Comic #226

June 4, 2017

face it
Hi here’s a new comic finally..! Enjoy, thanks for your patience, and thanks as always for reading– it’s my honor, and i hope this measures up despite the wait.

-Wr

69 Responses to “Comic #226”

  1. phyzome Says:

    That was stunning, WR. 🙂

  2. Leopold Says:

    Holy Hashut my nigga.

    Incredible, I have no words to describe how flawlessly that was executed.

  3. candleinabox Says:

    This was absolutely beautiful. I saw the email from Patreon in my inbox last night but fell asleep before I could read it. Luckily you facebook post was an excellent reminder 😀 Somehow you always seem to write a comic that I can relate to – sometimes I wonder if I’ve written these comics myself! Although you put things into fantastic words and images that I never could.

    I hope that the people in the comic are ok. But I guess even if they are not… at least they were together. I really love this apocalypse style story, I am so intrigued as to the cause and whether any other people are ok in their bunkers or houses. I love that it’s such a terrifying prospect but the two people were worried that being confined together would be the worst of it. That’s a very real human worry, and I fully identify with it haha.

    Hoping you are well 🙂


  4. might be your best one yet. Amazing.

  5. Nicholas Norman Says:

    That was amazing. I love your written voice. Thank you for that heart warming and heart wrenching story!

  6. Ross Presser Says:

    A beautiful story … and as usual, made me curse the fact that I don’t own 160000×100000 resolution monitors. 🙂 And this time it inspired me to become a Patreon. You’re worth it.

    On AMA someone asked you to define a subnormal number … here’s the definition: http://mathworld.wolfram.com/SubnormalNumber.html

  7. spattte Says:

    It is so crazy to check for these comics every few days and not notice the way the days add together. I’ve been reading your comics for what I now realize is three years and my life is richer for it. Your comics are a wonderful counterbalance to the spite and hate that the internet exposes. Thank you.

  8. icarusmiles Says:

    I admit I haven’t been watching the videos (dial up and all, yes I still live in places without the broadband…) and was very recently wondering if perhaps you’d given up on the longform comic because of them.
    I’m glad you didn’t. I brightened my laptop to brightest setting, despite it hurting on the brighter panels, to see everything.
    Thanks for your hard work and surprise comics.
    =D


  9. and here I am making Polandball comics thinking “holy shit I wish I was a tiny fraction as good as WR”

    this is an oustanding piece of art, and I love the fact that that “I love you” went unsaid yet competely implicit.

    As always, Bravo.

    -Yaddar


  10. Beautiful. And I can relate deeply. Thank you so much for this. ❤

  11. Kalle Says:

    Quite possibly your best one, and that’s saying something. Fantastic, cinematic, poetic…great great work.

  12. Internet Person Says:

    Horrible. Beautiful. You’ve always done cataclysm well.

  13. John T Says:

    excellent as always, been reading for years. don’t ever stop

  14. kzrotlnd Says:

    I didn’t get the ending. What are the white things on the floor? Where are they coming from?


    • Hi, it’s flower petals from the flower she put in the book earlier, ominously duplicating in the same manner as the tree stumps and birds earlier. Apologies if that wasn’t clear!

  15. kzrotlnd Says:

    Ooooh. No, my bad, I missed that. That makes a lot more sense, thank you 🙂


  16. You’re pushing the boundaries of lighting in comics with this one. For example, I’m amazed how well you executed the fading flashlight. You may want to recommend people to read this in dim light for full effect.

    I also loved the effort you put into the pacing, and into the little personality-tinted details like the “modern living” floor plan.

    But I did have issues with the story structure: for me, it started out to be a very exciting mystery story, and turned into a personal story in the middle or so. Only the sudden cuts away from the expository TV reports clued me in. And because I was still half-heartedly expecting the solution to a mystery, I wasn’t as emotionally involved with the actual ending as I could have been. Maybe if the surrounding event had been something that’s already established in pop culture (like nuclear war) I wouldn’t have gotten off track in the beginning.

  17. Miles Dryden Says:

    Reminds me of Signs, a story of the end of the world seen from the point of view of one family (or couple, in this case). I would love to know more about this ‘anomaly’ and how it functions, but I realize that isn’t the point. Very well done.

    I have to say I enjoy these one-shot stories more than the arc stories with recurring characters but it’s always nice to see you post anything. Keep up the great work.


  18. Amazing comic!
    I got the feeling throughout that the personal story was the “real” story, while the disaster was a metaphor about struggling with depression while in a couple. How it makes you shut out the outside world, and it feels like you are trapping your partner in with you. If that was more or less the intent, think the bizarre/unexplained nature of the disaster did a great job at making it feel symbolic rather than literal, nudging you in the right direction for interpretation. I might not have been thinking about linking the two that directly if the disaster had been a more “normal” one, like a snowstorm or war etc.

    • Anonymous Coward Says:

      That’s the way i interpreted it, too

    • Nathan (Wilson) Says:

      I hadn’t interpreted it that way, but I’m glad you said it. That’s a great way to interpret it that I’d love to pass on to my wife. She has Bi-polar, and I can totally see that phenomenon happening at times.

  19. That Guy Says:

    So what is it? Really not interested in some ten year old girls diary.

  20. Auretus Says:

    I’m leaving this here because I don’t know of a way to contact you directly. I’ve been following your comics for years now, and though I’m not obsessed with them in a major way, I’ve always appreciated what you’re trying to do. It’s relieving to know that I’m not the only one out there who is this weird and deeply introverted, that there are other people who obsess over things others would trivialize, and trivialize things other people obsess over. These comics always seem to be deeply personal, in an allegorical sort of way; using fiction to bare truths one dares not speak of directly. I don’t know what it costs you to do this, emotionally, fiscally, or temporally, but I am so very grateful that you do. Your comics speak to me in a way that nothing else quite manages to, and I wanted to reach out, in my own awkward, rambling way, to share that sentiment with you, to let you know that there’s at least one more person out there who thinks that what you’re doing is worthwhile.

  21. maarvarq Says:

    You finally put up one I couldn’t make it through. Goodbye.


    • GOODBYE?? One strike and i’m OUT?!

    • mamagotcha Says:

      It takes maturity to move past instant gratification. It’s not WR that’s out, but maarvarq. My husband is a university professor, and there is great pressure to pass more kids and make the material easier… but sometimes, you have to work a little bit for the payoff. If one reader cannot pass their marshmallow test, it’s not the Stapuft Man’s fault.

    • Tomas Says:

      Someone wrote a comment breaking up with Winston. It really jumps off the page considering the theme of this comic.

  22. Javi meloni Says:

    When black and white have more colors than RGB. When you can loudly hear the silence and the time passing by in just a few static pictures. When you kindly carry us to the deepest hell to see the flower of love blooming in the latest possible moment… Damn WR!

    As usual….Great job. Amazing light btw.

    PD: Congratulations for people watching. Can’t wait for season 2 to come out. And please, do more comics. Keep doing what a WR does.

  23. Taylor Says:

    That was simultaneously chilling and beautiful in a way that I struggle to put into words.

    While it’s obvious the message isn’t about the anomaly itself, it really piqued my curiosity. I caught most of the Signs (the shimmering, the glowing electronics, the duplicating flower petals), but I seem to have missed the Strange-looking Sun. Was there supposed to be an example of each, or was that just a clever way to preemptively describe the last one subtly so that it would have more impact?

    Also, I really liked the more subtle details that built up the atmosphere and the way they must have been feeling, like the way the calendar vandalism got progressively more morbid.

    You do us all a wonderful service when you make these, it’s often THE defining feature of my day whenever I read a new one. ❤


    • Hi, thanks! And each symptom was sort of in there, but only kind of subtly. The wind disappearing is only hinted at in one of the filenames, and the sun is kind of alluded to in the one section with the calendars near the end.

    • Taylor Says:

      Oh you’re right! The March calendar has the Strange sun, I see it now.

  24. Hiro Says:

    Great work as always! Emotionally probably one of my favorite of your long forms. Darker and more poignant (as opposed to hopeless and depressing) than Raymond Brigg’s When the Wind Blows.


  25. Beautiful, chilling and inspiring.
    Well worth the wait.
    I’d also like to congratulate you on “People Watching” on Cracked.
    Your writing says things I”ve not been able to articulate.
    Thanks for that.


  26. Haunting and beautiful. Thank you for this!

  27. E Kemper Says:

    This is the most personally moving piece of art that I’ve encountered in months.

  28. Keulan Says:

    That was amazing. I’m left wondering about the cause of the apocalypse/disaster, but I know that wasn’t the point of the comic, and I loved reading it anyway.

  29. Laurel Black Says:

    Winston I didnt cry, but this left me with that gutted out hollow chest feeling. I’ve been reading a lot of apocalyptic Ursula K LeGuin shorts lately and this is really up there. That seems so pretentious, but still, you are doing really really incredibke work. What really wrecked me was the early panels of the neighborhood in disarray of flight, every house full of evidence of the specific way its occupants handled the run, so many little hopes abandoned. The wrecked cars and moving truck and RV, the “Goodbye Earth” sign, the backpack extension cord to the roof in some abandoned project I cant understand, the pallets… So many of your comics are about the uniqueness and sameness (ugh not saying this well) of people, the ways we are all human, all connected, 6 billion people with their own bright lives and souls living in parallel and sometimes being able to make the kind of connection the two in this story do. Your work always makes me think of the neologism “sonder”: “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.” You are probably one of the best writers in comics writing about humanity like this, and you usually write about its presence rather than its absence, and that– those empty empty houses, and every object in the last little house its own story– was devastating and powerful. Thanks for this.

  30. astrapto Says:

    This is a masterwork.

  31. Keith Nunn Says:

    whoa. gobsmacked.

    • Keith Nunn Says:

      That was a amazing. Once again, you tell an awesome and humanly revealing story. I confess though that my old eyes are struggling more and more with the low contrast stuff. I wonder if I might make a plea for a little more contrast. I get the vibe and it worked beautifully, but I really struggled.

  32. Diego Says:

    Thank You.

  33. illuminatus5 Says:

    I feel overwhelmed by the whole set of emotions that it’s raised in me. This may yet be your best one, Winston.

  34. Tore Nielsen Says:

    That was beautiful. Thank you.

    Sing, Subnorm, sing!
    Death is comin’ in!

  35. Jer Says:

    So much like the animation ‘When the Wind Blows (1986)’ yet a completely opposite tone, if that makes any sense.


  36. Winston, you never fail to reach me on such a deep and emotional level. This comic brought me to tears, Thank you.


  37. So what’s happening in the last panel? I see the petals spreading everywhere but I don’t know what the black space is. I’ve stared at it for a while but I just don’t know what I’m looking at

  38. Alex Says:

    Hey look I’m crying

  39. Marc J. Says:

    I finally got around to reading this yesterday, and damn was it worth the wait! This was *masterful*, and an amazing experience, like all of your long-form comics have been to me. You really manage to create an engulfing atmosphere that I enjoy sinking into.

  40. Johanne Says:

    I am

    crushed

  41. Alex S Says:

    I’ve been reading your work for what must easily be a straight ten years now. This is the most heartbreakingly beautiful thing you’ve done.

    Such a triumph. If this doesn’t win a webcomic of the year award of some sort, I’ll be very surprised.

    Wonderful.

  42. Mark Says:

    Entire sections of this story aren’t visible on my system because it says they contain errors. Help!

  43. Lance Adams Says:

    This is an amazing, fantastic work of creation! I am not often a fan of graphic novels because I feel like they sacrifice story for art, or action. The darkness that caused me to strain, the separate narratives both verbally and visually, so many things are just magnificently done here. And the overall effect is powerful for its message, its voice and its execution!!! Thank you so much for this work. I’m going to be looking for more.

  44. Barney R.P. Schroeder Says:

    I read this when it was featured on Reddit for god-knows-how-long ago. Then I saw that this was number 226 and realized that there must be a goldmine of greatness waiting to be read and… well…

    I feel like a changed person after reading everything. To try and think in the way of your characters is mindblowing and following their journey from the beginning till now is… indescribable. Winston, I am proud to say that you are a God. Damn. Hero for doing what you do.

    Granted, I was not in a depressed state, nor had i really needed this to live my life properly. But what you have gifted to me, is an urge to do more with my life, and to do something about that feeling of wanting to be an inspiration to others and just be a beam of light in peoples lives.

    I have cried at several of your comics, I have probably laughed at more and every single one of them left things I pondered over after I read them. You have really made me think and I could not be more grateful for that.

    From the bottom of my heart, and probably many times more then that.

    Thank You. So much.

    And i will be tuning in for the next many more you do 🙂

    Sincerely, Barney

    P.S. Love the walls of text 😉

  45. X Says:

    To me this is a nanobot swarm. It makes sense to me with the too many of any thing, and the glow of the electronics is draining power from then ect not sure about the odd sun although. Thanks I loved this one.

  46. X Says:

    Your welcome

  47. J Says:

    I hate using the word “profound” but I cannot think of a better descriptor for your works. No idea how long I’ve been reading Subnormality but it always speaks to me the way nothing else ever has.

    Thank you, so many times thank you, for bringing into the world something nobody else could.

  48. D. Says:

    Winston,

    What phenomenal piece of work! I am excited to see more through you comic strip and PeopleWatching.

    Please continue for the good of society!

  49. D. Says:

    What phenomenal price of work. Please continue for the good of society!

  50. uncertainprince Says:

    I just noticed you deleted/never approved my comment about how I was disappointed with the politics you inserted into this one (an Arab and a Mexican being slowly erased by a frightening and unstoppable power that wants to silence them…gee, I wonder what is being subtly referred to here).

    Isn’t that ironic? Silencing my critical opinion about a comic about people being erased through silence?

    I’d said in the comment you suppressed that I was disappointed with the way your comics have been going (I’m a long-time reader here by the way…been with you since 2009, I’ve shared your comic with a lot of people). Way back in the day, you used to write what I thought of as kind of obnoxious and very one-sided political-toned comics, but they were also funny and clever and frequently interspersed with a lot of wisdom. So I stuck with your comics, and gradually you evolved into something much more complicated – you started doing those longer, short-story/novella-like comics, you branched out from specific political opinions to comics about the general human condition. Honestly, nobody was doing comics like you. They’ve been incredible, and I was so glad that I’d stuck with your comics all these years.

    And then came your obnoxious “2016 was so horrible guys” New Year’s comic. After years of gradually becoming more politically inclusive, more uniting in tone, more caring toward humanity as a whole and not just certain ideological segments of it, you suddenly were back in the “I’m only going to write comics for fellow socialist-leaning left-wing readers” corner.

    I was super disappointed, but I get that people get worked up over these issues, and I hoped you would move past this. But your comic 226 really let me down. It was such a cool concept, and a really interesting theme of “love can be the most important story in the world even if it’s a completely private story” that should be relatable to everyone regardless of ideology. But the execution was suffused with what I can only describe as propaganda – frequent, not-so-subtle cues spelling out that ‘Mexicans and Muslims are facing REAL destruction and REAL silence, guys’.

    You, of all people, who wrote Sector 41 and The Line and so many others, should know that propaganda is death to good art. Instead of moving me, your #226 annoyed me. It felt clunky. It felt forced in a number of places.

    I wish you wouldn’t block out your fans sharing opinions like these. I’m not some neo-Nazi racist roaring at you in my white supremacist anger. I’m a classical liberal with a long history of progressive activism, who’s grown increasingly concerned about his fellow liberals in the past two years.
    (Not that my credentials should matter in letting me express my opinion, but I’m a mixed blood Hispanic, Arab, Ashkenazi Jew who won an award from my town in high school for outstanding service to my community for standing up for gay rights. Recent credits include spending two years working in a psychology lab studying how racism creates disparities in healthcare, and supporting my transgender friend through his testosterone treatments and top surgery.)

    I’m honestly concerned about you and your comics, and I want to speak my piece. If you don’t want my opinion on your website, that’s fair enough – it’s your website. But I hope you at least read through this, and think about how you are suppressing the voice (on the thread of your comic about people being silenced to death…) of someone who actually probably has very similar political views to you on most things, but who disagrees on one or two issues – and how that is apparently enough to prompt censure from you.

    You have so much wisdom, and so much vision. Your comics are an amazing gift to the world. I’m honestly concerned that you getting caught up in what I see as a hysterical social movement, supposedly about defending people from racism but in practice more about (in my opinion) sowing divisions and fearmongering, is damaging your art.

    Maybe a lot of people who are in this movement with you are giving you accolades, but please consider how this may just be an echo chamber. There are plenty of other liberals, like me, who are really disturbed by what’s going on and who want a return to a centrist and less divided society, and who are extremely disappointed that the people we look to for connection and wisdom, like you, are getting sucked into this vortex of hysteria.


    • Hi, the first point i have is that i certainly didn’t suppress your comment– wordpress has intense spam filters and occasionally a real comment will get caught in there for seemingly no reason, and i unfortunately haven’t had the time to manually check it the past couple years. As they say, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” (or, in this case, negligence, which i thus apologize for)

      The second point i have is that the rest of your remarks are constructed along similarly inaccurate assumptions about my intentions. The characterization of the new year’s comic as some kind of partisan statement is particularly close to being objectively unfair – while it is the right of the audience to determine their own subjective meaning from any piece of art, it is not your right to decide what my intent was, so you are free to decide that 2016 was bad because of trump or any other reason, but you are not free to tell me that my intent was anything other than to tie in the ongoing depressive state of the main character with the series of upsetting news stories from 2016 that had us all in a state last year. Go ahead and watch episode 4 of peopleWatching if you would like to know why i specifically thought 2016 was terrible:

      Your interpretation of comic #226 is similarly built on your own incorrect assumptions about my intent, particularly as that comic was written more than a year before it was published, and thus well before any current events you suggest it is referring to, and the suggestion that the ethnicity of the characters exists to make some kind of political point is particularly disappointing. Again, it is your prerogative as a member of the audience to decide your own meaning, and you have exercised that fully and i take no issue with it, but i can say that your assumptions about my own intentions are not something i can take ownership of. I am not what you say i am.

      I definitely have my opinions (i certainly hate donald trump, let that not be in doubt), but one of said opinions is that i stopped thinking it was valuable to do politically partisan comic strips a long time ago, regardless of what you think, and regardless of how everything might look like a nail when all the world seems to have right now is the hammer of partisanship – particularly online.

      And again, your comment was not moderated out – i have no problem with people who sincerely express their views, even if i take issue with their characterization of my intentions.


  51. This morning I woke up with a fragment of poetry running through my head, except I couldn’t remember the words. I lay there tasting the imagery, trying to bring it back. And eventually… I realized it was the end of #226. I guess it’s still with me, four months later.

    Thank you again for a wonderful comic. 🙂

  52. bgb808 Says:

    Thank you! Absolutely breathtaking, and I needed this right now.

    Everyone sees their own story in this kind of art, perhaps, so it isn’t surprising that I see my partner’s decline and death in the house — the home — we built together. We fell into each other as his death approached, and to a degree he took me with him… but that’s what happens when you give someone your heart, eh?

    Still, I am an absurdly lucky man to have loved, and been loved, so deeply.

  53. Tomas Says:

    Thanks for this. It’s one of the greatest love stories I’ve ever seen, and if I ever get married I will probably strip-mine it for my vows.

    The slow reveal of the petals was brilliant. The realization that something is wrong; the realization of what that thing is and why it’s there.

    That last scene with the glass reminded me of the Fimbulwinter episode of X-Files, when Scully was wiping up condensation all over the ship to provide Mulder a sip of water.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: