Chapter 2, Page 32

POOL PARTY

This page was hell to color. It’s spoilery to say why right now, but later we can have some exacting discussion where one of you turns out to be some physics professor and schools me to hell and back.

And, keeping with the “random horrible obstacles every week” theme of 2015… got dominated by a fever half of last week and the weekend, ay yi yi. Why can’t things just be easy! But so far still on track to finish this scene this week. Then another interlude, then Chapter 3 begins at the very start of January X[___] I started MI the first week of January 2015, so this will be a nice anniversary… final tally for MI comics should be around 94 pages in a year? On top of 37 Meek comics and about 70+ freelance pages and other assorted commissions and freelance. Maybe too early to overview my year haha… oh well, it’s a lot of work (and a lot to go before the year ends).

In other news, the Support area now links to all of the Patreon posts pertaining to MI stuff, for easy Patron access. Supporting me gives you access to a mix of old comics, random art thoughts, Meek stuff and MI stuff… without tags it can be a little difficult to navigate, so I thought listing it in one spot would make some lives a little easier.

Without further ado: our incredible November Patrons whose generous contributions helped make this 12+ comic update month happen. Thanks all for reading and enjoying my stuff!

92 Comments

  • Aaah ! Behind you !!

    • Pumpkin_Cake

      How did it get down there so quickly? Was there a ramp right next to the cliff that he didn’t see? Are there two of them??

      • I suspect a lot more. But maybe they are one.

      • iowawa

        I think it looks like a bat. Wings make cliffs easier to manage.

  • Martha Wolfe

    Don’t worry about the stuff on your face, Mike! The Martian Death Faucet is here to wash it off!

    • Martha Wolfe

      Or maybe just eat your face. EITHER WAY.

  • Android 21 3/7

    Is thighfriend controlling his leg?

    • shingworks

      I guess it’s more like when a dog on a leash jerks forward and pulls you along with it, haha.

      • Makes me wonder if Michael had a dog once.

        • shingworks

          He is terribly allergic to anything with fur, so no XD

          • Ceceoh

            So thighfriend is hypoallergenic, like a Fungusdoodle?

          • Ow, that sucks.

      • ThisCat

        Well, if you’re worried about physical ipossibilities, that is kind of it. It’d be like trying to pull someone forward while they’re carrying you, thightfriend’s got nothing to push off of, and can mostly flap around in a “I want to go this way”-way.
        Not a big thing, though. Just bugged me a little when I saw your comment.

        • lou

          Not necessarily. If thighfriend gathers momentum while Mike stands firmly on the ground and counteracts the force, then thighfriend, after a bit of flying, pulls Mike after himself, it could work. Not as vigorously as a dog on a leash (who supports itself on 4 independent legs), but not insanely implausible either. Imagine a child tied to you with a rope: you can stand your ground and throw the child away without moving back, but then the child can tug on the rope and they can make you lose balance.
          I’m more interested in the original physical problems though:P

        • shingworks

          Yeah, sure. I don’t mean thighfish is leading him, I know that’s impossible if they are one unit… More throwing forward/ off balance. Thighfish can extend or retract, which I’d assume would shift the center of balance or at the very least be startling enough to pull you forward.

          • AudGirl

            If they are one unit and separate minds thighfriend could totally just move Mike’s body and he could be like “WAH!!! STAHP!”

          • Ryan

            The other possibility (and the way i read it) is that if thighfish extended part of itself into the water and used that to pull him forward by swimming.

      • Pylgrim

        Ouch… is thighfish attached to bone, muscle and/or nerve? Though Michael didn’t seem in pain.

        • Adam

          My guess would be that Tighfish IS the muscle, bone and nerve that managed to connect itself to Mike.

  • Ruth

    Mike’s smile never looks right on his face to me because he’s unhappy so much. Help him : (

    At least thighfriend is here to put him in a good mood (???)

  • Ainsley S

    Just thinkin’ bout all those parasites (Cordyceps? Toxoplasma?) that alter their host’s behavior in weird little ways

    Oh nooooooooo :C

    • Vert

      Especially considering Mike’s overall “thing” (the target and/or source of his psychosis) is having control over his own life. When he figures out what’s going on I think things are going to be… bad…

      • Adam

        I don’t get that vibe. The connection the two share isn’t clear quite yet, but it may be possible for Tighfriend to be immune to that the same way a pet dog raised from puppyhood would be. Or if their connection is deep enough than Mike would know its thoughts too well for him to imagine that Tighfriend is up to something.

  • The more I read, the more I kinda want a thighfriend. I say “kinda” because I’m betting there are some HARD ramifications down the road.

    • Adam

      My guess would be that Mike will be stuck on Mars. Thighfriend is part of him now and he needs Mars environment to live. I would wager that’s what Thighfriend is doing to Mike: it is adopting him to the environment. Notice that Mike no longer coughs at the air.

      • He restarted coughing when TightFish was drying up

        • Adam

          And he ain’t coughing now. Maybe Tighfish is filtering the toxins in the environment for him?

  • Cpt. Proton

    That thing in the background reminds me of the Tripods for some reason

  • Eli

    Spoilery color on this page related to physics… I’m guessing it has something to do with Pureraxbi enqvngvba (rot13’d to avoid spoiling others if I’m right)

    • Vert

      It’s certainly the right color. I assumed she was referring to radiosity lighting for the shadows or something but I think you’re into something. A source of that thing you said would certainly explain quite a few things.

  • Widdershins

    Oh god, is that Cherenkov radiation?

    • …UH OH.

    • Adam

      I would wager for that not to be the case. If I understand correctly, you need very powerful radiation for that to occur.
      That’s the kind of thing that’s not very conducive to life, even Martian life because I would imagine that biochemistry is difficult when every other atom in various molecule-chains keep getting ionized and thus ripped apart.

      • WeirderThanWeird

        Not necessarily. Water’s pretty good at radiation shielding.

        https://what-if.xkcd.com/29/

        • Adam

          I have heard of that but didn’t imagine that it was so powerful an absorber.

          It would explain why there is liquid water though, with powerful radioisotopes or even natural(?) nuclear reactors providing the heat trough radiation.

      • Vert

        I’m pretty sure there’s a terrestrial organism that lives off of radiation.

        Hah, there is. Not only that, but it’s a fungus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiotrophic_fungus

  • Quix

    It’s extremely charming how friendly he is with his leg parasite. Here ya go you silly fungus, enjoy the water!

    • Asterai

      Thighfriend is not a parasite! Thighfriend is a *symbiote!*

    • youhappynow

      I think part of it is just seeing something familiar (thirst) tor the first time since he fell down the rabbit hole.

  • Spav

    And he thought LEVi was messing with his head.

  • Flancy

    It’s really nice to see him smile.

  • Pumpkin_Cake

    Aww, this is so cute! I wish this would last a little longer before he’s screaming and crying and running for his life, but right now, this is cute.

  • Varflock

    Marsian Crabthing’s watching. New “friend”?

  • Daniel

    Is thighfriend still attached in that last picture?

    • shingworks

      Haha, yeah, I could have probably made the entryway a bit more visible. It can’t detach or anything. He is, however, holding it out of the way so he can try and look at his reflection.

      • Charles81

        I can’t imagine he’s having much luck seeing his reflection if the water is also the light source LOL

      • youhappynow

        >so he can try and look at his reflection

        I take this to mean that the facial fungal growth is what draws Mike’s attention in panel 4? I’m guessing that you had him turn his head so we could see what he’s feeling for with his hand, but to me it looks as though we should be following his gaze, which I now understand is nowhere in particular.

        It’s just a little thing that I found confusing for a moment.

        • shingworks

          Hm… thanks for the input! I’ll think about it. I think it reads clearly right now…P3: splash water close to face P4: notice he’s touching something, straining to look (you would probably do a similar face/pose if you were trying to see something on your temple) P5: still touching the thing that felt off, looking down.

          Then again, I have the next page in the sequence in mind as well, and you don’t have that info yet, so maybe it’s more obvious to me… anyways I’ll come back and take a look again once I’ve got all my ducks in a row.

          • youhappynow

            I look forward to seeing the next page. I mean on top of the looking forward to it I was already doing.

          • ProphetZarquon

            Two ducks in front of a duck, two ducks behind a duck, & a duck in the middle…

            How many ducks are there?

  • Franzl

    Did he always have as many fingers as in Panel 2?

    • shingworks

      I didn’t draw every finger actually… aome extra lines to show water squeezing out though. Might need to recolor a few.

    • Wood

      He’s holding both hands together.

      • Franzl

        Ahhhh, I hadn’t noticed that. I thought his “What th-” was referring to his newly seven-fingered hand :)

  • Charles81

    You can get it tying a noose
    You can get it rappelling on Mars
    You can get it breaking your leg
    And you can get it squeezing through cracks
    A hard earned thirst needs a big cold drink
    And the best cold drink is Martian water
    You can get it attempting suicide
    …matter-a-fact I got it now.

  • Amadán Dubh

    Yay, thigh-friend’s all better!
    Ooh, but maybe not for much longer, judging by the last panel.

  • Shihchuan

    That’s a hell of a mood swing. Also I’m not exactly sure why, but the smile makes the situation actually more creepy…

    • CosmicStresshead

      Shades of a scene from Mike’s childhood. I don’t think I like what’s coming :(

  • CosmicStresshead

    *FLAP SLAP*

  • Luces

    It’s the old question how high one stakes the right of self-determination:
    Even if thigfried is tapering his mind, isn’t he better of now than alone with his own disturbed mind? Remember that he was living heavy on pills and trying to commit suicide at the beginn of the story!
    It has to be seen what chairhead lurking from behind has in mind, but congrats to Der-shing, again: Those aliens are really un-earthy and not just masked Trekkies!

  • Arianwen

    you thought the giant endoparasite couldn’t get more adorable?

    you WERE WRONG

  • Lorenzo

    oh shit here it comes

  • Vert

    Maybe the next bit of Thighfriend’s life cycle involves being eaten by a Martian DeathFaucet.

  • John Clifton

    I think Thighfriend must be influencing Mike’s emotions. He seems to be taking the situation too calmly. Maybe he’s tapped into Mike’s nervous system and is controlling his body to some extent – that could explain Mike’s rushing into the water.

    • Adam

      I think the control is more primitive than you imagine. Maybe all he is doing is sending signals about its status like “really, really thirsty, please get water!” and “oh, look,water, GOGOGOG” and “YAY! WATER!”
      It isn’t mind control but an influence, maybe even an influence that Mike can separate from the ones in his own mind. We’ll see to what extend.

      • John Clifton

        “Control” may have been too strong a word, I agree. “Influence” may be a better one.

  • Ceceoh

    In panel one, is that last bit poking out of Mike’s leg one of his thigh muscles? “Cause if it is, I’m getting kind of whoozy…

  • Lar

    That thing sneaking up on him is either going to be really mean or really nice. There’s no way it’s going to be anything in between.

  • Tindi

    Aw, a man and his thighfriend…

    • shingworks

      That classic, timeless tale.

  • Jojo

    Oh no! Feel better soon! This is an incredible page. The lighting is making me a bit suspicious.

  • Blargfoot

    Shing, I love this comic so far and look forward to every update but I have a problem with this story arc.

    Why isn’t Mike more concerned about wtf is thighfriend doing to him?

    If I woke up on an alien world miles (?) underground with something attached to my body, my VERY first reaction would be to strip down naked and see what the F*** is going on in there.

    Granted he had to escape the whack-o-mole’s downstairs because his life depended on it but now he’s going for a casual jaunt and completely ignoring the thing that may be eating him alive. That just doesn’t jibe with me and I feel like I’m losing empathy with the character.

    • shingworks

      That’s fine! and actually what I’m hoping readers are wondering about (there is some further speculation above about why he seems so relaxed). I won’t do you a disservice and spoil anything, but it is a relatively major plot point.

  • That water is positively GLOWING. And I’m sitting here wondering why…

  • Mike

    Is it just me, or are his hair and beard a good deal longer than they were a few pages ago when he arrived in this cave? I mean, I guess that explains the face fungus. How long was he out?

  • lamepudding

    CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRDYYCEPSSSSSSSSS

    • lamepudding

      I MEAN
      cordyceps
      a little less excited

  • Jaqles

    ARGH!?!? So many bad-juju thoughts intertwined with OMGYES LIVE!…LIVE THIGHFRIEND – LIIIIIIVE!

    Sorry for not posting before, been lurking forever and I just adore the…um…Flappity, creeptastic, gorgeous BITS out of your work, Der-Shing! *Grovels.* I spam everyone (of age appropriateness – hah!) with this comic of yours, especially!

    Am I the only one who is curious, moreso now post-XKCD What-Iffery, with the LEVis at human’s disposal and all…What if we used Mars to be our external dumping grounds for said over-and-done-with nuclear…poop? And Mike has just been the lucky winner of “SURPRISE! YOU FOUND OUR NEW GARBAGE DUMP FOR EARTH’S NUCLEAR WASTE!!!”. Creepy-Mike-naming-thinger might in fact be someone who used to work for the project, unbeknownst, and is in fact, the future Mike is facing thanks (I STILL LOVE YOU THIGHFRIEND!), to Thighfriend “saving” him. (THIS ISN’T EVEN MY/MIKE’S FINAL FORM!!!)

    Of course, this could be a total crapshoot idea, but I’ve barely slept, I’m way under-medicated and I haven’t had my something or other of the day yet.

    *Goes back into hiding.* =^..^=

    P.S. Quit getting sick, we adore you too much!

  • Tim

    Amazing webcomic!

    My two cents: I don’t think one can easily predict how this interaction is going to work out. Tightfriend may be a parasit OR a mutualist with its martian hosts, but predicting its relationship with a human is difficult. Actually, I find it amazing that their interaction works so well.

    And I wonder: when did Tightfriend go into his system? There was no opening on his scaphandre leg in the begining (or was it?). And it should have taken some time to grow. So I am wondering whether Mike got it before. Like… much before? Months before? Or just before he left the station?

    And this blue water *is* freaking me out. And I won’t mention the thing following him. Or did I?

  • Brad

    It’s a giant one eyed martian jumping spider.

  • Antonia

    Aww. It’s nice to see Mike smiling. :)

  • Banshee

    Is not Cherenkov’s radiation a bit … more blue?

  • Banshee

    Nope, my bad. Totally Cherenkov’s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherenkov_radiation

  • Lilian

    *flap slap*

  • manyblinkinglights

    (I couldn’t parse his pupil properly in the panel where he’s feeling his face–I thought he was looking top left, rather than low right.)

    • shingworks

      You’re correct; he is looking top left (his left), that’s where the little shelf things are sticking out. There’s one on his temple and two in front of his ear.

  • Kevin in WI

    I really love the comic so far! It’s so original. One question though. So far, whenever shown, Mike’s pupils are tiny. The light level is really low. Shouldn’t his eyes be dilated? If there was a medical reason (broken leg, thighfriend, concussion etc.) for the tiny pupils, he’d have a REALLY hard time seeing anything in the low light.

    • shingworks

      Hey Kevin! Thank you for reading :] Yeah, that’s mostly me/ style stuff… Art-wise, expressions are strongly tied to the pupil/ iris ratio and iris/ white ratio. Since I like to emphasize expressions when I draw, sometimes those proportions take a beating, haha. I should probably be more conscientious in balancing it, and will be looking out for that when I do my final passes.

  • sweet_gardenia

    HOLY GUACAMOLE

    WE GOT CHIPS

  • Saddust

    This is strangely beautiful !

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