last bar scene the woman that Pete was afraid to talk to in the music store, right?

    I just wish that the comic was easier to read. I hesitate to tell you to do it differently because you just gotta follow your muse and it wouldn’t be quite the same if it were put together more conventionally … but you could have broken this one up into several smaller episodes (even if you had to put “to be continued” at the bottom of each page) and you wouldn’t have lost…much? Despite the fact that it all fell under the general theme of Valentine’s Day or whatever I don’t think readers would have minded the “repetition.” There were enough ideas in here to fit several comics (not to mention more than enough panels! If every one of your comics is like the size of 50 conventional comics than nobody can complain about you not updating often enough!)

    Still, I agree that it’s all best presented the way you did. I just wish that was easier to work with. Like sometimes I felt I couldn’t zoom in as far as I wanted, and sometimes it zooms too far in or too far out but there’s no inbetween, and I wish I could use the arrow buttons instead of dragging the image, and I wish I could use page up and page down to jump farther (and something equivalent for left and right). I know I could use page up and down on the conventional website, but I tried reading it without and it crashed my browser, it’s just too big.

    Anyway, overall I really enjoyed this episode, as I always do, and thanks for considering my comments.

    • Esn Says:

      I’m going to come out against splitting it up – I do think that this would disturb the flow of the story. However, I would appreciate it if, for long comics like this, a little line of text was added to the top of the website saying about how long it would take to read.
      I think this took me around 2 hours (?), but I couldn’t stop – it would’ve been nice to know ahead of time.

      I don’t use, instead I used Firefox’s built-in zooming feature: Ctrl+mouse wheel.

  90. ninja_jesus Says:

    That was less of a comic and more of a microcosm of human experience, and a whole comic universe unto itself. You’ve REALLY established your characters so well, and to see them interact with each other is an amazing sight to behold. And you know, despite how much crap I give to the idea of fanshipping, I think I might genuinely ship Ethel and PHG. They’re pretty much made for each other, in life and, in my head, in love. I can’t help it.

    Your writing is, as always, quite fantastic and I wish I could write like that. I feel so much like Ethel right now, but probably even worse off because I can’t even call “writing” something that I do, much less “something I’m good at”. It’s the only skill that’s ever stuck with me out of high school, which ended almost 6 fucking years ago for me. I’ve just been really shit at adjusting to life post-high school. At least I could say I fucking went to college. Aaanyway.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s giving me hope that I can get my shit together and do something with myself.

    • I didn’t start my comic strip until i was TEN years out of high school, and then it took years more to make any money. It’s never too late, basically. I know we’re all comparing ourselves to Other People, so at least compare yourself to me and know that just because you’re done college and not sure what to do doesn’t mean you’re doomed or whatever. I literally used to aimlessly walk the streets, and now i somehow get paid to draw stuff. It’s honestly so often just a matter of choosing a goal and irrationally hanging in there because you want it bad enough to do so. I don’t think ANYONE is good at adjusting to life post high-school, we’re all just making this shit up as we go along.

  91. Christopher Moss Says:

    “Eight hours of The World At War” and a B-58. You take my interests and distill them into a disturbing mixture. I had always had you down as more of a B-36 kind of guy. All the best, Winston, and do keep it up.

  92. OMN Says:

    I’m never quite sure how to respond to your longer comics like these. “Absolutely amazing” or “you are an extraordinarily talented writer and artist” are without a doubt accurate sentiments, but feel like they could just as easily be thrown out by an overly-excitable teenager reading the-latest-Twilight-equivalent with friends. Spending an hour scrolling through this isn’t “good” or even “entertaining”, at least not in the way that a well-executed genre novel or TV drama can be. Rather, it so strongly captures and evokes sadness and hope and truth and *people* that that hour is an almost unique experience above any other works I’ve viewed. How do you even rate the emotions and philosophy that this artwork provokes? I don’t think I even can, other than to say NO REGRETS (to strictly this my most recent choice of free time expenditure) and … thank you.

  93. Spike Says:

    Quite enjoyed the new comic.

    Being a user of okcupid since 2007, and having all of three repeat dates out of the countless ones I’ve gone on, and zero relationships develop out of it, I’ve developed a coping mechanism in which I see my romantic life (or lack thereof) as an extremely funny dark comedy in which I recount episodes to coworkers and family members for their amusement, as opposed to a personal tragedy I feel pain from.

  94. SuckMyComment Says:

    absence makes the heart grow fonder Winston. that was awesome.

  95. spideycow Says:

    I’ve spent five minutes attempting to write some eloquent sort of praise, then erasing it because it felt as though it didn’t capture my feelings about the comic and what it means to me. So I, I’ve decided just to say this:

    “Thank you. Your art makes the world a more beautiful, eccentric place. It makes me want to be a better person while accepting the one I am at the moment.”

  96. overand Says:

    Just going to say, I finished reading this with a “God Damn.” Raising the bar for yourself, often, it seems.

    I’m definitely an “OKCupid user.” Right now, sitting in a shared home with someone I met on OKCupid years ago. But, as a polyamorous person, I think my take is a little different, too. But it’s a heck of a way to meet people, as a primary form – which is what it was for me, for years. It worked, but it’s definitely strange and disjointed. But, then, I’m not exactly a church-goer (ha), never did know how to meet people other ways, really.

    It’s been a long slow process. And after reading all this, it feels a bit better.

  97. alchechengi Says:

    Thank you, Winston. I’m in a lonely place myself, way too obsessed with/nervous about love and sex to find and enjoy either. This made me feel better.
    I love you too, by the way. Although the idea of telling you something like this had never crossed my mind till now, the feeling has been there for years.

  98. Mangina Mike Says:

    I showed my grandfather your comics and he said, “Your friend is really talented but there’s too many words”.
    Geeze grandpa! That’s part of the style! Gosh!

  99. So worth the wait..

    Each episode is a step forward in accomplishment. I definitely count the Sub as one of the best things going..

    Keep it up!


  100. N=NP Says:

    Definitely needed that one

  101. No other comic makes you put aside an hour to read one strip no other comic is worth putting an hour aside

  102. Zack Says:

    I felt pleased as punch when I caught The Simpsons reference, “Only I may dance…”

  103. Mystyr Nile Says:

    Pinkie isn’t wearing any pink!
    And she said the F word!

    I especially like the drawings in this one.

  104. Leo W. Says:

    This is ridiculously fucking good, totally worth the wait.

    I love how, although there were many characters and sub-plots within this episode, the various themes (loneliness, growing/maturing/developing over time) remain consistent with each character. For me, that’s a fucking master-stroke. Nailed it, right on the head, as per usual.

    Also, fucking thrilled to see Zoe Muggs is back.

    Keep up the great work!

  105. Aaaaaah, I can’t believe you’re still getting so much better at this. So much to (platonically) love about this one. Thanks!

  106. Thank you, Mr. Rowntree, for making me feel like one of the luckiest people on the internet. ‘Nuff said.

  107. Tucker_SP Says:

    Wow! Just “WOW!.” I have waited for what seems like a very long time for you to update Subnormality, but now that you have, I can’t imagine how anyone could come up with as entertaining a mixture of amusing and profound – and with great artwork – in 5 years. However long the next one takes, I won’t complain, but I will be here waiting. BTW – loved the “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” jacket – takes me back to a different lifetime.

  108. Eli Says:

    I’ve been reading your comics for awhile, and every single one has been both delightful and intriguing. I never post comments on anything because usually I hate comment sections, but after reading this comic I felt like I had to. In my opinion this is the best comic you have posted to date, and I would like to thank you for sharing it with us. My only regret is I am currently too broke to shower you with the money you deserve for your contribution to society and my life.

  109. Olivier Says:

    Only now I discover that you have a blog!
    Thank you for all your comics that make me feel emotions.
    In this one I liked how many recurring characters were portrayed together. Maybe one day they will all know each other and be friends? No, not too soon probably 🙂
    Don’t worry about being “late”, whatever that means.
    I platonically love you too.

  110. Hocus Pocus Says:

    So many feelings on this comic. Goddamit. I dont know why but the scene with the general Pete and the nigerian princess made me feel sad for both of them… specially her.

  111. Mystyr Nile Says:

    Is there any significance to the differently colored cells with the bomber in them?

    • Yeah, the intent was that it indicated the progress of the bomber(s)– above the clouds (orange), and then coming in over the water (blue) and finally and ominously over land (green). Just some uncharacteristic minimalism to fill in the margins a bit i guess.

  112. Jon Mckiddy Says:

    Sometimes it takes a while for you to realize certain things. Like the fact that spending 30 minutes trying to think of something sufficiently witty to say to a guy who you admire the hell out of for having the courage to say what just about everyone in the world actually thinks at some point in their life, but most people never have the courage to say in a way that impacts other people, because you’re both hoping that he’ll say something back just so you get that special feeling of being acknowledged and because you’re afraid that if you make an idiot out of yourself then you’ll never be able to get over it entirely, is a waste of 30 minutes you could have spent just telling the guy that you admire the hell out of him for having the courage to say things that we all think but never really want to say out loud because most of us worry to damn much about what people will think about what we have to say.

  113. Suzie Duncan Says:

    So happy to have you back, and what an amazing return.

    I loved everything about this comic, the dialogue you write never seizes to inspire me and all through out reading it I kept thinking “I want to quote this line, no that line, no wait, all of it!”

    As always it was a wonderful read and well worth the time it takes.

  114. Elias Forslind Says:

    How weird is it that I read this on a friday night? And god DAMN, this one hit me good.

    You are the best and your comic is the best and you will never stop (please never stop)

  115. rap Says:

    Thanks Wr

  116. B. Arly Says:

    Holy shit. I’ve missed your comics for quite some time with the hiatus thingie, but then you suddenly throw this masterpiece after the lot of us.
    Thanks for lightening up my week with some inteligent input, always adored your comics and magical worlds of words.

  117. magic-esi Says:

    I just checked here to see if there was a new comic and I was like YESSSS FINALLY and so I read it and at first I was like, “ok, good, but was it worth the wait” and then I kept on reading and it was just perfect. These comics always seem to come at just the right time. Everything about being alone and feeling like you’re not at the right place yet… it was all so accurate. I’m glad it was so long and wordy so that I got to enjoy it for longer. I hope the next comic comes soon, just because I want to walk down the bridge to the world where these are set again, but I’d probably wait months and keep checking anyway.
    Thanks for the amazing comic; these are just works of genius, seriously, some of the best stuff I spend my time consuming.

  118. Dafydd Says:

    This is a masterpiece. Great work, Winston!

  119. Stutkharz M. Says:

    Cheers Winston!

  120. fuck fake internet names Says:

    Hi Winston, I’m pretty sure I’ve never commented, nor do I normally in any case, but like some of the comments said above, I really appreciate this comic and its timing in my life. It speaks very deeply to me on this day, at this hour; even though I’m so far from the physical circumstances of the characters (they’re mostly female, I’m male; they’re single, I’m in a relationship; etc.), our emotional states seem to be exactly there. Except that I’ve noticed that I have no close friends apart from my girlfriend, who may or may not be abusive, depending on how fucked up I am when rated objectively (her words certainly always seem justified in the moment) — and for that reason I feel the greatest envy for Ethel as she has a friend that she can share a true mutual platonic love with. Fuck I feel like an idiot saying that I envy a fictional character, but whatever. (And now I find myself taking on your long-winded, baldly honest tone in this comment. Though I suppose that’s to be expected when you spend an hour reading a thing.)

    I don’t know if I feel better or worse, and this comment will likely get lost in the internet shuffle so who knows if you’ll ever see it [read: fishing for replies], but I am so very grateful for this and all your other comix over the years. Imma go try to cry now before I have to meet up with these “friends” of mine for Easter dinner, kthxbai

    • Thanks for commenting, i appreciate it, and i’m really glad you liked the comic. And we’re probably all jealous of something, so don’t feel bad about it or whatever– there’s probably an aspect of wishful thinking on my part with a lot of stuff in my work, it’s just the way it is. I don’t write huge internet comics because i have no holes in my life.

      I hope you can find someone to talk to if you genuinely feel you might be in an abusive relationship. That’s obviously a seriously big deal, so know that if you feel you have to do something about it you’re definitely doing the right thing because there is zero amount of abuse anyone should have to put up with– it’s a line that isn’t to be crossed. Just some supportive vibes in your direction from someone who’s grateful for your words and is freaked out by the presence of the a-word. Hope you’re alright.

  121. Chris Says:

    Hey, Winston! You’ve probably heard something to this affect before, but I want yo to know that your comix make me a better bperson.

    I’ve finally gotten the time to read the newest one and it was absolutey phenomenal. And I don’t mean phenomenal in the sense of the rest of your work, I feel like this is your best work. Probably due to my own personal feelings. I’ve been reading your stuff for a little over two years now and each comix makes me really look at myself.

    Thank you so much for all of your work.

    -A (slightly) drunk American 🙂

  122. Floramei Says:

    I have loved your comics for a long time, though I often forget to check for updates. but wow. like idk I often end up crying at them because I wear my heart on my sleeve but I feel like I relate to every single character presented. Least to–I’m terrible with names, does the sphinx lady have a name?–at any rate, they were all wonderful. thank you for writing and drawing these wonderful comics. <':

  123. allen Says:

    Please please please. Never stop making these comics. I really love them. I want to follow what happens to these characters next.

  124. SpanishMarsupial Says:

    I like how the one dude is wearing a “Got Land” shirt. Good stuff as always. Shouts out from Saskatoon. Keep it real and never stop your work it is incredible

  125. Simurgh Says:

    It just took me 48 min to read this….
    Loved every second!!!!
    You make me wish I had lots of money I could give to you to make books…

  126. SouthOntarian Says:

    Winston, your work is incredible. Don’t stop anytime soon. Above me are comments detailing every which way people connect with your characters or notice the little details in which you add to your comics.

    I just wanted to add how much I enjoyed this. This comic seemed deeper than most, with an overreaching sense of uncertainty in each of the characters lives that really mirrored each other in certain degrees. It was a good thing to read as graduation comes upon me. Thanks for making me strive to put that next foot forward sooner rather than later.

  127. Josh Says:

    I stayed up entirely too late to read this entire thing. Just when I thought your comics couldn’t get any better, you drop this on us. Absolutely amazing, as always.

  128. cuphad Says:

    There are no words (that I know how to use) to sufficiently praise your words and drawings. So I won’t even try.

    Today I realized I don’t identify with Ethel anymore. That is your fault, and I’m deeply grateful for it. Interestingly my circle of “friends” acquired a new Ethel, so it dawns on me what to learn next:)

    Furthermore, today I was blown away by the sheer amount of work you put out there, for probably noble reasons. And the huge amount of willpower it must take to keep up the quality like that. I’ll try to copy that. “WR Power” is the new mantra, written strategically on my desktop.

    Thanks for helping me grow.

    Sadly I know no one IRL I can share the Viruscomix experience with, as they all seem to have an attention span measured in seconds. Or worse. So I’m grateful for the other commenters. Good to know you’re out there.

  129. Thank you for doing this. I really do think webcomics are going to be one of the biggest mediums in the future—god, how much more mainstream webcomics have gotten since I started reading my first webcomic (8-Bit Theater) back in 2003 (a very recent date, really!) boggles me—and I really do think you are the future of webcomics. I’ve been reading Subnormality since around 2008, and I liked it and recommended it highly then, but NOW?… It’s unbelievable. This most recent comic took me aback with the beauty and power and connectivity and resonance of its message. You are creating something unique, and I feel privileged to be witnessing it.

    It’s a rare quality in a person to be able to create something that resonates deeply with many people; it’s a still rarer quality to be able to keep doing it consistently. But to constantly strive and push yourself, so that your work not only maintains a stunning level of quality, not only improves that quality and strives for something new all the time instead of falling back on a formula, but is regularly GROUNDBREAKING?

    You and your comics prove Faulkner’s words: “The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.” Your brave and effective work helps me endure and prevail. The incredible approach you take with it, taking yourself and the very medium in ever more challenging directions, inspires me.

    Thank you. It’s not something I feel comfortable saying unless I really mean it, but with the honesty and integrity you put in your work I feel like I know you a little, and enough for this to be honest: I love you too.

  130. Chris Says:

    “so to have someone who’s actually mature and together see who you are and listen to you…it makes it easier to be alone, and yourself”

    The first time a webcomic has ever made me tear up. I’m glad you do this stuff, man. It’s original, wonderful and refreshing as hell.

  131. Mystyr Nile Says:

    This comic has a subreddit, btw.

  132. J42 Says:

    I was about to sleep before I started but I still read the whole thing. About three to five times I found myself thinking “This is me, this speaks to my experience so closely I might find out how my life will play out if I read on.”
    I guess I’m trying to say really badly that this was a surprisingly important comic for me. I should have gotten more sleep before I posted this.

  133. Lukas A Says:

    Um… I don’t usually comment, but…
    Thank You,
    Mr Rowntree.

    I platonically love you to.

  134. AuthorCook Says:

    Hard as hell to read, but so worth the effort. Good to have you back! 🙂

  135. Swede Says:

    Only a tiny part of the comic fits on my screen. I have to scroll up and down and sideways to read it all, and afterwards I’m not sure if I missed something. The author should try harder to adapt to some common screen format. I could scale it down to get more of the content on the screen, but then the text gets too small to read. Am I supposed to buy eight more monitors to see all of the comic in a readable format? Or should I take it to a printing shop and have it printed as a poster? But where should I hang it? My wall space is limited. The format is just wrong. The author should try to consider the needs and limitations of the audience and their equipment. We’re not all elite artists with multiple screens and top notch printers. Some of us may have bad eyesight as well. Other than that, the comic was good. I give it three out of five stars. It would have gotten four if it wasn’t for the bad format. Be told.

    * * * ‘ ‘

  136. Bavette Says:

    When you hear, no matter where or how, that Subnormality is on a dry spell of late, but you should rejoice because their next comix is gonna be really big (and that’s just after Zanadu, mind you) then you better fucking believe it is going to be big. Like, really big, and you are going to spend your entire night for that wednesday you had to work extra so you could claim to have done something productive this week so far, but no such luck I am sorry.


    PS: platonically love you too, wr.

  137. Isaac Says:

    Holy everloving batman freak do I love this webcomic. This practically describes word for word how I feel about relationships at the moment, in numerous ways.

    Ahhhh! Subnormality is so great! Platonic I love yous all around!

  138. AColdAssHonkey Says:

    Get out of my head

  139. Wellwellwell Says:

    Fine as always!

    But man – that layout is quite a lot work to read!
    All the scaling and scrolling does NOT make your comics any easier to read.
    Mind you – your textwalls alway take time and thought to go through – mostly I put reading a new one off until I have an hour of leasure time. But this one was the hardest so far *g*

    Keep on the good work!

  140. Dan-oh Says:

    I had to let this one sit for a while after you first published it, just because it demanded time and was a little intimidating on the surface due to the enormity of it…but having finally found the right mind-space to be in to appreciate it,..thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. You’re doing great work here.

  141. TentacledBeast Says:

    Can I just say one thing that rubs me the wrong way… the people in the comic don’t just want to lead a happy life, or find their place in society, or connect to other people – they lament that they are not “mature” enough. All of them feel that they need to “grow”, to “improve” their personality (not just, say, skills). I don’t understand this drive to be an “adult” and I think it’s very wrong (I guess that’s one of the things that also bothered me about the “maturity” comic). It’s one thing to want to be independent, or confident; it’s a whole other thing to want to be “mature”, this nebulous notion that I’m not sure even exists.

    I think for some people it’s connected to our natural urge to do nice things for other people; when they feel that they can’t consistently offer something, they assume it’s because they haven’t “grown into” being dependable… but I really don’t think that’s something you have to “grow into”. You just have to feel secure enough (well, and capable enough) to assume a responsibility (that you kind of already wanted – like taking care of someone you like). Most of us are insecure because we don’t feel like we have full control over our own lives; and for the most part that’s not our fault, especially when we’re still young and have no job security…

    Yeah, I tend to rant… I hope my $0.02 were interesting at least… 🙂

  142. Nishido. Says:

    The “I won’t waste my love on a nation” t-shirt made me curious for a reason I can’t understand, so I googled it and it turned out to be a reference to a song (or at least that’s the only result I got that seems to make sense at matching the data I have).

    I tent to feel sad when I realize of all the things I’m being denied to have access too, unless I get to know about them due to a random encounter, to call it something. And I don’t know if it is real, but the feeling of being under a cultural blockage is ever there around me. So thanks, for your help at making my world bigger.

  143. Jeremy Says:

    Good words on a very deep and common subject. Artwork was fantastic.

  144. Luis Says:

    I have Subnormality in my list of webcomics that I open everyday, even though it updates so seldom. I saw this was up the day it was posted, but saw it was huge. I only read it today. I do that a lot with your comics. I just close the tab everyday, knowing the time is not right to throw myself into your walls of words yet. And then when I do, it’s always worth it. You are a true artist.

  145. Emanonevahi Says:

    I am glad you are in this world.

  146. themadwit Says:

    this comic is what I would imagine an epic webcomic to be like. superficially, in its length—which requires endurance—but also in the way that it captures the ethos of this moment, in the way that it speaks, through its characters, to the values that lie deepest in our little postmodern hearts.

  147. Magnanimous Says:

    God. These leave me speechless sometimes. What an incredible and relatable strip that was. God. Thank you, as always, Winston. Never stop.

    By the way, I saw in that blog post you were from Regina… I was actually there for the first time in my life about a month ago for work. If you’re ever there again, I’m buying you a pint at O’Hanlon’s.

  148. Alternate_Nothing Says:

    I’m an ignorant idiot, who feels insignificant and useless by the idea that I find myself incapable of verbalize my own thoughts or feelings without another person saying it first.

    Keep up the work, for in end it’s all you have.

  149. chris y Says:

    OK, this crosses the line into Great Art. People will write theses about this in a hundred years.

  150. Katie Hofer Says:

    Seriously, dude, this one was EPIC. And I genuinely hate using that word because I think it is overused and saying it makes me feel like a fourteen-year-old boy. But no joke, your material is always excellent, but this one was EPIC.

  151. pG Says:

    Ah! My poor wrist! But worth the time and worth the scrolling. You had me back sitting in a bar trying to figure out the why – and meanwhile my wife is in the other room studying, and I need to go check if my youngest hasn’t kicked the blankets off again. You have a skill Wince.
    PS – this could easily be turned into a the script for a nice movie. Including the Sphinx.

  152. pG Says:

    PPS. What I wouldn’t give to meet a girl who’d like that Hustler T-Shirt.

  153. Phantomgrift Says:

    Times like this, I’m glad I got hooked on your comic all those many many moons ago.

  154. last man standing Says:

    Wow…..I spent a week in the eastern USA. As I looked at the people I kept saying to myself, “How did it ever come down to this?” The blank, unknowing expressions, the mega obesity. I have nothing in common with these people, in fact my food has more in common with them than I do. I get the soul crushed characters. I get it.

  155. Leo W. Says:

    Just finished reading this for the second time. It’s 6.00 am and goddamnit do I feel lonely. Thank fuck for Subnormality, eh?

  156. Autumn Says:

    Actually crying over here. The amount I relate to every damn character is seriously 100% man.

  157. This comic is amazing as always but you really surpassed yourself this time. Many thanks for the depressing and uplifting views of the world.

  158. By-Tor Says:

    You keep outdoing yourself. This one reminded me why I’ve been reading Subnormality for years bravo 🙂

  159. arkonbey Says:

    Do I get any points for noticing that the silhouette of the jet in the Hustler-shirt girl’s narrative was a Convair B-58 Hustler?

  160. Tomas Says:

    This is “the Largest comic”? You should’ve called it “the Largest comic so far.” You make it so hard to fan-gush, Winston; there’s too much win. The metaphorical sofa mover was my favorite. I also love Ethel’s playing card with her two careers.

    The word “artisanal” has gotten trendy lately, but I’d definitely use it to describe your work. You make an artisanal web comic, putting quality ahead of efficiency, holding on to the same 2nd hand pencil and cheap software, shunning the luxury of a ruler.

    Justine, you silly girl, you don’t suck. The Cold War leaders building a rocket in Hell, they’re the ones who suck. Men run from you because they’re afraid of your perfection. Folklore tells them that the touch of God brings madness and the voice of God brings death.

  161. devintakkar Says:

    Holy shit, this is insanely impressive

  162. Ronnie Says:

    I saved this for a while and I’m glad I did. It was amazing. You put that Ethal card on a shirt and I’d be into it. Also I love the blonde homeless lady/ head of the generals connection. I love everything that happened here.

  163. BalthazarKatze Says:

    I’ve saved every Subnormality page over the years and although the numbers of episodes have dropped,. the quality has soared.
    Now all you need to do is launch a page called ‘Submorality’.

    And then WORLD CONQUEST!!!!

    It’s not like you haven’t thought of it….

  164. John Hoffman Says:

    Lately, every time I read one I am thinking this cannot get any better; and then about a month or so later, you prove me wrong.

  165. William Says:

    Rock on. Another good one. There should be a film. I can see it now. Pink-haired-girl. CGI/practical effects Sphinx. Time-traveling Nazis and homeless drifters. Love it.

  166. I like to think of this as a sequel to “Gets quietly hammered”. This one was killer. You do conversations really well. Zoe has been increasingly looking worse for wear, but I guess that’s the truest way you could write her… because things don’t just get better for a lot of people and giving her some kind of stupid deus ex machina happy ending where she ends up getting off the streets would be a cop out…. but god it’s kind of rough to watch.

  167. Graham Says:

    Love your art piece/ essay again.
    Have you ever thought of multi layered novels and doing a comic version of it.
    ie Stand on Zanzibar.
    I feel your work would really do justice to such a novel.

    Stay drawing,


  168. Robert Says:

    It’s interesting–I first discovered Subnormality in 2007 or so, and eventually I fell out of the habit of checking webcomics. There’s someone who writes/draws for CollegeHumor whose drawing style reminded me of yours and I decided to check up on what I’ve missed in the last year+. Your ideas and dialogue are worthy of novels, but the visual medium conveys them so differently; showing instead of telling.

  169. Zac Caslar Says:

    RE: the Hustler.
    I feel that way about the XB70.
    Gigantic gorgeous bird. Looks like a bird, too.
    It’s the “Valkyrie;” a beautiful name for an ugly idea -what with “choosing the slain” being another way of phrasing “is a vulture.”
    But yeah. Massive, sleek, powerful, fast -and totally superfluous.
    Not. Useful. As big an evolutionary dead-end as Elves.
    Quarter-million ton payload of bombs, or satellites or anything worth throwing 77,000ft into the sky.

    Military history really is cavalcade of big stupid ideas ain’t it?
    Also 1300mph is cute, but ’til you cruise at mach 3 you’re just walking., 😉

  170. Javier Says:

    Just wanted to join this beautiful group hug around wr.

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