Chapter 1, Page 29

The horizontal striation on the walls is caused by the flow of lava. At one point the tube was a channel for magma flowing from some volcanic source, like water through a straw. As the flow slows the lava cools and flattens, which forms that relatively smooth floor. Once you clean it up it makes a pretty nice dance hall I guess.

Utterly pointless backstory: Keep Mars Red is based off this campaign/ popular California bumper sticker :B It’s a fake Earth organization I made up that petitions research/ habitation on Mars, in order to keep it pristine from human waste and meddling. Nobody takes their cause seriously. Mike’s old research partner, Braid, put the poster up as a passive-aggressive joke because Mike is a slob and never picks up after himself.

Today’s bonus art: stupid comic based on the above


  • silvermender


  • Glenn-o-matic

    Well it might still be a good idea to bang that drum now and not wait 20 or 30 years. By then it will be too late, and yet another environment will have been “humanized” past all recognition. In 100 years people might wonder about all the stars that are supposed to be out there that they can’t see because of the industrial smog in low orbit caused by all of the space-industries dumping their waste.

    • shingworks

      My friend actually has an incredible comic about that subject, you can read the first chapter here

      • Glenn-o-matic

        It’s a charming story and beautiful art. Thank you!

  • skellagirl

    Y’know, I used to dislike Mike’s design…

    Now it’s just “Please don’t be crying sweet child, IT’S GONNA BE OKAY (PROBABLY). That’d BETTER just be condensation, otherwise just lemme take care of you sweetpea”

    Also, you have the most amazing ability to create an awesome sense of scale. Those caves seem massive, like I could just step through my screen and… well, die — but assuming I had a space suit somehow?

    Also ALSO, I love Bex’s little cat ear-esque headlights. Super cute/cool.

  • Sharp

    Man not being able to wipe away your tears has gotta suck. I wonder if he smacked his hand against his visor out of habit :B

    *spoilers for vote incentive

    I don’t get Braid’s prostate comment? I even looked through a few wiki articles to try to figure it out… Unless Mike has a health issue we’ll learn about later…?

    • shingworks

      Yeah someone mentioned sneezing earlier, ew XD

      Annnd it’s one of several fun activities for consenting adults, haha.

      • I thought he said he wasn’t straight? Is it like a reverse prison gay situation?

        • Vert

          He’s not straight. That leaves a lot of alternatives, of which “gay” is but one…

          Also, “youngjin” (Braid?) looks female with clothes on, but no telling what lies beneath the fabric, or what’s going on in the brain.

          Humans are complicated and weird :D

          • I considered that, but he does call him/her(?) “bitch”… which doesn’t really clarify things further I guess.

            I’m currently going with “Mike is a truculent bastard who doesn’t like people asking personal questions”. I can empathise with that.

          • Dee

            It does leave a lot of possibilities. However, he said it in response to “your wife must be upset with you”, which sort of implies “I would not have a wife because I am not straight”, which would kind of leave women out of the equation. I suppose it also could have easily meant “don’t assume my partner is female, because my partner could be a gender and/or sex other than female”, I just felt the implication of the former was a little stronger. I believe the author has said once before that he and Braid used to date though, so I guess the latter is more correct!

      • Corbie

        Well I agree with you here, I also dislike too huge pages. In print I prefer American format to European Album format. Huge pics are nice, but flow in a comic sucks if the poage doesn’t fit on the screen. Not everyone looks at this from a newest generation iPad that still displays all of it. I want to see the paneling and get a feel for the flow as well … otherwise I’d feel like reading a novel one word at a time. ;D

        But I’d still buy a PDF to support your work. Totally. With or without extras, hires or not, doesn’t matter. :)

        • shingworks

          Aw, thanks XD Yeah, I like small on the screen, it’s easier to take in at once… I’m super lazy too and love archive bingeing one-handed using the keyboard arrows; if I have to scroll around too much I get annoyed. But I like Euro albums a lot… if it’s gonna be physical, it is nice to be able to see all the details. At least, for Euro comics… don’t really feel the need to see the deets on US stuff.

  • Grant

    I feel like the comic should be displayed larger- maybe 120% larger, so we can see it in all its glory! Noticed this when comparing this comic to The Meek archives with those big beautiful pages.

    • shingworks

      Yeah, viewing-wise I dislike big pages, but I do post select panels to my dA for funzies.

      • Vert

        I realize this isn’t a democracy, but I agree with Grant. I feel like I’m squinting through a tiny window into your world.

        Please say you’ll at least publish a high-res PDF or at least a printed book of these that I can buy once chapter 1 is done!

        • shingworks

          Oh, good idea about a PDF! That seems like a good compromise (that doesn’t involve site wrangling). And yeah a book will happen eventually but probably not for a while.

          • Vert

            Dresdan Codak took a bunch of his older comics, touched them off, and assembled them into a PDF that’s laid out like a fancy art book. That may be a bit too pretentious for you, but I’d happily buy a high-res PDF book of this comic and the Meek, if they were offered (wink wink nudge nudge) and I’m sure I’m not alone.

            *cough* I’d pay extra for a few pages of bonus comics and “behind the scenes” stuff, too. Just sayin’. I really dig your comics.

          • Lennier

            Seconded on Vert’s wink wink nudge nudge,

          • Hm, Dresden Codak did that… as part of his kickstarter rewards, mind y’all XD

          • (for the zoom thing, tho, browser zoom works fairly nicely for me ^^)

  • shade

    “Do you need anything else from me?”

    Nope, not chill inducing at all right now. Also, Mars has a lot of dust to go with that condensation. Obviously those two acting in tandem.

    I kid tho’, beautiful.

  • Unclever title

    “Keep Mars Red”

    Dang environmentalists getting in the way of healthy life sustaining progress. Terraforming creates jobs!

  • DukeBG

    Is the bonus comic canon?

    • shingworks

      v__v yes

  • “What’s in the shed ?”
    The corpse of the last fool who asked.

    (oh, and LeVi)

  • Ugh the atmosphere in these last few pages blew my mind. You’re still my favorite comic artist I think. Can’t wait to read more of this!!

  • Vert

    Der-shing, I have to ask, have you red the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson? It’s fantastic, full of mostly accurate (if a bit dated, now) Mars info, and the red vs green environmental conflict is one of the central points of the plot.

    And now I’m wondering if I already asked you that. Memory like a… thingy… you know, with all the holes in it.

    • shingworks

      No, I’ve read practically no Mars fiction :[__] just nonfic. Makes sense that that would be a concern though, I’m kinda surprised there isn’t more talk about that IRL given the recent resurgence in space-related public interest stuff.

      • Vert

        You might also enjoy The Martian. It’s about a single likeable, (improbably) optimistic and resourceful dude who gets left behind, alone, on a Martian base after a bad storm scuttles his team’s mission. Lots of interesting solutions to Mars-related problems, all backed by actual science! In fact, as far as sci-fi settlement progress goes, MI is far ahead of it, so you could probably use it as a resource for technical problems that your colonists have already long since dealt with!

        • shingworks

          I’d better avoid it then XD At least until MI is over… I’m avoiding other modern fiction to prevent me from unintentionally biting off of them, haha.

      • Are you following this EM drive stuff?

        It seems to be real, and if it is, it’s huge. A reactionless drive!

      • Lennier

        I said earlier in the comments that RM was rubbish. Many people like it but I thought it was appalling. His later Antartica was torture to read.

        • Tap10lan

          I’m one of the fans, and I wonder why you say it “was” rubbish.
          Vert lists some of the point he/she finds pertinent about the trilogy, and you just say you thought it “was” appalling. To me that smacks of trollhood. I’d regard you as less of an apparent troll if you at least presented a reason for your feelings.

          • Vert

            I think I know where Lennier is coming from. KSR tends to polarize people. His sci-fi is pretty good and generally well-researched (there’s only one factual error in RM, and it’s down to some very complicated math involved in what happens to a space elevator when it comes untethered at one end). What many people have a problem with is the heavy-handed social commentary, and I admit even I skimmed large parts of many of his books to get past it. The Mars trilogy are actually his most sci-fi, least preachy books; many of his more recent works are really, really heavy on the tumblr-esque social combat. Even if you agree with his views it’s tiresome to wade through, and if you’ve a more conservative mindset I can see it being very off-putting indeed.

            That said, the Mars trilogy is still pretty good sci-fi, and even the philosophical noodling is generally relevant and thought-provoking. But if you don’t like them, you *really* won’t like the rest of KSR’s work.

          • Lennier

            ‘You disagree with me, so I think you’re a troll.’

            Get stuffed, then. :P

            One might think, given the generally anti-authoritarian thrust of KSRs work, anti-capitalism (or at least, anti-capitalism-as-we-know-it), environmental themes, and pro-social democracy advocacy that I would enjoy his writings and nod my head along with them, given that I also hold these views. And, largely, I do agree with them (even if I think he is trending too far into Libertarianism at times). But I found his writing style to be so difficult to read it overshadowed the ‘conceptual idea quality’ (if I can be allowed to just make up a term) of the work itself. It is, in Vert’s words, tiresome to wade through.
            I forced myself to finish Red and Green Mars. I couldn’t finish Antartica.
            Some authors just put people off. If you have to force yourself to do something, it’s hardly going to be enjoyable, especially when you’re doing it for free (or actually paying money to participate)

            I didn’t like them. You do. That’s cool; we’re not a hive-mind, here.

            On the flipside, I definately do not agree with Howard Taylor’s politics and some of his social stances, but I really like his work.

          • shingworks

            Can you all stop having reasonable discussions and skip to the fisticuffs? Thanks

    • Psudopod

      Haaa came here to say this. I, for one, rather liked the books. I really liked the diverse cities with all their different ways of settling on mars.

  • Daniel

    This is fantastic. I’m glad I found it. Thank you for creating!

  • Read from one to here. Excellent work.

  • Chuck R

    I think the “Keep Mars Red” thing is hilarious given all the talk, recently. I would buy a bumper sticker if you sold them here on the site. There’s at least one other tongue-in-cheek spinoff of that campaign. Do it!

  • Meran

    The Keep Mars Red movement was in Robinson’s Mars novels! It’s funny to see you echo it here, not having read the books

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