Comic #224

January 29, 2016









Hi, next comic is up, see you in 2017! Just kidding. See you before that, and thanks again for waiting, and always, for reading.

Also, free shipping on shirts right now with the code LOVE16, if you’re reading this before february 3rd! And if you’re not, HELLO FROM THE PAST, IT WAS OKAY HERE.

2016ily yours,


239 Responses to “Comic #224”

  1. Kate Says:

    Thank you so much… I can’t even express this but thank you. You are too amazing for words.

  2. Brandon Says:

    Ummm I wanted to leave this comment on the Facebook page, but I didn’t because Facebook is a place where everyone thinks I’m ok, but today I woke up and realized I had absolutely zero reasons to be alive. Not that I wanted to die, but just that on this day there was no particular reason for me to exist. But I continued to exist anyway, as one does, and at some point no reason to exist turned into no reason not to die, and that’s not a good place to be. And then I read this. Anyway, thank you. My reason to exist today turned out to be so that I could read this, and for each of the different versions of myself to tell me their story, each in their own color, and for me to, I don’t know, forgive them? I know, I’m a weirdo, but thanks anyway.

    • There’s a future version of you who has a ton of reasons not to die, and he’ll be really glad you hung in there. It could even be Tomorrow You, or Two Hours From Now You, you never know. There’s nothing good that’s happened to me that i saw coming ahead of time, sometimes life is is just wading through Suck until it thins out. And then you’ll hear other people say it feels pointless and you’ll know what they mean because you were there at one point and you’ll try and say something encouraging and even if it’s semi-articulate hopefully it’s better than nothing. Best wishes to you, nothing is forever, and nothing you’re experiencing is wrong or shameful or weird– it’s just human.

    • ctxA Says:

      I don’t know it this helps at all, but I’ve been there. I partially still am. And my data (n=1) suggest that it’ll get better.

      I wish you all the best.

    • Winston, that was the most succintly profound and appropriate response I have ever seen, and I am going to quote you for all my loved ones who need to hear it. Including me.

      Long time reader, first time commenter, just… keep up the phenomenal work, dude. I don’t know where you get your insight from, but I hope it just keeps coming.

    • Jake Says:

      I don’t know what to say to this and I don’t know why I’m saying anything at all, but here goes. I’ve been feeing that same way for a while. All I can say is that I’m glad I’m alive today to read your post and connect with a stranger over a weird webcomic. All you can do is take a second to appreciate these little connections that make you feel less alone. Cheers for the comic Winston. It was beautiful and touched me deeply.

  3. Tim Wilkins Says:

    Bravo sir.

    I put down my cat of 18 years last weekend. Haven’t told anyone about it. Grass Lass’ experience of her elderly friend’s passing was the most poignant thing I’ve read in months, and utterly on point for me.


  4. RichoVonBlack Says:

    “May you live and die like warrior poets of old”,
    (I’m kinda drunk right now).
    Brandon, never give up, I will have a warm beer in your honor,,, RIGHT NOW!!!
    Tim Wilkins, CATS ROCK!!!!, I will have a warm beer in your cat’s honor,,, RIGHT NOW!!!
    Winston Rowntree, May your art work and prose bring you success and riches, I will have ANOTHER warm beer in your honor,,, RIGHT NOW!!!


  5. RichoVonBlack Says:

    Oh, and I did just buy a shirt, because, BEER!!,,

  6. Underblueskies Says:

    pants. my favorite character developing more and more, starting from probably one of your shortest comics i can recall to a funny and insightful guy i can semi relate to, and throw in every other character ive been following for some time now, and i still find a break between the dialog to crack up laughing at the word pants. definitely worth the wait. thanks.

  7. This is amazing. I love this comic. You’re the best. Thanks for making these!

  8. leoboiko Says:

    Every comic you post make my day. Thanks.

  9. Thanks for another amazing piece of art. It took me 3½ hours to read, changed my view on artists, and made me tear up two or three times.
    If it helps, I couldn’t find any spelling errors. Should you ever stop being so embarrassed about it, I’ll double my payments to you. You earned it.

  10. René Says:

    Wow. There’s literally nothing else to say… I don’t know how you do it, but every comic you put up just seems to hit me right in the gut and gives that messed-up/good feeling I had back when I was a teenager or in my twenties and actually had time to think about the world.
    Thank you so much for creating this, we are richer for having seen it.

  11. sublime, as usual.

    the endings of each arc were particularly powerful.

    and I’m here feeling bad about myself for just making Polandball comics.


  12. doubleW Says:

    A good way to spend my morning 🙂

    So what was western Canada like back in 1998? My curiosity is peaked.

  13. Old King Cole Says:

    Took me hours to read this wonderful collection of amazing. Again, thanks, pal. Made my day.

  14. Duffy Knox Says:

    This comic was epic and awesome. Thanks

  15. Anarcissie Says:

    In the True World, this wins both the Nobel Prize for comics and the Olympics.

  16. robertopia Says:


    I’m going outside now — see whether it decides to rain on me after all — and I’ll see how having read this affects my day. Maybe I’ll like talk to a person.

  17. John Says:

    These comics always seem to come out at the perfect moments in my life and happen to talk about whatever’s bugging me at that point. Cheers to keeping me from being too black & white I guess.

  18. You, somehow, feel the flows of life and can channel them into such amazing comix. I love your art and shall continue my dedication to art and join the call to evangelize it.

  19. Aaa, I seriously want to gush over this. I commented on the Facebook post, but I didn’t want to go into details and spoil anything there; I figure anybody here has already read the comic, though.

    The stuff between Ethel and What’s-her-name and Pete’s evangelizing the arts were incredibly uplifting. It’s not pithy, it wouldn’t fit on a motivational poster, but it’s beautiful, and it feels genuine, and it’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to share it with other people, to let them know I love them, and that what they’re doing is incredible (and, to myself, that what I want to be doing is exactly what I should be doing, and that I need to get over my fear and intimidation and just do it, dammit).

    And then after that was a rapid emotional descent for me, getting choked up by Justine’s story, followed by learning that Pete’s home is his van but seeing him still feel like a king there, and nearly losing it when She’s living Ethel’s technicolor metaphor (and totally actually crying now, going back over the whole thing and thinking about it hard enough to put the way this hit me into words).

    And this is totally going to come out sounding like a backhanded compliment, but I sincerely love how there are too many truly vibrant characters to keep straight in my own head if I don’t read the whole body of your work back-to-back. I didn’t even realize that was Marie in the bar until I googled to make sure I had the character names right, and I’m now totally floored to see this entirely different side to her and Anneliese. (And I’m not even positive this is the first time you’ve shown us that Pete lives in his van, maybe I forgot.) But I know there wouldn’t be characters with that much depth if there weren’t massive gulfs of time between installments. Since I can’t have it both ways, I’m glad it’s this way, because it wouldn’t be nearly the same as a daily strip. (Not to denigrate short-form serialized comics, you can totally build interesting and varied characters and tell good stories in them, but Subnormality wouldn’t be nearly the impressive beast it is if it weren’t so…meticulously sprawling. You can’t say stuff like this in a few panels a day.)

    Geez, that looks like a wall of text. But hey, there’s not a word wasted that has meaning; I feel like you’d agree with me on that. 🙂

  20. Fellow Says:

    Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed this comic. I actually didn’t catch what was going on in that last panel with the brown haired girl on my first read through but that hit pretty hard when I did. Great work.

    Having said that, I may have written up a bit of a rant. Sorry.

    I figured I’d see the bit of dialoge you mentioned in the previous comic’s comment section before I’d ask about it. I don’t believe I understand the idea that sexuality should be included in a work.

    I’ve seen it used well, no doubt about that, but I’ve also read books(that are supposed to be literature where I’m from) where the goings on were just interrupted when the viewpoint character goes home with a waitress and, why yes it did make sense for these two characters to have sex at this time but it’s the author who chose to put the two in that spot and this graphic description tells me nothing new about the situation that the book got me intrested in. And another saw fit to exposit about some side character’s incest fantasies? And then you get movies where the male and female lead invariably end up together cause we’ll be damned if a guy and a gal have a platonic relationship, right?

    A writer picks out the intresting parts to write about, be it the human psyche or otherwise (Imagine if every writer would describe two paragraps of childhood trauma a character just so happened to think about on the bus or somewhere, this would get boring quickly.), so why would sex get special treatment in this regard?

  21. George Peterson Says:

    Another terrific strip. You never fail to blow me away. I noticed that Zoe didn’t seem to have her dog with her…

  22. Nick Says:

    God, amazing work as usual. This Often’s series is just stellar, I’m always psyched to see you return to it, and I’m excited to see how else it and the bar itself will expand.

    (P.S. Is that PHG’s barely-illegible old-woman name next to her on the Wardair ad? Rowntreeeeeeee!)

  23. Kristin Says:

    Wow. Just wow. I am a bigger fan of your work with every comic. This one was full of such hope and kindness and love. It’s going to take me some time to digest all the nuanced ideas in this, but the little touch that’s hitting me the hardest right now is Justine carefully detailing her truck over the weekend with bomber nose art inspired by the book her elderly friend gave her that she treasured so, then finding him dead on Monday when she had no doubt been looking forward to showing it to him.

    Thank you for doing what you do!

  24. Lee Stewart Says:

    Like Kristin, I’m becoming a bigger fan every time you put out another magnum opus. Took me hours to read, but I didn’t want to miss any of those gorgeous details. You draw some very beautiful, distinctive women – like no others anywhere – and the discourses on… well, anything… are icing on the artistic cake. Love the series, keep it up!

  25. animaniac Says:

    Your best comics tell great stories with either few boxes and long speech bubbles, or lotsa boxes with almost no text. Sorry, but this one just doesn’t work: scrolling right and left is already a nuisance, and here it’s just two separate storylines. The walls of text are mostly banter or rambling, two things that never make a good read. Finally, the comic is way too long and goes nowhere: nothing tying it together, no punchline, no joke… the art is terrific as usual, but I hope you will come back to shorter and more frequent pages with standalone scripts.

    • Olivia Says:

      I understand what you’re saying, but I read instalment this over an evening and kept coming back to it to finish it. I treated each “scene” like a separate chapter, and read each diversion one at a time. It was time consuming, but it’s one of the things I love about this comic.

      Even though there was no “punchline”, I feel that the event tying it all together was the bar. They all had different storylines but all their evenings took place in this one bar, and I thought that was pretty cool. Like how all the characters in that bar have their own complex backstories and histories. But I understand if that kinda thing’s not your jam 🙂

  26. ctxA Says:

    Word’s can’t begin to describe how FUCKING GOOD this strip was. I cried four times. FOUR. And the last panel with the Pink Haired Girl tore my heart to shreds.

    I really can’t fathom how you manage to be so fucking uplifting and depressing at the same time. Now I just feel like curling up to a ball and simultaneously fulfilling all my dreams and ambitions.

    I don’t know how to conclude this. God damn. I’m afraid of the hypothetical day when we find you laying on your back porch.

  27. juliaSet Says:

    If John Darnielle made a webcomic instead of music, I suspect his work would greatly resemble yours. Thank you for another beautiful, cathartic, thoughtful avalanche of cleverness. And also Undertale references, because fuck yes Undertale.

  28. A Says:

    After I finished reading, I sat there quietly for a few minutes while peace welled up in my mind. This was beautiful. Thankyou.

  29. MEE Says:

    As someone who loves art in all its forms with every fiber of their being but gets scared, thank you for all that inspiration. I, too, often feel like I’m in black and white and the accuracy and intricacy of that panel hits right in the gut.
    A new year was ever worth the wait.

  30. David Kingsbury Says:

    Thank you.

    It’s always good, always always good. Every single thing you do has an audience and I’m amazed at how well you reach them. In this case, this may be my favorite since #158, and that I kept pinned to my door for years and helped carry me through some tough times.

    I’m not sure what else to say, except maybe I need to take the time to work on my own art again, remember that sex shouldn’t be so full of shame, give people the truth and admit it to myself as well, and basically take a page out of all your character’s books.

    I’m super worried for… I’m gonna take a guess and say Ruth? Yeah, I’m worried for her. I what it’s like to be there, you know? It’s almost like you’re inflicting others with your existence half the time, wondering why anyone bothers… I’m glad she has Ethel though. I need to be more like Ethel and more like Pete. I’m pretty good at PHG(Ruth?)

    As always, you make the cup of my soul runneth over with nourishment, strange as that is to say.
    Please keep up the good work, please keep feeding my soul, please just keep existing. You’re royalty in your own right.

  31. Jim Says:

    Winston, I’m a new fan, and after going through your entire portfolio, I pledged on Patreon. Then,BAM! the next day a new comic! I’m a patron of the arts! I feel like a Florentine prince.

    This is work of genius. The artwork is lovingly lush and detailed. Your characters are so well realized both graphically and psychologically that I already think of them as old friends. Your writing, perception, and depiction of the human condition is both original, and familiar: I feel like I’m listening to myself sometimes.

    From what I’ve seen, Subnormality may be the best comic on the net right now.

    Live a long time and keep doing it you wonderful genius, you.

    • Thanks! Really appreciate the patronage, that means a lot. It’s also really great to know that i can still get new readers, i’m glad you said something, so high five and thanks for reading and indeed please accept the promise of more comix to come…

  32. Remmy Says:

    As always, your comix are well worth the wait. The breadth and depth of your work continues to astound, and I find it difficult to not get emotional when reading your work. I have no idea how you do it, but the seemingly-inherent understanding you have with art-as-expression, and the relationship between art, artist, and consumer continues to amaze me.

    I hate to mention specific parts of the comic, as I feel that there are dozens of things to say about every section, but the parking lot scenes hit me the hardest. I have difficulty putting into words how I feel when, for instance, Justine doesn’t understand how to cope with her emotions, and starts to waiver as she brings her trauma back up… The interaction between the General and Zoe capped by the reveal that the General is just a single degree less homeless that Zoe… The lone shots of Ethel as she returns home, juxtaposed by the interactions of Pink Haired Girl and her co-workers/friends…

    …I don’t even know what to say…

    All I can say is that I love you, Winston, as well as the work you expertly craft.

  33. Rob Says:

    Let’s use… movies as the analogy. Most people are familiar with them, and they’re a kind of artistic endeavor.

    Picture Winston as a director or producer or better yet: both, since Subnormality is a one-man operation.

    Winston’s gotten into a kind of mind-frame where every movie must be a Gone With the Wind, followed by a Lawrence of Arabia, then a Gandhi, a 2001: A Space Odyssey, a Lord of the Rings… etc, etc.

    Every output takes a long time. A loooonnnnngggg time. Every output is arguably too large. Outputs are purposefully insightful, bordering on pretentious.

    Winston, stop trying so hard. It’s a damned webcomic. Sooner or later (much later, on a bi-yearly release cycle) you’re gonna find yourself looking back through a string of Dances with Wolves, Heaven’s Gate, Apocalypse Now… and wondering what happened.

    • dik-but Says:

      This. Every comic is trying to be insightful and to tear back the curtain on the true nature of human consciousness, but it just comes off as forced and trite after the seventieth time.

      Trim the text, cut the Tumblr, ditch Undertale and stop trying to impress people with how knowledgeable you are about everyone’s secret innermost thoughts about human nature.

    • nfILL Says:

      I’m kinda confused by these comments. If you don’t appreciate the work, don’t read it. Would it be nice to have Subnormality every week? Sure. Do I think Winston should limit his writing or constrain the stories he wants to tell? Absolutely not.

      Also, I don’t get your comment that “it’s a damned webcomic.” What does that matter to the discussion? It’s somehow not capable of being an epic or a saga? Please.

    • Olivia Says:

      Are you saying Gone With the Wind, Dances with Wolves, and Apocalypse Now weren’t great films?

      I don’t understand why you think webcomics (or films, apparently) aren’t worth spending hours of time creating.

      If you don’t think they’re worth the wait, then please, feel free to stop reading.

  34. I’m glad I found you through Cracked. Your comics never fail to move me in some way. And when I read this it was all the same moments of “wow” and mind blowing discovery that I had reading comics as a kid (I’m 34.)

  35. Mostro Says:

    Winston, your comics are some of the best things around. Please don’t ever stop. These long formats are totally worth the wait.

  36. Thealten Says:

    Your comics haven’t never failed to elicit some introspection into my own life, but the fact that you’ve been able to put into words what I’ve been unable to pin down is incredible. The whole thing with PHG and how you can seem so fine to other people with everything going your way, and yet be so depressed when no one is looking. That feeling of sadness where you can’t even really feel anymore – everything just feels so numb, and sometimes you even wish that something bad would happen, just so you could actually cry and know that you’re still capable of feeling those emotions. Damn… you know something’s wrong when you use your ability to cry as a measure of how good you’re doing.

    • Thealten Says:

      I just noticed I double negative’d there when I meant haven’t failed… and there’s no edit button

  37. An excellent reading, even if for a foreigner like me who does not master the English language some parts were hard to grasp.
    More than the story I appreciated the art. You are getting better and better, expecially with colours.
    The spacial arrangement of the comics had struck me most. The liberty you take is liberating and amazing, and makes the mind wander. It’s such a novelty in the narrative universe. I wonder if it would be possibile to publish your works. I would certainly buy them all.
    Congratulations and keep on!

    • Thanks! And yeah, i kind of tried an overhaul of the palette with this one, it’s more reddish than before and should hopefully look a lot better. Oh, and it’s at least semi-possible to publish the comix, i’ve actually got one of them coming out as a book in a few months so stay tuned for that (one down, 223 to go….).

  38. Jessica Says:

    I sat and read this comic for three hours. Your writing is one of those few things in life that saps the anxiety, instead of being fuel in the fire. The overall message being, “yes, it’s really okay to be who you are and have your particular flaws.” Thanks for reminding people that being alone is, to a major extent, just an illusion.

  39. c Says:

    You’re seriously excellent, you know that? You should know that. It’s important and true.

  40. dik-but Says:

    The sad part about leaving criticism is that I know from experience that you tend to just disregard it- the only time I’ve been graced with a reply or agreement is when I’ve been unfailingly praising of your work. Let me save you the time of reading this comment: it’s negative. Go ahead and scroll past, WR.

    Garbage undertale references (barf), edgy characters-who-vomit-their-feelings-all-over-each-other, and edgy-quip style dialogue, just needlessly expanded into self important, overinflated spiels about nothing.

    The writing, even compared to your more lengthy and wordy comics, needs a lot of trimming. This isn’t a case of needing garfield length snippets, it’s a case of getting it down from massive-wall-of-useless-text to slightly-smaller-wall-of-meaningful-text.

    More Bechdel test pandering, more females-for-the-sake-of-it, more indie masturbation. It just seems like some kind of hipster, painfully neo-liberal tumblr ideology has parasitically attached to your brain.

    Is everyone in your comic strip on drugs? Do they all regurgitate the contents of their brains to every single person they meet at every single bus stop, bar and brothel?

    Walls of text are fine- and real people DO speak like that. But not all of the time, and not to everyone. Every single comic, fifty times in a row, is just the encyclopaedic contents of the most irrelevant details of the human mind carelessly strewn about a large-format panel.

    Part of telling a good story is distilling down your message into something clear and concise. You’re allowed to embellish and expand on things, but when the plot, panel structure and paragraphs begin to resemble silly string more than a script, you know it’s time to do the real hard yards of storytelling- EDITING.

    Trim the storylines, distill the dialogue, and for the love of god, PLEASE prise the tumblr tick off your frontal cortex. Undertale is a pixelated, zero effort mess of memes and tropes puked up by a hack. Women aren’t somehow worth bonus points just by virtue of having a vagina.

    I feel the comic has gone from fantastically original, obscene, ridiculous scenarios like The Emperor of the Universe or A Christmas Eve in the Future or The Nonreligious Confessional into pointless, shallow posturing, motivated by the self-flagellating ideology of a guy who hates himself for being male and having been a bit of a goober in the past, and who therefore needs to constantly apologise to women and feature them as endlessly-exposition-ed characters so that he can pat himself on the back, saying “LOok! Women are people! I know this! I’m better know!”

    The WR spark is still there, but it’s fading.

    I only took the time to write this all out because I love your comics.
    Best wishes.

    • davidson9999 Says:

      I read your criticism. I think you’re wrong.

      I don’t think we need another xkcd or Saturday Morning Breakfast cereal – where the message is distilled into a single pithy panel. We need WR, with her comics which flow through characters, and ideas, and panels and contradictions.

      So many lovely contradictions – like the musician who compels a woman to join the arts, and then asks for a job as a landscaper in the same evening.

      I think the trick to WR comics is to think of them as movies in comic form. To fully enjoy them, don’t try to approach them as you would another comic.

      Expect them to take time to read- at least 3 hrs. As much as a movie. Think of them like a Hal Hartley film (a good one) – full of meaningful and deep philosophical dialogue, stylised and rich with ideas – rather than representative of a normal conversation.

      My advice is if you read them as if they were a movie, they are very rewarding experiences.

    • animaniac Says:

      davidson9999, it’s not about density, it’s about junk text. If a 3-hour movie has one hour that doesn’t add anything to the experience, respect the audience and cut it. Most of the walls of text here are just aimless musings that could be reduced to a single sentence. It’s a comic, waking it too long or too wordy dulls the experience. The best panels are a few pages long, develop a solid idea, use the text to support it, and finally deliver a puchline.

      A good example (I think):

    • davidson9999 Says:


      I have two thoughts:

      1) There are thousands of web comics like the example. They follow the arc: Set up story, add twist.

      WR breaks that mould with her format. She is creating something new. And it means that it can’t be easily digested like other comics – you have to work at it. And that is not a bad thing.

      2) Read the sex monologue by the yellow girl in the latest comic. She talks about not racing to the finish, but losing herself in the nothingness, the disappearing, the instead before the organism. This comic are like that. They don’t race to a climax. I think you are meant to lose yourself in them, to look up and see that an hour has passed.

    • I respect your opinion dik-but, but at the same time, I related on a fundamental level to this comic, and I have since day one, the art has changed but the idea remains the same.

    • doubleW Says:

      If reading something is taking you such a long time that you’re feeling unhappy, dik-but, maybe you should take a break once in a while. Try closing that browser tab that you have dedicated to Return of Kings, while you’re at it.

    • AndyDivide Says:

      What the heck is a “neo liberal tumblr ideology”? Are you even aware of the words you’re using?!

      More to the point, what kind of a twisted worldview do you have to have in order to see a comic that features mostly female characters, and assume that the author is using them in some white-knight-esque show of how progressive he is? Dude, you seriously need to take a long hard look at yourself if that’s the conclusion you come to. It’s not like these are even new characters, they’ve all appeared in Subnormality before.

      Everything you’ve ranted against is either your own f*ed up take on things, or else a description of what makes Subnormality great, and with that being the case I really don’t even know what you’re doing here!

    • Alternate-Me Says:

      Your example isn’t realistic. I can’t believe a person, especially a child fails to have empathy for a puppy missing a leg, ESPECIALLY one who is also missing a leg. It doesn’t matter how nice and concise the set-up is if there is no believability.

      Subnormality is realism.

      Real people don’t have tidy neat conversations. Real people are complex. Real people beat around the bush. Real people dump on strangers unexpectedly.

      Because of Subnormality I believe that somewhere there is a museum where you can meet alternate versions of yourself. The *only* hope I carry with me is the idea that in some alternate dimension there’s a version of me that has it all figured out and is actually happy and made all the right choices. The idea that this is even at all possible however implausible has literally kept me alive.

      This desperate desire to cling to Occam’s Razor is deeply troubling. The simple answer has *never* been the correct one in my experience. Real life is ugly, complicated, meandering, and desperate. Interactions between people even more so. Don’t seek to have it all broken down into bite-sized sanitized chunks. Don’t expect this experience to be like anything else, because it’s not.

      Question WHY you have to have it neat and tidy, and where you’ve ever seen that in real life.

      Movies and TV lie to you because they have to. They only have a limited amount of time to tell a story. They use tropes, stereotypes, and shortcuts which really DON’T exist in life. I prefer the truth, no matter how complicated, lengthy, ugly, dirty, and confusing it is.

      Subnormality is the truth, happening right in front of us, to characters who are believable and real.

    • Normally I’m one of the people showering WR with praise in the comments. I came here to do the same, and noticed yours, and I think it’s great that not everyone is sucking his/her dick/clit (likely dick, but what do I know, considering it’s a pen name).

      I want to acknowledge that I understand your criticisms. On the one hand, I would normally agree that any writer — screenwriter, novelist, “graphic novelist,” etc. — should be as pithy as possible. Don’t waste my time. Shoving more words down my eye-holes is usually just masturbatory on the author’s part, or a lack of trust in the audience’s intelligence.
      (As a side note, pithiness is personally my weakest suit, if you couldn’t tell. But I’m no writer anyway.)

      But on the other hand, there’s a place I go when I want to hunker down for a feature-length read. A place that I know if I put in the time, I’ll have a great experience. And that place is Rowntree’s. I’m not sure if this is my favorite Subnormality… page? chapter?… but it is admittedly the first one that I’ve shared with someone else. (besides Captain Estar Goes To Heaven; a bad one to share since I think I’m the only person that likes it.)

      Other Subnormalities have opened my mind to new ways of thinking of things. This one didn’t open my mind so much as it explained my mind in words so perfect and beautiful I wanted to take screencaps of every panel and shove them in friends’ faces, as if to say: “SEE?? This is what I’ve been trying to convey this whole time, but couldn’t find the right words before this comic on the internet did it for me.” And I’m pretty sure that were the comic pared down to the “essentials” to advance the “story,” most (if not all) of those moments that I so strongly reacted to would have been lost.

      This comic fills a niche, and it is not a particularly wide one. While we should always think critically about the art we consume, we should also consider that sometimes we are not the ideal audience for a particular piece or series. So it is not that WR shouldn’t be criticized, but I can’t help but feel that the “too many words” critique is on par with accusing Beaton’s “Hark! A Vagrant” for being too obscure with its historical references (this is a legitimate thing I read somewhere). Yeah, it’s obscure on purpose; it’s filling a particular niche, one that isn’t all that accessible, but elicits far more passionate reactions in those than can access it for that exact reason.

      In any case, your use of buzzwords makes you sound kind of dumb, and I’m not saying that just because I disagree with you. Really, stop using buzzwords. “[H]ipster, painfully neo-liberal tumblr ideology”; “Undertale is a pixelated, zero effort mess of memes”; “Women aren’t somehow worth bonus points just by virtue of having a vagina.” Ugh, gross. Stay off of /co/, it’s rotting your brain, man.

    • Rose Says:

      “More Bechdel test pandering, more females-for-the-sake-of-it, more indie masturbation. It just seems like some kind of hipster, painfully neo-liberal tumblr ideology has parasitically attached to your brain.”

      I want to frame this and put it on a shirt as an example of how garbage this kind of self-serving statement is. You don’t get it. I don’t think you ever will. Good luck out there.

    • Spike Says:

      Honestly, he does have some points about the editing stuff, and well… and if I’m to be completely honest, this comic is so *white*. Granted, Winston is in urban Canada and is a white dude of likely middle class upbringing himself. Most of the folks he hangs with are either white, or acculturated to white norms to the point where they’re more up on all the latest rock bands and literary novels and not so much whatever came out of the home country or their own community (at least in the wider public, like I was). It just strikes me in comics like this where there are non-whites… and they’re just palette-swapped whites in the way they talk about things and whatnot down to the vocabulary.

      I’ve enjoyed the comic so far being that it’s “exotic” to me in some respects, the denizen of a tropical city, where the majority of people are non-white and speak an English patois that’s incomprehensible to mainlanders. It reminds me a lot of my correspondence with a friend who also lives in the greater Toronto area. You guys overthink things waaaay too much, but that’s part of the charm, y’know? That and poutine. I blame winter. But hey, take it from this guy, sometimes you got to drop the Alfred Prufrock routine and *just dance*.

    • autumnowl23 Says:

      The world is big enough to allow everyone to do their own thing, It feels like you think that your thing should be someone else’s thing because you think that your thing is More Right. But it is still just your thing.

  41. Giraffe Says:

    You are consistently amazing and nobody else in the world can do the things you do, and this is a rare occasion where this is actually a true statement. Your work is of that rare caliber as to actually give me a tinge of despair that I will never be this profound, but this strip actually legitimately made me want to Follow My Dreams. Thank you, mayne

  42. Nicholas Shaski Says:

    Thank you for doing this. This comic might be the best thing in my life right now.

  43. Long time reader, first time speaker.

    This is the first time I’ve noticed criticism in the comments, and while I sure can appreciate the concept that feedback can theoretically help propel an artist to more sophisticated peaks, it kinda seems like these are folks who want you to be everything to everyone, or at least customize your style to fit theirs, and that’s kind of crossing an awkward line, so I’ll just say this:

    You’re perfect. Your art is perfect. These comics, with all their towering brick walls of dialogue and scratchy line work and Joseph coat color schemes, in all their messy glory, are perfect. There is no one quite like you, and you have fucked mortality several times over, at least where this one fan is concerned. Print this out and put it in your van.

    So while criticism is healthy(? debatable) or whatever, I think you’re allowed to focus on the people you’re making happy, because if your art is making YOU happy, and other people are finding the same things (or new, as-yet-undiscovered things!) about your work and feeling the same thing, well, that’s fucking connection and you achieved it, and I feel sorry for people who don’t experience that kind of joy but they have their own cup of tea and you have yours, and that’s okay.

    It’s hard for me to express how profoundly your work impacts me. I always feel a little separate from people, never quite trusting the bond, like I can never truly be authentic with anyone, and fuck if anyone I know tracks down this comment because I don’t want anyone I know to think that reflects on them. But this comic reminds me that other people are universes, as you are certainly a large and ever expanding one, and I can wave from over here in my galactic core to you in yours, and while 99.999% of the message gets lost to space dust, maybe a fragment of it gets through and you know there’s just one more soul out there who likes the cut of your jib and felt compelled to say so, because maybe the totality of the message isn’t important, just the gist, just a nod, just the mutual acknowledgement, may be that is enough. Namaste, etc.

    I have parts of Ethel and PHG in me, and that black and white existence was my entire 2015. I’m back in color now. To all the other readers who are desaturated reading this: it will be okay. You may feel like the only one, but that’s because other people are just as good at hiding it as you. People can have amazingly similar experiences, but you’d never know it for all the space dust in the way. Send up a signal anyway; the good is in the trying.

    Thank you.

    • It’s alright, since day one i’ve had comments from Internet Dads telling me to get a haircut, but eventually you realize that anyone that angry about your comic is obviously angry about something else entirely and is just venting on you (actual criticism is of course well more than healthy, but that’s a separate thing)– i mean i’ve literally been there, i’ve been unhappy in my own life and then written angrily to a webcartoonist because i was unhappy, so there’s not a ton of mystery there. But anyway, yeah, i most certainly do focus on the people who like my work, y’all are why i do this and it’s really changed my life for the better more than i can even express. I’ve always felt separate from people too, and my work and the audience are the thing that have helped me so dramatically that i’m just so grateful for all of you, for you, for comments like yours, for the positive sentiments and the signal and so thank you very much indeed– i wish you all the colors you can handle.

  44. Sigurther Says:

    Worth the wait, worth the read.

  45. Clavus Says:

    I always need to clear me schedule if I want to read one of your comics, but I never regret it. Great stuff as always.

  46. Elvira Says:

    I’m painfully shy when it comes to comments and communities on the net, but your latest work felt so close to me on several points that I just had to say something. I’ve been reading your work for a few years now, I love seeing Ethel and PHG’s dialogues, Justine and I’m especially fond of Marie and Annelise. I noticed the painting in their apartment of the stairs gradually leading up to something larger and I like the comic you made in relation to it.

    Until recently I’ve spent the last 7 years awaiting a big change in my life, in september it finally began. It’s overwhelming, one of THE big changes I’ll ever make and I’m taking one day at a time, one step at a time.

    This page was uplifting for me as I’ve lived in a black/white empty pattern for so long and that the art I’ve created to take my mind off things have often been compared to what I’ve thought were “real artists” in comparison to me. But I think I’ve gained a little color over the last months and despite that I’ve been good at hiding things, people close are noticing it. I’ve often viewed myself in a lesser light than those I’m fond of, friends and partners both. The destructive thoughts along the line of “Why would she want a blank slate like me? She’s way out of my league.” are fading.

    I love the details in your work, how you work in humour among the thoughts and dialogue and your characters are beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful and uplifting work with the world.
    Sincerely, Elvira.

    • I totally get where you’re coming from, believe me (and i get the shyness thing too, so i appreciate you commenting). I completely have the same thing of viewing myself as lesser and such, but it’s been fading a bit for me and congrats on it fading for you as well. I mean there’re people here in the comments trying to remind me how i’m different from the “real” comics, as there have been for the past nine years, but it’s nice to not take them seriously as i once might have now that years of being myself have actually resulted in the kind of success i always wanted. Things definitely do change, so best wishes to you with your self and your own changes, and thanks so much for the kind feedback!

  47. nategordon1 Says:

    Really really enjoyed this. Long time reader, really invested in your characters, I love the kind of beyond-unfiltered way they have of speaking, pouring out a specific anxiety in a decidedly rambling way. I don’t fully understand most of the criticism I’ve seen above; these guys seem to see a failure to serve up a joke all at once as a general failure, rather than a choice to make a specific type of story. More than happy to wait around as long as you need to put out work like this.

    Honestly, I like your style (your voice, framing, and just the way you draw things) but most of all, seeing you lay out these characters (especially in these ensemble stories) gives me the feeling of having spent the day with friends I haven’t seen in years and hearing about their dreams and unloading on them. Cathartic, I guess. Anyway, big big thanks for all you do. You’re a rock star!

  48. Logan Says:

    Mr. Rowntree,

    I look at the litany of responses that follow every one of your comix, especially those done more recently, and I always see people that are being built up by you. The way you’re able to use “too many words” to elucidate and clarify things that people have probably been feeling, but haven’t been able to clearly articulate is a commodity valued way above what you’re probably making off of these art pieces. That’s not to say that you’re mercenary, but rather that you are offering to humanity and the public something for which they can probably not adequately repay you for. Hopefully though, the genuine admiration and appreciation that is poured out even months to years after the initial upload help you feel as though your value to others’ existence matters in a deep way.

    I can understand why some would come here and struggle to make it through the wall of text that is a Subnormality comic. I always settle in for the long read when I see that you’ve posted us a new one to enjoy. Characterizations carried through issues over the years, with small hints sprinkled here and there, reward us long time readers, but there is no gateway to jumping in at any point, and that’s truly remarkable. As a mature artist at this point in your life, though, I want to encourage you to stay true to your vision. As I said, there are silent masses of people who have come to your site and seen the words they couldn’t form in a speech bubble from the PHG, or Ethel, or Justine, or others. I’d hate for something truly profound to be cut in the name of expediency or a quick punchline. What you do is special to those who come here to find it. Please don’t give up on that.

    I hope this builds you up and reiterates what’s been posted here by your legion of fans. Thank you for the beautiful and meaningful things you contribute to what can be a mundane and sometimes heartless world. I speak for myself, but I think that I can safely assume that I speak for the majority as well, when I say that your contributions to our lives goes far beyond what you will probably ever know.


    Logan W.

  49. Woot100 Says:

    this upd8 was fucking wild & i am always delighted when you churn out new content & i am similarly delighted when its full of Sad Mentally Ill Queers, being one myself. i could literally wait until 2017 for the next comic and this would’ve made that okay. i could write a fucking essay about how good and detailed this is

  50. bernardvoos Says:

    Jesus (the exclamation, not implying you’re our Lord and Savior)
    I just read this and it was incredibly heartfelt and touching. I got up afterwards and told the special people in my life how much they mean to me. Keep doing what you do, forever. Winston, you are the reason I get online to see what’s new every morning. I always hope it will be a new Subnormality comic day. Your work makes me want to be a better human being.

  51. Mike W. Says:

    I live an hour outside of Regina and in some ways Western Canada hasn’t changed much since 1998…in other ways though, it’s like a completely different planet.

    I loved this comic (definitely worth the wait); I love all the little details, like Pete reciting the line from Justine’s favourite song as she left. (I had to think about that one for a minute…Cousin Mary, damn! They used to play that on the old CKCK request hour…which inexplicably ran for 3 or 4 hours nightly.)

    My favourite line (of many) was: “Everything you create or share is a giant fuck you to mortality and everything you don’t is you making sure that if you had never existed the world would’ve been exactly the fucking same.” Damn, I may have to write that out and hang it up someplace. I’m a writer (unpublished, for all intents and purposes), so that line really hit home. I’m going to do my damndest to get my stuff out there, so thanks for the extra shot of motivation.

  52. mahmoud Says:

    Man, your comics are so so good. Treasures, all of them.

  53. taustin Says:

    Well. That’s me teared-up. And in awe.


  54. MrGraves Says:

    Okay, I’ve deleted the last ten attempts to write a comment and I’m hitting a point where I’m spending way too much time thinking about how to write a comment on a webcomic so I’m going to stop deleting things and just write it out or it’s never going to get finished. First of all, this is great. I’m not sure why I never left comments on your webcomic before because I’ve been reading this for years now and checking back every weekend or so to see if there was anything new. If there’s one thing I like finding on the internet, it’s well-written weird things that aren’t about eating babies or being ultra-racist conspiracy theories or something that would negate the enjoyableness of the weirdness with terribleness. But there’s no baby-eating in this comic at all! It’s just a lot of interesting, complex characters with a ton of attention to detail in the backgrounds and other little things that you don’t realize how important they are until you see someone actually doing them. On one hand I kinda wish there were more Subnormalities out there, not giving a damn about framing a webcomic into a correct panel-space because we’re not reading on papers anymore, and not being afraid to put too many words because yeah, maybe not every idea is one that hasn’t been touched on before in a previous comic, but sometimes it’s just nice to look at an idea again from a slightly different perspective, and also because maybe I’ve grown attached to these characters a little bit and want to see into their world just a little bit more, even it means not jumping onto something completely new every week or month or whatever. But then I think, yeah, but if there were fifty more like this there’d be a bunch of them that are just awful to trudge through because not everybody can write out ten paragraphs and make it still seem worth reading through (example: this comment, and holy crap I’m not even done yet just skip to the tl;dr part already); but I guess I could just not read those and keep reading this? Whenever it updates, haha.

    Whatever man. I’m just glad to see another one of these. I would say “please update more often”, but what I really want is “please update as often as possible without sacrificing this awesome quality, even if that means not increasing the update rate at all”. Also, put in whatever damn references you want, I love that shitty game and I didn’t even notice it the first time reading through, had to go back and look for it. (also: Lemmy and Weiland 😦 and probably a few others I didn’t notice) Even if I didn’t though, it’s your webcomic; I’ll probably miss a few references to things I don’t care as much about, and I’m sure at some point you’ll probably put in an Easter Egg for something that actively irritates me (like that one artist my ex listened to where every song was basically just one really short musical bit put on repeat a hundred times but there would never be any frills added to it or little change-ups that would keep it from being glaringly repetitive, which is also funny because I probably listen to some other music that probably does the same thing… whatever, I’ll probably remember it as soon as I post this), and for a second I’ll probably be going “UGH HE LIKES J-SOMETHINGOROTHER??” and then in the next second I’ll think, “Oh no, now I only like 97% of the things about his life that he puts into webcomic form instead of 98% whatever shall I do” and then keep reading anyway.

    God I spent way too much time writing about that. Whatever, not gonna delete it, sorry.

    TL;DR: My point is that in my headspace at least, you succeed at doing something in a weird way that’s sometimes counter to the expectations of how things should be done, and you do it better than most of the people I’ve seen who also do weird things, and I can’t wait until your next one. Godspeed, you magnificent bastard.

  55. CloudySaturdays Says:

    I find that I only ever read Subnormality when I’m depressed. It reads like I’m talking to myself, except the other person isn’t me. I’ve been where Ethel is down to writing that letter to the friend who is like family, with whom you would have talked to the end of eternity if neither of you had to wake up and be somewhere in the morning, who would tell you to text them when you got home so that they know you got home safe. It feels good to get past that stage of insecurity and self-doubt and idealization of that friend and realize you have a BFF, that you don’t have to write an essay about how awesome they are to show your appreciation for them, that being there when they need you like when they are there when you need them says infinitely more than anything you can put on a piece of paper, that you’re actually going to be okay when they move hundreds of miles away because for once in your life, you actually like yourself and you are undeniably a better person for having met them.

  56. So once again I find myself at the end of your comic (I had to take an emotion break about halfway through

    Fuck winston you’re incredible, don’t ever stop, I don’t mind the wait, you just keep doing you.

    All I can say is thanks ❤ I love you

  57. Drew Hodgson Says:

    Breathtaking work, you’re an absolute treasure to the world.

  58. Megan Morgan Says:

    I’m a long time reader, first time commenter. I keep seeing the word ‘sublime’ used to describe your work and there’s really no better descriptor. It took me two days to read this one, and I don’t mind at all, because your comics are like reading a really good book I never want to end and I just want to know what happens to everyone!

    I teared up majorly over Ethel getting published, mostly because last year, after a thousand years of trying to be a ‘real writer,’ I landed my first (multi!) book deal. When she says “I guess it kind of lends an air of credibility to whatever this is that I am” it was like a punch to the gut for me because, yes. That’s exactly it. That was exactly the feeling. I identify with Ethel so much.

    I also teared up over Pete clutching his lanyard and I can’t even explain why.

    I am a little worried though at the end about Ethel’s friend being in black and white when everyone around her is in color. Is she lying about being all right?

    Keep doing what you’re doing. I always get the tissues ready when I start reading your comics because I know I’m gonna cry–but like, in a good way. Your stories resonate profoundly and deeply, and I’m glad you found the license to believe your thoughts matter.

  59. Menchicutlets Says:

    I wanted to leave a comment here, but honestly I’m not even sure I can say much more than what has already been said. This page really hit it home for me, so many little things I’ve seen in my own life and thought about, and gone over and rethought about and probably cycled through in so many different ways you would think it was a kalaidoscope, though maybe not helped that I’m reading this 6am in the morning after a night of no sleep. I want to say you are always eloquent in your speech and in how you convey ideas and thoughts, while keeping these characters as themselves, you give a voice to the many thoughts and demons that are in all our heads about the most inane and senseless things to worry about, giving your own opinion about them, a fresh perspective. Keep doing the amazing work you’re doing , and maybe one day when I have pushed myself to doing something with myself I can be one of those people that helps add to your patreon support.

  60. Fish Says:

    Fuck that was long. read for 1.5 hrs and still only made it 1/2 way. got to get some sleep for work tomorrow and read the rest later. awesome job as always.

  61. Mr P Says:

    Your comics are the best! Also the biggest! Running some of your images through this png optimizer gave about a 10% lossless compression:

    Hope that helps!

    • Eric Says:

      WR – I don’t know how techie you are, but if you pay for bandwidth for what people are downloading, then compressing your graphics using a tool like this would save you money. And the fact it’s lossless means that the images look literally exactly the same, pixel by pixel. Contact me if you need any help – glad to supply it.

      I’m very much looking forward to your next update. Thanks for your work.

  62. Miles Watson Says:

    Took me like 3 or days to read this, on and off I mean, but it’s a damn good read and I’ve always loved the way the panels are played with.

  63. The Old Wolf Says:

    Words pretty much fail me – perhaps its because I had to read so many of them here. I’m sitting here now with eyes brimming, realizing once again that _everybody_ has this incredible dialog going on inside them, no matter what their station or circumstances in life, and that _everybody_ needs people to be there for them at some level. Nobody, but nobody else has ever been able to zoom in to the complexities of life, relationships, and everything the way you do. The world would be so much better if we as a species would give up the innate compulsion to judge others for anything and everything. Thanks for all your work – this last strip is massive.

  64. Karl Says:

    Wow… Length and quality/enjoyability entirely related! And some pretty funny quips too…Worth the wait! Great work!

  65. Gary Dray Says:

    As usual, your work is inspirational and completely radical. I love the friendship verification scene- I think all of us need to to this , often. As far as time between posts, don’t sweat the little shit, man. Fans are patient because ALL your work is worth the wait. Take your time because a true vintage wine needs time to become amazing as does the work your produce. Much love and respect from Western Canada.

  66. Dag, yo. That was a long read and well worth it. I’m really enjoying the evolution of Subnormality into a multicharacter continuum. Your work is powerful, and worth patronizing. I’ll buy in, prolly next week. Thank you.

  67. Nathan (Wilson) Says:

    I loved the visual metaphor of the mic drop. It’s so rare that I notice a good visual metaphor, and I almost missed it until the 2nd one. Then I went back and looked at them, and laughed out loud. Well done and well placed!
    (This comic is going to take a long time to type up)

  68. simon Says:

    why do i always finish reading your comics at 1 am. they’re so long and fantastic. i feel like i’m being slowly digested in the belly of a really well written and illustrated saarlac. thank you so much.

  69. Greymon Says:

    As long as i draw breath. You will have at least one fan.

  70. Charles Says:

    Totally worth the wait.

  71. justavriend Says:

    Every time you put out a new one, I think, damn that has too many words. But then I start to read and I forget the time and I always, infallibly, remember that life’s hard but fuck it it’s good, and as much as people are assholes, fuck em, they’re good.

    Hard to say words. You always make me feel like I can keep going, like I can do what I’m too afraid too. It means a lot, the work you do. Thanks man.

  72. Mashivan Says:

    Jesus christ I had to take a screenshot of four different text bubbles just because they were so poignant and felt so right. Virus Comix really did tell the truth. Also, I’ll be upping your patreon, cause I remember why you deserve it.

    Also, don’t know how you do it, but that awkward conversation versus the more relaxed conversation, somehow I could feel it, even if I had no idea why.

    Just thanks. as Always

  73. SPC Says:

    Every new comic always has exactly the message I need to hear at the exact moment I need to hear it. Thank you for that.

  74. CAY Says:

    This one took me an hour to read. I had it bookmarked after I first saw that scroll bar. Bookmarked and ready for a night like tonight when I could cozy up to it with some dinner and just go wild.
    Thanks for that hour. You’re… hmm.
    You’re sincere and exquisite.

  75. mike s Says:

    Another fantastic read, absolutely gorgeous. I love the way you used light in the bar, with coloured outlines around silhouettes, absolutely fantastic. The use of the King card metaphor was also quite powerful.

    I found myself hoping that Mr. General and Ethel would meet, probably not alone in that. They might make a good couple, but then, the world doesn’t always introduce the people it ought to.

    Amazing work and thanks again for the seemingly impossible amount of effort you put into every one of these.

  76. Graham Says:

    Thanks for the wait, twas worth it, except for the last couple days I was nto obsessively checking every time I logged in to see the new one.
    Another magnus opus in comic form.
    For your artistry and creativity and long view of all the characters we encounter in your amazing universe you have created, thanks so much.

  77. Alexis Says:

    I relate on precisely the same ground floor level.

    There are not enough words.

  78. Jeff Says:

    It always takes me a long time to read your comics and usually even longer to absorb them. I find myself revisiting them several times until I can safely move on. I am honestly in awe of your ability to hit my emotions every time.

  79. Emily Says:

    I kind of want to hear someone “cover” The Generals’ songs now. Are those actual songs?

  80. Sam Stewart Says:

    Thank you.

    I love your work. It’s always beautiful.

  81. uncertainprince Says:

    Love the Tintin flag refs! If you gather thistles, expect prickles! Your work is so dense and literate, full of surprises, and extremely rereadable! One or two comics like this a year is I think a much better legacy for you than a sparser but more regularly churned out project, and it probably amounts to like a twice or thrice weekly webcomic anyway if you sat down and calculated panel space & detail.

    It’s been nice seeing your repeat characters get more development lately. I bet you’d have more than enough for a graphic novel already if you compiled all your repeat character comics together. And a lot of your long standalone stories would make fantastic graphic novels–if you published, say, Watching, Superhighway, Anomalies, and The Mission all together, just to pick four of my favorites, in one book that would be an incredible book. I would buy it, and lend it to friends. Have you ever considered publishing? I know your formatting is not always book-friendly but maybe if you used a lot of dead space to maintain the flow you have on the website (you could get functionality from the dead space like Allie Brosh did for her Hyperbole and a Half book by making it different colors to demarcate story boundaries) and published in a large format, it could work.

    • uncertainprince Says:

      Haha or publish in scroll form! Oh or more realistically, a book that folds out. I had a timeline of world history that folded out into one long 30-foot-long by 2-foot-tall double-sided sheet, you could fit a lot of your comics on something like that while keeping them exactly as you post them online.

  82. Alex mj Says:

    This was beautiful, I am a regular reader of cracked so i am familier with your art style, and i have always been a fan of it too, but this is something else. This work is more of your element and your element is unlike anything else I’ve seen. I look forward to reading more of your work.

  83. Peter Williams Says:

    I have just finished reading this work. I feel you are saluting your own origins in overcoming the idea of ‘everyone will see my flaws’. I respect this. I truly enjoyed (felt touched by) it. See you around – with a bit of luck..

  84. Jason D Says:

    There is SO MUCH DETAIL packed into the middle panel on Justine’s phone near the end. If you’re anything like me, fellow reader, then you might have skimmed right past it. Don’t miss it.

    5 years in the future she’s putting on the same album, because it’s one of those albums that she just gets lost in and loves so fucking much. She has also picked up two new albums: “Sex Olympics” by Marie Morse (Spoken Word / Comedy), and a new one from The Generals titled (presumably) “Dead Clown in a UFO”.

  85. Njam! Says:

    I love Ethel’s apartment and I love Ethel and I love your comics and I probably love you and please never stop posting, even if it’s once every leap year.

    I’m curious, what kind of PC are you making these on? Because I feel like my own PC wouldn’t even crash, it would just grow legs out of sheer frustration and leave if I tried composing a 20000 pixel tall image in photoshop.

  86. AndyDivide Says:

    Man, that was worth the wait! When I got the Patreon email about the new strip I had to contain myself from dropping everything else and diving straight into it, but I’m glad I left it until I had time to sit and savour it all properly.

    I got the impression that certain parts of the story – Ethel’s finally getting published, and the whole speech about how awesome being an artist is – were related to your own circumstances now that you’re able to do this thing full time, and I gotta say man I could not be happier for you! Having been reading your work since [**checks the wordpress archive dropdown list – oh my god has it been that long?!**] pretty near the start, I feel like both your characters and you yourself are people that I know and care about as much as any of my friends in the real world (many of whom I’ve known for about the same length of time, actually). I’m so happy that I can contribute in some small way to the continued existence of such incredible art, and hopefully to the continued happiness and artistic fulfilment of such a great person. Keep up the good work dude, and take as long as you damn well please!

  87. Molly Says:


    I’ve been itching to read this since it was released through Patreon, and I just didn’t have the time, but sometimes you just have to say “fuck you” to your master’s degree and spend half a saturday afternoon in your pajamas reading a ridiculous sprawling webcomic about art and sincerity and friendship.

    This one was a real journey. As always, too many thoughts going on to feel like I’ll ever be able to distill them into a single comment. Lots of remarks struck various chords – the little tangent on personal filters pushed me into sort of a new realization on free will/determinism, I think. I’ve also long thought that anything a person creates that has a purpose beyond the satisfying of rudimentary needs is a kind of art, so your “artists aren’t special” spiel was another great angle from which to tackle the same idea. And has anyone picked up on the C2H5OH joke yet? That was cute.

    If you do decide to start doing convention appearances, COME TO HAL-CON. (In 2017, when I’ll be back from certain travel plans.) Please. The east coast never gets nice things.

  88. What took you so long? Just kidding, worth the wait. Someone should make a movie about these characters. Go write a script

  89. Liisa Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam, Both or Neither:
    I too would like to express my appreciation while I still can.

    Your message is clear. An artist must be alive before creating anything. They don’t really want to do anything for money, but they need money to do anything. At least that’s how things are currently… The story rings true to me. Also, I like the structure—a Watsonian (in-Universe) story about the Doylist future (and possible death) of that Universe. (A similar structure shown in that “travel to the past to protect their bible” one is also fascinating.)

    In Japan, where I happen to be, comics (called manga) are no more subcultural, but have been socially accepted as a form of fine art. Well, maybe not *truly* accepted, but when something makes a lot of money, people tend to say okay. Although, many of manga masterpieces were created *before* that so-called acceptance happened, when they were still subcultural (exactly the point of the General).
    Subnormality sometimes reminds me of Tsuge Yoshiharu, one of the greatest manga artists—especially, his book titled I Sell Stones (Ishi o Uru). It’s quite possible that you’d have been a famous pro a long time ago if you were doing this in Japan, assuming that luck and timing are okay.
    However, being a pro is not necessarily a good thing… The industry seems rather exploitative. Also, if you’re a famous pro and your life is secure, perhaps the very essence of Subnormality will be lost. You won’t be able to write about those insecure characters anymore.
    But then, you may be writing about something different, something even more interesting.

    My favorite Comix pieces include:
    – Super Highway: infinite cycles of generations, metaphorical cycles of life-death (my interpretation).
    – The story where Sphinx and the girl don’t say anything to each other for a long time, which has one especially powerful “in your face” panel. It’s so beautiful I even say, in a 24th century Hypothetical Museum on a certain timeline, this panel and Mona Lisa would have been swapped!
    – That story, where a strange teacher is good at finding anomalies, basically because she’s so detached from reality that she can view it from outside (my interpretation).
    – A losing war, like a feeble lie… (hauntingly poetical)
    – Oil Planet: this one could be good for everyone (marketable), with a social commentary aspect.

    – Being complicated itself is okay, but maybe you’re sometimes making things more complicated than necessary. Maybe, paradoxically, even though you’re doing this to express yourself, you’re afraid of being fully understood and precisely evaluated, and thus mystifying yourself. Anyway, if you keep trying to make your story always more complicated than before, well, then it’s like trying to make your cooking always more spicy than before—things will become impossible sooner or later. Try to be suddenly sweet and suddenly spicy, then a spicy story always taste freshly spicy.
    – If possible, separate text (font/handwritten) as different layers and save the textless images somewhere on your computer. This way translation would be relatively easy when needed, and your work could be someday internationalized (commercially or through fan activities), getting more fans, more potential supporters. You could also free your data to the public domain before you die.

    Since I’m a bit like Zoe, I’m sending you what I can send—this message. I’m not really interested in YOU, but thanks for letting your STORIES alive, even (potentially) at the cost of your own life (even though that may be the very definition of living for you).

  90. Oh man, I’m not gonna eat your time gushing here, but this was SO GOOD. I’m kicking myself for waiting this long to read it, but I know when I read one of your comics it’s not enough to just have the time, but I need to be able to focus and appreciate it, ’cause you put in the time to make it AMAZING. Thank you for being you, and putting this stuff out there, man!

  91. Keith Says:

    These things you make are incredible, thank you for that. They’re not perfect and it’s not like I think you’re god or anything, it’s just that the best kinds of art are the ones where the person just pours out everything into what they make so that they can try to make themselves understood.

    Like, you can never know what being another person is truly like and I feel like part of the reason I live is to find those pieces of art where the creator was able to actually put a part of themselves into the thing, so that the audience hopefully understands them a little better.

    I’m also terrified that someone in my life might have depression and that I might not realize.

  92. Juan G. Says:

    Hi man, long time reader here from Colombia, South America, I have never commented before, buit I just want to tell you that yout strips make me feel… there is so much emotion in your work that not even the >12000 words used in the comics are enough to contain the message, the emotions and the humanity depicted in each of your characters.

    They feel so theoretical (like in Gaarder’s Sophie’s world) yet so real, so close to the people walking around in this strange world.

    Anyway, congratulations, you made it again, made me feel, made me want to know more about these people, you crafted in a single comic the emotion I would have expected from a 900 page novel, and that sir, is no easy task.

    I salute you and I would like to meet you, one day, maybe buy you a drink.

    Have a good day, Sincerely


  93. Jason Says:

    Hello, long time reader, this one is great like always. My only complaint is, I feel like I need to buy a new computer to properly enjoy it. Or at least a bigger screen. It is so big that if I try to zoom in to look at the art details, half the comic disappears and i literally have to close and reopen my browser to see it again. Which is a shame. The internet is not big enough for your art (lol). This is not merely a webcomic, this is an entire graphic novel on a single webpage. I know the panel layout is part of the art, but it would not ruin it if you broke it onto multiple pages at certain transition points (like where you put the 3 dots). That’s all! Carry on.

  94. Jason Says:

    Oh, one other thing: PHG saying Ethel is her most treasured friend, the only one she can tell anything, makes me wonder how her relationship with the Sphinx is like right now! Certainly she has room in her heart for two BFFs!

  95. Jason Says:

    Eh, never mind what I said last night. My home computer is a piece of shit. I’m looking at it today on my work computer and it all works fine. I just need a new home computer. Cheers!

  96. Nick Says:

    I want to type all kinds of eloquent words in this box to express to you what this comic means to me. Give me a couple months to think of them all. Heh. Preview:


    I never really thought of PHG as ‘us’ and Ethel as ‘you’, but the ‘Dear Friend’ letter makes me think in that context, and even then I’m not sure which one of us is the author. I appreciate that your rhetoric allows us all to live inside and pass through these characters so seamlessly.

    The grayed-out PHG panel hit home, as did the creative license rant. Justine dealing with death is real as fuck and I want to embrace my consequentially resurrected past self. The Staind-glass Pete is nice to look at.

    See you at the next show.

  97. My sister died almost a week ago. The cancer she was diagnosed with two months ago took her. She was my mother’s age (I refuse to refer to her as half-sister) and it felt weird and inappropriate: she was not old enough, I was not old enough, my nephew and niece are not old enough. Death is bullshit, indeed.

    I am thankful for all our small joys in life, I am proud of my nephew and niece as I know my sister was and I can only be thankful for seeing her everytime I look at them.

    Thank you for all your work, Winston.

  98. Every single one’s worth the wait.

    The use of color in this strip has a luminosiy that makes me want to stop and enjoy the radiance; the full sensation of colored glass in not just the distinctly evocative panels but in specific moments that seem to talk about a genuinely beautiful luminescence, in an emotional sense.
    The distinctions of personal facial expression are especially… beautiful would be a little reductive, because what they are is *gripping*. Especially when dealing with characters who have somewhat obscured faces (IE the Colonel and Ethel to a slightly lesser degree.) But I think the use this time of facial lines is really invigorating. They get left out so much even though the faces flexibility adds a lot of emphasis! But also I understand why because dealing with stylistic choices you have to pick and choose.

    And I write all this out because every comic resonates with me, and makes me tear up a little more. I lost… months off my life because of deaths in my family, and trying to recover has been so damn hard. But I come here and re-read things, and re-read things everywhere else, because it helps. And then you make a new comic and its just… the best.
    So I gotta give back by being able to explain why pretty well, because thats something I can Do, and love to do.

    And I dont think ive ever seen a better way to show how it feels Those Times then the stained glass thing. How can I ever explain to those people who love these incredibly Niche Things I Do how much they make my day?

    pay it forward, I guess.
    Thanks, sir. ❤

  99. Finn Says:

    This was amazing, thanks Winston.

  100. Kismet Says:

    Just finished the second pass. Good thing, because the first time, I somehow missed Marie reaching back through the door after slamming it. But it’s also necessary to go through a second time just to make the cross-connections that were breezed past in the first reading.

    One thing: for a strip with such empathy for mental illness, it seems to be awfully complacent with alcohol culture. Not to throw stones at drinkers, I’m a stoner myself.

  101. It’s hard for me to say this is my favorite comic you’ve ever done because you’ve done so, so many that are absolutely amazing, but even despite the incredible competition, this may end up being my favorite comic of yours ever, and for that I thank you.

  102. trismccall Says:

    i continue to find this the most soulful webcomic on the internet. the most compassionate too. it has been a comfort and a delight growing up, and old, with these characters. subnormality — always worth the wait.

    the panel with the former-pink-haired-girl greyed out is a jaw-dropper. i feel like winston rowntree has spent the last eight years setting up that panel.

  103. Rose Says:

    crying again, as always

    I used to read your comics when I was a kid and I never really understood them they always felt strangely inaccessible

    I understand them now
    they’re about me

    thank you

  104. Jeighbeebee Says:

    I didn’t want that to end.

  105. Marcus Says:

    Took me hours to finish, I have no words to say what this one made me feel.

    I had to pause reading several times, because something the characters said reminded me of something or made me relive certain moments of my life…

    Keep your incredible work.

  106. zia zia Says:

    this is the most important thing i’ve ever read
    please don’t stop

  107. Dave Says:

    i can’t really explain what that made me feel but it feels good to feel it

    hah i don’t have any better way to say it!

    Worth the wait, thank you

  108. Shepard Says:

    That was an immensely satisfying read. Thank you for writing.

  109. Nony Says:

    INCREDIBLE, just so many ups and downs, how does this one comic make me feel more than ten other books or movies sometimes manage? Just incredible

  110. Yurii Says:

    I rarely comment – but this was incredible. So many stories – running in parallel and intertwining. And I absolutely love how you use color intensity and fonts in speech rectangles to underline different emotions.

  111. Syngen Says:

    The mostly color picture at the end: it hit like a ton of bricks came to life and learned how to gut-punch. I was already fit to weep when Ethel’s letter compounded the feeling. I wanted her to give it to the girl (the girl with pink hair/ the sphinx’s friend) so badly. I want to be their friend so much. This is just about true of all SubN’s characters.

  112. David Says:

    This is one of the best things i have ever read, thank you for sharing it.

  113. Tibbs Says:

    Thank You.

  114. Swede Says:

    The leaf blower (if that’s what they’re called) is the opposite of a good tool. A good tool helps the worker by making him or her more efficient or more comfortable. Using a broom or a rake is faster and more convenient than lugging around a heavy leaf blower. Nobody should use those ridiculously inefficient machines. I hope your comic will continue to emphasize the awkwardness of the leaf blower. Thank you.

  115. Swede Says:

    I also note that you have returned to the wide format that I find so frustrating to read. There are many ways you could avoid that particular awkwardness. Hyperlinks and image maps spring to mind as means of splitting your otherwise excellent art into more manageable chunks. Thank you.

  116. Swede Says:

    I must add that your art appeals very much to me, and my criticism is never intended to be harsh. That note at the end was very touching. After reading it I decided I should not skip the content just because of the form, and so I went back to the top to read all of it. It was all extraordinarily good, of course.

  117. Robert Kennedy Says:

    Hey I don’t really know what to say but that this is comic was just…beautiful and touching and pretty much Everything right now and thank you so much for doing what you do because I’m super grateful that your work is in my life and I told myself I wouldn’t gush but whoops.

  118. RyanMalone Says:

    I read your comics in the early days of Cracked. So, I was in my mid teens (2007+).

    It’s nice to think that I grew up reading subnormality. Your drawings make me feel like I’ve known you and your characters all this time.

  119. Vee Says:

    Fuck it. Pour it out there.
    Your comics make me feel better about life.

    I’m not even doing that bad, I’m finally getting somewhere, but I was a total fuckup nihilistic mess when I found your comics way back when, yet I stuck with it. And every entry I read (Can’t call it a page for all it takes three hours to read one, christ I love that lengthiness) just takes a thing or two inside me, snaps it together, and gets me going.

    I stand here and admit full well that your comics, your time and effort invested in these things are what got me to achieve anything. Subnormality has the best fleshed out characters I have ever seen in any damn medium, and I learned it all by Show, don’t Tell rules.

    That is a gigantic fucking achievement, and I thought I should speak up.

    Anyway, I’ve started doing my own thing. I’m gonna see if I can’t finally finish writing one of twenty damn books I’ve gotten ideas for and subsequently chickened out of.

    And a big part of finally pushing me into doing it, will have been your work.

  120. el-marton Says:

    This was fucking beautiful… you left me in silence and awe. You made my day, and thank you for your art.

  121. 3dmess Says:

    Thank you for sharing this – absolutely inspiring und vibrant

  122. GarikEast Says:

    Oh man.
    So real, like a photograph.

  123. Ordell Sancho Says:

    That was great. Fantastic.There were these sections that reflected thoughts I’ve had recently, and gave another angle on them. And other parts that made me laugh because they represented things I’ve experienced but never had them laid out for me. Always great work.

  124. W. Jacob Says:

    Keep up the wonderful work! I look forward to every new comic you put out there!

  125. Albin I. Says:

    Fantastic, amazing!
    This is the first comic ive read by you, and it is the best ive ever read. So many lifelessons, and thoughts you recognize in yourself and perspectives. Youv’e inspired me to go out to a collegepub just by myself for the first time in my 25-year odl socially awkard life, because now i know everyone has stories to tell. Thank you!

  126. OrgasmicFury Says:

    Great shit, man. I came from the cracked article that reminded me of the video that was actually related then read Subnormality and got bittersweet that I finished it in one sitting but was still some really good shit, man.

  127. I followed this through googling you, after reading a cracked article you wrote. This comic really hits home with some heavy thoughts. All the characters are deep and human and the way you draw in the wrinkles, laugh lines, and imperfections keeps it real. I have a million things to say about how awesome this was but in short I’m really looking forward to seeing your future works. Thank you 🙂

  128. bongmaster weedude Says:

    holy shit, i thought i’d read a comic.. but this is a shortish story

    anyways thank you winston

  129. Heliophage Says:



    I can’t believe this, but I am actually hyperventilating after reading a comic.

    I swear, I always held Supernormality above so much else, even above ALL else in a sense that only it sort of makes, but never had it left me so fucking breathless. Hell, I never had sex that was this… intense.

    I guess that mic is half-way through the earth’s mantle by now.

  130. That was an excellent way to stay up much later this evening than I meant to – thank you!

  131. As I begin to chug through another Subnormality comic I always wonder how you’re going to top the last one…wow.

  132. █████ Says:

    There’s just too many words and too much stuff that I can’t tell if it’s relevant or not so I’ll just say…


    It’s a constant haze of regret and uncertainty, but one thing (of probably many) that I’ll never regret or be uncertain about is reading your works.

  133. benjamin Says:

    Loved it. Don’t know how but it feels like help.

  134. caliburdeath Says:

    This is from january? fuck, man. Well I guess you aren’t an artist I’ve gotta check up on often but, fuck, it’s always worth it.

    I was wondering whether you intended this to be read like block by block or read one of the halves then the other?

  135. By-torandthesnowdog Says:

    Thank you!

  136. Pablo Says:

    So does anyone else have an issue with the last 2 images not loading? This sucks. I was really enjoying this (as I always do)

  137. Molly Says:

    This comic blew me away. Made me cry some real human tears. I’ve been reading your work for I don’t know how many years now and I always find something that I connect with on a personal level in each and every comic. Thank you so much for what you do!

  138. Kitosho Says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter. Subnormality is my favorite comic since C&H; like Marie, I seem to lose myself between the walls of text and the Where’s Waldoean detail of the environments and characters. This comic seems to give a sharp jolt to my inner voice whenever I read it – which, strangely, is always right when I seem to need it most. #1 fan. Looking forward to the next one.

  139. Jesse Says:

    You are a titanic force of creative work. If you get murdered by a falling hippo on the way to the store some day, please rest assured that you can shuffle off this mortal coil peacefully knowing you’ve created a commendable amount of deep, unique beauty.

  140. William Says:

    Wow. Two weeks well-spent. Seriously, though. Great read, as always.

  141. redkraken Says:

    Again, I am left speechless. Bravo.

  142. J42 Says:

    I teared up. That was beautiful. Thank you.

  143. MalCharacter Says:

    Hi! Your article on Cracked about video games was very very bad! =D

    Please, read all the comments people are leaving for you. There’s good insight there to help you grow as a reporter.


    • Hi, i didn’t write the article, hence the co-author and the fact that it’s obviously written by someone else, but thanks for assuming i have suddenly become a reporter, that’s sort of a compliment i guess.

  144. Patteroast Says:

    I can’t stop reading this. Every time I randomly click onto it (which I don’t need to do because I’m a patron and always know when new stuff is coming, but I still do on a weekly basis anyway) I get completely sucked in and end up reading the whole thing. Such interesting interactions between all the different characters, so real and awesome and I really care what happens to them, and you aren’t allowed to ever stop even if you die, because then the immeasurable sadness of the end of a world you’ve been living in mentally will happen and oh god what is this rambling nonsense I have no idea good comic high five thanks bye

  145. MarMar Says:

    This is the most amazing…. I just can’t even do the word things.

    I wait anxiously for your comics cause honestly its like the fine wine of webcomic reading material I’ve found and have available to me. The amount of detail alone, in all aspects in just such a treat. I get such a reaction from the characters and the whole dual aspect to this one in particular really had me going. The amount of conveyance alone…

    I just love it. You’re amazing.

  146. Macej Says:

    Awesome, funny and inspirational comic, thank you so much for this!

  147. Timothy Buck Says:

    OK, I think I’m throwing in the towel on this one… Does anyone have any guesses about the numbers on Pete’s shirt? I’m not nearly smart enough to puzzle that one out on my own.

    • Hi, the numbers sort of correspond percentage-wise to how much he’s revealing of himself, the number being higher or lower depending on who he’s talking to. It was supposed to tie in with his remarks about some people getting 90% of the truth and all that. I wanted to throw in a 95 when he’s talking to zoe and a 100 at the end there when he’s alone, but it didn’t work out i guess. Just me being obscure, anyway..

    • Timothy Buck Says:

      I knew it! My initial guess was “% truthiness” but I wasn’t totally sure. I should trust my instincts more… Thanks!

  148. mark Says:

    I have been reading this comic #224 for 2 months / 3 or 4 months? It took me a while; I’d read a bit, then a bit more weeks later. Well, I finished it, and it was awesomely typical of everything you write and draw! I enjoyed it very much and a huge thank you for doing this and everything you have done. I hope you are doing as fine as you seem. Till the next one, I’ll see ya!

  149. BrianB Says:

    Wow. Just wow.

    Thank you for that!

  150. Woke Up Dead Says:

    Good comic, but I enjoy your shorter, more frequent ones.

  151. So how did you like UNDERTALE?

  152. AndyP Says:

    your stuff is amazing. witty, down-to-earth too. all the characters are great and i usually don’t like long-winded comics but i don’t mind these for whatever reason. thanks for sharing it.

  153. Leopold Says:

    Yo I bought your novel!

    New comic please?

    • Thanks!! And the next comic is on the way, i promise. I’m literally working on it as we speak, it’s just delayed even more than usual due to the webseries project i’m also working on. Next comic is another sci-fi-ish tale, 6000 words or so (plus some pictures). Work continues, getting there….

    • Leopold Says:

      Ah man I can’t wait.

      I really wanted to show Waiting to my friends but since the mobile site was pretty hard to read I set out on printing it but that turned out to be horrible. Luckily right around that time you made it available for purchase so I can support one of my favourite webcomic artists while also getting to show off that amazing comic.

      Also have you checked out this artist?

      Regardless, love your work and this you have a Sandman-ish thing going on here others can’t even come close to.

      Please keep on trucking,


  154. windlion Says:

    “Everything you create or share is a giant fuck you to mortality and everything you don’t is you making sure that if you had never existed the world would’ve been exactly the fucking same.”

    Couldn’t you have sent that bottle rocket back in time thirty years so I could have read it to the love of my life and kicked my so-called career out the door before it destroyed us, or at least hidden it away for thirty more so we’d both be gone? The “oh, shit” look on Zoe’s face, that’s me, except she’s younger.

    I’ll stay a devoted reader as long as you need to keep doing the same style in the same format, or any other one that works for you, and I’ll upgrade my computer as needed to handle the pages you create. Takes me about five reads through before I even start to notice the details you work in, and I keep going back to read them again. Thanks.

  155. Devon Says:

    Beginning to wonder if that 2017 bit wasn’t a joke. haha, but seriously I miss Subnormality.

    Keep up the good work!

    Best regards,
    -Devon Di Vito

  156. Thomas Says:

    I hadn’t read Submormality in about a year, so coming back I was almost disappointed that only one new comic had gone up… I say “almost” because that one comic looks like a pretty decent year’s worth of output. 🙂 I had to read it in stages, partly because navigating something this big on a smartphone is kinda cumbersome, partly because the writing is very evocative and intense, and I had to step away to catch my breath a few times.

    (It is neat that my phone will actually load this huge image and will happily let me pan and zoom around; not completely smooth at all times, but totally usable, while my previous phone would just scream in despair and keel over on something this size.)

    Anyway, I just want to say thank you for another beautiful piece of work. Made my day!

  157. whodat Says:

    please give me a way to buy #224 (imagin3acc3ptingth3truth) in physical form. so i don’t have to have it printed out on a banner (possibly tacky and certainly illegal) and so i can give you money. i need to hand this to somebody. also blah blah we miss you where are you wtf etc. THANK YOU! for subnormality. i’m glad we had this little talk

  158. thewanderingesper Says:

    Subnormality always reminds me of how strange, precious, tragic and beautiful life is.

    I don’t know how you capture it so clearly, but you do.

    Thanks for that. I picked up a pen for the first time in years today.

  159. Ak Says:

    Hi Winston. I love the thoughts you make me think after reading your art. I know you’ve moved partialy away from politics, but I think it’s appropriate at this time (maybey?) to express yourself satirical, #logical, nuances about the currentent presidential debate. Just a thought. Much love, from a die hard fan.

  160. Keith Says:

    As someone whose life feels like a never ending stream of personal crisises and who feels like they won’t ever be comfortable with themselves your comics help a lot. I always come back to them when I’m in these moods. I’m never superfan about things and am always the first to point out the flaws in things, but not this comic. Not because it’s flawless but because it’s close to my heart.

    sorry for being sentimental

  161. Hi Winston,

    I love your comics, and I’ve read them all at least three times each. The messages, the dialogue, the unique style, the Where’s-Waldo level of whimsically plausible immersive detail, and the ongoing character development are all extremely wonderful.

    There are some of your comics that are much better than others, and I just wanted to say that the not-as-good ones are still plenty good enough for me. If you’re sitting on ideas that you worry are too mediocre, here is one fan who begs to disagree. I hope you’re OK, and I hope you publish some more work soon. I’m a Patreon backer; I can’t wait to pay you.


    • Hey, thanks so much, that means a lot! I’m actually sitting on some decent ideas– the webseries i’m gonna be doing has just taken up a lot of time this year, it’s a major project and something that you’ll also like if you like the comix. And not to worry, the next Subnormality is on the way as well, i’m hoping to wrap it up pretty soon here so stay tuned. And thanks for the support on Patreon!! Don’t worry, you’ll be getting plenty more chances to pay me in the future…

  162. Xminus1 Says:

    Not sure if this is intended but once in a while i move my cursor over the comics , and sometimes random boxes of text show up one did on the mini golf one what is going on here ?

  163. Rol Says:

    Oh I just found your comments section!!
    It’s finally my chance to tell you how much I appreciate your comics and how I feel identified with so many things you write, since I cant manage to put them in words myself, reading your too many words its always a pleasure!! At first it feels like a unprecedent trip to my own thoughts, and then it goes way past them and it becomes so interesting!

    I have read e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g in this page (and abnormality too). I’m an artist myself, and you often inspire me! I’d like to draw and color as you do! (really magnificent colors!)

    A pleasure to finally speak to you!

  164. Stefan Says:

    Ein grosses Lob und dankeschön aus Deutschland! Deine Comics berühren mich echt immer wieder aufs neue.
    Thank you 😉

  165. Jess Says:

    I realized recently that I click the Subnormality link in my bookmarks toolbar a minimum of five times a week to see if there’s a new one up. It’s been a few months but I don’t mind the wait; every comic is a wonder, and I pore over it as long as I can stand to draw it out. Very much looking forward to the next one, as always. Much love, friend.

    • phyzome Says:

      Jess, I really recommend getting a feed reader so you can follow the RSS and Atom feeds of your favorite webcomics! Just the other day a webcomic that was on hiatus started updating again and I would not have known if not for my feed reader.

      The feed for Virus Comix is for reference.

  166. >Hi, next comic is up, see you in 2017! Just kidding.

    Getting less and less likely that he’s kidding by the day.

  167. etter Says:

    “it’s such a huge aspect to anyone’s psyche”

    …no, it’s not. Not everyone. Please don’t do that.

  168. Anahgem Says:

    #79: ‘In defense of the weird’ is my most favourite Subnormality comic ever. I stopped reading Subnormality a few years ago so Imagine my surprise when I just decided to read the latest comic and saw The Generals again!

    I have a lot of catching up to do.

  169. Owlmirror Says:

    Happy 2017!

  170. Akap* Says:

    Happy New Year

  171. Thane Says:

    I came here for the 2017 comments in 2017 😛

  172. Jimmy Muraco Says:

    So is this strip over now? It’s been a year with no activity. I will miss this.

  173. Xepher Says:

    I just re-read this for probably the third or fourth time in the past year. I almost never re-read things, but this still stands out to me as one of the most exceptional things I’ve ever seen. Seriously, I’ve never read something that was more brutally true and honest and real. This comic captures so much of what it is to be human, that I’m actually dumbfounded trying to believe someone could actually create it. That the comic itself talks about that very feeling makes it even more powerful.

    So thank you! Thank you for making such powerful art, and thank you for sharing it!

  174. Paul Says:

    Hi, Winston.
    I have read and loved your comic for many years, and have never commented before. What’s getting me to do this is actually technical questions–I’m not a comment person–but since I am commenting, let me first say that I always enjoy your “walls of text”, often find them deeply memorable and moving, and am really grateful for what you do. So, on to the technical questions:
    First: I signed in my e-mail address to “follow” subnormality right after the last museum comic came out, and I thought that would mean that I would get a message when a new comic came out. I don’t think I ever got such a message, so I was surprised when I checked in and found two new ones. Any insights?
    Second: I can tell from the comments that this comic #224 is a wonderful wall of text, but all I got was a rectangle of red boards and a very big, very white space. Now, I have a very old computer, so what I’m used to is to arrive at one of your walls of text, and have the computer immediately freeze up and struggle and struggle until it finally loads the page. It’s ironic that this particular wall of text–which, unusually for your comment pages–is being met with all to much snarky criticism, and meanwhile my computer is giving me this zen-like field of unbroken whiteness. Anyway, is there anything different about this comic that would make it not load on my old pc? I do hope to get a new computer soon, but in the meantime, I’d love to see comic $224.
    Anyway, thanks again for all your great work. I am your devoted fan.

    • Hi, and thanks for the kind words! Where did you sign up via email? On WordPress, maybe? I’m actually not familiar with how such things work, unfortunately, but if you keep an eye on the Subnormality Facebook page you’ll never miss any updates, plus you’ll get news about other stuff like the new webseries that debuts tomorrow(!).

      As for #224, yeah, sorry about that– the images are basically so big that even newer machines can have issues with them (reason: i am stupid). It might work to try and separately enter the URLs of all three images (or were there four? I can’t even remember) and then download them and read them in an offline program, Windows photo viewer or the like. Alternatively there’s a high-res download of the comic you can get here:

      Hopefully one of those things works, but let me know if you still can’t read it and I will do what I can– I definitely want people to be able to read the comic!

    • Liisa Says:

      About “First”: When I started subscribing another blog here on wordpress, I received an email titled “Confirm your subscription” and I had to click a link to activate it. Perhaps you needed to confirm the subscription too but you didn’t, maybe because the asking email was accidentally spam-filtered.

  175. Priyansha Gupta Says:

    Either you are 70 years old or a psychologist or like 12 people instead of 1. Your insight into into people is incredible. I really hope to be like you some day.
    Also, do you know that your comics have actually helped me with my own mental health issues? Like you’re basically sorting out my mind through Subnormality. I find myself in almost every brilliantly portrayed character and as they overcome their hurdles I overcome mine with them. No kidding man, you’re changing my life in a very real concrete way. I think that’s a huge deal. I mean, most people in my life that I’m closest to and see everyday can’t do for me what you can and have.
    Thanks a lot for that. I love you (creepily).

  176. Every day I visit your comic. If there’s not a new one, I click on the Sphinx and visit an old comic. Usually, now I retired, there’s always enough time to keep reading, forward or backward, into one of my favorite time-holes. Thank you.

  177. matt Says:

    Thanks for this one. Each character had something going on that hit me square in the chest. I assume after time some of your old work may lose some relevance to you (so hopefully you don’t roll your eyes at the following), but wherever your head was at when you wrote this was fucking poignant as fuck. Thank you.

  178. isengdoang Says:

    …This comic was worth the horizontal scrolling necessary to read it, and I detest horizontal scrolling. Just…There’s so many people being people and I love them all.

    • not isengdoang but the original poster of the comment this reply is to Says:

      oh for goodness sakes. Whoever this is, my apologies for inadvertently impersonating you.

  179. Bennett Says:

    “Everything you create or share…” Thank you. That’s become a core goal for how I live, and today I learned that one of the people I’ve quoted it to has in turn been passing it on to others.

  180. I was ctxA Says:

    I re-read this for the first time after it came out. And it was just as good, but this time I paid attention attention to vastly different things than last time. Subnormality is definitely in my top 3 comics of all time. And I read a lot of comics.

    I just want to thank you so much for everything. Every comic you make is a blessing.

  181. Friendly Frankenstein Says:

    I think I’ve been coming back through the archives and leaving a comment at least once a year for… who even knows how long. A whole screen name change or two. Anyways.

    the funny thing is, this time it’s been long enough since the last time that, in the interim, I’ve actually started doing something that’s more or less a live performance. With an audience! Turns out putting something out very sincerely resonates or people like it or something. What a concept.

    But I’ve always thought about this comic a lot, ever since it got put up in 2016. And now I read it and it really rings as true as anything.

    sometimes people who watch draw me things now. Some of them are highlighter and pencil on notebook paper, and I don’t know if I can even tell them how wonderful they are. But I’ll try my best, as long as I can, to tell them.

    Thank you for doing your best to tell us.

    It really is the best job in the world.

  182. Jastolus Says:

    I like the Braid-esque format of this.
    I actually ended up focusing exclusively on the story of Pete, and the people he talked to, on the primary reading.
    I really liked the tinted glass window style some of his scenes had.

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