Interlude 1, Page 3

Welp, everything’s going pretty well!

Today’s bonus art: I was gonna post something actually relevant but then my friend sent me this, and ridiculous clothes take precedence (btw the image is wide so you have to scroll down after voting to see it)


  • Boxer

    I have a theory about this Bryan guy but at the moment I’m a bit caught off guard because of the language he uses around a kid. How old is he? Having a hard time pinning his age down

    • shingworks

      In his early 40’s, but he’s got a round/ boyish face in general

      • Absle

        This could be sarcastic on so many levels, I love it

    • it doesn’t surprise me, honestly. Parents never know when it’s okay to use dirty language around their kids, but aunts/uncles are far more lenient.

      btw, I just adore the coloring in this scene. I didn’t even know your coloring had the capacity to /get/ any more incredible, so wow, kudos on improving an already outstanding skillset!

      • MikeLinPA

        “Parents never know when it’s okay to use dirty language around their kids…”

        We were too strict about my daughter never hearing bad language, but when she got to around 6th grade, I had to ‘desensitize’ her so she could cope with her peers. It is good to be idealistic, but it is important to be realistic as well.

        On the other hand, my sister’s kid was in a high chair and dropped his toast butter side down on the floor. He said “F**K!” My sister was so proud because he used it correctly. LOL!

        • Borg

          Where’s the button to upvote your sister’s kid?

      • wynne

        See, I come from a family that does. not. curse. when we’re around each other, at least not inter-generationally (ie. siblings and cousins are fine but otherwise DON’T), so Brian’s language is making me really uncomfortable.

        Like, I can’t even imagine an aunt or uncle talking to me like that when I was a kid. But I don’t know how weird we are.

    • LeDayz

      Meh, children start cursing amongst themselves around 7 and consider it a sign of respect when adults curse in their confidence (as long as they aren’t being cursed AT). Also, his parents are probably cursing far more often in their arguments and a few profanities in casual conversation won’t hurt him.

    • madock345

      Maybe swearing is less bad in the future?

      • Arkanius

        Terminology and social climate changes with the years, also depends on the location. The word damn was considered profanity in the early 1900s. There’s references to the word damn being “unusual” and “shocking” when used in the 1939 film “gone with the wind”. Used to have a teacher from the east coast in his mid 20s(so he be in his early 30s) that considered the phrase “that sucks” on par with the word fuck.

  • Brian! Language!
    Seems like a nice enough guy. He turns out to be terrible, right? Or something terrible happens to him?
    It’s the kind of thing to be expected in most stories.
    What a pessimistic outlook, now that I think about it.

  • Cruort

    Last panel, misspelled “visit”

    • shingworks

      Thanks, fixed

  • Jojo

    “Welp, everything’s going pretty well!”

    Now I’m suspicious!

  • a.a.

    “Welp, everything’s going pretty well!”

    Bryan is going to die isn’t he.

    • shingworks

      The pool is a pretty dangerous place (nsfw Palahniuk story)

      • skellagirl

        Welp. THAT’S gonna stay with me forever.

      • Alex

        send a link to this story to someone you really hate

        • shingworks


          • Jojo

            I’ve read that one before. It made people faint when he did public readings.

          • shingworks

            Haha, lames. The “pool sucking out your organs” thing has been an urban legend since when I was a kid :] though I guess not a typical subject in literature.

          • Jojo

            The instances in which that actually occurred were due to malfunctioning filters if I recall correctly, and the victim didn’t have mobility. I think in the first story the child was held there by their hair or swim suit, another required some surgical amendments after suffering internal damages (not entire intestinal inversion like in the story). Its been awhile. I don’t want to go looking it up either. Don’t quote me.

          • shingworks

            *quotes you*

          • Jojo

            How dare. Heh heh

        • Ben

          I’ve seen that story before. People get hung up on the “organs” thing, but “sister’s abortion”? EEEEWWWWW
          … The organs-in-the-filter aren’t the real sting in the tail….

      • Oh my god. Oh my god.

        All the content warnings in the world aren’t enough. I read that over my lunch break and I vomited—yes, literally. I had a conference call after and gagged mid-sentence on the lingering sensation of acid in my throat.

        If you’re thinking about reading it… PLEASE DON’T! It’s disgusting, visceral body-horror stuff and you don’t need or deserve it in your life.

        • shingworks

          Well, you were literally warned. I’d prefer you exercise a little bit of prudence and politeness in the future and put this sort of comment on your own site. I mean really, I provide a free comic that I’ve put a lot of love and thought into. You don’t need to love it, but you also don’t need to come tell me how much you vomited. I mean really. While my work might not be to your tastes, I am a human being. If you got a little further along in the comic you might have realized that this story is about being an empathetic human. I’ve been more than pleasant to you, because that’s how people should act. If you don’t like something a person on the internet makes, don’t read it. But posting a shitty message to me on my site that I pay for is extremely rude. I’m not a faceless Amazon review section. I’m a person.

          Anyways, I’m leaving your comment up instead of deleting it like I normally would so other people can see what kind of stuff content creators put up with.

          • Ashhawk

            (I know this is a year late, but was reading on a bit from the recent page callback and found this.)

            I’m entirely convinced the commenter you responded to was originally responding to the link to Guts that you posted – that’s what they were vomiting over, not this comic. Possibly your comments system didn’t provide context and it seemed like it was a top-level comment on the page! Obviously content creators get shit comments anyway for no good reason; just wanted to reassure that this one wasn’t aimed at you.

          • shingworks

            Oh, haha, I hope so. IIRC they left a bunch of comments on the comic at the same time and they were all kinda like that. I don’t mind a comment here and there but when someone is forcing themselves to read something they hate and taking it out on me that’s kinda different.

  • Maria S.

    Definitely not a prelude to something bad, at all, no. Just Fun Happy Summer Times! With burgers!

  • Spencer Greenwood

    I can’t decide if I’m glad that none of the other commenters are thinking what I’m thinking. I guess you usually give us ambiguous tonal clues, and I tend to jump to the worst conclusion possible. I’m just going to hope that’s what’s happening.

    • CrazyLady

      …I kind of think I know what you’re thinking cause I was thinking the same thing and I’m scared too. O_O

      • Jojo

        Oh gosh. I think I know what you’re thinking.

    • wynne

      I don’t like jumping to the conclusion, but this page is making me nervous. Because of what you’re thinking.

  • River

    What’s even scarier about those 70’s ads is realizing that the people in them could be your parents or grandparents.

    …How high up is the edge of that pool?

    • shingworks

      There’ll be a panned out shot in the next page, but the pool is attached to a raised deck, so from the deck it’s like three shallow steps up, but if you walk down to the garden/ grass area it’s a little higher than head level for most people (the pool is sunk into the ground for more depth).

      While I was drawing this page I thought it would kinda suck if you fell off the side, haha… like if you vaulted over into the grass part? There are bushes and drainage stones oh that side tho so maybe the bushes would catch you… either way I don’t think I should be a home designer.

  • Ame

    Is anyone else sitting here thinking child molester? Because I am sitting here thinking /child molester./

    • madock345

      Well, I wasn’t until now.

      • Jojo

        Thats what I was thinking too. But I was being ambiguous.

    • pretty flacko

      That last panel gives it away

      • ACrazyWoman

        Actually, I think pretty much the whole comic kinda of opens itself up to it, what with it’s dark nature, Mike’s concern about Bex being a good mother, feeling alone and wanting to die… I think the whole setup of the story leads itself into the next page, which is, by the way, very, very good storytelling. :) Even if we’re wrong, the fact that a few of us are speculating and worrying about it still proves my point.

        Good work, Shing! XD

        • Jojo

          I agree! Excellent work!

  • Boxer

    I’m not thinking child molester, I’m thinking this is his dad’s boyfriend

    • Jojo

      No, that makes good sense.

    • Corbie

      Hmm, interesting guess. I also expect either that or he’s Mike’s biological father. And he should probably re-think to say sentences which can lead to heavy misunderstandings when read the wrong way, without so much as changing the interpunctation. I’m curious if this will turn out to be intended … which I somehow expect too. :)

    • aroree

      …where’d you get that idea? The only thing I got from all this is that he’s Mike’s mother’s brother.

  • Georgia

    Is Brian Louis C.K’s great great great grandson?

    • matias93

      Ok, that sounds ominously foreshadowing from 2018, don’t you think?

  • Alex

    can’t believe not a single belted sweater made it into the bonus art

    • shingworks

      They’re so personal to another character of mine that I couldn’t bear to put it on Mike, lol

  • Nikat

    I’m really not a fan of adults badmouthing a kid’s parent(s) to that kid’s face. It puts the kid in the uncomfortable position of either arguing with an adult to defend said parent, or saying nothing and feeling the uncomfortable guilt that comes naturally to kids whether they’ve done anything to deserve it or not.

    And if the kid’s relationship with their parent is already turbulent then the anger-guilt-shame tug of war is ten times worse. Honestly, I was really liking Mike’s uncle until now but, and maybe I’m just projecting based on my childhood memories, now I think he’s kind of a jerk.

  • Ben

    I’ve completely lost the thread of this.

    If the blonde woman in shorts is his mother, and Mike is going to visit the chap here at weekends, then who is he? If the two arguing adult voices are his to-be-divorced parents, who is who?

    I can’t follow this at all

    • Brian is (judging from the first strip in this flashback) Mike’s maternal uncle. Guessing Mike would be visiting Brian on weekends because both his parents are rage-prone, self-obsessed assholes who do not give three shits about him.

      Brian seems to also be an asshole, though.

      Poor Mike.

    • shingworks

      It’s his uncle, his mom points that out on the previous page. Other than that I think you’re getting it just fine, his parents were arguing/ are getting divorced, and also he goes to his uncle’s house on the weekends.

      • Boxer

        Ah. I was thinking that maybe his mom was telling him to refer to him as ‘Uncle Brian’ mainly because she doesn’t think Mike should be addressing an adult by their first name

        • shingworks

          Haha, no, Bex is the only one who abuses that word in this comic.

        • Ben

          That sounds a bit “old school” for the 2050s, given Mike’s age

      • Ben

        Oh ok. The thing about visiting weekends misled me, because of the divorce. I’d read that as a reference to forthcoming custody arrangements.

        Given the way he speaks about Mikes mother, I take it he is Mike’s father’s brother, then?

        • shingworks

          Yep, exactly!

          Also I can see how you’d read it that way, as a custody thing; it hadn’t occurred to me… I’m kinda basing this off my parent’s divorce, they used to ship me out of the house so I wouldn’t figure out what was going on (it was not super effective).

    • Kempson

      I was very confused too, for three reasons:

      1. I thought at first that Jes might have been Mike’s aunt/Brian’s wife, since Mike doesn’t get the chance to specifically identify her as his mother (also, Brian and Jes argue about “undermining authority,” a very parental phrase).

      2. I didn’t catch the entrance of Mike’s father until I went back and looked closer at the visible fraction of his body.

      3. There are two background arguments (with Brian/Jes, then Jes/father) that immediately follow one another, and since they happen off-screen (off-panel?), it’s difficult to see the change and to know who is saying what.

      Reading these comments, though, it all makes sense now. And I admit, I have similar difficulty following panel progression in other comics. I guess I just don’t have an eye for it. Also, this particular story doesn’t waste a lot of time on exposition/worldbuilding. It really drops the reader in the deep end (pun remarkably intended).

      • shingworks

        Yeah, for several reason I’m limiting this scene to only a few pages, so I have to crush a lot of exposition into limited space without doing something cheap like an explanatory paragraph. Tbh the only stuff I care that readers know is that Brian is his uncle and that his mom is the blonde lady, the rest is interesting for me or closer readers, but not necessary to move forward. Anyhow, I’m aware of some of the weaknesses and will probably be going back and doing a final pass before considering these pages “final.”

        • Kempson

          Cool. It probably didn’t come across in my comment, but I should mention that, regardless of the occasional confusion, this comic is still an enjoyable read and I’m quite intrigued. And it’s beautiful to boot. I love the stark change from dusty red Mars to shiny plastic Earth. Reminds me of the chapter changes in The Meek, but even more jarring.

  • Infinity1201

    AHH I love everything <3 don't please -3-

  • Lilian

    I enjoy being an aunt. This little segment has reminded me of the special relationship children can have with their aunts and uncles.

    And then I see the comments speculating that this uncle of Mike’s is going to molest him.

    “You’re a good kid, you know.” …….ennh.

    Welp, I shall have to see where this goes.

  • Tomás

    I’m reading the tone as him being kinda creepy too. Part of his overfamiliarity, the swearing, the way he’s badmouthing the parents… it strikes me as grooming. But also part of it is Mike’s intense sadness/loneliness. he’s very vulnerable. Poor kid.

    • Tomás

      (part of why I am reading it that way, as opposed to victim blaming argh!!)

    • aroree

      I didn’t think he was trying to be a bad influence on the kid. I think he’s the brother of Mike’s mom, and well, she does seem to have some issues so it would not be too unusual for him to bad mouth his sister. I am a little shocked by him using such terms in front of a kid, but Mike doesn’t seem concerned. I think it is good for Mike to have SOMEONE concerned with his happiness.

      • hideawayhero

        He’s the brother of Mike’s father, actually.

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