July 5, 2014

watch this



186 Responses to “watching”

  1. Laurie Blackman Says:

    worth the wait

  2. Anthony Says:

    Beautiful. Definitely one of your best, Rowntree.

  3. Maarten Says:

    All grown up and still having trouble not to cry like a little kid. Thanks, man, this one is one of your best ones so far.

  4. Valtam Says:

    Aren’t you actually watching us, Winston?

    This was highly endearing and touching on many, many levels.

  5. Dak C Says:

    Wow! So beautiful!

  6. 12243 Says:

    I can’t stop crying and I don’t know why

  7. Ros Says:

    This actually had me in tears. Thank you for such a sincere picture.

  8. BC Says:

    It’s weird, realising halfway through a story that it’s potentially about someone you know. If not, you’ve managed to write something so realistic I forgot to breathe for at least three panels.

  9. Blaise Says:

    My god that was beautiful and amazing. I was enraptured the whole time. One of your best for sure. Your insight and understanding is truly amazing!

  10. Anubis Bard Says:

    To me your comic resonated with this little article about Chinese calligraphers who write upon stones with water:

    There’s something beautiful about the idea of continuing to write down a poem even as the writing disappears before it finishes.

  11. Alex Says:

    Thanks Winston, a tear in my eye for a friend long dead from CF. Nailed it yet again.

    Where’s that book, man? I’ve got gifts to buy…

  12. Alex Says:

    Cried the entire time. Thank you.

  13. John Says:

    Wonderful, thank you.

  14. John Hoffman Says:

    I had a friend die recently, and his story played out similarly. He laughed and enjoyed other’s presence right up until the day he died. He was never alone. I talked with him one day before he died and told him how much I had enjoyed his friendship, and that I was sad it was ending. I tried to be a good friend, and I hope it helped.

  15. Kevin Keyser Says:

    I love your work. Wonderful! Now I’ll have a headache all day because of how this made me cry and that’s a good thing.

  16. poemdragon Says:

    This is beautiful, but also curse you, because people are concerned when someone starts randomly weeping. Your work is amazing.

  17. thehortlak Says:

    This stirred up some strange things in me. Thank you- this is terrific.

  18. Sulaiman Daud Says:

    Well that was worth the wait. Bravo, Winston!

    On a happier note, I love that Ethel’s struggle to become a writer paid off, if people from the future came back just to watch her at work.

  19. Holy Moly: This is poetry. Thank You! ❤

  20. Amy Says:

    That looked like a webcomic but felt like an arrow to the throat. How odd.

    I don’t have anything particularly profound to say; just let it be known that you’re appreciated in this time, too. I figure if I don’t say anything, I’m just as intangible as your watcher.

    ….I think I’m going to go visit my grandmother in the nursing home now.

  21. dianadomino Says:

    Just wow. ❤ Thank you. ❤

  22. You are my therapist and I want to have unethical exploitative sex with you. I just have to keep escalating the splurging admiration, devotion and ill-thought-out sympathy I have for you. I’m sorry I keep sexually harassing you. Are you polyphilic?

  23. I am balling. This is one of your best works yet. Thank you.

  24. BubbaDave Says:

    This kind of strip is why I read your work at home, so my co-workers don’t wonder why I’m weeping.

    Powerful stuff.

  25. Kaya Says:

    Absolutely beautiful, and yes, tears. In a good way.

  26. Francis Reed Says:

    Your most recent work always leave me thinking for a long time, almost as long as the wait between one comix and another, i really need to begin watching indeed.

    BTW, that wait is always worth it.

  27. Oleg S Says:

    I haven’t had something make me cry in years. That was an amazing comic/story. The most powerful thing I’ve read in a long time.

  28. Big Mike Says:

    Holy shit. Shit, SHIT, SHIT! Thank you more than you know.

  29. NZfishboy Says:

    Stunning. Moving. Beautiful. I thank you through my tears.

  30. rap Says:

    awesome. just awesome.

  31. Infanttyrone Says:

    …and then coming here to read the comments got me all hitched up again.

    The panels of the forest are gorgeous. Just beautiful.

  32. Benoit Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your work. Like many others here I teared up reading this, a first, I think, for a webcomic.

  33. Munchie Says:

    Thank you so much for this. I love this calm beauty and sadness and poetry. I love to let it saturate me but miscalculate and oversaturation occurs, and the extra leaks out my eyes.

  34. ropata Says:

    Thank you for coming back and sharing the pain and beauty and wonder with us

  35. Richard Says:

    This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Thank you.

  36. Nikolaos Says:

    Thank you.

  37. Leak Says:

    You know that feeling when it’s hot and dry outside and your eyes are dry?

    Not a problem anymore today after all that watering…

  38. Magnanimous Says:

    That was beautiful. It really was. I had to keep in the tears, just because the pain of that happening to someone I love is too much to bear. Thank you, Winston.

  39. Thomas Says:

    Thanks for turning many a boring late night into a nigh religious experience, WR. Absolutely stunning, as always.

  40. SomeGuy Says:

    I’d like to say something clever, but nothing seems to do this justice. Unusual as this is for me in general, this left me misty eyed. As always, fantastic work.

  41. Craig Says:

    Once again you have left me not just without words but with barely enough functioning emotions to compose a response. Wow.
    One semirelated question: is there a mailing list or alert that I could get when you do a new posting? I’d love to know when something new arrives.
    Thanks again for sharing this and creating it.

  42. Philippe Says:

    Well, I just finished the last one. before that one here, 3 days ago. It was one of the best, very…insightfull.
    I’ll tell you what I think if this one here when I’m finished with it. 😉
    (btw i like the “wall of text” format a lot)

  43. Joe Trudell Says:

    Another one of your tragically beautiful moving-me-to-tears works of art

  44. Stacy Says:

    Beautiful. And true.

  45. Beny Says:


    I have following your art/comics for a few years, and they were always interesting, sometimes inspiring and thought-provoking.
    My partner’s elderly mother has passed away a few days ago, after suffering from lung cancer for a few months. I spent a lot of my time these past weeks at her bedside, at the hospice, watching her fade away from this life, and her body collapse. It was an emotional and hard time, but also healing time for her family.
    As always with your art, I suspect I don’t fully get your intention, your innuendos, all the layers of meaning. But at least, I think you’ve conveyed the atmosphere of illness. I suppose you’ve done so from personal experience, as it’s hard for me to imagine how you could understand it this well otherwise. If I’m right, I’m sorry for whatever loss and pain you’ve been through. Thank you for tranforming your experience into art, which made me emotional and reflective.

    As the Buddhists pray:
    May all beings be free from suffering.

    – Beny

  46. Stunning. Just stunning.

  47. Line Noise Says:

    “Like a black sun on the horizon
    she says keep the curtains open”

    good line, keep that one.

  48. Ed Richardson Says:

    Very sad, reminded me of the vigils I took part in.

    My father hated to have people show up just because he was sick & they felt obligated. Their presence was never a comfort, made him feel trapped, an inescapable reminder of what was happening. Didn’t want to be defined by illness. Didn’t want to be “The sick person”.

    He worked for long as he could, when he couldn’t do that he read & watched movies. He loved CNN as it hadn’t turned to shit yet.

    He stayed sharp until the end. If you sat around watching him he would demand to know “What are you looking at?” “Fuck off & get a life.”

    He was the one watching. When I think of him, I know he would roll his eyes at me for dwelling on his memory. In particular the memory of his illness & death because that was never who he was.

    He was actually kind of an asshole a great deal of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my father but sentimentality really wasn’t his thing.

  49. Kostas Says:

    This has long ceased to be a webcomic. It now is Art. It moves you and drives you to think. Wellk done.

  50. Spike Says:

    That was really really good.

    That leads me to ask you something, Winston (if I may be so informal in address). I shared this with a couple of my friends, and when one asked me about other strips like this one (i.e. the stand alone strips that aren’t really built into the on-going narrative and cast), and I had trouble finding them in the archive. Is there any way to make them easier to find in the archive?

  51. The Old Wolf Says:

    As usual, Winston, your latest strip has moved me to tears. You put a lot of yourself into this work, and it comes through. As gauche as it seems to suggest it, I would love to see Subnormality! in a dead-tree edition… there’s a different feel about reading something you can hold in your hand and thumb back and forth in. Just my two penn’orth.

  52. wanderbot Says:

    Thank you, that was a beautiful story. I teared up three times, with at least as many chills down my spine. Sitting here with sniffles, I couldn’t not write something to say thanks.

  53. Peppercurls Says:


    I am deeply, deeply appreciative of your ability to break down a desperately complex situation that has been many times painted over with generalities. These are things that deserve as much space and dedication as a human can possibly produce, so thank you for taking the time to create. Thank you.


    Reading your work is like meditating in an empty hall, where the noises of the other rooms only serve to enhance the silence. Every time you update, I feel my heart rate go down, and the world seems less like noise and more like a mystery that I have received another clue to. You’ve gotten me through some hard times and for that, again, I thank you.

  54. Bill Says:

    Made me think.

  55. Michael Says:

    Crap. This is all I’ll be thinking about for the rest of the day. Narrative excellence. The repeated ‘this’ passage…absolute gold.

  56. I wouldn’t want to live in the watchers’ future if it meant missing out on Subnormality.

    Thank you.

  57. Fisher Kyle Says:


  58. Something new has come into my life that wasn’t there before. Thank you.

  59. Used name Says:

    Loved it all. The concept for it is incredibly entertaining. Really gave me food for thought, as you invariably do. Only this time i felt somewhere that this really resonates with me as a person. I believe it is one of your best so far. Keep doing what you love

  60. Tom Austin Says:

    Well, damn. That was brilliant. And deeply affecting. And now I’m very probably not going to think about much else for the rest of today, other than how my father died the same way, albeit in a less crowded and visited room, and that it could be comforting in a way to think that someone else other than us watched him leave as he did…

  61. Holy Crud that was so beautiful, I almost cried. Thank you for the piece of beauty

  62. Yannis Says:

    As the others above. Thanks.
    Tough to write with tears in my eyes, but it worth it.

  63. Rick Says:

    I don’t really know what to say that others haven’t already. Thank you. Thank you for creating this.

  64. bobby caler Says:

    What an incredibly moving tale.

  65. Steve Says:

    You’re comic made me cry at work! Why didn’t I read this when I got home?!

  66. So so beautiful. Loved the concept. Reminds me a little of the marvelous Clarke novel The Light of Other Days.

  67. So moving, got me thinking about what’s important in life and of those who really matter. Thank you.

  68. Thank you so much for this. It was wonderful.

  69. callmebrotherg Says:

    Thank you.

  70. Bruce Gelman Says:

    This is a great triumph.Haunting truthful meditation on awareness/existance.Congratulations a million fold.Thank you.

  71. Dan Says:

    Haunting and beautiful.

  72. This is teh best comic you ever done! The only phrase i cant hink right now is “TAHNK YOU!”

  73. so excellent and outstanding. The past is a foreign country.

  74. JR Oliveira Says:

    Touchingly humane! Humanely touching! Thank you!

  75. Randal Says:

    Lucas is right: the best comic you’ve ever done.

    It’s really strange, but I can’t recall ever having been prouder of humanity than .. in reading this comic.

  76. darkrazor Says:

    I loved it and teared up as much as … well everyone it seems. That was one of the best things I’ve read in awhile, in any media format.

    My first thought though, when we saw just the other people and the iv bag and such was Oh God don’t let that be one our loved main characters, former pink haired girl was my original thought but I didn’t want it to be any of them.

  77. Josh Says:

    This is on par with Will Eisner at his best. Deep, rich, beautiful and emotional. Just amazing.

  78. Sandra Says:

    I don’t get it.

  79. gmaking Says:

    Once again, as always-

    thank you for understanding

  80. Beautiful, though i hate hospitals and this brought back all the reasons i hate them

  81. nfILL Says:

    What can you actually say when you’re confronted with art so deeply moving? Words will never adequately express the emotion that comes from something so real and so powerful. This, like so much of your work, is phenomenal, touching, cutting… As always, you capture the human condition in such perfect clarity that it’s hard not to think of this as a revelatory work.

    I’ve tried, a few times, to get friends to check out these comix. But what does one say? How can anyone clearly communicate the depth of these comix? When you read something like this, something that makes you sob in quiet desperation because it captures the emotions of life and death so exquisitely–how do you communicate that to someone else?

    Winston, your comix have been the illustrated guide to my growth as a person over the last few years. I remember reading the first one; I remember the first one that made me really think; I remember the one that marked the sea change in my emotional thinking; and I remember the one that helped me realize that I have so much that needs to be given back.

    Thank you. Thank you so fucking much.

  82. Kalle Says:

    Great work, and nice to see the art is still improving. Very beautiful even. One to return to for sure!

  83. Slenderman Says:

    Jesus Christ that was beautiful.

  84. talonink Says:

    Well, now I’m crying like a baby and don’t really understand why. Thanks you, I mean that.

  85. Keith Nunn Says:

    Wow. I’m speechless.

  86. Soetopiae Says:

    Thank you so much for writing this one!

  87. Patrick Says:

    this one is a real gem, i’ve lapsed on reading them lately but seriously, well done

  88. Sam W Says:

    I don’t mind that the story will end. I just want it to have been one worth reading.

  89. █████ Says:

    Sometimes your works make me feel like I’m missing something inside.

    Something that enables me to give a shrug and remain untouched.

    Or something that can make me comprehend the/a deeper meaning of what you create and fully grasp the entirety.

    It’s not really a /bad/ feeling, it’s just… I’m like someone from a grayscale universe seeing colour and not having any frame of comprehension.

    Damnit, like talonink I’m in tears and I don’t understand why.

  90. Nathan (Wilson) Says:

    After re-reading, what was so beautiful about this to me, was that this was a character learning for the first time what grief is really about. I think it’s really important for anyone to learn this lesson, and how to deal with it. She even went through several of the stages of grief, denial, anger/bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

    And I’m really impressed by this character’s strength, that she kept coming back, of her own volition, to experience and learn something she wasn’t forced to. I don’t think I would have had that strength in her situation, the mental and emotional stamina to bear it, especially in an age where that lesson isn’t necessary. And she learned, in a way, what it makes us.

    At one point, she admitted she’d be a person that would have faded away at first. But she became the friend who wouldn’t leave you no matter how sick you were.

  91. Jon Says:


  92. Justin Vriend Says:

    It’s hard to write comments. Thanks though. icryevrtim.

  93. Wow, that is beautiful on so many levels.

  94. arborine Says:

    I nearly teared up when I realized that we were being shown a stranger reading one of Ethel’s novels.

    Everything else is also excellent.

  95. Liviu Nena Says:

    it is very hard to put what I am currently feeling into words.
    But you have my sincere thanks and all my respect.
    Please keep making art like this, it has touched me on a very deep level.

  96. Rob R. Says:

    You seem to have made it your goal to crash Firefox with these damned big comics. Not that it’s really very hard to crash Firefox anyway, but have you asked Mozilla if they’d pay you to do stress-testing? Or Google if they might want you to do a Google Doodle that only Chrome can load?

  97. This made me feel so much, but I honestly can’t figure out what you were trying to tell me with this and I desperately want to understand! Is that the message? That we can never truly understand!? I’m so confused and I want to know and understand, help me! D:

    • I dunno, i’ve never believed that art works that way. If what i’ve made IS art (which is also not up to me), then i can only tell you what it means to me personally– there’s no, like, Official Interpretation that you’re missing out on. I believe in finding your own meaning in things, so the message or whatever is just as much or as little as you got from reading it.

      I’m just grateful when anyone gets anything at all out of anything i’ve written, it’ll always seem improbable to me, and having people find things in my work that i didn’t even see myself will always seem just awesome and very gratifying. That’s what’s exciting to me about all this, just trying to not tell people what to think and thus getting to hear what they do think, even if it’s that they didn’t understand (so thanks, as always, for the comments, y’all).

    • Chuck Says:

      Ivor Cutler said that when someone hears one of his poems they receive some sort of message from him but he doesn’t know what it is and neither do they. It all has to make sense later down the line.

  98. Ryan Griffith Says:


  99. pG Says:

    The only thing better than this story was reading it while a mellow cover of RadioHead’s Creep was playing.
    I was sitting and worrying about what will happen next – my wife is about to lose her job – and now it feels inconsequential, a mere blip in life. Thanks for the perspective reset Wince – as usual – spot on.

  100. John Says:

    Started weeping about a quarter of the way in, so excellent work as usual.

  101. Bill Says:

    I found this comic to be particularly interesting because I was all wrapped up in myself (I am in the same situation as the gal on the bed…hey life sux.) and forgetting the implications to people around me. What I got out of this is the more you give, the more you get. And kindness is an end in itself.
    (Or maybe more than that. Still processing…)

    • Devin Says:

      Unless I am wrong, you recommended this comic to me, and after watching, both here, and with you, Your kindness has been a gift, I hope I can be as thoughtful as you have been throughout your trials.

      I definitely take away from this that the stories never really end; the characters may change, but the memories remain, and the story continues; just as my story began before me, so will it continue after me.

      Thank you for everything.

  102. Alan Knight Says:

    Utterly, exquisitely beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for this. I loved it.

  103. Jonah Says:

    Wonderful. Come check out if you want another place to discuss the comix!

  104. Michael Tai Says:

    Simply amazing.

  105. Matchen (alias) Says:

    I haven’t read a lot of your comics (the other one I read was Anomalies which thoroughly hooked me), but I have to say that evoking such strong emotion speaks to a great story-telling talent.

    As for the comic itself, I feel like Understanding could almost be an adequate title for it (Watching was actually very clever though, so I prefer that over Understanding). I come from an Asian background, and the culture there is very different. However, as I was born in Canada, I was brought up at a sort of crossroads. As I grew up, I realized that I had adopted Canadian culture, and it was difficult for me to understand my parents’ culture. It really is like watching someone back in time – you can’t understand how they come to some conclusions; how they feel for certain events or persons. It baffles you and it frustrates you. This is where I think your comic was so brilliant – my takeaway was that it is difficult to understand others if we can’t understand ourselves. The person watching the girl reminded me of how I wasn’t able to understand my own emotions in my teenage years. The reaction, of course, is to be rid of it, which is what we, as humanity, tend to do. I have never understood the culture around rap and the “ghetto”, and until one of my professors talked about it during a class, I have always avoided it. Not as a reaction out of anger or distaste, but because I felt strange in their candid and frank mannerisms. It left me uncomfortable, as the main character in the comic did. And even when you watch other cultures, it is difficult – if not impossible – to understand it unless you immerse yourself in it. For me, this is what the comic was relaying.

    One of the last few slides stood out for me. When the girl wanted to understand, asking the doctor about her illness’ condition, it reminded me of some brushes I had with my own depression, and how I came to understand the feelings around my own mortality. Fearing death, we avoid it however possible, but when you understand that you live on through the things that you do and through the friends that you influence, it becomes less scary. For me, it was learning how to enjoy and appreciate the things in my life.

    So thank you for posting this; it was definitely worth the read. I’m looking forward to the journey through your next piece 🙂

  106. gerd Says:

    I liked it, but you repeated sections multiple times to the point of nauseum. I think “understand” was used so often as to become gibberish. This would have been just as effective at about a third of the length. It’s a normal problem for you so I doubt it’ll ever change but hey, that’s my two cents.

  107. Autumn Says:

    I always save your comics for late at night when I’m in just the right contemplative mood to fully appreciate them, and my god does it pay off. I still have trouble describing the beauty of some of your comics to other people.

  108. Savannah Says:

    This comic touches on so many things that it’s hard to wrap my brain around all of it, but I was crying by the end. It so perfectly encapsulates the confusion of seeing bad things happen to good people, especially people like you; the need for pain in life for a meaningful existence; and above all the strength of the human spirit, the ability to adapt and still experience happiness in the midst of pain. Poignant and stunning, as always.

  109. William Says:

    “It is hard to derive answers when you are used to choosing easy questions.” Masterful line. Reminds me of my favorite line from “Pulp Fiction:” “If my answers frighten you, Vincent, then you should cease asking scary questions.”

    How many times do we avoid uncomfortable questions? Not just in the public sector (it’s so much more fun to watch Adventure Time than the nightly news) but in our own lives. When we’re alone at night, and there’s a thought at the edge of our consciousness that we don’t dare acknowledge because we’re not ready yet.

  110. Beautiful, just beautiful

  111. Kevin Gough Says:

    This story, so exquisitely drawn and poignantly told will never shake itself loose from my memory, thank you, it was like getting a gift.

  112. Christopher Henry Says:

    Time and time again, i visit here, and just for a few minute see the depth of what I have. The good of a rare few moments of sandy lucidity. And it always leaves me in a fey mood. A good one, that all should be prone to visit, stay, and talk a while on.

  113. nestorr Says:

    Getting some broken images on your site lately… comic won’t load despite f5 refresh

  114. nestorr Says:

    Seems ok now…

  115. van Says:

    i…i love you, i love how you draw, how to express yourself and how beautiful your thoughts are, you are a wonderful person.

  116. Harold Weaver Smith Says:

    All buttons pushed here, after the last few years…. I’ve just sat reading this out loud to nobody with tears rolling down my face. You are awesome and beautiful and I am so glad you’re in the world.

  117. Jon Shurtleff Says:

    Deeply insightful and moving. I have a chronic illness and this helped me to understand some important things and stirred up some powerful emotions that I’ve had a hard time dealing with. It’s helped me see how I can cope more successfully. I was in tears much of the time. Keep it up.

  118. Ruth Says:

    I loved this one. I’ve been reading your comix for a while now, ever since the one about the professor who researches anomalies. You spot the little strange things no one else sees and give them full, startling life. I keep coming back to this one and rereading it. The scene where the couple walking away fall to their knees and embrace: no words, just tears.

  119. I am watching these comics to understand 🙂 Fantastic stories, one and all. Thank you for writing them.

  120. thorstenv Says:

    Big piece. Everything else having been said by someone else, so here come the negatives.

    Watchman from the future seems a bit focused on our era, but that’s ok for a comic on our internet. Than of course most of us die this way, if not by illness, than by old age which could just as well be categorized as illness. There is one and only one explanation given and it has been written down by the devil’s chaplain in 1859.

    You might want to look into Feynman’s “What Do You Care What Other People Think?” where he describes how he had fun with his terminal ill first wife. He felt the need to explain their behaviour, so he explained by saying: imagine there is an immortal race watching us. Wouldn’t they be surprised how we laugh and have fun despite being fully aware of immanent destruction?

    Hope you are well.

  121. ThisCat Says:

    holy fuck

  122. Dott McDaniel Says:

    Profound and poignant. (Just for context: I am a 71 year-old female. Loved comic books as a child. Discovered graphic novels in my 40s, and have collected many, which I still have, despite periodic purging of my books when they overflow my bookcases. I would keep yours.)

  123. Frank Hightower Says:

    This? I think this may be your masterpiece

  124. HappyReptile Says:

    This was so ridiculously good. And sad. And hopeful.
    I have read it so many times. It makes me feel everytime -something- and that’s really important I think.

    Thanks dude. A lot. You’re really good at what you do.

  125. Doyle Says:

    Thanks again for the work you do, Winston. That made me cry and send a heartfelt text to my girlfriend. These gifts you give us all are amazing. They are still like coffee early in the morning and the smell of rain.

  126. Garo Says:

    Genius, this is just genius!

    The theme of viewing the past is theoretically possible to some degree…

    If you imagine the universe as an incomprehensibly large system of particles and equations governing them… It would be feasible to use (quantum?) computers to map out all of the forces and quantum information of these particles perhaps.

    Through reversing those forces, you could in theory scroll back time in a simulation, just like a computer reverses a movie, and allow replaying the forces and effectively observe the past. Easier than true time travel I’d think!

    Things we now can only imagine… may be commonplace in a thousand or million years.

    To me, the watching man in the comic reminded me of ourselves, of us watching and reliving *our own* memories, preserved in our minds for us to continually visit.

    Truthfully… if you imagine replacing the “watching man” in this comic with someone from our own time who is completely unfamiliar with loss or death, reliving their memories in their minds, watching, and trying to understand… then the comic is almost exactly the same!

    It seems like a brilliant analogy to me

  127. taste Says:

    Hi Winston, loved the new comic. Been following you for years, tell people about you all the time… Just wanted to say though, not to criticize you or anything… That I miss the days when you could expect a regular update, some fun artwork, maybe not the cleverest joke in the world, but a stab nonetheless, but most of all yet another window into the subnormality universe. I miss it. Lately it seems every new addition has turned into this epic multidimensional page-defying masterpiece… A masterpiece that must take you forever to make… And thought I love and appreciate these, I wouldn’t mind a 4-frame rimshot every once in a while. With love – T

    • Hi, thanks for that actually– i honestly like the idea of posting smaller stuff again between the long stuff, i hate disappearing for months at a time so it’s a good idea. I suppose the only impediment is that it’s ironically hard to think of short comics… my brain doesn’t like to go backwards so it’s always looking to make the next comic something more than the last one. But i’m gonna think about it anyway… I’m glad you raised the issue, it might be the license i need to give it a shot.

    • Agreed. Save your hand and your mental state. Maybe consider serial, short-story arcs running over several comics rather than monolithic creations. Tolstoy wrote wonderful stories but they would have been more digestible in serial form. Regardless, you’ve already done great work. We just hope to keep seeing whatever you have to offer.

      Happy Wednesday!

    • Peppercurls Says:

      I am not so sure that’s the point. One of the reasons I love Virus Comix is that they are not (forgive) click-bait, and he follows the idea through to its fruition. I would much rather see his pieces get longer and more introspective, and have something to sit and chew over, and read over and over again, getting something new every time, than to read a bit, be psychologically satisfied and frustrated at the same time, and only be looking for the future comic, instead of experiencing the one that already exists.

    • Oh, don’t worry, i would never, ever publish anything in serial format, for the reasons you state and more (it’s a long list of reasons). The work will continue to be be large and introspective (and/or large and sci-fi and introspective) and published all at once, that’s definitely not going to change. I just really, really hate disappearing for months at a time, content-wise, and am thinking about challenging myself to come up with some smaller stuff just to fill the gaps in between the ongoing 99999999-word megathings. I’ve got myself to the point where the comix take like 4-6 weeks to make, plus i have Other Stuff to work on too, so i should be trying something new at this point to keep things more frequent.

      Anyway, back to work…

    • Mystyr Nile Says:

      I agree, taste, thanks for bringing that up!

  128. dkarjala Says:

    I don’t know if this was intentional, but I found myself reliving many emotions I’ve experienced when thinking about humans living in various periods of history I’ve learned about. Seeing ‘my image’ in those exotically brutal times and sort of wondering at the suffering.

  129. Did anyone else think that the observers look like Grey aliens?

  130. As usual, Sublime Normality.

    I could hear this piece spoken with music.. Think I should do it? Can I?


  131. The power, the depth, on so many levels. This hits me in the heart and I wanted to look away but could not. Reading this I am like the observer, unable to look away and not understanding why, until I looked deeper. Thank you.

  132. Anna Says:

    This is beautiful. Thank you.

  133. Justin Says:

    Winston, it has been over 3 months since a comic!! I have found solace in your comics, your masterful works of art have saved me from committing suicide more than once, by showing me the beauty and the accompanying despair of life, you have made my life livable. I hope you come back soon!

  134. i can’t express just how this hit me. thank you.

  135. Benjamin Says:

    Absolutely fantastic. Possibly the best comic I ever read. Thank you.

  136. Stefan Saka Says:

    I cried, complete with running nose. That is all the feedback I have at this time.

  137. Thomas Says:

    I cried for the whole thing. It makes me so happy to come here and see that many others did too.

    Thank you for this.

  138. Guess you outdid yourself. A masterpiece in every manner..


  139. David Says:

    I haven’t been to this site in a long time. I am so glad I checked to see what was new. This was inspiring. Thank you for telling stories that linger in the mind.

  140. ericoassis Says:

    This is marvellous. Congratulations. And congratulations on your Slate prize as well.

    (Would you be interested in translating it to other languages?)

  141. Congratulation on the Slate prize, Winston! So glad to see your work honored.

  142. We moved an apartment. I started reading this two weeks ago still in the old one, just yesterday got internet back.
    Thank you for this.

  143. Sarah Smith Says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Winston.

  144. ctxA Says:

    This was the first comic of yours that I read in a long time. I cried. My partner is really sick and this gave me some consolation.

    Thank you.

  145. MageM Says:

    profoundly awesome

  146. Faka Says:

    Can’t put to words the feelings you pushed inside me… Thank you. REALLY. I long wait for every comic you draw, every story you tell… You’re awesome.
    Cried like a baby at work… still worth it. THAN YOU

  147. Chris Jones Says:

    Thank you – that was truly lovely

  148. Paul Says:

    I know this is hardly a recent comix, but what the hell. I’m writing this for myself more than anybody else, I guess.

    “And we have friendship in our time
    but it is not like this”

    My dad is dying. I mean, he is 80, and he had a heart attack in front of me almost 30 years ago, and over the years, and the close calls, and the waiting for the surgeon to finally tell us something, I sort of got used to the idea that he wasn’t gonna be around forever at a fairly young age. In fact, if you had told me 15 years ago that I’d get another 15 years with him, I would have laughed at you.
    But I did get them, and I learnt what “gratitude” means.

    He’s been in his hospital bed for 3 weeks now, and he looks terrible. But I visit him virtually every day, and when we can, we talk. I feed him some soup, and we talk – like we’ve talked in all the years before, for minutes or hours, agreeing and arguing, high fiving and fighting, about politics, art, poetry, football, love. Remember, for the past 15 years, we knew that what time we had together was borrowed, so I hung on his lips, trying to extract all I could.

    You see, my father is what one would call a “great man”, I guess. The kind of person who influenced the course of history, who has profiles in magazines written about him, who is friends with world leaders, important artists, and eminent scholars, that kind of thing. When once, as a diplomat, he left a post, those friends made a 300-page book called “Sceneries of Friendship” about what his friendship means to them. And now in his bed, his friends – colonels, directors, deans, diplomats – come to visit.


    We’ve been talking about that a lot these days, friendship. About Pushkin, who told the Czar that if he’d been there, he would have been alongside his Decemberist friends and that he would have died alongside them.
    About what he called “the liberty of friendship” which so recalls Goethe’s “to the excellent, there is no freedom but love”.

    We talk, about friendship. And how he defines his life, now almost all in the rear view mirror, almost exclusively through his friendships.

    And one evening, after one of these talks, when me and my fiancée are about to leave, he takes my hand, grips it with surprising strength, and fighting back tears he says “My boy, know that you’re my best friend.”

    And just two days later, I come across this. I’ve always admired Winston’s work, but those words? In that context? In my situation?

    “And we have friendship in our time
    but it is not like this”

    Which says a lot about why they keep visiting a time when we had it, like this.

    It hit me like almost nothing before. I closed my office door – briefly thinking about how blessed I am to have an office door I can close – and just cried.
    The essence of all art is truth, something I believe Winston understands better than most. Because that truth is something we all share, and bringing that truth to the light and showing it to us makes us come together just a little bit more.

    I wanted to thank the artist for digging out this simple yet so crucial truth about the human condition; to thank him for sharing it, for making me share. How blessed are we, that in a time when we have to see loved ones whither, we do have friendship like this.

    • Timothy Buck Says:

      I don’t have anything quite so eloquent to add, but I’d like to thank you for sharing this, and for reminding me why I still brave the comment section.

    • Dante Moz Says:

      Two years from your comment, just wanted to thank you for it. You made me feel more like the time traveler. My family life is so alien from this that I would likely spend some years watching the both of you and trying to understand.

  149. Vandana Says:

    This was beautiful.

  150. Chris Says:

    Thank you, for the beautiful and touching comic, Winston, just read it in its book form.

    And thanks to all the commenters here, for being here.. sharing this and their own, and watching, and understanding.

  151. Gentleman Ranker Says:

    Someone I was close to died of a long-standing illness shortly before this comic came out. It was not unexpected, but that doesn’t always matter. I was not able to be there, and this comic helped a good deal in coming to terms with it. Never think that being “just” an artist makes no difference.

    FWIW, many years ago I had a very low-end job in an emergency room, and was a minor participant on the crash team (we called it something different, as I imagine y’all do, but the meaning seems self-evident). I know what’s behind that closed door.

    You have a great talent for blending essential reality and the fantastic in just the right way, which I suppose is what Art is all about in some sense (no artist, me).

    Well done. And thank you.

    Gentleman Ranker

  152. Eli2452 Says:

    Really moving and original. Thank you.

  153. fluoman Says:

    I don’t want people to die.
    I don’t want to die.

  154. James Gray Says:

    Bravo. An moving, superb comic.

  155. Kadence Says:

    I am sobbing, omg. This… this was wonderful. I just… this was so incredibly impactful, i can’t even begin to describe it. I love it so much, thank you for creating this.

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