Chapter 1, Page 26

The sample size is 2 T__T

You probably know by now I like to make sure my comics are based in reality to at least some degree; the proportions of this fictional lava tube are also realistic. Just for some comparison, earth lava tubes are maybe a story and a half, max? And on Mars can get up to 40 stories, wow!! On a previous page Mike mentioned that his ex-employers were looking into these structures for future human habitation… IRL it has been suggested several times that a natural radiation/ environment-shield like a cave, once reinforced, would be a perfect place to put a colony. So cool.

Today’s incentive: An old color/ style test of the old first page of an early version of the comic. All of it is now TRASH but I’ll let you look~

Next week: going down!


  • Screw Texas, everything’s a whole lot bigger on Mars.

    • Glenn-o-matic

      Ha ha ;) “That’s what SHE said!!!”

  • warkface

    Her spacesuit has cat ears.

    Cat! Ears!

    … sorry, I’m finding that way too amusing for some reason.

    • arkad

      lol I thought the same thing:)

    • Matthew Saint

      I’m not seeing it. They look more like eyes a la Kermit the Frog with the glass portion being the frog’s mouth.

      • shingworks

        ugh, goddamn it can’t unsee, haha

  • fox-orian

    I feel like Mike’s helmet should have had a specially designed protrusion in the visor for his nose.

    Either that or it would have been amusing if his nose was visibly pressed against the glass hahahah

    • shingworks

      Wouldn’t that be the most annoying thing ever… a smudge on the inside of the glass arggghhh

      • Arianwen

        Imagine sneezing. Ech.

  • Mr. Pants

    ah you made the suits different so we can keep track of who is who. cool.

    also no one has died? impressive since that was a collapsed in and looks like a big drop.

    • Vert

      Well, Mars is a deadly place, but not as deadly as, say, deep space or the Moon. Gravity is 1/3 Earth’s, which means you can safely fall a surprisingly long distance and survive a fall from an even greater one. Also, a breach in your suit isn’t the instant death sentence we normally think of it as; you’ll get a nasty frost-bitten hickey, yes, but for all but the most serious rips you’ll have ample time to patch it and flush your suit if you keep your wits about you.

      I mean, Mars is still way more deadly than the heart of Antarctica, but compared to the Moon it’s a picnic.

      • Lilian

        You write like you know your stuff! Well done sir!

        • Vert

          You think so? I should’ve been a salesman ;)

    • shingworks

      Nobody was around when the roof fell in, phew.

      And the site has only been operating a few months, with most of the field work carried out via robot, so XD Good safety record so far.

  • …and when you stare too long into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.

    • Lennier

      Here be monsters.

  • Sarah Schanze

    It’s incredibly poetic to me that on Earth the first homes were in caves, and even with the amazing technology it would/will take to get to Mars, we’d live in caves again.

    I MEAN IT MAKES SENSE but also it amuses me.

    Amazing page, even in just the first panel I’m getting a sense of a gigantic yawning chasm. I can’t wait for things to go pear-shaped. :3

  • I’ve got a bad feeling about this.


    All this reminds me of the theme to Cannibal Holocaust

  • Lilian

    Mike, we do not need your sarcasm.

    I like Bex’s suit. Good job.

  • Madeleine

    He can probably feel safe there *because* there are no humans around to bother him.

  • The Wealthy Aardvark

    I want to believe that in the second panel Mike is holding a clipboard and paper with the safety prep and drop prep checklists written on it.

    Clipboards on Mars. The juxtaposition is making me smile.

    • shingworks

      Lol… It’s a tablet XD but you know, a clipboard probably would work just as well…

      • Glenn-o-matic

        He could always scribble notes on the arm of his suit.

  • ItThing

    Mike talked about exobio “jagoffs” visiting every now and then, so if the sample size of spelunkers is two, it must mean that only one of them at most has entered the system. So did they use robots to investigate? Sorry if this has been asked already, but is there more than one LEVi type robot?

    • shingworks

      The other lava tube systems in Mars are a bit more accessible… Entering through a skylight is less preferred than going through a fully collapsed tunnel (imagine walking in the end of a drainage pipe vs poking a hole through the top of the pipe). At other research stations you simply can drive right in, but at this one you need a bit more effort and equipment, which is what Mike and his old research partner were up to prior to whatever drama.

      • ItThing

        I see, so there have been other researchers in this area, they just came in by the longer and safer route?

        • shingworks

          Not in the area of Ascraeus Mons specifically, but in the Tharsis region (Pavonis was mentioned a few pages ago) and in areas like Noctis Labyrinthus for sure. Mike was complaining about the secondary flush of researchers coming in after him, which the Commander was talking about earlier in regards to the research station getting more people soon.

  • Mango

    The part I always like about webcomics is that they tend to offer a massive archive to sate my hunger. Then there are these newer ones with an infinitely intriguing premise but it hasn’t been running for a long time. Work faster, I want to read more! <3

    • shingworks

      Haha, well I am working full time on another book + assorted freelance, while putting out 2 pages a week here. The book is wrapping up though. If you enjoy my stuff please save your enthusiasm and some dollars for my future Patreon, as funding there may potentially allow me to update 4x a week or more.

      • Emily Dickinson

        Oh yay I’m glad there’s a Patreon in your future. :D

        • shingworks

          :] yeah, just don’t want to commit to anything until my bigger projects are wrapped up, and I’m sure I have more time to work on my own stuff.

          • Lennier

            Good stuff. Better to pace yourself than risk burnout.

  • Pattom

    There has never, literally never, not even once, been a situation in the history of the universe when telling someone, “Don’t worry about it,” has convinced someone to stop worrying about it. Yet another proud tradition humanity has carried out into the stars!

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