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What two scientists find below the surface of Mars will change them forever. The award winning sci-fi comic, in print for the 1st time.
What two scientists find below the surface of Mars will change them forever. The award winning sci-fi comic, in print for the 1st time.
What two scientists find below the surface of Mars will change them forever. The award winning sci-fi comic, in print for the 1st time.
2,275 backers pledged $140,452 to help bring this project to life.

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MARE INTERNUM: the sci-fi graphic novel

$140,452

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...but Dr Michael Fisher, a disgraced planetary geologist living on Mars, has never felt more isolated. The situation worsens when both he and Dr Bex Egunsola, the station's newest biologist, accidentally break through the floor of an unstable lava tube into an ancient subterranean world... and they are not alone.

Is this purgatorial abyss a prison or a sanctuary? Genuine or constructed? How thin runs the line between life and death? And is there a chance for the fallen to return to the world of the living?

Join two imperfect humans and their otherworldly companions as they fight for survival and freedom from the internal sea of Mars.

ᵀʰᶦˢ ᶦˢ ᵃ ᶜᵒᵐᶦᶜ ᶠᵒʳ ᵐᵃᵗᵘʳᵉ ᵐᶦⁿᵈᵉᵈ ʳᵉᵃᵈᵉʳˢ. ᴾˡᵉᵃˢᵉ ˢᵉᵉ ᵐʸ ᵃᵇᵒᵘᵗ ᵖᵃᵍᵉ ᶠᵒʳ ᵐᵒʳᵉ ᶜᵒⁿᵗᵉⁿᵗ ᶦⁿᶠᵒʳᵐᵃᵗᶦᵒⁿ

Mare Internum is an award-winning subterranean science-fiction comic which explores the horror of isolation and the power of perseverance in the underworld of Mars. The comic will conclude in April 2018, and is conceived, written and illustrated by me, Der-shing Helmer, the Ignatz-award winning artist of The Meek.

This Kickstarter campaign brings the complete 270+ page full-color story to life in beautiful print form for the first time, in both softcover and Limited Edition hardcover.

wrow! Thanks to overwhelming response, the number of available hardcovers has been increased :]
wrow! Thanks to overwhelming response, the number of available hardcovers has been increased :]

As usual, my number one goal is to make a beautiful and durable book with a ton of unlockable upgrades which will be automatically added to your edition as the campaign progresses.

How will this version differ from the online comic? Well, the print and PDF editions contain entirely new pages, edits and improvements to the art and writing, and "one year later" illustrations to lend a sense of closure to the characters and story, and an afterword. These additions are limited to the Kickstartered editions only, and will never be shared or posted online.

extra content + all the pages you know and love (except, you know, edited)
extra content + all the pages you know and love (except, you know, edited)

Mare Internum is a labor of love, and from the very beginning has been a creator-owned comic funded by its dedicated readers. Your pledge supports a high-quality, independently produced book created with immense pride and personal attention to each step of the process.

To celebrate my first complete self-published book, I'm also offering several rewards:

  • COLLECTOR'S PIN: I am once again teaming up with the incredible Maya-styled artist MonaRobot (Tumblr | Patreon) to create the PROCESSOR, a sister pin to her incredible limited KALLAKORE design from the Friends in Dark Places Kickstarter campaign.

Just like the first pin, this pin will be stamped, numbered, and will come mounted on a breathtaking metallic backing card. And as with the first pin, the PROCESSOR pin is limited to just 150 copies which will never be reprinted [EDIT:Due to me being an idiot who lowballed the interest in this pin, I'm increasing this number to ~300 pins (and Mona is receiving a bonus)! The lower your backer number, the lower the backstamp number on the pin you receive]. Check out our previous collector's pin below:

  • DIGITAL COMICS: I've hired none other than Abby Howard, whose work I love dearly, to do some digital humor strips for all of us... omg
  • EXTRAS PDF: Vaguely aware of the presence of tons of extra content, but not motivated enough to wade through 3 years of Patreon archive to find it? Don't you worry, you'll be given a handy PDF copy of all this bonus info in one place, as well as additional brand new content for long-time readers!
  • PRINTS: a set of prints created by some of my (and your) favorite artists, which will be revealed as stretch goals are met. I'm srsly excited about these you guys
  • BOOKPLATE: a custom-made color bookplate which will be unavailable outside of this campaign
  • BOOKMARKS: a set of three beautiful graphic bookmarks to be included with every book purchase
  • SIGNED AND SKETCH: each of these very limited signed books will also come with a hand-drawn ink drawing of a Mare character of your choice for you to sell for a tidy profit after I'm dead
  • BUMPER STICKER: Keep Mars Red! Originally just a silly worldbuilding detail/ homage to the popular California bumper sticker, now an actual position to have irl T__T Please don't ruin Mars (btw, this bumper sticker will be printed on removable vinyl, so no worries about messaging up your car permanently~)
  • MORE?? yes, there are more secret rewards which will be automatically applied to your tier as we unlock the following goals ↓

I like my Kickstarters chock full of unlockables, and this one is no exception. We've got a slew of delightful and incredibly talented guest artists, as well as numerous upgrades and add-ons to apply to your book or pledge tier free of any additional charge once these goals are met. You'll just keep getting extra stuff, and best of all you're helping a bunch of other science and comic artists ~who are not me~ get paid.

Want to try and unlock a few? (EDIT: you guys are legends and have unlocked nearly every single thing I had planned for, what the heck)

I am ridiculously grateful to be working with the same production team that helped me create the successful The Meek Vol 1 Kickstarter books (ps you can hire them too, check out their links):

  • Christina McKenzie (production technician): responsible for correcting my horrendously dark web colors
  • Rhiannon R. S. (prepress technician): sources ethical printers and high-quality book materials

  • As well as support from:
  • Taneka Stotts (guidance and friendship without end)
  • Dustin (for having to listen to 5000 iterations of this story)
  • Lowell (for helping me keep my comics online since 2008)
  • Jared Petker (for making me go outside more than 2x a year)
  • the beautiful guest artists who kindly allowed me to hire them
  • every one of my Patrons and readers who made this work possible

Royalty-free Music credits:

  • "You're Not Wrong" by Roljui- YouTube Audio Library
  • "Sea & Ocean Wave Sound Effect" by Binaural Beats

To readers old and new, thank you for reading. I can't wait to finish this journey with you.

Risks and challenges

This is my second comic Kickstarter, and third Kickstarter overall. Both of my previous projects drastically overfunded and were successfully fulfilled to thousands of backers. I'm looking forward to using my experience to make this my smoothest project ever!

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    ⊚ Thighfriend ⊚

    Thank you for supporting the project!
    *flap*

    Includes:
    • Digital wallpaper set
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    ⊚ Blue Thrip ⊚

    The PDF Tier

    Includes:
    • MARE INTERNUM DRM-free PDF
    • Digital wallpaper set
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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    ⊚ Gold Thrip ⊚

    The Premium PDF Tier

    Includes:
    • MARE INTERNUM DRM-free PDF
    • All unlocked digital comic rewards
    • All unlocked print rewards
    • Digital wallpaper set
    • Bookmark Set
    • any additional unlocked rewards
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    ⊚ Early Wollaria ⊚

    The Early-Bird SOFTCOVER Tier

    Includes:
    • MARE INTERNUM SOFTCOVER
    • MARE INTERNUM DRM-free PDF
    • Digital wallpaper set
    • Bookmark Set
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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    ⊚ Minor Wollaria ⊚

    The SOFTCOVER Tier

    Includes:
    • MARE INTERNUM SOFTCOVER
    • MARE INTERNUM DRM-free PDF
    • Digital wallpaper set
    • Bookmark Set
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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    ⊚ Major Wollaria ⊚

    The Premium SOFTCOVER Tier

    Includes:
    • MARE INTERNUM SOFTCOVER
    • LE Bookplate
    • MARE INTERNUM DRM-free PDF
    • All unlocked digital comic rewards
    • All unlocked print rewards
    • Digital wallpaper set
    • Bookmark Set
    • any additional unlocked rewards
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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    ⊚ Wollarian Buddy ⊚

    The Premium SOFTCOVER + LIMITED EDITION Monarobot Processor Pin Tier

    Includes:
    • MARE INTERNUM SOFTCOVER
    • LE Processor Pin by Monarobot
    • LE Bookplate
    • MARE INTERNUM DRM-free PDF
    • All unlocked digital comic rewards
    • All unlocked print rewards
    • Digital wallpaper set
    • Bookmark Set
    • any additional unlocked rewards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 95 backers
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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    ⊚ LEVitating Imager ⊚

    The HARDCOVER Tier

    Includes:
    • MARE INTERNUM HARDCOVER
    • MARE INTERNUM DRM-free PDF
    • Digital wallpaper set
    • Bookmark Set
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
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    ⊚ First Wave ⊚

    **FOR RETAILERS ONLY**

    The wholesale SOFTCOVER Tier

    To pledge to this tier you must be associated with a comic or book store. We reserve the right to confirm this information before shipping books.

    Includes:
    • MARE INTERNUM SOFTCOVER
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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    ⊚ Exobiologist ⊚

    The Premium HARDCOVER Tier

    Includes:
    • MARE INTERNUM HARDCOVER
    • LE Bookplate
    • MARE INTERNUM DRM-free PDF
    • All unlocked digital comic rewards
    • All unlocked print rewards
    • Digital wallpaper set
    • Bookmark Set
    • any additional unlocked rewards
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    Reward no longer available 325 backers
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    Pledge $110 or more About $110

    ⊚ Astrogeologist ⊚

    The Premium HARDCOVER + LIMITED EDITION Monarobot Processor Pin Tier

    Includes:
    • MARE INTERNUM HARDCOVER
    • LE Processor Pin by Monarobot
    • LE Bookplate
    • MARE INTERNUM DRM-free PDF
    • All unlocked digital comic rewards
    • All unlocked print rewards
    • Digital wallpaper set
    • Bookmark Set
    • any additional unlocked rewards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 140 backers
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    ⊚ Lady of the Rocks ⊚

    The Premium SIGNED SOFTCOVER + ARTIST SKETCHED + LIMITED EDITION Monarobot Processor Pin Tier

    This tier includes a signed and sketched book, as well as a separate piece of Mare Internum art drawn for you by Der-shing Helmer. You'll be given the choice of subject via the backer survey~

    Includes:
    • MARE INTERNUM SIGNED SOFTCOVER
    • Signed ink drawing by Der-shing
    • LE Processor Pin by Monarobot
    • LE Bookplate
    • MARE INTERNUM DRM-free PDF
    • All unlocked digital comic rewards
    • All unlocked print rewards
    • Digital wallpaper set
    • Bookmark Set
    • any additional unlocked rewards
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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    ⊚ Fisher King ⊚

    The Premium SIGNED HARDCOVER + ARTIST SKETCHED + LIMITED EDITION Monarobot Processor Pin Tier

    This tier includes a signed and sketched book, as well as a separate piece of Mare Internum art drawn for you by Der-shing Helmer. You'll be given the choice of subject via the backer survey~

    Includes:
    • MARE INTERNUM SIGNED HARDCOVER
    • Signed ink drawing by Der-shing
    • LE Processor Pin by Monarobot
    • LE Bookplate
    • MARE INTERNUM DRM-free PDF
    • All unlocked digital comic rewards
    • All unlocked print rewards
    • Digital wallpaper set
    • Bookmark Set
    • any additional unlocked rewards
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 39 backers
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    ⊚ The Neural Sea ⊚

    A hand-annotated hardcover with personal notes, reflections and sketches from the author written and sticky-noted onto the pages. This is a OOAK item I'm doing to reflect on the journey of creating this story, and it will never be available again.

    You'll also get a standard signed softcover and a signed hardcover for general reading purposes, as well as every reward from the other tiers.

    Includes:
    • MARE INTERNUM w/ handwritten annotations
    • MARE INTERNUM SIGNED HARDCOVER
    • MARE INTERNUM SIGNED SOFTCOVER
    • Signed ink drawing by Der-shing
    • LE Processor Pin by Monarobot
    • LE Kallakore Pin by Monarobot
    • LE Bookplate
    • MARE INTERNUM DRM-free PDF
    • All unlocked digital comic rewards
    • All unlocked print rewards
    • Digital wallpaper set
    • Bookmark Set
    • any additional unlocked rewards
    Less
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    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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Funding period

- (33 days)