RAVEN – Mazinkert Concept Design 2
Frames creaking and groaning with each labored thrust of her rockets, the Mazinkert bears her cargo of refugees across the stars, fleeing from a devastating attack on their homeworld. Among them is ten-year-old Raven; exhausted, confused … and unable to shake the feeling that that hulking, dreadlocked alien across the hold is watching him. They are running low on food and fuel, and on top of that, whatever it is that destroyed their home is now following them through the inky blackness of space!
According to legend (correct me if I am horribly horribly misinformed about this), the crescent moon on the Turkish flag, rather than being an Islamic crescent, is a reference to the Battle of Mazinkert in 1071. On that date, the Seljuk Turks defeated Byzantine forces in what would be remembered as the beginning of the end for the failing Byzantine Empire, the final stronghold of Greco-Roman culture in the Mediterranean world.
As one story goes, Alp Arslan, the Seljuk Khan, was roaming the battlefield when he saw the reflection of the waning moon in a pool of blood of Turkish warriors. This pivotal historical moment, if ever an event could be called such, foreshadowed the heaving death of Constantinople, and the beginning of nearly a thousand years of Ottoman dominance in Asia Minor.
This story of a dying moon watching over the final, flailing outward thrusts of a dying empire always struck me as almost poetic in it’s portrayal of the inevitable ebb and flow of cultures and memory, birth and death, hope and despair. And somehow that image found its way into the design of one of the key settings of “Raven”, the ageing space vessel that bears the titular character on his strange search for a new home.
The vertical, crescent shaped hull and sailing-ship design were established early, but it took hundreds of sketches to arrive at something that was both functional and visually appealing. But now here’s a dilemma, with the amount of brainstorming that went into the construction of this ship, I can’t decide which version of the Mazinkert I like the best!.
But first, to give an idea of the various mutations the Mazinkert went through:
To arrive at the final options, the design went through over 50 iterations…
The very first thumbnail sketch of a certain starship which would evolve to fill the starring role in the lives of a Boy and his Monster. Take of the four wings, turn it 90 degrees to the left, and suddenly you have the hull of a carrack, viewed from below!
Two elements of the Mazinkert are particularly key. First, this is a very old ship. Not bucket-of-bolts old. Not old like the Millennium Falcon is old. Old like that tractor you see on the side of the road; just the sight of it makes you want to shake the hand of the farmer who somehow manages to get that thing chugging across his field every day, year in and year out.