A not-chosen-for-his-smarts astronaut, John Floyd, upon landing on Mars discovers he hasn't taken enough fuel to come back. Whoops. Fortunately, when he and his robot companion decide to explore, they find a very nice bunch of natives who readily take them in.
Thus begins the funny, cute and touching story of attempting to come back home, of why is Mars a desert and how the Earth space program is not really what it seems, of friendship, responsibility and crazy stunts.
Marooned is drawn by Tom Dell'Aringa. It was pulled offline for a while in an attempt to turn it into a print comic, but was restored to webcomic format in 2016, with a whole new storyline involving the mindstones and where they came from.
Tropes found on the surface of Mars:
- After the End: The planet of Mars brought on, or at least hastened, by its inhabitants' efforts to avert the catastrophe.
- All Work vs. All Play: John is a goof with Skewed Priorities and a Vitriolic Best Buds relationship with his robot. Lian Fisher is very professional, serious and angsty, and treats her robot sidekick with nothing but kindness (which is reciprocated).
- Badass in Distress: The rest of the cast has to rescue Lian in chapters five to seven.
- Batter Up!: John prefers his laser gun, but when it gets fried... he did bring a baseball bat and is not afraid to use it.
- Brain in a Jar: The Baro, with robotic life support units that are as badly designed as anything they built. But that's okay, dying is just returning to the Mother Brain (in an even bigger jar)!
- Constantly Curious: Ril has been called "a teenage question machine".
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Possibly in case of the final bad guys, who may or may not have been sociopathic from the very start, but definitely had something cybernetically bad done to them.
- The Darkness Gazes Back: How we first encounter the Volotrum, but they're nice, actually.
- The Ditz: John, but he's still less ditzy than the Baro, whose hat must be hanging on a tree in Cloudcuckooland somewhere.
- Exposed Extraterrestrials: Ril wears a protective suit against duststorms, but otherwise the Martians seem not to bother.
- Glowing Eyes: A Mindstone turns your eyes quite glowy. The Volotrum have naturally glowy eyes, though.
- A God Am I: Voon is very insistent on this. Very.
- Grew Beyond Their Programming: Robots can do that, turns out, and they gain a lot of disdain for humans in the process. Sometimes to the point of Turned Against Their Masters.
- Higher-Tech Species: Out of the three martian races, the Geborga, enigmatic, scholarly and The Atoners for not preventing the catastrophy. Other than that, the Baro... probably count. Their tech is kind of mad-sciencey, though.
- Ignored Expert: Doctor Ugofandian in the backstory.
- Latex Space Suit: Apparently Earth standard issue. In flattering blue colour.
- Little Green Men: Ugo's people, although they're also red and pink.
- Mad Scientist: The Baro have it as their hat. Not evil, just ridiculously impractical and really enamoured with knowledge. They're also Totally Radical, for some reason.
- Manchild: John starts like this, though he matures tremendously over the course of the story.
- Multicultural Alien Planet: Mars has three sentient races that we know of. Green Martians tend to be farmers, the Geborga are scientists, although not so proud these days, and the Volotrum (or "the Dark Ones") who live in the caves are very, very mysterious and psychic.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The evil Geborga Voon has some mouldy-green Anfalds (Green Martians) at his service, who are, if nothing else hungry. And not picky eaters at all.
- Planet of Hats: The Baro's hat is being Too Clever by Half. The smartest race in the universe is the most moronic.
- Power Crystal: The Mindstones attach themselves to your forehead, granting you Psychic Powers along with a Power Makeover.
- Power Glows: Mindstone power is very blue and sparkly.
- Power Makes Your Hair Grow: Lian's hair used to be brown and shortish, until she got a Mindstone and it became a veritable mane of a fetching bluish hue.
- Proud Scholar Race: The Volotrum are martian mystics - they deal with psychic stuff and generally keep to themselves unless a Listener who's not a Volotrum needs training.
- Psychic Powers: When a Mindstone attaches to you, congratulations - you can now find a Hearing One and become their Listener. Mostly you'll learn Telepathy and more than a bit of Zen.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Asimov in personality, but Ugo is a ridiculously martian robot in general.
- Really 700 Years Old: Ugo has been built when - and because - the martian civilisation was on the brink of collapse.
- Robotic Reveal: Ugo is a robot, built by doctor Ugofandian for the specific purpose of helping out the survivors After the End.
- Snarky Nonhuman Sidekick: Asimov seems unable to communicate without snark.
- Tin-Can Robot: The robot companions used by Earth space program look like tin cans with expressive screens and bendy mechanical hands. And a single wheel.
- Third Act Stupidity: Lian only gets captured because, when she gets contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to be Ril, she hurries to where "she" tells her to, without checking if Ril is where she's supposed to be.
- Touched by Vorlons: Lian got chosen by a Mindstone upon arriving. After wrapping up her training in chapter four, she's a full-fledged Hearing One.