Subnormality is a webcomic with a whole lot of words created by Winston Rowntree. Created in 2007, this comic is a Deconstruction parade, where the author deconstructs everything from video game characters to tropes themselves, such as Cannot Spit It Out. Most of the events appear to take place in the same city, although other locales are used, such as Hell or some undefined time in the past. Some of his works are hilarious, some are depressing, and others are somewhere in the middle where you can't figure out what you're supposed to gain from it.This comic is rather subjective; many readers enjoy it for the messages they receive from it, and others dislike it for how hard Winston tries to hammer in his morality. In this comic, you do just as much reading as you would if you were reading a book, it just has pictures to go with it. Somewhat of a Light Novel, except the art style is more reminiscent of western comic books than Japanese Manga.Rowntree also writes an irregularly updated sister comic for Cracked.com called Abnormality. Its strips are narrower (to fit the website's layout), generally shorter and rarely plot-driven. Many of them are humorous infographics. they're accessible from Rowntree's author page. For convenience all page images taken from Abnormality link to this page. He also contributes to Cracked's After Hours series, providing illustrations for Michael's brain.It can be found here.
Provides examples of:
Adam Westing: Cited here, as "The Emperor has no clothes - and he knows it. But he's not pretending to have clothes, and he plays to the crowd, who appreciate his honesty."
Anthropomorphic Personification: Various times. Hollywood is a giant brightly colored man who steals books, television is a woman who tells amazing stories before suddenly screaming at her friends for all their imperfections for two minutes, and the News Media is a really depressing and weirdly spiritual boyfriend.
Author Appeal: Most of his women are drawn with hairy arms and legs.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Characters with selfish and mean interiors have wrinked faces, snout noses, and/or pointed teeth. Characters meant to be bland and generic will look exactly that. Sympathetic characters, even those employed by hell, will either be beautiful or Ugly Cute. Curiously, this actually works well within the comic's style. The artist clearly enjoys drawing grotesque, insane things. One notable exception to this is the author self-insert comics, Rowntree seems to be happy to depict himself honestly. And, well, for the sake of politeness lets just say he's not exactly a super-model.
Bechdel Test: Passes with flying colors. (Even more so if one of the two women doesn't have to be human, which the Sphynx is not.)
Bernard and his red-haired accomplice from "Bernard" (comic #69) reappear as the men running the booth in "The Superconvenient Nonreligious Confessional" (comic #203). A throwaway line establishes that Bernard's first business had made him independently wealthy.
Crapsack World: Well, it does seem like roughly half the population of this place consists of evil beings who try to lure the other half to their doom. But not all of them are mean about it.
Cute Monster Girl: Some of the demons in hell. Except when the find out the damned souls are liking it, then they turn frumpy just to screw with them. And the Sphynx, who looks awfully cute even as she thinks up new ways to devour humans.
The almost insane number of visual eggs that are in pretty much every single comic. A very good example of this trope in action is The Metaphor's New Clothes (warning: contains nudity). You can very easily use this strip as a roadmap to Rowntree's views on politics, religion, and media.
For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: As the demon girl puts it, "God, Halloween's fantastic. For one day you can wander around freely and everyone just thinks you're wearing a costume. It's really rather nice." Frankenstein's Monster is also showing up as himself on that occasion.
Genre Blind: The man in this strip thinks it a good idea to buy a newspaper with the headline "Local Man Devoured by Newspaper Box" from a newspaper box. No points awarded for guessing what happens next.
Going Commando: Ms. Fanservicecasually admits she lost her underwear while trying on a swimsuit and just decided to go without. "But is underwear even really necessary these days?... Maybe I'll just go ahead and 86 the panties in the future."
Implausible Hair Color: The pink haired girl... unless she's working at a soul-crushing job in which case it spontaneously shifts to a dull brown.
Well, the first time she actually had to go out and deliberately dye it so that she could even get the soul-crushing job. After that it sort of started taking care of itself.
Infinite Canvas: Most entries prefer to be the standard vertical scroll. The occasional comic extends several screen-widths, in addition to several screen-heights.
Ironic Hell: Has been known to play with this one. On one occasion a misfile causes a guy to be signed up for the wrong ironic punishment, which is immediately corrected when he takes offense to being buried in dog feces (having always made it a point to clean up after his dog, even if he did kill five people). In another one, Hell's latest tenant frustrates the demon assigned to him for orientation because here, yet again, is some dipshit who thinks a single lifetime of being a dull little guy has given him the guile to outwit millenia-old beings who have honed the craft of eternal suffering; then his attempt to prove his point ends up seriously screwing his pooch.
Ms. Fanservice: Found here, here and here. Although, because she seems unaware of her effect on the opposite sex, it overlaps with Innocent Fanservice Girl. In the third one, it shows that she is saddened by the fact that every man she might like disappears. She's wearing the man's hat when she sighs at the bus stop.
One of the central characters, initially pictured with pink hair, has always gone unnamed, and according to the artist in one comments string, always will. Her official moniker is Pink Haired Girl, abbreviated as PHG.
Most of the other characters have been named, but only very subtly. Sometimes so subtly that their names are only found in the titles of the comic's image files—a good example: Ms Fan Service is named Justine, seen only in the filename of this comic◊.
Pragmatic Villainy: The Sphynx has spared humans a few times, claiming it's because they're small and not worth the effort. (She doesn't eat children for the same reason. "Barely a meal", as she says.)
Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, she also chooses to lurk outside a gym when hunting for victims, because customers tend to be clean and showered when they come out and too tired to run, insisting to the owner when he complains about it that he'd do the same thing if he were a predator.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: In-universe. The Pink Haired Girl states outright that she's okay with the Sphynx killing people as long as the Sphynx is nice to her personally.
Riddling Sphinx: Lampshaded. As this early strip shows, the Sphynx was actually the original one, but she gave up that routine a long time ago (and a few strips clear show that nowadays, she tends to look back on it as something dumb she did when she was young).
Shown Their Work: Moscow Metro is portrayed rather accurately, with proper Russian words and even with an allusion to a cult Russian film. (Though only the country of residence, Canada, seems to be known about the author, not the country of origin... So, it might be not “work” at all.)
...or maybe he went on vacation there.
One of the other comics on Virus Comix site is about a Russian comicbook artist who is working in secret on a 1000 page masterwork. It's "Based On True Events", possibly signifying that this is Rowntree's actual history.
Stable Time Loop: A man is selected by his religious organization to travel back in time in order to conduct an experiment in storytelling. He eventually comes to the realization that he was the founder of this religion.
Terrible Interviewees Montage: It doesn't get more terrible than the Dating (Russian) roulette: Six speed dates in a row, you have to settle on ONE mandatory date without seeing the others after you make your choice or being allowed to pick someone you already rejected. Hope you don't land on the bullet!
The is no bullet. The organizer keeps reusing the same five horrible people over and over, "accidentally" matching two contestants at interview number six who then bond over their shared experience and become new friends, running away together before meeting the so-called bullet.
Those Two Guys: Bernard and his associate, who start out small but eventually work their way into helping people for its own sake.
The War on Straw: Saturates the entire comic. If Rowntree has an Anvil to drop, it will usually be dropped on a misrepresented effigy of that which he dislikes.
Pink-haired woman: Am I gonna watch your dog that's locked in a safe to prevent it from being stolen, which was itself stolen, by you, from a store you forgot you owned, when you were trying to rob a bank, and you for some reason don't know the combination, and you say you'll be gone five minutes but that could probably mean almost anything at this point?
To Serve Man: The monsters- most notably the Sphinx- have a taste for people and are not remorseful about it. The weirdest part is, human witnesses seem to take this in stride; one guy who gets angry at the Sphynx is mad not because he thinks it's evil, but because she's hurting his business by preying on his customers! (Still, that would be kind of bad for business...)
Villain Protagonist: The Sphynx is likely the closest thing the strip has to a protagonist. She's an ancient monster who eats people, although she isn't without redeeming traits, like her unspoken friendship with pink-haired girl.