Chapter 1, Page 35

Oh yeah, that thing.

Trying phonetic sound effects. It mayyy be stupid, I haven’t fully decided yet. Not a lot of great alternatives…[[rumble]], [[roar]] etc look worse to me, idk. It’s like when a person says “LOL” to your face, instead of actually laughing.

Three pages left in the chapter. Trying to get everything done by next Thurs, so next update will be on the weekend or something like that. Something else gets updated on Thurs too :O I also have 30+ pages of dayjob comics to finish in the next week in addition to personal work and other relaunch tweaks. This weekend will be interesting in the Chinese curse sense.

Today’s bonus art: the ugliest stage of the process imho
(someone give me an idea of something to draw for next bonus art! I’m running out of non-spoilery sketches)


  • Ben

    Is there sufficient atmosphere on Mars to convey sound?

    From what I can discover, yes, but not far. “The Martian” averts this because the only external sounds are heard within the Hab, or within some other earth-normal environment such as an EVA suit or the Ares craft.

    However low-frequency sound would certainly be conveyed by conduction through the rock, Bex and Mike would certainly be aware of this.

    • shingworks

      Yeah, I had to look that up while researching an earlier page. Sound travels more slowly, I guess, but inside a relatively closed chamber I suppose the vibration alone would feel “noisy” enough.

      • Tom Billings

        Through *rock* the sound travels *faster*, because all else being equal, the denser the medium, the faster the speed of sound. Also, lower atmospheric pressure does not necessarily mean lack of sound, especially if the wind makes rock vibrate. In Bryce Canyon there are towers that, when the wind blows just right at night, even at 9,000 ft., can make the rock moan, by resonance, if the wind persists long enough.

        • Meran


  • This situation just keeps going from bad to worse to worser to worsester

    • fox-orian

      to Worcester to Worcestershire.

      • Ben

        To Lea and Perrins….

  • Oh sure it’s her fault now

    • Glenn-o-matic

      Of course, if he’d spent 30 seconds impressing on her exactly WHY you shouldn’t disturb those rocks in the downfall then none of this would have happened.

      • Ben

        I seem to recall that he specifically mentioned “sound hygiene” which from context, probably means exactly that, since he also says that “even loud noises will bring …”

        • shingworks

          Close reading makes my heart sing ;__; that said, I’ll probably go back and reinforce the point one more time when I’m doing my edit pass.

        • Glenn-o-matic

          Not the same as an emphatic warning.
          Radio buzz

          • Ben

            ….which brings us back to my earlier point about suspension of disbelief vs basic errors.

            No real-world operation would allow Mike and Bex to go on an EVA with such minimal training and planning, backed with signatures where required (probably logged-on confirmations of completing the material, in context)

            Same goes for the base commander switching from telling Mike he will be treated as dangerously unstable on the return flight, to allowing him to go EVA with a new-start.

            Sometimes you just have to go with the narrative

          • kickax

            There are things for which you can’t be prepared enough by theory only. For an unrelated example, that’s why military forces are conducting live-fire exercises, and even that isn’t always enough to fully prepare for actual combat.
            As for Bex, one thing is to read and hear about something, entirely another is to feel and see with your own eyes.

          • Glenn-o-matic

            Yeah, you’re right about that, but it could still happen. Mistakes people make are what make stories like this one.

          • Corbie

            Hey, these two are still ten times more reliable, and most of all believeable, than the haggling couples and mewling whiny sissies of any average space exploration movie. ;)

            Mike did a good job at hiding his problems and the fact that he crushes pills. He was also already on his way back the next day.

            Bex gets the command to return when she’s practically already jumping towards him. And waht’s “return here” at all, if it doesn’t contain “leave him there” or “bring him”? :)

            The big mistakes here lie with Mike (conceal the full amount of his problems) and the commander (in letting him go down that hole again, probably because Mike is so good at hiding his actual condition).
            Bex reacts like someone will react who all her life did help people who put themselves in danger. Good mother, huh? It’s hard to take an Entomologist and stuff some military discipline in her head for a year maybe, and then believe that would outweigh everything else.

            So, yeah, maybe not 100% realistic, but as Glenn wrote, conflict makes stories. :)

  • DukeBG

    That’s that rock from few pages ago.

  • Karyl

    I don’t have any better sound effects–I once spent a while looking online for them and found a bunch related to Mad Magazine’s comics–might be something there.
    As to vote incentive, what about a better pic of her kids or something to do with home base? Actually, I don’t need any incentive, I’ll always vote for any of your works.

    • Ben

      Don Martin, king of the Unsound Effect!

      Aaaaahh- aaaahh-aaahhh-THOOONOON!! – Iron Man sneezing inside his mask…

  • Urist

    Panel 5: OH SHI- (╯°□°)╯

    On a more serious note, I personally prefer the phonetic sound effects- simply stating ‘crash’ rather breaks the immersion, and is often used with absolutely bizarre sound effects (personal fave was [car crash])

    • Ryan

      Onomatopoeia all over the place, so get a mope.

  • brushmen

    Writing onomatopoeia challenges one’s creativity. It’s a good practice. Sometimes I read comics just to pick up (steal) other people’s better noise words. :P
    Reader Ben’s comment above is good food for thought…

  • Arianwen

    Oh god, I hate people who say “lol”. Every time I hear it a little part of my soul dies.

    • Glenn-o-matic

      There’s a simple solution for that problem: it’s called a TASER. =)

      • Happy

        But when I yell “TASER” at a funny joke, they understand me even less!

        • Glenn-o-matic

          Well, the alternative would be hysterical laughter.

  • DoggySpew

    Here: A list with buttloads of “crash” alternatives:

  • loor

    if you need ideas, please do an incentive-sketch of bex’s whole family!!! i loved those family pix that she showed mike and would like to see more :D

    • shingworks

      A current pic of everyone wailing and crying cuz mom left, haha.

  • Gryphon

    I think the SFX look great, by which I mean, I didn’t notice them at all first time through, just the general sense of what they added to the scene. Even now that I’m noticing them, they seem good and fine. I think the mix of phonetic-obscure (klklklkl) and then a more obvious one to cement context (crash) is a nice balance. Font and color help too, really help mark “big round pebbles tumbling” vs “ROCKS BREAKINNNNG” noises.

    • shingworks

      That’s good! Not noticing is pretty much the goal :]

    • Stoph

      exactly. I did not even notice the sound effect being written. I understood it and digested it without being aware. Just like the masterful score in a move or great sound effects…. You don’t notice them when they are just a part of the scene. It was like it was painted in violent spikey R’s in the background.

      Just as you don’t want to notice that an organic crunch was a ripped head of lettuce. You WANT it to be a seamless sound in a movie. Here the letters simply painted the background. First time I have seen it quite that way.


    Yeah, thats a big rock. Doesn’t look like its holding anything up but it’ll certainly have some big impact and blowout. Might have to start running down the tunnels now.

    I wonder if those suits have oxygen or are gathering and converting Mars’ CO2 heavy atmosphere to oxygen on the fly.

    • Ben

      I’d vote for the suits having some sort of CO2 filter plus a small reserve O2 supply

      So endurance is mainly limited by filter life, and the filters can be hot-swapped to give extra endurance

    • shingworks

      The pack is more of a rebreather, tho it has some minor O2 generating functions.

      • Charles81

        So running and fast breathing might tax it’s ability and cause the air to be lighter on oxygen and heavier on CO2, causing the users to be even more out of breath, but sleeping or resting would let it catch up.

        • Ben

          Re breathers don’t work that way. The filters become progressively exhausted, breathing harder (more exertion) just reaches their end point sooner.

          Same goes for re breathers with oxygen feeds to top up O2 levels as original is exhausted

  • Corbie

    I like the phonetic sound effects. :)
    And huge rhombic shape-thingy is back! That was foreshadowing in the very sense of the word.

  • I think you did a great job with the sound effects; they’re so pretty, and not distracting.

    It’s curious that did a good job snapping Mike out of his previous attempts, for now … JUST HANG IN THERE YOU TWO.

  • Glenn-o-matic

    At some point it would change from vibrations in the atmosphere to bouncing as Mars demonstrates how elastic it is.
    Scary thoughts of being squashed like a bug. Trapped. Pinned-down by a big rock.
    On the positive side, Mike has something important to keep his attention focused on.

  • The sound effects work really well, for sure.

  • ACrazyWoman

    Oh my lord this page is stunning. The expressions are amazing and I am really scared for them now… Bex… Mike… FIND A WAY OUT NOW AAAAAAAAAAAH

    You could do a “how to draw Mike” thing. That would be fun. :3

    • shingworks

      Step 1: draw a nose
      Step 2: draw some arms and legs

      You’re done!

      • Vert

        I love how Mike’s expression and demeanor changes from “That hurt, and now you’ve fucked everything up,” to “Okay, we might actually have a problem.”

        $10 says he’ll haul ass now, but only to save LEVi and various gear.

        • Vert

          That was supposed to go on the main thread. Oh well.

          I drew a nose with feet, am I ready to comic now? :D

  • ion-simon

    Bex’s face presents pure terror. Never seen so much fear in ones expression! Well done!

    • Ryan

      I bet this will be one of those scenarios where the suicidal person realizes how much he wants to live when confronted with primal terror.

      • River

        Page 18: “The only thing we _need_ is to believe that we have some control over our own lives.”

        If I had to guess, I’d guess he wants to kill himself, not be killed in an accident. /speculation

        • shingworks

          Thank you for picking up on that line :]

        • Ben

          A significant proportion of suicides are not intended to succeed, some are intended as cries for help and others as a form of passive-aggressive behaviour

          So I’m reliably informed, at any rate.

  • Jojo

    Great page. This has really built up nicely. The scenery is excellently constructed. I like the helmet lights.

    I’d like to see images of their suits in future bonus arts. Perhaps the process at which you arrived at their current design.

  • Kees

    I like how Mike goes from trying to pull his helmet off one moment to telling Bex she’s fricked up and caused a safety hazard the next, haha.

    I think the phonetic sound effects work well–someone else mentioned not really noticing them as much as their general effect until they went back over the page, and I can see that. I think maybe since it’s part of the picture instead of in a bubble my (our?) brain processes it in kind of a flash of general understanding rather than consciously reading it. After going back over it I really like klrklrklrklr for the sound of small rocks falling.

  • DukeBG

    That thing, that is going to get relaunched on next Thursday. Is it going to have Tue/Thu update schedule as well?

    • shingworks

      Sadly after this big push, I am probably going to 1pg/week (T/ Th) for both projects. I have a lot of paid work and not a lot of time until end of June. I don’t make any money from personal work at the moment, so it’s hard to sacrifice more than 24-36 hrs a week on these updates, haha.

      In July I’ll be done with my current job. Then I’ll be able to launch a Patreon where readers will have the option of paying for my time/ more pages. A little nervous but I hope it works out!

      • Brian

        Looking forward to the Patreon. It’s nice to have a way to put some money in the virtual tip-jar. It’s even nicer if enough people feel that way and yet another excellent cartoonist can go full-time on awesome personal projects (while still being able to afford food and lodging and such). Fingers crossed!

  • Cheri

    honesty i wouldn’t mind some legschilla being an asshole for bonus art, ahahah.

  • Sharp

    yesss phonetic sound effects. They’re so much more descriptive since you can play with them to add scale and tone to the sound.

    Any behind the scenes character interaction is fun for bonus stuff. Maybe think about the sort of everyday fuckups that result from muscle memory combating radically different gravity, or how normal clumsiness/forgetfulness affects people in strange circumstances and with limited supplies. Or someone committing a social faux pas, or little moments of Mike struggling with his mental illness in ways unimportant to the plot. How do the different crew members blow off steam and relax? What are their sleeping positions? (sorry this got long wow)

    • Ben

      Group dynamics in small isolated communities are extremely subtle, with specific pecking orders which affect everything. It’s what was called “cabin fever” in sailing ship days – self-reinforcing behaviour patterns competing for small advantages.

      Mike comes across as a Grade A, genoowine-bedoowine, all-weather-leather jerk but I’ve known plenty of people AT LEAST as weird as him, at sea. Introducing new people is very difficult at times.

      Any sort of identity politics makes things an order of magnitude harder because they are DESIGNED to create friction by claiming advantages for reasons which are not relevant to the stated group function and I suspect that both Mike and in time, Bex will demonstrate this.

      Read on!

      • Glenn-o-matic

        So what you’re saying is that people are normally crazy to some degree?

        • Ben

          Not really, just that small groups under stress in confined situations for long periods become focused on very small things which would not be significant in a wider situation.

          Read the Patrick O’Brian “Aubrey and Maturin” books for quite a lot on this sort of thing. “Moby Dick” hinges around it, and the Colditz/Great Escape genre of PoW books also

          • Glenn-o-matic

            Literature is a reflection, a presentation, of what is really happening in reality.
            I’m more comfortable with people have limits. Some are explorers, some are not.

        • Lennier

          I would venture that most people have very minor schizophrenia at all times, although it usually manifests as a conscience or inner voice.

          • Ben

            Occam’s Razor says no.

            Don’t underestimate the effects of long periods of stress, sensory deprivation and confinement.

            These people are all pretty much institutionalised by their experiences on Mars, or were that way already from past experience.

          • Glenn-o-matic

            The cartoon we see everywhere of a person with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other- matters of conscience.
            But those severe cases: when a person is too frightened to do something, when their choice is what they can’t do, when they’re convinced that they can’t even trust their own senses, or that anything is a wrong choice…etc.

  • Kira

    I think the phonetic sound effects work nicely. The way the letters start small and then grow (and change from a handful of letters to solid “R”s in the last panel) gives the sense of an increasingly loud roaring sound.

  • Toast

    oh god i just noticed after reading it over a few times tat mike has a bloody nose. oh the things you cant do with a spacesuit on.

    • shingworks

      lol, its hard to tell, but he’s trying to wipe it in panel 2. Just a nod to all the “how is his nose not banging into his helmet” comments.

  • Brad

    So his nose did hit the visor?

    • shingworks

      It sure did >:^|

  • Kincajou

    I advise doing a sketch for curiosity for bonus art :)

  • aimee

    Oh no no no

    this is not good

    not good at all

    bonus art Idk maybe Mike yelling LOL at Bex heh

  • Oly

    Nice sound effects! :D And haha, I find my flat colours one of the weirdest-looking stages too (though I enjoy the process, especialy with traditionally coloured stuff), it’s like “oops I just ruined all my inking!” XP

    A sketch suggestion (though I’m sure you already got loads) – Mike back when he was a kid/younger/back on Earth! Maybe with his family, whatever family he has/had? I mean we’ve seen Bex’s family…

  • stalj

    Being a drummer, those sound effects are giving me a bunch of interesting hand/foot patterns. But it reads just fine, really :D also, Bex’s eyes have gone into grasshopper mode! Dun dun dunnn

  • Nrolad Dro

    The meek was actually the first comic I ever read, I wasn’t really into this stuff, but it changed my perspective it was art in a different form, and the story telling was superb I was always at the edge of my seat. But then it cut off, leaving us all hanging – not to be a drama queen and all – I was really upset about this long hiatus ( 3 years was it).

    One has to wonder if this comic is going to face the same fate, to start out amazing and then… no more.

    Anyway, I’m thrilled that the meek is coming back, yaaay. This actually made my week.

  • Shunka_Warakin

    Have to say the SFX are fine for me. What felt glaring to me was that the last panel seemed like something that would’ve been well-served with a full-page worms-eye view, but eh, directing choices on ‘camera angle’ can be pretty personal things! And for all I know that’s the next page…Don’t tell me. ;D

    • shingworks

      You have to establish the shot/ action before distorting it too much :B worms eye would’ve obscured the detachment. Next page.

  • Ben

    Re various comments above, these are very strongly motivated people with a high degree of agreement on the purpose of the mission. They will also have been carefully screened for psychiatric issues, as far as possible prior to launch.

    They are also highly motivated by professional issues which are less congruent – Mike says this in so many words, his career prospects have been severely damaged, at best, by his actions. Internal evidence also implies quite strongly that he has committed a serious error, or errors of judgement leading to the commander accessing his medical records for information regarding past history.

    There’s also the background issue of quite what LEVi actually is, and is presented as. Is Mike a sort of Jacques Cousteau figure, and LEVi the Calypso, playing out a “don’t meet your heroes” scenario with Bex?

    Why DID Bex abandon her family?

    • Glenn-o-matic

      Based on what Bex has on her computer, that might be the shocker held in reserve, but it’s just a hunch.

      • Ben

        I hadn’t thought of that but I see your point…. more foreshadowing?

  • Hey, I had missed a page !

    *clear throat*


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