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Old 02-11-2012, 07:17   #1
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Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

Hey everyone!

My name's Nick Raimo and I'm a comic artist from Italy currently working on an american comic (and an half).

Anyway, the reason why I decided to come here is that I'm actually also writing my own OGN (original graphic novel), and since it features some yachts and boats, etc, I need the help from someone who really knows about them and sea life, since I actually don't know much about that.

This comic doesn't have the sea life as protagonist of the story, but it's an essential part of the start of the story and it will probably have some other moments along the way.

Here I tell you a few details about the story and what I'm looking for:

-The very first part of the comic is about four people who are forced to live on a yacht for something like fifteen years -- I need every kind of info that I could use to let the reader know how surviving for such a long time on a boat could be (how they get their food, how they get drinkable water, etc). To sum it up, just how you can survive in a decent way on a boat.

-Since they are forced to live for so many years on a boat (there is no sign of land at all), I think that a yacht is what fits the situation. I need something that could be kind of confortable, with everything you'd find in a normal apartment. The yacht that I ended up liking the best, is this one TRAWLER YACHT 48, trawlers, passagemakers, live-aboard, Bruce Roberts, steel boat kits, boat plans, steel kits but I can't find any details about it apart from those pictures. I actually don't know much about yachts, so I'd love to get as much infos as possibile on this or similar yachts.
That's like I said, the one I like more, but if you know some better ones, please let me know. I chose this, because it's not incredibly big, it can work with both motor or sails (in fifteen years, you've pretty much finished your fuel a looong time ago), and it has room for a living room, a cooking place, beds, maybe a cyclette and everything you could use to live and survive.

-Later on, probably in issue #5, these guys have to take this same yacht back from a group of guys who stole it from them. Here I have a problem:
it should be a quick job; just get on the yacht and escape with it. The problem is that very likely, there won't be any fuel inside of it, so they need to fill it up in order to escape. Could you manually fill the fuel inside the yacht with some fuel tanks and run? How many liters or gallons should you need to be able to make, let's say, something like 20 kilometers/miles? Is that possible? There should be sails too, but that is gonna take much more time I guess and it couldn't be much of a hit and run.
Another important thing is: would the motor work after so many years been turned off?

This are just the details I need for the part of the story that I've already outlined the most that are part of the first narrative arc; maybe there could be the need of other details, but I prefer not to go on and see if there is someone of you interested on helping me out as a consultant about sea life and watercraft stuff.

Thanks a lot to anyone that will reply, and I hope it's not a problem to ask for help for a comic book on this forum.

-Nick
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:46   #2
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

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Old 02-11-2012, 08:04   #3
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

Maybe a good place to look for some story ideas is the website of that guy who sailed for 3yrs out of site of land in the Atlantic. 1000days.net - Home

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Old 02-11-2012, 08:29   #4
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

There's a number of variables here that don't acknowledge the reality of life at sea.

Making the power to start a long-idled diesel, for instance, assumes that a) your wiring is not corroded, b) you have magical batteries that last for 15 years, c) you have magical non-fossil fuel energy sources that last for fifteen years like wind generators and solar panels (solar panels COULD last that long, but the wiring might not), and d) that you could find diesel fuel that old that wasn't completely cruddy.

The same goes for finding osmotic filters for the watermaker (which would have to be operated manually, because the batteries were dead) and sails that hadn't rotted from sunlight in 15 years.

In addition, the wires that support the mast itself are generally replaced every 10 to 12 years because of corrosion unless you can rinse them with fresh water...which you have to have a watermaker to create from sea water.

We haven't even mentioned that the food required to support four humans greatly exceeds the carrying capacity of a 48 footer, even a Roberts, and even if you primarily eat fish.

Your scenario is vanishingly implausible for 15 years, I think. Four people on a 300-foot cruise ship filled with canned and preserved food would still face the issue that batteries and fuel don't age well, but they might be able to survive on a ship that was an adrift barge, but again...what is running the pumps and why haven't they worn out?

A fixed oil platform otherwise abandoned except for four robust materials and chemical scientists, which was covered in solar panels and enough equipment (many tonnes of equipment and spares) to distill diesel from the oil might, might be more plausible...but again, not very. The time span is too long.

Sorry to burst your plot bubbles.
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Old 02-11-2012, 12:04   #5
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

Wow! you guys have no imagination! OP ain't making a documentary - just like Hollywood it only has to sound feasible to folks who don't know better (or don't care / are willing to suspend critical analysis).

There have been a few threads about living aboard a boat forever without any shore support (the driver is usually no money!) - so worth a search.........but short answer from the consensus is that can't be done. (everything wears out eventually). But it does sound feasible.

Given the fuel situation the boat would need sails (2 sets would not be unreasonable to have onboard, and with care and a bit of DIY repairs along the way, then 15 years is possible - hell, plenty of boats around with sails older than that!, but they not been actually used solid for 15 years!).

Perfectly feasible to make a quick getaway on a Sailboat (if you know the boat then sails up can take only minutes, even if you don't know it then feasible that not much longer) - just have to make sure that the wind is blowing enough and in the right direction! Of course not likely to be going fast - but within 2 or 3 hours could easily be 15 miles away.

On the water thing - having a desalinator aboard is not unusual nowadays, but these do break / require spares (filters?) - 15 years would be a stretch, but plenty of scope for some "drama" around them not working and folks DIYing up repairs. And of course their is rain to catch! Obviously in some parts of the world their is less of that, but quite feasible in temperate climates to keep the tanks full - you use sails or a taurpaulin to funnel water into the tanks (they usually have fillers in the deck).....some folks just block off the side decks and let the water run in.

Will need plenty of Solar panels (always something needs electrickery) could get 15 years out of the set up. Batteries likely a lot less, but not a complete stretch - in any event I am sure someone with knowledge could DIY something up.........that sounds beleivable .

It is possible for an engine that has not been used for many years to start easily - just that the more years not, then the less likely that will be!........if I was on that yacht and with a finite amount of fuel I would be running the engine rarely - but regularly (once a week or month?) just to keep it ticking over. Or laying the engine up and then keeping fingers crossed every year or so to give her a go and then lay up again.

For Food, obviously a lot of fish. and birds? Depending on depth of the water could dive for shellfish / crabs etc - or simply set some pots. Green stuff could be grown onboard (Cress & the odd Tomato plant), and seaweed can be eaten.......just altogether not sure if that will get enough vitamins etc for everyone onboard. But a serious stash of Multivitamin tablets ontop may be enough of a cheat (at least for the story!)....could even have some limited livestock onboard. I suggest a Goat .

.....surviving in a decent way may be a challenge though. after 1 year be lucky if everyone is still talking to each other. after 5 likely that 3 of them would have been eaten by the survivor - if only because they got throttled for simply being there .

Boat size wise for 4 people I would want to go up a few feet, and as I said - definately masts for sails. Have a look on Yachtworld.com (boats for sale) somewhere around 60 foot and traditional / Classic in look.

http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi..._id=74556&url=

Personally I think your not knowing one end of a boat from another is an advantage! - as you are a better judge than folks here on what sounds beleivable to someone who does not know any better! (which will be your audience - the rest of us will likley forgive a good plot / story - or pics of some semi-naked women on deck!)

Don't be shy about posting up any Artwork .
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Old 02-11-2012, 12:22   #6
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
Wow! you guys have no imagination! OP ain't making a documentary - just like Hollywood it only has to sound feasible to folks who don't know better (or don't care / are willing to suspend critical analysis).
Why not? If Hollywood cowboys can have 66 shooters and Hollywood spaceships explode with a loud boom in the vacuum of outer space then why not four people living on a small sailboat for 15 years with magic batteries that last forever, an unlimited supply of fish to catch and a floating cache of magic diesel that doesn't grow algae for 15 years (unlike the stuff in my tanks that seems to start growing crude in 15 minutes).



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Personally I think your not knowing one end of a boat from another is an advantage! - as you are a better judge than folks here on what sounds beleivable to someone who does not know any better! (which will be your audience - the rest of us will likely forgive a good plot / story - or pics of some semi-naked women on deck!)
Standard Hollywood. Include semi (or fully) naked women and lots of explosions and the audience doesn't seem to care about the laws of physics, plot, character development and other pointless distractions.

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Old 02-11-2012, 12:26   #7
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

Wasn't there a Woody Allen movie where he and a damsel find a 300 year old VW Beetle and it starts right up on the first try?

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Old 02-11-2012, 14:03   #8
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

We cruised SoPac for eighteen months and never had to go to shore for water. Caught all our water from the awning, David has mentioned other ways to collect water.

You'd need several sets of dry batteries and the acid to activate them as needed. Wet batteries last 5 years plus or minus. Solar panels, water generator, windmill to keep the electricity flowing. If you don't have the modern conveniences like refrigeration, the electrical needs will be quite small and could possible get by with two 6v golf cart batteries at a time. Wind directed self steering to ease the monotony of having to drive. Just floating around is probably not doable because of the constant motion of the ocean. A boat just sitting on the ocean will drive you crazy, btdt. Will have to be constantly under sail even if it's with minimal sail and making very little headway.

Sailboat, a power boat wouldn't be able to carry the fuel unless you had the EXON Valdez ala 'Water World' as a source of petrel. Two or more sets of sails, hand powered sewing machine, thread and spare sail cloth to effect repairs. Spare rigging wire and Norsman terminals just in case.

Size of boat would be a minimum of 40'. They used to cram 100 people into 100' ships in the good old days of the Royal Navy. 4 people in a 40' boat is doable but they will have to be very good friends. Don't think I'd want to go larger than 50' for self sufficiency reasons. If you stretch it out a bit more could easily carry a complete machine shop to make most anything that broke if you had the raw meterials on board. Bigger boat bigger maintenance headaches, though. Hull material fiberglass or aluminum. Steel takes too much maintenance and materiel to do it for as long as you envision. If you made the boat out of epoxy and Kevlar, it could even be bullet proof. If two sexes, better be equally divided pairs or throroughly committed swingers.

Biggest problem is diet. Doable to catch fish for protein if you have the skill and equipment. Greens and other vitamin containing necessities are harder. You can grow sprouts on a boat so that would work if you could load up on enough seeds when they left. Dried vegie's will last a very long time if they don't get wet and could possibly double as sprouting source. Might be able to take a huge stock of multi vitamins to keep scurvy and other diseases at bay.

Think I'll do something strange like work on my boat now.

As someone else said, read about the guy who sailed around for several years. He solved the problems of doing it for part of the time you need. Might watch 'Water World' for Hollywood's idea of what permanently living at sea is all about. Definitely don't watch it for quality of film making.
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Old 02-11-2012, 14:12   #9
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

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Wasn't there a Woody Allen movie where he and a damsel find a 300 year old VW Beetle and it starts right up on the first try?
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Old 02-11-2012, 15:35   #10
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

The last thread on the subject awakes!

Can you Live off the Bounty of the Sea?
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Old 02-11-2012, 15:50   #11
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

(sound of trumpeting horns) Good day citizens, I have arrived! I do have an imagination...

Hydroponics...food supply and liquid substrate can be distilled into fuel. Photonic batteries last a millenia.

Technicolor hull confuses the snot out of witnesses. It was red, no green, no blue, no yellow....

Lord Of The Rings and Costner's Waterworld can be reference materials. May as well include the CF forums from time to time.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:21   #12
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

Hey, thanks a lot to all of you for both infos and critics!

You guys gave me some very useful informations that I will keep in mind.

S/V Alchemy, thanks for telling me about what the many problems could be, and David_Old_Jersey and roverhi, thanks for the great infos!

Also, what David said about the Hollywood flicks, is right; in the end, even if your story has some incongruent things here and there, the important is to create the 'illusion' that things can work, and that's what a good story can do -- entertain you so much that you just don't notice the little errors, etc.
Anyway, I always try to make as few mistakes as possible, that's why I decided to ask to the professionals.

roverhi, you mentioned the fact to keep on sailing and not to stay floating on water. Is there any particular reason why you shouldn't just float on, apart from the boring fact?

I think that I should better explain a few details of the story, so you can understand how things work in the story:
Something happened and the world as we know it doesn't exist anymore; instead of it now there's just a huuuge water-ball (kinda like in Waterworld).
The story focuses on four survivors who live on this yacht for sixteen years or so, by now.
We don't need to know every detail of how they made it to survive this long, because this will just be the introduction of what will happen next, and it's what will happen next that will be the fulcrum of the story. The reader will just need some details here and there, just to make things believable, but not going on the most tiny detail. Just the basic will do and of course some well documented detail every now and then will be very good to make it more real.
Anyway, at the beginning, I'm sure that these four guys would want to move and see if they can find some land again, but soon they will understand that the Earth is submerged by water, so they will just stop to waste fuel and start to really think about surviving. So I thought that they just could stay put, trying not to waste fuel, ruin the sails, etc (if that's a thing that they could do). In this way, they will save both fuel and sails, but maybe I will just need sails for the progress of the story, so the fuel won't be essential. Maybe.
What caused the Earth to become a water-ball happened relatively fast, but if quick and smart, you had the time to gather everything you could use to survive on water inside your yacht, and this could include everything from food supplies, vitamins to repairing material for the yacht itself, batteries, and everything else that could come in handy.

So, thanks to you guys, now I have some more good infos that I will use in the book.

After this part of the story, they will eventually find land again (wait, Nick, didn't you tell us that the whole world is now under water? -- Oh, yeah, I did.. but I can't really tell you more details about it, I'm sorry!), so the problem of fuel will be solved, and with it, everything will return to normal.
SO. If you had batteries, etc, and the only thing you didn't have was fuel, that now you have again, is it possible to turn the yacht on a go (it's always for that escaping scene)? For the story, it's gonna be better than just using the sails.

Also, some of you mentioned the fact that after so many years, you will probably start to get 'tired' of the people around you. That's a good point and I completely agree, but in this occasion they are forced to stay on that yacht for the simple reason that is survive. Also, at the beginning just one person is an adult, so this person will have the enormous responsibility to look after the others, and this great sense of responsibility will be one of the biggest reasons for that person to keep on. If that person gave up, everyone else would have died too.

I will wait to read your thoughts about this! The next point will be choosing a good yacht to put in the comic!

Thanks guys, you rock!
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:21   #13
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

BTW, thanks for the support, David!

Sorry, there won't be any semi-naked women on the deck or anything else Hollywood like (I'm not a great fan of movies that focus everything on pretty girls and explosions.. not that I don't like pretty girls, I just don't like that kind of movies, ahaha).

Whenever I'll have some artwork to show, I'll be happy to post something here.
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:29   #14
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

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After this part of the story, they will eventually find land again (wait, Nick, didn't you tell us that the whole world is now under water? -- Oh, yeah, I did.. but I can't really tell you more details about it, I'm sorry!), so the problem of fuel will be solved, and with it, everything will return to normal.
Even if the land magically appeared again (water went down the plug hole?, tectonic plates moved?, volcano?) then unless it all came back with a perfectly functioning infrastructure (and the people to run it) - the term "return to normal" might be a bit of a stretch. Return to 1910 maybe, with the goal for the next 50 years being not to slowly return to 1210 .

Quote:
SO. If you had batteries, etc, and the only thing you didn't have was fuel, that now you have again, is it possible to turn the yacht on a go (it's always for that escaping scene)? For the story, it's gonna be better than just using the sails.
I would say it is possible - just not likely after 16 years. a lot more likely if the engine had been started during that period - if only every year. The engine on a yacht won't power the boat quicker than sails would anyway. But I guess the uncertainty over the engine could be useful.......


IMO the biggest danger that the folks would face is...........other people. and whilst 16 years would thin those out a lot, nonetheless would still be plenty of other folks around for whom "you" are a resource (and vice verce!)......and that includes the military. In your world I would be happier on a nuclear powered sub . or failing that a large warship. After 16 years I am sure that loyalty would have moved from a country that has gone glug to selves.........

On a practical (?!) note, if I had started to discover that continents were no longer where I had thought they would be , then I would probably head for Mount Everest on the basis is if that is underwater then likely everything else is - but it might not be far underwater, which in itself could be a useful resource........and / or I would be heading to the Polar Regions (likely North first) - downside is that a tad cold!, but upside is that should still have floating ice. Not exactly land - but IMO better than SFA ........and likely the same mammals would survive (Seals / Walrus - Polar Bears?!)

I likely not be alone in those thoughts.......
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:58   #15
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Re: Comic artist needs infos for comic book!

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Even if the land magically appeared again (water went down the plug hole?, tectonic plates moved?, volcano?) then unless it all came back with a perfectly functioning infrastructure (and the people to run it) - the term "return to normal" might be a bit of a stretch. Return to 1910 maybe, with the goal for the next 50 years being not to slowly return to 1210 .
No, it's not for any those reasons that we have land again. It's something more complicated and... FAR. I really don't want to tell much of the storyline and I'd like people to find that out when/if this comic will come to life.
There is no magic at all in this story. And the world they will find will not be a copy of the modern civilization they left behind 16 years before. It's gonna be, let's say.. an hybrid. But I can't tell more!

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I would say it is possible - just not likely after 16 years. a lot more likely if the engine had been started during that period - if only every year. The engine on a yacht won't power the boat quicker than sails would anyway. But I guess the uncertainty over the engine could be useful.......
Yeah, this is a thing that for sure I will put in the book. It has a lot of sense and it could work!

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IMO the biggest danger that the folks would face is...........other people. and whilst 16 years would thin those out a lot, nonetheless would still be plenty of other folks around for whom "you" are a resource (and vice verce!)......and that includes the military. In your world I would be happier on a nuclear powered sub . or failing that a large warship. After 16 years I am sure that loyalty would have moved from a country that has gone glug to selves.........

On a practical (?!) note, if I had started to discover that continents were no longer where I had thought they would be , then I would probably head for Mount Everest on the basis is if that is underwater then likely everything else is - but it might not be far underwater, which in itself could be a useful resource........and / or I would be heading to the Polar Regions (likely North first) - downside is that a tad cold!, but upside is that should still have floating ice. Not exactly land - but IMO better than SFA ........and likely the same mammals would survive (Seals / Walrus - Polar Bears?!)

I likely not be alone in those thoughts.......
This things you said are pretty cool and very good ideas! But here we don't have to focus on what happened during this 16 years, or at least not in depth, so just some mentions can be enough. The story really begins when they find land again and discover a brand new world. Then the sea adventures will pretty much end and they will have to learn how to live in that place.
But anyway it's not said that those happenings won't come back in the future, maybe in form of thoughts, or.. dreams.. 16 years stranded on a boat are hard to forget anyway.
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