Chapter 3, Page 18

The gang’s all here :D Except for Bex I guess, who even knows where she is

Google has a lot of good image reference, but they don’t have anything for “the face you make when your lungs are filling with water and your larynx is spasming but you can still breathe somehow.”

Patreon… well you know by now I try and mention it here every post because that’s how I do, but I got nothing today lol. I’m hard at work on the next (MI) wallpaper and working on commissions in addition to pages so that’s sort of the focus at the mo. But thank you A LOT for looking and reading.

Today’s bonus art: How about the page sans lineart? I like looking at colormush idk about you guys




  • Solifuge

    So he CAN breathe underwater?

    • JJ

      under‘water’? or is thighfriend taking care of the ‘breathing’? ???, as shing would say

      • shingworks


      • He may, but I wonder if he can deliver enough alone to sustain Michael’s body entirely.

    • Aristatide

      Spoiler: he was Batman all along.

    • James Mullins

      If you haven’t noticed the authors notes, no he cant. Hes choking on liquid. But that’s why Shing did give you the ??? because you went full confusion.

      • shingworks

        Oh, no I just did that because JJ said “???” and it elicited a sympathetic “???” in response, haha. Maybe I should have stuck with “!!!”

        • Leon


          • JJ

          • shingworks


      • Dan

        “the face you make when your lungs are filling with water and your larynx is spasming but you can still breathe somehow.”

        You say no he can’t, but the author’s notes say he can still breathe somehow despite the choking on liquid. So based on that: yes, he can breathe.

    • fredthebadger

      It looks like he can. Bets on Thighfriend having something to do with it?

  • DukeBG

    I didn’t realize that the thing was falling on him on the prev page. Had to look back to confirm. It kinda looked just like he’s just pulling away from the Surprise Alien Corpse…

    • shingworks

      This is a sequence that reads better quickly/ not over a few days, haha. I think it’ll more obvious when read quickly that LEVi was poised to fall forward onto him, and that Michael was startled into exhaling most of his air as well.

  • birdy

    Ohh. Maybe it’s one of those oxygen rich liquids that are breathable (to us land critters)?

    • Cthulhufish

      In which case, Mike is about to wreck his diaphragm trying to suck in mysteryliquid.

      • mike’s body is getting fucked up in so many ways this entire comic is a study in Fridge Horror

        • weirderthanweird

          I hate you so much for essentially sending me to TV Tropes ಠ.ಠ

  • rimmeh


    • StClair

      yup, back in full bloom in the last panel (and also yes, IMO, handling the ‘breathing’ thing at the moment).

  • DukeBG

    By the way, if this is water or a liquid with a similar refractive index, Mike’s vision should be Very blurry.

  • Ragnarok101

    THEORY: LEVI runs on Armshark corpses.

  • EnderSpark

    …would The Abyss have that photo reference? I feel that it would but I haven’t watched that movie in forever.

    • shingworks

      Haha, maybe, I don’t actually use ref for expressions…. though I did google for “what does it feel like to drown.” The answer was, unsurprisingly, “extremely painful”.

      • Asterai

        One more way Mike can’t kill himself. Interesting.

        And yeah, I guess that even if it miraculously took care of breathing, an alien symbiote/parasite/thighfriend prolly wouldn’t change the fact that water in your lungs hurts like a bitch.

        I hypothesize that Mike gets superpower reveals until we figure out that he is biologically immortal. Take that, buddy. No “easy” way out for you.

      • Corbie

        It is. I didn’t drown like in passing out under water, but I gulped a good liter or two of saltwater into my lungs before I managed to grab the respirator, and get my last working brain cells to spit out the info that the bit of air in my lungs is compressed too much at 15m depth (I took breath at the surface), so I can’t press the water out of the respirator with it. I’ll never forget almost unused technical details again, haha :)
        It was close enough, had me coughing for minutes (not funny when you can’t go to the surface) and hurt for hours, and I was almost “breathing” more and more water if not for those last working brain cells and a lot of practise in scuba diving.

        Mikes face shows pretty well how I felt, and I was not even crushed by LEVi. :D
        I wonder if it hurts to “breathe” liquid which is actually breathable. But then, maybe it’s even better than the sulfuric air.

        • shingworks

          Well, as just a regular person knows, aspirating even a tiny bit of water down “the wrong tube” leads to major coughing and a choking sensation. Some random reading says that when your larynx feels water it starts to spasm shut, which is also intensely painful and can even lead to dry drowning? which is when the body’s aversion to water going in there shuts you down so completely that you can suffocate without any water actually entering your lungs. Interestingly that is the same painful spasm which causes the “fear” of water for people who are in the latter stages of Rabies.

          But that’s all just in the throat area, I imagine it feels even worse to have actual liquid in your lungs… the only thing I can think of feeling similar is having pneumonia or some other pulmonary thing, where you can feel that weight inside your lungs that forces you to violently cough, but nothing comes out? augh.

          Anyways I’m guessing Mike is not in happytown rn

        • shingworks

          ALSO It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyways, I’m glad you are okay! drowning sounds horrific, especially in a scuba scenario… what happened? equipment issue or was it an accident?

          • charles81

            Legend has it that drowning it the most peaceful way to die, but yeah, I never imagined it all that calming to have liquid in your lungs.

            If you can breathe liquid in and out then I would imagine it might come initially painful, but presuming you can pull it off after that then it’d just be very difficult for the lunts to push it in and out when they’re accustomed to only pushing air in and out.

            I guess it might also depend on if Mike actually needs to breathe the water in and out or if he can just carry on with thighfriend taking care of the oxygen levels in his body. The main thing that would cause his lungs to want to keep functioning, beyond the idea of just getting water out, would be if it continued to consume oxygen and made the water in his lungs toxic with carbondioxide, which would make it painful to not breathe the water in and out to maintain a circulation of freshly oxygenated water.

          • Corbie

            Interesting, I didn’t know about the fear of water from people who got the rabies. I love your research in and around the comic :D
            Honestly it hurt so much that I didn’t really feel a lot of difference between pain in the throat and the lungs (might be less awful with clear water? Not that I want to try). I remember a faint taste of blood, but that can be imagination since I knew the differences between drowning in clear water or saltwater, and my brain was a bit hyperactive at that moment (it should have been some seconds earlier :o ) and was wasting its capacity with horror scenarios. There was no blood visible when I was out of the water, and I was fine the next day.

            As for how it happened: plain dumbness on my side. I went snorkeling and found the group who went diving that day down below. The water was terribly clear, I was used to see much less far, and I knew it was no prob do dive down ~10m, get my parent’s attention and take a spare respirator from them, and dive the remaining 200m to the boat.
            It’s scuba basics to know that air gets compressed when going down, and that it might not suffice to exhale into the respirator to clean the water out. I forgot my basics / assumed I wasn’t that deep down, and had never tried this before at 15m (I only learned later how deep it was there). It’s practically impossible. So stupid me inhaled water twice, the 2nd time with some air from the tank (problem, now I could not go to the surface again since with the water and coughing I couldn’t exhale fully and it would expand under less pressure). Then I remembered that each respirator has a big button to release air from the tank in order to get rid of water in the device. Those little technical goodies which one almost never needs … :)

            And yay! Kallakore to the rescue!

    • Sara
  • martin

    After 3 readings I realize that in the last panel the thing over Michael is not the corpse floating towards the surface but Armshark diving down. Right?

    • Asterai

      Yup yup. Kallakore is a good neighbor, tries to rescue the useless mammal from drowning.

      • soundofmind

        Like a good neighbor, Kallakore is there

        • charles81

          Pfft. Good neighbour about to break the “no touching” rule ;P

          • JJ

            Good neighbour took their sweet time to come diving.

  • Pylgrim

    Ah, Kallakore’s body makes more sense now. It is a body built for swimming primarily. Though the vestigial arms may mean that they were initially land-based quadrupeds that have (and likely still are) evolving to be mostly aquatic? Or perhaps the other way around.

    • Ceceoh

      I always thought that the vestigial limbs were at one time legs, since there is a tail positioned between them. But then, I’m only assuming that that IS a tail. Kallakore’s body makes me think of T-Rex evolution in reverse.

      But those small limbs must still be good for something. When she offered to carry Mike at one point I assumed she would do that using the small limbs, while walking on the large. I also imagine the digits on the little limbs as being dexterous. Maybe used for fine work? (Although it would be hard for her to see them, since their positioned so far back on the body.)

      Honestly, I spend way too much time puzzling over how Armsharks became Armsharks. She’s a damn fine alien life form, Der-Shing!

    • Cthulhufish

      Or Kallakore is just really swole!

      We really only have one data point on armshark anatomy so far.

      • Askance

        Pretty sure we just saw a second data point, but not one that compares easily, due to its incompleteness

      • Whachamacallit

        Even if Kallakore is super swole, she likely has the typical general anatomy that all armsharks share. After all, super muscular people still have the same proportions as a less muscular person.

        In any case, I imagine that armsharks are part of a clade (let’s call them paratetrapods for ease) of four limbs organisms that, unlike we tetrapods, have a more robust and inflexible shoulder bones and a more flexible pelvic girdle. While most paratetrapods may be quadrupedal, I bet that their forelimbs are almost always more robust than their hindlimbs, as the reinforced shoulders can take more stress. With that set of skeletal structure, it would allow for an easy specialization for bipedality geared towards the forelimbs becoming more robust. So the armsharks and their closest relatives likely underwent a reverse specialization that we humans, birds, and more have evolved.

        • Pylgrim

          I also realise now that it would make a perfect body structure for a digger which makes sense for an underground creature.

  • Ceceoh

    Is that Thighfriend 2.0, or did Kallakore not succeed in pulling it off after all? Also, is Mike’s foot really turned backwards in the last panel?

  • Bug

    Ya dun goofed

  • charles81

    More and more I worry about Kallakore’s motives.

    The first thing he did was rip Thighfriend out which certainly appears to be in a symbiotic relationship with Mike rather than the Parasitic one Kal suggested. Then we have a destroyed LEVi which appears to have been in some kind of battle with another armshark, to the death, or some very freaky accident. It’d be curious as to who destroyed or attacked who. The armsharks are obviously supremely intelligent for Kallakore to have learned as much as he has from LEVi in the timeframe it went missing and would have spent finding it’s way down here. They appear primitive and simple but his comment that the invention and use of LEVi worries me that they have simply advanced to a point of technology where bio-organisims are used over mechanical. Effectively an entire ecosystem geared to support you.

    But then we must ask what Kallakore’s motives are for seeming to assist Mike when he gave indication that he could take what he wanted from him. And the one comment that goes around in my head is that he did not know the way to the surface, despite his intelligence… Yet LEVi would have had that data and told them many other things… but not that…

    • shingworks

      These are all excellent considerations.

    • Uggala

      About the way to the surface: You could always lie. Or not telling the full truth – Kallakore may not know the way, but surely some other Armshark does.

      Aside from that: I like a lot how Kallakore is pictured: Generally friendly and supportive, but with lots of creepy elements thrown in that makes you, as already said, question her/his motives.

      If i were to discover something like humanity as a neighbor, i would be more than a little bit cautious. Humans establishing themselves on the surface will most certainly mean the end for everything below sooner or later, so i would certainly think about how to scrape them effectively from the surface. Then one of them suddenly appears in your backyard (so to speak), cut off from the rest, and poses no immediate danger to you. Kill it, or keep it alive to study it, maybe finding out some weaknesses in the process? I would certainly do the latter…

      The other side is, that the creepy parts are just due to the different biology and cultures, with Kallakore being an innocent and friendly being…

      And of course course the truth could always lay between those two assumptions or something entirely else…

      Oh, watching how this is going to turn out will be fun :)

    • anvill

      Dang. If the Martians bio-genetically engineered the ecosystem around them to support their life, perhaps Mike’s parasites are simply executing their “programming,” becoming compatible with Mike’s biology to support his life. I’m not sure what the implications of that would be for the ecosystem as a whole, but there certainly seems room for that to shroud Kallakore’s motives…

    • Dreadogastus

      If all the life-forms are part of “an entire ecosystem geared to support” the Armsharks, I guess that makes the Thriiip the reporters of Mars.

  • Mal-L

    The most generous speculation I can make is that Kallakore’s species use the mirror as a burial grounds, also hence the reason Levi is there.

    Or Kallakore can be plotting sinister things to do right now.

  • TJ

    why did mike sink and kallakore has to swim??

    • shingworks

      Because Mike is stupid

    • Twyll

      I think it may be because Mike is wearing metal pants, whereas Kallakore is not– and probably has some sort of natural blubber and possibly air-bladder thing going on, since she seems to be pretty well made for swimming.

      …Also, I am now trying to picture Kallakore wearing metal pants, which is difficult because I’m not entirely sure which set of limbs they would cover.

      • shingworks

        I hate that I already drew this picture

        • Elz

          If a dog– uh, I mean, Kallakore wore pants, would they wear pants like this… or like this?

          I’m genuinely curious.

          • Ceceoh

            She’d probably wear them on her crest. ‘Cause that’s where the bling goes.

  • Victor R.

    Yay, thighfriend! I’d picked up that happy thighfriend allowed him to breathe better before this, but I was truly afraid that the attempt to rip it out had done it serious damage. I am glad to see it in full bloom.

    Did NOT guess it would go so far as making breathing underwater work…

  • “Google has a lot of good image reference, but they don’t have anything for ‘the face you make when your lungs are filling with water and your larynx is spasming but you can still breathe somehow.'”

    well, they do now

  • Raygan

    Google has a lot of good image reference, but they don’t have anything for “the face you make when your lungs are filling with water and your larynx is spasming but you can still breathe somehow.”

    A good place for that might have been the movie the Abyss… I think. There was a scene in it where one of the actors had to breathe the oxygen rich liquid so he would withstand the massive pressure that deep.

    • shingworks

      Actually now that I think about it, I think there’s a scene like that in Evangelion? at least the original series, I think Shinji has to breathe liquid in one scene.

      • Reign of Crows

        I think you’re talking about the first episode, where Shinji experiences what it’s like to take in the LCL for the first time. It seemed fine when I watched it at the time, but in hindsight they did a poor job of showing what it must have really been like. He basically holds his breath for a bit, breathes out, and then says that he feels like he’ll be sick. There’s no choking or feelings of discomfort. And if you think about it further, none of the pilots should have been able to vocalize while submerged in LCL, since vocalizations require air to be passing by the vocal cords… but it’s not quite so fun to bring reality into a science fiction series.

    • Takehai

      In The Abyss, the actor you refer to its Ed Harris, and he didn’t actually breathe in the oxygen liquid, he had to hold his breath. In the novelization, the author mentions being on site when they filmed that scene, and he says they did that scene one time, only with multiple cameras running so they didn’t have to redo it to get different angles.

      The novelization of The Abyss is a fantastic book, by the way. The author tells how rather than working from a copy of the script, he was on site for the filming, and he got to work with the actors, and the screenwriters, and director James Cameron, to get an accurate representation of what was really going on as possible. The additional insight behind the aliens is particularly fascinating.

  • Pumpkin_Cake

    In panels 2 and 3 (and 3 of the previous page), it looks like the dead armshark’s claw-type things are digging into LEVi. It looks like they battled to the death.

  • Ren-der

    Ah ha ha…
    Alas! here she puts the “shark” in Armshark!

  • DukeBG

    Here’s a random out of context Mike with a friend for no reason

  • Victor

    Seriously, Mike, how could you NOT know how much LEVi weighs? That was a genius move.

    • Vert

      He knew. I think he had planned to balance LEVi on one end, or wedge it so he could root around a bit, but when the armshark corpse startled him he lost his footing and grip (along with most of his air) and got pinned.

      Accidents and mistakes happen during dives, as people higher up in the comments have attested :/

      • Thrawcheld

        Being a dumbass and not thinking things through also happens, and seems pretty likely in this case.

      • Victor

        I got the impression he intended to hoist LEVi out of the water, carry it back to the surface with him. Then again, he IS suicidal, so there’s that…

    • StClair

      Probably thinking something like “in Mars gravity, and with the added buoyancy of ‘water'”…
      That John Carter stuff only goes so far, though.

  • Jonboy


  • Jo

    I’ve been thinking about the relation between Kallakore’s opening statement of “this is not a place for reflections” and calling the body of water(?) the “mirror,” perhaps she was alluding to the non-reflectiveness of the liquid Mike was in, or maybe she was alluding the the mirror itself being a place for reflection (thus being dubbed “the mirror”).

    I also think it’s interesting that she said if she wanted anything from Mike she would have taken it already, but perhaps she wants LEVi and is using Mike as a means to get it back?

    Double also, I’m kinda dubious about the face-mushrooms, like, what are they for? Shing’s said all they’ve done is get fatter but where is the fat coming from? What exactly is fuelling their growth?

    • Vert

      When she first openly approached Mike, he was trying to see his reflection in the water. This may have affected the term she used to refer to large bodies of water, at least when talking to Mike.

      Or it could be alien humor, teasing him about trying to see his reflection in it.

      Assuming the face mushrooms aren’t just a metaphor (spoiler: they are probably a metaphor), then they are probably growing by eating Mike :D

      • StClair

        He’s being colonized by an exciting variety of Marslife!

  • David

    You do some amazing art using just shades of blue O.O

  • Lilian

    I’m interested in the mechanism of respiration Mike has with Thighfriend.

    I’d be inclined to think that Mike’s breathing is actually occurring via Thighfriend and no longer via his own lungs. But your description implies that Mike is indeed performing respiration through his lungs.

    And Mike does still has a drive to breathe, so that suggests that inhaling does actually supply his bloodstream with oxygen (or whatever he requires under the influence of Thighfriend).*

    This would mean that Thighfriend has somehow altered it’s hosts lungs so that they can function in normally hostile conditions.

  • fox-orian


    bex is mars

    • shingworks

      lol shut up

  • Hansontoons

    Mike Mike Mike….

    Wait, it’s not hump day…

    Regardless. Fantastic story. Thank you.

  • Tekate

    Armshark to the rescue!!! I wonder what kind of liquid that is…

  • Drakeo

    I’ll be honest and say no drowning is absolutely no fun I know when I was little a drunk man tried to drown me in a kiddie pool I remember it surprisingly well for being roughly six years old at the time I had few thoughts at the time some of them being “i need air” “i can see surprisingly well when I’m looking up” “i would say that no I don’t think I’m funny If he would leave me up long enough to breath and say so” (I was acting the fool to make my little sister laugh) “and this guys mean” I remember quite clearly looking “up” out of the water and seeing his face which is blurred in my memory and thinking “if I can’t stop him he might hurt my sister” my sister is two years younger than me but a lot of people think we are twins on account that we act so similar even to the point of finishing each others sentences and saying (or thinking which might be scarier) the exact same thing and saying it at exactly the same time un-intentionally which is why I was more scared for her then for me

    • shingworks

      :[ That sounds like an awful experience…

  • Khadyah

    Does Micheal not have eyebrows or are they just not very visible because of his light colored hair?

    • shingworks

      They are just very blonde and hard to see (I’m anal and tend to draw them in just for fun, but it’s impossible to see in the final)

  • Sheridan

    Thighfriend is back, baby!

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