The famous explorer.

intense // driven // restless

Setting: Norway ➔ Polar ice, c. 1925-1930
Created: 2011


From a minicomic I made in 2011 called KRAKEN, he is a famous Norwegian explorer who dreamed of great voyages on the sea as a child, and grew up to achieve just that: he became world-renowned for traversting the Northwest Passage, discovering the South Pole, and leading perhaps the first expedition to the North Pole. After all that is done, however, he cannot just sit back and enjoy his fame. The Captain feels restless and anxious to get back out to sea-- he has dedicated so much of his life to the chase that he cannot find meaning in a quiet life on land.

Overhearing some men tell tall tales of the legendary Kraken in a tavern, the idea lights a fire in him: not all mysteries of the poles have been discovered, and the elusive and potentially mythical Kraken would be an even greater prize to prove real and capture for his nation.

Spurred on by this furious bout of inspiration, he rounds on The Naturalist, a scientist he had worked with in past expeditions, and despite the other man's strong misgivings (especially considering the alcohol on the captain's breath), he is able to persuade him to join the Kraken hunt on the strength of their friendship, and with the allure of what the incredible discovery would mean to science.

The Captain also recruits The Hunter, a fierce and wild hunter (lured with the promise of how much greater a catch this would be than anything he could dream), to track down the mysterious beast, and the three of them set out by ship for the polar ice once more.

The expedition takes ages-- the Naturalist furiously consults every book they could find with mention of the legendary creature, but the longer it takes, the more the Captain rages (does this obstinate beast even know who he is????) and the more he privately worries that all this has been a fool's errand. Finally, though, they sight something large moving on the ice, and rush to disembark the ship and encounter this creature.

The Kraken, though, turns out not to be the ferocious and bestial monster the tales had told of, but a great furry crablike creature, curious and friendly and excited for company.

The Hunter tries to harpoon it, but the creature easily dodges his attacks like they're playing a game, plays peek-a-boo and keep-away with the Naturalist's journal, and plays the world's tiniest violin for the Captain after confiscating his rifle. Pleased to finally have their undivided attention, the Kraken performs a song for its new friends on its front claws, which it rubs together like a cricket to make sound, but the high-pitched screechy noise shatters the ice below the humans, dropping them into the freezing water. The Kraken rescues its new pals and brings them to its ice cave, where the acoustics actually make its song sound beautiful.

I created the three humans of this comic for a character design class (though the Kraken and the comic were my own thing), and all of them are inspired by trips to the American Museum of Natural History: while the polar expedition team is, of course, inspired by the real exploration teams of the era, the Captain is specifically heavily based on Roald Amundsen. I'm pretty sure the real man never discovered a Kraken, though-- but he did disappear mysteriously, so who knows, maybe he too was saved by a mysterious beast in the ice.

Coding by hedgemaze, lowkeywicked, & WeltDerAthanasie // See gallery for image credits