Double Barrel will be serializing Crater XV, the 500-page sequel to the slightly-smaller Far Arden, which came out from Top Shelf in 2009. The main character of both books is Army Shanks, a salty ex-Navy sea dog who is most at home on the deck of a clipper ship.
The character of Army Shanks was inspired by Ernest Shackleton, the famed polar explorer who was trapped with his men on Antarctica after his ship Endurance was crushed by the pack ice. Army was created ten years ago while I was tooling around London, and at the time there was a fantastic exhibit at the Maritime Museum in Greenwich called "South." The museum had tons of artifacts from the five main Edwardian-era Antarctica expeditions, and I even got to lay a hand on the chair that Shackleton died on (despite signs telling me not to).
Shanks' specific outfit was inspired by a trip I took to Dulwich College, where Shackleton went to school. There I saw the infamous James Caird (the tiny boat that meant the rescue of all the stranded men) and a Shackleton-specific museum where I saw the explorer's man-hauling harness up close and personal. That harness immediately became a staple of Shanks' wardrobe.
Since that trip I've become even more infatuated with other polar explorers, like Roald Amundsen, Peter Freuchen, and Lauge Koch -- but more on those guys in future posts.