“Subnormality” finds magic and monsters in the mundane

On a given day in Subnormality, you might have a perfectly normal conversation with a particularly interesting stranger, or perhaps chat with a Sphinx, date one of Hell's sexy minions, or spend an afternoon at the Museum of the Theoretical.

Yes, Subnormality is that webcomic with a lot of words. A lot of words. Characters frequently have page-long conversations that could take up the length of a feature film. It's a comic you have to settle into, a comic that demands your full attention as you peer through crowded blocks of text. Sometimes its various denizens are talking through various crises – of finding your life purpose, of low self-esteem, of why people behave one way in public and another in private, of whether it's okay to befriend someone higher up on the food chain. Sometimes there are cathartic descriptions of Hell and the people trapped inside. Sometimes creatures from another dimension contemplate the sudden appearance of a human in their midst. Sometimes, the Sphinx just wants to depress you into walking straight into her maw.

The heroes of Subnormality are people who sit somewhat outside the social order – from the Pink-Haired Girl on one end, who ambles between demeaning jobs and constantly examines notions of friendship, happiness, and life's purpose, to the man-eating Sphinx, whose longevity leaves her frustrated with rapid, sometimes counterintuitive, evolution of human culture and language, to Devil #76, whose professional life as a punisher of the wicked hasn't dulled her affection for the human race.

And often creator Winston Rowntree will focus an entire strip on a particularly fascinating idea, like what happens to all those time travelers who try to kill Hitler or the Museum of the Theoretical (and it's really heartbreaking that such a thing doesn't exist) or the mystical stories we invent for the places where we live. And while sometimes he's finding the monsters no one else can see: of self-doubt, of being broke, of oh-god-I'm-wasting-my-life, he also delves into sweet meditations on the nature of maturity, and whether sexiness is something far different – and better – than what we're told.

[Subnormality]