Chapter 5, Page 17

Well don’t sound so happy about it…

Not much to add, just doing my thing. Hope you’ve been enjoying this week of many updates, next one up tomorrow. Next week I’ll probably go down to 3x due to travel/ ECCC, but after I get back we’ll be back to 5x, whee

The 2018 Hugo Award Nominations are open until 3/15! If you enjoyed my work in the previous year, I would be extremely grateful if you’d consider nominating “Mare Internum: Chapter 4” in the Best Graphic Story category (due to the voting process, only complete segments- such as a chapter- of a work are eligible for nomination. Next year the complete work will be eligible).

Thank you for putting up with my nervous forays into legitimacy, and of course for considering me~


  • ObservantWolf

    Kalla looks pretty good with her hair down! Yeah, Mike, eating would probably be a good idea. Say, are those shoulder-shrooms starting to poke through (grow through?) his suit?

    • RedDwarfIV

      Looking back, it seems the shoulder shrooms have been there for some time.

  • Shunka_Warakin

    This conversation makes me desperately want to add a blush to Kalla’s cheeks in panel two.

    Or maybe Kalla is just going to reveal her hitherto unseen mad barbershop skills.

    • AGV

      I mean, she has been in there for billions of years, that’s alot of time for practising hairdressing

      • Ceceoh

        I’ve been waiting patiently to see how Kalla manages to give herself an up-do.

  • tatch

    Has Mike not been eating all this time? >.>

    • weirderthanweird

      It’s cool. When he starves to death the processor can just bring him back full.

    • Ponyhome

      He’s half fungus, now. He is drawing nutrients from the air and water.

      • Android 21 3/7

        Yeah, but fungi are not the same as plants. They still need to draw nutrition from another lifeform, living or dead. Technically even plants need more than air and water to survive. Like light and nutritious soil.

        • Shweta

          Or maybe a delicious human host

          • Android 21 3/7

            And that human host has gotta eat! That’s my point.

  • Luces

    The same space can mean something completely different to two people – for Bex, the closure is jail. For Mike, it’s a new, better life with friends – or even more?

    • AGV

      Well, while Mike seems quite chill about living in MI for the time being, he admits that it’s because of him being out of options, so if Bex finds a way to leave, he might still join her

      • Cheri

        I’m under the impression that Mike is living the reality he has feared most and is in some serious denial atm.

  • Royable

    Here I was hoping that with Mike’s fast-growing beard, he would rapidly take on a Zeus-like appearance.

  • AGV

    I just had a thought that is rather off-topic for this page, but I have a feeling that the “gifts” given to Mike, Bex and LEVi are somewhat parallel to the “see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil” proverb (Mike has a blind eye, Bex understands martians and LEVi can’t speak human/english)

    Maybe I’m just making unrelated connections, but it’s a fun thought

    • Shweta

      I was just reading up on the muses because of Girl Genius and….

      there’s one who’s sometimes named Kallichore. (Maybe Calliope?)
      So.. huh.

      Kallichore is also/alternatively a nymph, but going with the muse (maybe Calliope?) maybe they’re all getting muse-related “gifts”? And those would also link up to seeing/hearing/speaking.

      • shingworks

        Just trivia, but I based her name from the words “calla” (a type of lily) and “Kore,” a name for Persphone.

  • Okaybells

    Is there any chance, that Kalla is controlled by Processor, that she is some kind of scout unit?

    • AGV

      Last time that Mike made that suggestion it ended on drama

  • Android 21 3/7

    Aww. Kalla doesn’t seem to like Bex even though she can’t even remember the time Bex bludgeoned her to death. Had to review to remember why. Kalla’s not a fan of Bex prioritizing her own needs over others, huh?

    • arteopteryx

      I’m guessing Kalla is also unhappy that Bex wants (or wanted) to take Michael with her out of the Mare Internum. Since LEVi can only “thrip” now, Mike is the only friend Kalla can readily communicate with, and if Bex convinces him to leave with her, Kalla would be all alone again. At least until the next clumsy trash-ape falls down the lava tube. :P

      Aaaaa… I just had a thought. Even if Kalla did make it out, would the Processor reincarnate her in the Mare if she died on the surface? Maybe her remains (or blood) have to make contact with the Sea to trigger that, but that would be so awful for her. Despite her joy at having companions at long last, I’m sure a more final death would be welcome at this point.

      • Torcflaed

        then again if Kalla made it out would the computer reincarnate her to replace her even if the excaped Kalla did not die thereby making two Kalla’s at the same time? one in the Mare and one free of it.

      • Rei

        If that were possible, without her body touching the Sea, the original makers of the place would probably still be alive…

      • hkmaly

        I think the Processor will reincarnate her the moment she leaves. Without memories of leaving of course.

      • RachaelR

        There was that creature that Bed crushed. It asked for water and was disappointed it had been boiled. I think it does have to be in the system somehow to sync and if that doesn’t happen before death you’re all.

  • Esn

    4th panel grammar correction: “I have no idea what’s going on”.

    (my tentative prediction for next page: the ground opening up to swallow Bex… perhaps the Processor was just waiting until the three of them were more separated)

    • Kasia

      Coming here to say this

  • Ponyhome

    I’m guessing LeVI likes the beard and doesn’t want Michael to shave?

  • ignoring the in-story notions that Bex did this to herself, watching a strong black woman get rejected in favor of an unstable white guy even in a place as unearthly as this for the good majority of the comic (arguably by the narrative itself as well as every other major character) has been the MOST depressing thing to read.

    but the comic’s not over yet and I trust in you as a creator!!! I’m kinda assuming it’ll even out when everyone inevitably dies in this mars hell

    • shingworks

      Thank you for trusting me! Bex has a tough storyline and it’s not being developed carelessly.

    • Hello hello

      I‘m a bit confused as to what you mean. Rejected by whom?

      • shingworks

        Aruguably, everyone (Mike runs away from her and later castigates her, Kalla calls Bex selfish and doesn’t offer any help, Thrip goes with Kalla). Arguable because you could say that they’re reacting negatively to her choices, or simply think she doesn’t need their help.

        • Bradford

          That seems unfair to Kalla. Kalla rescued Bex, brought her a gift, told her not to go to the processor because it is dangerous, asked her to come with her to find Mike, and then rescued Bex again when she went to the processor anyway.

          • Ponyhome

            And all that without even knowing that Bex straight-up murdered her.

    • Shweta

      Don’t forget the ex claiming that even her kids have rejected her :(

      But I’m wondering – why do you feel the narrative’s rejecting her? I think a lot of people are responding as if it does but I … am failing to see it that way or understand how.

      I keep seeing the narrative undercutting the other characters’ rejection and for the last dozen pages, I think we’ve been seeing Mike realizing he was wrong. But, I’m 100% team Bex, and may be misreading in wish-fulfilling ways.

      • Android 21 3/7

        XD Perhaps it’s just because what happened to her isn’t shown until quite a bit later and when it does revisit her, she has killed and is in the process of butchering our favorite Martian? Reasons and thought process for doing so are clear of course, but it’s still hits us right in the feels.

        • Shweta

          For me that part of the narrative feels like Tragedy, in the older sense of that as a genre.

          Which has the model of “person did terrible thing because of incomplete knowledge and is still totally sympathetic” built in…

      • arguably~ it just feels like the majority of the story elements have favored Mike’s perspective and growth, and despite his questionable actions he has not been punished by everything around him in the same way bex has. This isn’t really a big issue except when I apply Real World Context to this dynamic and it gets uncanny.

        • Shweta

          Ah, yeah, that makes sense.

          I *think* (or maybe just hope) that that’s all setup for the consequences to come back to Mike by the end, as he starts to understand all the injustice towards Bex, including his own assumptions/projection. He realizes now that he doesn’t understand her, at least, which is… progress?

          Real-world dynamics definitely being echoed in that Mike’s difficulties come from within and from individuals mostly, while Bex’s are just written into the fabric of the social world; he’s not being punished for being exceptional, and she is. It’s hard to read but feels… real to me, I guess?

          • hmm good point

          • evileeyore

            “…while Bex’s are just written into the fabric of the social world…”

            So… abandoning/rejecting her husband and children were an outside force now? No, that was all her choice.

            The primary difference between Bex and Mike (‘punishment’ wise) is that all of Mike’s ‘punichments’ came before falling into the Mare Internum while Bex’s have been continuous (before and after).

            Also, almost all of Mike’s anti-social behavior was before whilst Bex’s has been /ongoing/ (and primarily since).

    • stefan_san

      So when you depict a black person in a bad light, it’s automatically racism? How do people get so brainwashed? What ever happened to individuality and personality before race??

      I’m a white guy and I find Bex just as interesting as Mike. And I don’t give a shit what skincolor they have, and that is how it should be.

      • okno

        ah yes, because being colorblind is so much better.

        • hkmaly

          Yes it is.
          If you see someone differently because of skin color he/she has, it’s racism no matter what skin color it is. It really shouldn’t matter.

  • My beard gets itchy after a while, too.

    • Sheridan

      I haven’t been shaved for about 15 or 17 years now. I’d feel naked without it.
      Plus my gf would probably leave me if I shaved it off, sooo…..

  • Nine

    *reads through comments*

    It looks like I’m the only one who doesn’t understand the last panel. :(

    Why does Mike say “No translation necessary”? And what IS Thrip trying to say? Do Mike and Kalle think Thrip is being annoyingly talkative so they’re joking about not needing a translator so they don’t have to listen to him?

    • Android 21 3/7

      Actually, I didn’t either. I just assumed it would be explained on the next page.

    • Eversist

      One person did say that their interpretation was that LEVi likes the beard, considering it’s right after Mike says he needs to shave. I guess another interpretation is him agreeing fervently. :)

      • awhorl

        I should go back and look, but didn’t Mike threaten to eat Thripp at one point before he and Kalla knew that Thripp was Levi? I thought that was the point of the joke.

        • Ponyhome

          Kalla offered Thripp as a possible meal, and Mike said that was cold, considering he thought that Thripp was Kalla’s pet.

  • Catalysis

    Dear Shing, is there any chance to see Kallakore pre-MI backstory in near future? Like who she was, her role in martian society?

  • Kat

    I thoroughly enjoy your comic(s) (Read: The Meek). There’s a type of mystery to them … they’re also not obvious :)

    Your stories might seem hard to connect to to the casual reader, but I guess once you’ve read as much as I have, you come to a point where you’re drawn to things that make you think and puzzle out stuff …

    In any case! I never intended to comment … I’m more a lurker tbh, but I noticed a small grammar error:
    “I have no idea what going on her head right now.”

    Should be:
    “I have no idea what’s…” or “I have no idea what is …”

    Just as an fyi, since the rest of your comic is flawless :D

    • shingworks

      Thanks very much! Both for our readership and kind comments, and for the spelling catch. Will fix as soon as I can :]

      • Kat

        No worries ^_^ Hope you are recovering from your trip to the ER \O_O/ Please take care of yourself!

  • Rei

    I’m not totally understanding the last panel… what am I missing?

  • Ben

    Must admit, I did have twinges of doubt when the Bex/Mike dynamic was first introduced. There was already the Mike/Gotoh dynamic, and the portrayal (albeit briefly) of his colleagues as flabby nerds.

    There are people who will see racism and/or sexism wherever they look, and the internet is a giant adventure playground for them. Don’t let MI, or its comments, go that way….

  • Sharsarannon

    I’m just in awe of this comic,
    buuuut also because of the kind of person I am, I can’t help wondering when it’s going to come up or ever bother Mike that
    with one working eye he now has no depth perceptionwhatsoever
    and cannot catch or throw things and will be misjudging distances, heights, depths, etc.
    Like I would handle a thighfriend becoming part of my system a lot better than I’d handle losing AN EYE because I can’t see properly with just one. Out of all the many bizarre things that have happened to him since he fell into this place, that one would make me, in his place, absolutely lose it.

    • Android 21 3/7

      I think it’s because Thighfriend is not a subtraction, but an addition. Thighfriend did not take away your leg and is in fact keeping it together and also serving as possibly an external lung. The Fungusfriend, on the other hand, is replacing the second eye and all that it entails with a toaster.

      • awhorl

        At one point early on Mike pulls his eyelid up to show that the toaster is located on his eyelid only, and he can move it out of the way to see with both eyes if he wants to. How long that condition lasts, I don’t know,but the toaster hasn’t gotten any bigger.

        And he did the whole fight scene without the use of stereoscopic vision. Toastervision?

    • hkmaly

      Seconding that. He might not actually lost that eye yet, but it’s very unlikely he can still see anything with it.

  • MGin

    So, I just did a full re-read, and was amazed at how little time had actually passed. Then I noticed Mike’s rapidly growing beard and started thinking that maybe I missed something… On one hand I would believe you if you told me that it’s been about a day, but then again, I don’t know, any amount of time could have passed between the end of chapter 3, and the start of chapter 4.

    Can we get a timeline of the events? How much time have they been down there?

    • hkmaly

      There is still that theory that several years passed and they just don’t remember it due to being killed and resuscitated repeatedly.

    • RachaelR

      Bex was in that one spot long enough to have built a variety of traps, one involving an artificial landslide, so I think we can say at least a few?

    • shingworks

      I’ll probably add a note about this in the printed version, there’s a specific reason for the time weirdness but it’s not crucial to understanding the plot.

  • Tadrix

    “next one up tomorrow. Next week I’ll probably go down to 3x”

    Wait, is this still a thing?

    • shingworks

      had to go to the ER for an unforseen medical problem :D would rather have been updating, believe me.

      • Android 21 3/7

        *Proceeds to worry about you along with my cat. JUST AS I HAD PROMISED!*

  • awhorl

    Just came back and looked at the page again. Uh oh, Kalla. Don’t get your hopes up about Mike just yet. Shaving and eating are definitely human occupations, not yet adapted to MI living conditions.

    A Mike who planned on staying would take a different approach: if the beard itched he simply would scratch it absentmindedly, I’m guessing, not regret that they didn’t provide a shaving kit on this flight. In the same way, if the stomach grumbled he would wish he had a Stomach Toaster App, and poof!

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