Chapter 1, Page 34


Today’s bonus art: Best frands

*edit* Fixed some small deets to make the figures more readable, and added some bridge text to previous page. Prob won’t be fixing anything else on this page until after the chapter is done just fyi :B


  • River

    I am confused.
    Whose thumb is that in panel 2?

    • Ilmari

      Mike’s. I think he’s trying to remove his own helmet.

      • shingworks

        Yep… I might add an sfx to make that clearer… Tomorrow when I am not a zombie zzzz

        • Daniel

          It’s interesting to me how digital publication allows for living, dynamic content that can respond to reader feedback.

          Distribution, consumption and apparently “adaptability” are all greatly affected compared to traditional print media.

          Probably not a very new consideration to you in the business, but I was just struck by it right now.

          • shingworks

            Yeah, I like it. Allows me to make several passes to things at time goes on. Of course, dangerous because you also get the urge to redraw parts of the archive (I have only succumbed once)

          • Glenn-o-matic

            Your comment on adaptability got me thinking about more than just revising or responding to reader feedback. The entire way of working could change. Instead of a linear story in prepared installments it could be done in large pieces, like a chapter at a time in sketches or the roughest of notes, photos, words, video, links, anything. Then worked to refine each image to a more finished state.
            If I was going to do a web-story, that might work, by adapting it to me.
            (I doubt if I have the kind of patience to do one page at a time…)

  • Ilmari

    Rescue tackle!
    … I’ll imagine those EVA suits can withstand a fair deal of punishment.

    On another note, these have got to be almost the worst circumstances for trying to prevent a suicide…

    • Kit

      I dub this move “Bex’s Supplex of Saving(your stupid butt)”!

  • Sean

    Was a bit confused by this sequence of events at first. Took me a about a minute to figure it out. I think I figured it out though so tell me if I’m hot or cold.

    Mike is lifting his helmet to relieve the locks that keep it in place/airtight which I believe he started last page, and then starts releasing them. To complete his botched suicide from earlier. Rebekah seeing this tackles him an in the low Martian gravity goes well over the what she meant to do, and flips over only to ‘SLAM’ hard into that nice jutting rock face.

    Oh boy. I hope those suits are as sturdy as they look, because if they aren’t we are going to be in a world of fresh shinny new problems.

    • Brian

      That matches to my read on the situation. At first I thought it was her helmet hitting rock (yikes), but clearly it’s the backpack portion of her suit. Either way, not good. Took a moment to sort out who’s where in the last panel, without the blue or purple harness visible, but the shoulder patch helps.

      • Nessus

        Their helmets are distinctly different too, and that helped me a lot. Mike’s helmet has three lamps: a rectangle centered above the faceplate, and two flanking it. Bex’s helmet has two “cat ear” shaped lamps up on the crown.

    • DukeBG

      Same reading, yeah.
      However, before the last frame Bex was behind Mike, face to his back, on the last frame Bex is on top to Mike, back to his face… Oh, wait, nevermind, she’s still in the same position, I misread her legs for Mike’s and her backpack for Mike’s. Mike on the last frame is only presented by one leg in the top-left corner of the panel.

    • shingworks

      Yep, that’s it! Thanks for your read through. Apologies for it being difficult to parse, I’ll be scrutinizing and editing this page (once the full sequence is done) to clear up any confusion.

      • Sean

        If there is any one thing that I think confused me, the most Id say it was panel three. There isn’t a strong feel of motion. That isn’t meant as any slight on your work, because I think your comic and art style are fantastic. I’m only sussing out what might make the actions a bit clearer, at-least to me.

        Course your also dealing with a completely different gravity and your stile doesn’t make use of motion lines so perhaps a few more visual ques beyond the drifting pebbles might help.

        Some whispping dust to show a form of quick movement. Perhaps a *Thud* or *crackle* like Effect where she connects with his suit might give a better sense of the tackle (or perhaps even a *Tackle*) and help with he sudden transition of actions.

        Anyway not trying to tell you how to do you comic, but just a thought from someone reading. I do a lot of writing and when someone is confused about something I feel its my responsibility to fix the issue. I can tell you feel the same way. So… anyway, I hope this comes as someone just looking to help.

        I love the comic so far! An thank you for putting it out for us to enjoy!

        • Glenn-o-matic

          The background in panel 3 is slightly blurred and elongated in the direction of the motion. This gives a pretty good sense of the action, but it could be enhanced and elongated even further. Optically when we’re tracking an object everything outside of that narrow focus is streaked, and the persistence of vision only applies to Bex in this case.

      • charles81

        I think it’ll all work better in a reading once you have the next panel up.

        I was thinking you could have her should “Mike No!” or a grunt from one or both, even a cry out as she charges but it honestly feels like it somehow works better without any of that clutter in those last three panels. I think it somehow conveys the sudden realisation on her part of whats going on and the quick reaction to tackle him. Maybe try putting some words/sfx in for a look but I think it will honestly work better without when the next page is on.

  • Brian

    I really like how the radio traffic is being represented visually in the speech bubbles. Don’t think I’ve ever seen it done quite like that before.

  • And the tussle begins!

  • Glenn-o-matic

    Good sequence! (Although when the reader can flip back-and-forth from the previous page, this page and the next page I’m sure there won’t be so much wondering what’s going on.)
    Bex you rebellious Martian, you disobeyed your orders!!!8]

  • I was confused too, but it all made more sense once I clued in to the helmet thing. Now I’m just gonna sit and keep my fingers cross that Bex’s suit hasn’t incurred any tears. 8c

  • Mal

    Impressed by the forward thinking in making it so that different companies designed different suits. Recognized it was Bex and not Mike doing the tackling due to the cat-ears and later the logo.

    Yay character details! Yay comic craft! Yay showing disorientation with clear storytelling!

    • Mal

      Also kind of trying to figure out whether Mike’s comment about Bex finding her own way back is mocking sarcasm or him saying Bex knew how to go back.

      Because it changes the context of the scene quite a bit, even though Mike is not the most clear-headed right now.

    • shingworks

      Haha, thanks. It’s still not enough, hence the harnesses, but then Bex had to get all crumply in the last panel and obscure the colors on hers. Sigh

  • lamepudding

    mike stop.

  • lamepudding

    nice faceplant, i like that.

    • shingworks

      He’s kinda had it coming

  • Brad

    So, about this guy’s name . . .

    • shingworks

      How many reparations do I owe you

      • Brad

        It’s okay, a multiplanet conspiracy is about right for my ego.

  • Toast

    Man looking back at it now, the sudden change in dr. FISHER’s attitude towards taking rebbekah was really FISHY

  • Did… did she just *german suplex* Michael ?

    • shingworks

      lol, unfortunate side effect of 1/3 gravity

  • Ben

    From long experience of working in remote, safety-critical locations, Bex just signed her own ticket home, First Wave or not. Disobeying safety-critical orders (which probably reflect SOP) is usually an unconditional FAIL.

    See “The Martian” for how this works – the team leave one member, believed but not known to be dead because the procedure dictates that the greater risk is that they ALL get stranded due to the conditions.

    The rest of the book is pretty much a “procedural” with strong “adventure” elements but it keeps to that logic throughout AND a lot if the structural detail is so well worked out.

    I loved Mike’s sandals, by the way. Personnel on offshore platforms and vessels do indeed wear light indoor footwear (because there’s usually someone asleep not far away) but (SOP again) not slip on sandals, because Trip Hazard. Crocs or trainers would be more usual.

    • shingworks

      Nice factoids :] Can I ask about your background? The words “remote” and “safety-critical” are like catnip to me.

      • Ben

        Offshore oil industry, mostly in MENA, WA and RFSU regions.

        SOP is EVERYTHING in such environments. I’m often put off by “adventure SF” because it omits or contradicts basics of this sort.

        “The Martian” works well because the procedures are credible, if not strictly accurate. “The Forever War” works because the author was a combat vet and knew these things; Arthur C Clarke was a real-world science author with connections at NASA and elsewhere.

        On another level, Master and Commander and its source books work well because the background details are credible, if not always authentic, and the general atmosphere is so “right”.

        So I’m watching this with interest. Love the art style, and hoping it doesn’t go TOO loopy ..

        • shingworks

          Very cool! Everything I’ve heard about offshore oil sounds intense… Stay safe!

          Thanks for the rec, been meaning to check out M&C.

          And… It gets very loopy, sorry in advance.

          • Brian

            The Aubrey/Maturin books are fantastic stuff. Highly recommended. The nautical jargon can be a bit daunting, but Maturin’s usually around for somebody to explain it to which helps for readers (like myself) not deeply familiar with the age of sail.

    • Not gonna disrespect your qualifications but in this case the person giving the orders doesn’t have a clear idea of the situation (In fact seems to be misinterpreting it as Mike being physically aggressive when in fact he’s only been verbally/emotionally so) and the order seems to be simultaneous to Bex seeing him unclip his helmet and reacting instantly. So it’s not like she disobeyed the order, more like she did not have time to process it before having to act.

  • Lilian

    Nice work, Bex.

    Enh. This meltdown is nasty. Mike is clearly suffering a great deal, but Bex is also in a really unpleasant situation.

  • Oly

    I like how CONFUSING this page is at first – all emergencies I’ve ever seen in one way or another seem to be either stretched out into slow-motion or compressed and chopped up into almost random details.


  • Karoline H

    I’m guessing he’s thinking “I need some air.” before taking off his helmet. You, know, like you’d do. Gets stuffy in there.

    • shingworks

      Check out “paradoxical disrobing,” it’s a real thing! (but not what’s happening here, haha)

      • Karoline H

        Ah, yes! – people with severe hypothermia start taking their clothes off.

  • Ben

    Mike is as good as dead at this point, in Control’s view. He needs to rig and ascend, presumably unassisted. Bex would NOT be allowed to let him go first. THEN he needs to enter the K10, which appears to have no means by which he could be secured and as far as we can see, only one compartment, and travel to Devotion Base – at which point he needs to cycle the airlock separately.

    Risk Assessment would be off the scale at this point, while Bex’s would be elevated but manageable with an undefined but significant threat from Mike’s further actions

    • shingworks

      Yeah, they are definitely okay with Bex leaving him and returning safely on her own, at this point.

      • Ben

        …………Come, my friends,
        ‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
        Push off, and sitting well in order smite
        The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
        To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
        Of all the western stars, until I die…..

        ….. To seek, to strive, to find, and not to yield.

  • aimee

    I’m…l’m sorry the first thing that came to my head when I read this page was ” come on and slam slam and welcome to the jam ”

    I am a bad person *hangs head*

  • Vert

    Clever Bex! She carefully angled her trajectory to flip Mike over and perfectly to pop his helmet latches right back into place! Quick thinking on her part! *bright-eyed*

  • aeri

    That’s not a proper take down, Bex!

  • You know I had a dream last night about Bex being somehow plunked into Jurassic Park and hunting a t-rex with a tranq gun? She was so excited, too. (Maybe marathoning Spielburg was a bad idea, ha.)

    Back on topic – MAN, I love the eerie tension you get off of this page – there’s only one other webcomic (hell, comic in general) that’s nailed that tone. I’m super nervous about the next update …

    (Incidentally, I also LOVE how the speech bubbles cover up Mike’s face in the first panel there, really helped set that tone.)

  • shade

    The light sources. Dynamically shifting light in a panicked tumble in a very dark place. Amazing.

  • DatDat

    So… Maybe he has a food source and doesn’t have to eat himself…


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