The man of science.

nervous // earnest // scholarly

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


From a minicomic I made in 2011 called KRAKEN, he is the naturalist that his old friend The Captain persuades to join him for one last and greatest polar expedition-- the hunt for the legendary Kraken.

Along with The Hunter, the capable and fierce jack-of-all-trades that the Captain recruits to track the beast, the three of them set forth for the polar ice in search of a legend.

The Naturalist is a nervous man by nature, and though he is a loyal person, he was really unprepared for the lunacy of the half-nude man running around in furs harpooning ship rats and the Captain unable to stop shouting for two seconds and an actual sea monster lurking in the ice-- but he tries his best to be a professional and get through it all, earnestly taking notes on anything the Captain tells him to, and poring over his studies for any hint of a lead on the beast's whereabouts. Despite himself, he greatly hopes that the Kraken is no fairytale, because the discovery's meaning for science would be incredible.

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. The polar expedition team is, of course, inspired by the real exploration teams of the era; the Naturalist isn't based on any one person, though his fantastic triangular beard is based on Otto Sverdrup's, and by personality and role he likely most resembles Apsley Cherry-Garrard, "the scholar", from Captain Robert Falcon Scott's second Antarctic exploration team.

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