Subnormality #229

May 2, 2021

Hi, new comic available here. I am not even close to being too cool to write about The Past Year, so this is largely on that theme. Honestly, i was writing the comic in the before times and then kept rewriting it as 2020 progressed, but it’s probably most surprising how little changed overall. Let us remember that the old normal sucked and we need a new one, to any degree. Thanks for waiting, and for reading..! As always, follow on Patreon to read these early and/or get exclusive apologies from me about taking so long..! -Wr

44 Responses to “Subnormality #229”

  1. NC Says:

    Story 10/10 as always, not convinced the big eye “anime” like art is working though. Ain’t for me in any case.

    • spectrabob Says:

      Magnificent and thought-provoking.
      Quite relatable too…
      Thanks for sharing Winston.
      I hope 2021 is turning out better for you than 2020 might have been.
      I miss your work and only hope things get better for us all.


  2. Dante Moz Says:

    Hard to believe that the Pink Haired Girl is Sphinx’s first non-monster friend, although it makes sense when you your friend options are also your menu.

  3. superkuh Says:

    The extremely detailed backgrounds keep me coming back. I love those street scenes.

  4. That last full-size panel could absolutely be a standalone.

    (Also, I spy a little hint of pink.)

  5. chrism Says:

    Worth the wait! Thanks, WR.

  6. John A Cooter Says:

    Well done as always. It’s a red letter day when there’s a new WR comic posted. Appreciate you, more than you might know.

  7. Molly Sharpe Says:

    Absolutely phenomenal as always. This is drawn in such a beautiful style! I couldn’t stop looking at all the backgrounds and details. I’m going to re-read it so I can digest the story and catch any lil jokes I’ve missed. Worth the wait!

  8. Gentleman Ranker Says:

    Nice to see you again. I’d been checking from time to time; serendipitous to check the day you’re back.

    New Normal ™ will suck too, but that’s okay. Thanks for all you put into your art.

  9. Feasible Says:

    Great to see a new comic from you pop in my feed. Thank you! I hope you’ve survived 2020 none worse for the wear!

  10. Al Says:

    Wonderful to hear from you again. And reassuring to find, again, that I’m not alone in struggling with the impossibility of one lonely person being able to fix anything, while at the same time there is a definite possibility of people as a whole fixing things, which in turn is impossible without that one person – if that person can work up the optimism to act on the possibility.

    You call it imagination. I might call it ideas, shared and improved. Yes, I’m sure it’s easily powerful enough to change everything. And still I feel trapped beween the darkness of what is, and my conviction that shared ideas inevitably grow towards the light.

  11. I was re-reading the last comic just three days ago.

    Thank you Winston, your work has always been a comfort in hard times, and a humbling in good ones.

    • Falk Says:

      Same for me, somehow I remembered the comic a couple of days ago and was sad that no new episode was up, but added it to my feed anyway. Super glad I did!

      I think that the comic really catches that vague sense of ‘I should be …’ for me, as well as many thoughts I had about it. I also really liked the scenes with people balancing from place to place and of course the scene of the original version of chess 😀

      Although I really like the shape of some comic layouts, I also like that the comic is split up in pages now. I remember scrolling sideways on my phone for days to take in a single page/episode.

      Keep up the great work.

  12. Keulan Says:

    I’m always glad to see a new one of your comics, even (or perhaps especially?) when it’s mostly just pink-haired girl and the Sphinx talking about things.

  13. Zeint Says:


  14. Kate Says:

    I’m happy Winston is still here. I was a tad worried, the world being as it is these days.

    The art is gorgeous. And the story. Truly, thank you. I think everyone needs this right now.

  15. Rose Says:

    This was so lovely, and I’m so glad to see a new Subnormality. Hit really hard about what it means to be a person, as usual.

  16. Vaia Patta Says:

    Spelling mistake on the first page: *preceding

    Hey, just cause the Sphinx invented chess, it shouldn’t mean she’s the best at it; I mean, how often does she get to practice with a live opponent? Or does she play it with other monsters, like they play card games?

    What’s with the self-blame again, each individual does what they can manage, what’s the point of feeling guilty for not being able to fix something you didn’t cause in the first place anyway. Why not join a political organisation or a campaign or something.

    Society doesn’t always move forward. Civilisations have indeed “unimagined” or “forgotten” both scientific knowledge and moral understanding. Conflict doesn’t always decrease. The world is always at war somewhere. This is the result of a series of unfair social systems, combined with human stupidity getting in the way of changing them. And no, I’m not including myself in that “stupidity” comment (I guess Winston would never date me :P) I mean most people don’t even see that society is unfair. It’s not life, not the universe, not an all-powerful deity, but our own, human-made, human-controlled society, that’s unfair.

    (I might have had more to say, but I forgot. Maybe I’ll take another look at the comic and be back later ^_^)

  17. camhcom Says:

    absolute coincidence that i happened to look at my RSS feedboi for the first time in like a year and got otherwise blue-moon comix posted just yesterday. feel bretty lucky, i come here for indulgence n come away feelin like i’ve been indulged at, exactly like i wanted. good lines good times, hits the spot. thanks brevalo

  18. leifczerny Says:

    Thank you. Again and again.

  19. Richo Says:

    Thank you ……………………..

  20. Katherine Olive Says:

    I’m so glad you’re back.

  21. Michael Yuhas Says:


  22. Robert Dorr Says:

    Thank you! I had no idea how much I needed this.
    So much love to you.
    (It’s not often that an online comic/illustration will make me misty-eyed)

  23. Every now and then I absently check this site, and most of the time I just gently navigate to somewhere or another and read a little bit at random. But then sometimes I find something new. And every time it feels a little like seeing an old friend. Possibly appropriate.


  24. mus Says:

    Where is your graphic novel already? It’s not like you don’t have the writing or artistic ability or the material…just print that stuff on paper instead of giving it to us for free!

    Thanks for a bit of perspective in this seemingly endless year of 2020…

  25. BenjiCG Says:

    You gotta stop writing these so well, making me feel all sorts of things :’D

    (for clarity’s sake please never stop writing you magnificent human bean)

  26. Kurt Faasse Says:

    If anyone has sense (Samuel Delany?) they should forward this strip to the Pulitzer committee.
    My two cents:
    What we change is what we are.
    We are like bacteria on the surface of an apple that is floating in the ocean, trying not to think about a hungry turtle that could come swimming by.

  27. Kurt Faasse Says:

    You know, Sphinx never mentions being in Gods Playing Poker.

  28. chris Says:

    Hmmm, not sure what to think about that last comic. It’s definitely a “stream of consciousness” one, I guess quite personal for you? (or maybe not, after all, I don’t know you).

    Some parts were relatable but the majority of it left me more confused than inspired or in agreement. I find it hard to put it into words.

    I’m still glad you made it and that it exists. The world is no doubt better for it.

  29. Danica Knight Says:

    There comes a point in every year when writing the date that I actually write the correct new current year that it actually is and has been for some months now without having to think twice about it. After reading your comic I have finally reached that point.

  30. Danica Knight Says:

    Also Ethel & Pink-Haired Girl as roomies? Can’t wait!

  31. Adrian Ford Says:

    A wonderfully thought provoking story, as always. Thank you.

  32. John G Says:

    Your comics are always thought provoking and moving, I’m so glad to see those two continuing to be kind and thoughtful with each other about the world around them. Always inspiring work, thank you so much

  33. Andreas Engholm Says:

    Thank you for creating this. Three that stays with me – we can mean something more than anyone realises at the moment. Knowledge will be preserved better, depending on if we get to keep electricity. We cannot do it alone, also it cannot be done without us.

    Still, I dont think that we are moving away from violence and conflict. The conflict between humans and other lifeforms have increased dramatically, as is evident with the 6th mass extinction and biodiversity collapse. How to keep hope in this situation, facing extermination, is quite a challenge.

  34. Swede Says:

    Winston, we the readers care about you, and we don’t like to worry about you when you’re absent. Can’t you start some kind of blog or something with, perhaps, weekly updates, just to let us know you’re still kicking even if you don’t have any finished comic to publish.

    • Hi, i do post updates on Patreon, so you can find the latest there, but apologies for neglecting everyone else. Am definitely still kicking, working on the next comic, which will be Something Different (in terms of format, not in terms of content/tone)– you heard it here first… -Wr

  35. Carlos Arellano Says:

    I really, REALLY needed this read after 2020 and half of 2021

    thank you.

    and, to add to the last comment, Maybe just update stuff on twitter

    like, a “hello” goes a long way.

  36. rezorrand Says:

    Last few pages got me weeping some. I feel like I needed this, I’ve been missing your comics for a long time now. Thank you. I love how your style has been somewhat staying the same, but your skills have been getting better. The stories and message are always top-notch though and love all the little details you have there. Love it, finishing each of your comics is like finishing a novella or a short story and leaves kinda curious wondering feel within.

  37. Wow…just wow…I had not been so moved by a comic literally for a couple of years. Thank you for the needed head-stretching in these pandemic times. Learning appreciate how “this too shall pass” really works is a good thing.

  38. Mike Elson Says:

    Glad to see you again old friend 🙂

  39. Alan Says:

    That was amazing. Heart warming. Hope bringing. I needed that. Thank you so much.

  40. Patrick Says:

    I’ve been away from your strip for a few years, and I’m so glad I came back. It really is an escape, a breath of fresh air in this strange 21st century.

    Also, I’m glad that the Sphinx’s nose is more natural-looking now. The way it came to a sharp point before made her look too cartoony, which may seem like an odd thing to say about a cartoon character, but she’s not just another ‘toon. How many other cartoon characters were around long before printing was invented, probably even before the pyramids were built?

    Thanks for that, and thanks for the strip. Please keep up the great work!


  41. Sarah BB Says:

    Yaaaay sphinx!

    Also, a relevant quote that comes to mind for this one is:
    “It is not on you to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it” (Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers 2:16). I think this teaching has a lot of depth and points of application.

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