Chapter 2, Page 20

I’ve read that for men, the ribcage is the least compressible part of the body and therefor the limiting element when making a tight squeeze (for women, it is the pelvis). Exhale!

Also lmk if this page reads too dark… I did my best to balance it on a variety of monitors/ devices, but you know how it is. This is also why the site bg had to change, this shit will absolutely not fly on a bright bg, haha. Anyways, we’re headed towards something (??) soon…

Today’s bonus art: a rough sketch from the pencils~


  • An Average Loser


    • slickjimkennedy

      Hellooooo nightmares

  • Woah he’s been going at it almost vertically.
    Of course astronauts must be fit and all, but I’m impressed.

    • Yes, even with 38% gravity or so.

    • shingworks

      Mike is kinda swole, and has some mountaineering/ climbing experience (he actually solo’d Mt Erebus while they were testing earlier LEVis in Antarctica)

      • Woah :o

      • Wereg

        Is there anywhere we’d be able to read things like this about Mike and the other characters or will things like this be revealed in the comics?

        • shingworks

          Probably just the Patreon :] at the $5 level I post bonus worldbuildy things for both comics… Bonus meaning stuff that was important to write/ develop for the sake of whatever, but has nothing to do with the functional story and won’t be used in the comic. Actually thanks for reminding me, I should do another update there soon.

  • Jade

    For women it’s the pelvis? Interesting. What impact does this have on childbirth- or is it the other way around?

    • shingworks

      Oh, I just mean for women the pelvis is the largest non-compressible part of the body (and yeah, that’s due to childbirth). You can’t suck it in or swivel it to fit through a hole easily. Compared to your torso or shoulders which could conceivably be smooshed to fit in a tight space, or even dislocated to get through a squeeze.

      • Lilian

        And childbirth is indeed a tight squeeze, thanks to our big old heads with their big old brains. I work in obstetrics – the hardest parts of a baby for a mom to get through the pelvis are the head and shoulders. Thanks to fontanels and open cranial sutures, the head of an infant works with the birth canal a lot more than the rigid head of an adult would.

        Push, Michael, push!

    • Socks

      Women have a rounder pelvis in the front, to accommodate a baby’s head. The ligaments holding it together in the front can stretch (or break, painfully), but the overall shape can’t be squished easily.

  • Ceceoh

    I guess I’ll be glad if Mike makes the surface, but I keep thinking of Bex being down in that same dark damp lake pit. Oh, well, maybe she’s making friends, too.

    • lou

      Surface? What surface? You saw how much he had descended, and he would have to cross a huge body of water to reach any kind of surface. Just another bubble cave. (Or maybe I misunderstood what you meant by the surface)

    • Err. There isn’t an atmosphere on the surface, tho. Also, if there was any overture up to the surface, the air bubble he’s currently in would have vented and all water probably evaporated.

      • Solifuge

        Well, not a breathable one at least.

        • Mars’ atmo is 0.6% as dense earth’s atmo. As far as our body is concerned it’s about as bad a taking a naked walk on the Moon ^^

  • Kinoko

    Re: the brightness/contrast – for me, panels 1 & 2 read a little too dark, but the rest look okay. (I’m on a MacBook air, which doesn’t have an amazing color gamut so Your Mileage May Vary.)

    Glad to see he’s getting out of there, btw. Maybe thighfriend can be of help?

    • moe

      macbook air here too and the colours absolutely suck :( on an imac however they look really beautiful, kinda dusky

      maybe thighfriend can help him breath out there? assuming he won’t be in his air pocket anymore…

      • Pirate Tom

        Maybe Thighfriend is the reason he was breathing in the first place. Maybe there was NO air pocket. Maybe it’s been keeping him alive without him even knowing it.

        • Ceceoh

          That’s what I thought. ATF is doing all the breathing for him.

      • Royco Cup-a-Soup

        The real problem on the surface would be the pressure – or lack thereof. Thighfriend (are we really using that name for an alien symbiotic fungoid lifeform?) probably won’t be able to envelop Mike and retain human-survivable pressure levels, even if it’s capable of surviving on the surface by itself.

        • Vert

          For there to be stable liquid water, Mike must have fallen literally kilometers below the surface of Tharsis. Climbing a couple dozen meters isn’t going to get him back to the planet’s surface. Judging from the color, though, I’m guessing he’s either about to find a Phazon mine, Blackreach, or possibly one of these:

          • StClair

            Or a natural reactor (uranium deposit), water-moderated. That glow? I’s Cherenkov radiation. ;)

          • Drakeo

            Omgosh I opened the link LoL also “thighfriend?” really were going to call it thighfriend LMAO I just don’t know what to say P.S Drakeo is pronounced “drA-key-O” and trust me your not the first to mispronouce it i now copy & past this P.S in order to prevent me spending more time answering people

  • Jojo

    Fantastic bonus art frame. Its a great contrast page from the last. Would this page be beside the previous or with the next page to come?

  • Maybe kneefriend can do something to help?

  • Kat

    First off, that cross-section in the first panel is beautiful! I love that you added all the little side tunnels and chambers. Hmmmm…but where is that blue light coming from, I wonder?

    And maybe I haven’t been scrutinizing the comments enough, but I’m also wondering exactly how he’s able to climb using his right leg. Did thighfriend fix his wounds for him? Or perhaps his leg wasn’t broken and that scary-looking mess was just thighfriend all along? Please share if you know, oh enlightened ones!

    • lou

      He was already very fit earlier when running away from the hammerhead thingy. I think it’s conjectured that thighfriend is indeed a friendly neighbourhood endosymbiote, and he repaired Mike’s leg.

  • Caitlin


    • MechaBill

      Exactly what I thought! This is especially poignant considering he attempted suicide not long ago.

    • !!!!
      I didn’t think of that… WHOA this is totally like a rebirth, with the pushing and shoving through a tiny passage and all XD

      We know that Mike is climbing because, what else to do besides die? But I really REALLY hope that he actually is gradually gaining something (curiosity? hope?) back that’ll make him want to stay alive.

    • StClair

      Was thinking the same thing.

  • Yes up to the surface, out of this miraculous pocket of oxygen.

    I think our boy’s still suicidal just stubborn about being in charge of the method

    • Yeah, I’m wondering what he thinks will happen when he gets to the surface without his helmet.

      • His eyeballs will probably explode way before reaching the surface, if there’s any opening.

  • DukeBG

    Go, Mike!

  • I stop reading Mare Internum for a couple months, catch up and now, HOLY CRAP. I mean I already knew you were one great storyteller when I read the meek, but you’re taking it to the next level. The panels you chose to portray the flashback, so much symbolism. And this chapter in particular is visually stunning. Seriously, what the hell, my pants dropped in artistic and cinematic awe.

  • Sharp

    I misread that fun fact to mean that male hips DO compress. That was a confused/horrifying 2.5 seconds

    I think the page reads fine but Mike is a little hard to see in the first panel

  • Lar

    Like, I know it’s not gonna happen for several reasons, but I honestly want Bex to be at the top. (Where are youuuuu)

    • Me too, I hope she’s OK and not horribly wounded or crushed somewhere!! D;

      • Vert

        She’s fine. She got an Armfriend instead of a Thighfriend, though, and his feathers are purple.

        At least, I hope that’s true. I’m starting to think that whatever Thighfungus is, it starts from spores that get into your bloodstream. Mike’s lucky he had a convenient open wound for it to sprout from so it didn’t have to use an orifice he needs for survival.

        • shingworks

          Hahaha, ugh… amorous assfriend isn’t quite as nice I guess

          • Vert

            Depends on one’s personal preferences, I suppose. I try not to judge.

          • Oh the mental image ^^;

          • Sheridan

            > amorous assfriend

            4/10 for that series.

  • Psudopod

    Gonna look out and see a big-reveal huge cavern with luminesing life?

  • Aidan903

    “And now, you see how the developing fetus moves through the birth canal…”

    • Itkovian

      I think the proper reply to the above is: “exactly”.

      The question is, what will Mike be (re)born into? Just how involved is his new Tighfriend. :)

  • LameFox

    I don’t think this is the surface unless I’m totally misinterpreting how far he’s climbed and also his still being alive. I mean he was already in a pretty deep area and then he fell through it.

    The light is probably just something else waiting to eat him.

    • Paula

      That’s what I was thinking too. Besides, isn’t the Martian sky a reddish? This seems too bright blue to be the surface.

      • Lar

        The Martian sky turns bluer in the evening. So it’s still sort of plausible, if unlikely.

        • Mars’s atmo is 200 time thinner than earth, it’s pretty much a vacuum as far as we’re concerned.

          • Lar

            I did say “if unlikely.” But he does have an alien growing in his leg. So most, if not all, bets are off.

          • Unfortunatly, Tightfish or not … his eyeballs would explode and moisture on all exposed surface (saliva, tears, lung too) would start boiling.

            (it’s due to the Armstrong limit)

          • Lar

            Oo, I see. Huh, I gotta do some more research.

        • 7thSatellite

          Not sure why no one has mentioned this but that has got to be one of the most beautiful pictures of mars I’ve ever seen. Thank goodness NASA finally got high resolution cameras on the surface with Curiosity. That rover has been incredibly successful so far, at science and at giving us eye candy.

  • Evan

    I love how the the helmet light in the first panel looks like a campfire with the rock walls forming the smoke. Not sure if you meant it that way, but the double interpretation is cool.

  • As input on the brightness/contrast– on my monitor screen it’s perfectly balanced. On my Cintiq screen it’s almost impossible to see anything. Either way, amazing as always! I’m singularly impressed at this vertical climbing and spelunking. I’m terrified of small spaces like that…

  • manyblinkinglights

    It’s juuuust slightly discomfitingly dark with my laptop’s screen at half-brightness (whatever THAT means), but it plays fine when I crank it up a bit.

  • Misplaced

    Looks good on my monitor. (PC, pretty decent monitor and graphics card)

  • “Where are you, Michael ?”
    “I’m in a dark place. You wouldn’t understand.”

    • Vert

      “Oh look: I appear to be lying at the bottom of a very deep, dark hole. That seems a familiar concept, what does it remind me of? Ahhh. I remember: life. Perhaps if I lie here and ignore it, it’ll go away again. Or then again, perhaps not. To be perfectly frank with myself, if it didn’t go away as a result of me falling fifteen miles through the air and a further mile through solid rock, I’m probably stuck with it for good…” -Marvin

  • Lilian

    Push, Michael, push!!! This is Mars and she is not as forgiving or helpful as your mother was the first time. This time, you must birth yourself!

  • Vert

    Der-shing, question: what carves out caves like that with little… pockets… along the sides? Is it a geological, hydrological, or ah.. biological process?

    Whose nest did Mike land in? o_o

    • shingworks

      It is geological! They are in an area where things often bubble up and form pockets.

  • StClair

    My suggestion for accompanying music, from a rather underrated soundtrack:

  • kate

    next up on martian ninja warrior

  • fox-orian

    Congrats on 72 pages thus far. Still feels like you just started posting this comic!

  • Android 21 3/7

    Oh, his eyes are bleeding internally again.

    >:[ Dangit, Thighfriend, do your job!

  • pencilears

    I just caught that “mare internum” means inner sea.

    good stuff!

  • batchy

    I just realized…
    since thighfriend was able to get into Mike’s suit in the first place, things can probably also get out. Meaning while he was underwater, he could’ve been contaminating the pool with his own bacteria.


  • havoice

    Contrast is just fine on my end! I think my balance is a little out but still. Looks good

  • NegativeBurn

    This is an incredible story. O_O
    I’ve just binge read through and I’m on the edge of my chair. (going to reread)

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