'Hey, Shipwreck' creator Patrick Hrabe anchors in Kingston
February 13, 2009 · Updated 2:37 AM
Patrick Hrabe may live among the rest of us in a physical sense, but his mind is from another space and time.
A submariner by trade and artist by choice, Hrabe is the brain and voice behind the wildly popular “Hey, Shipwreck.” The web-based cartoon chronicles two sailors — both autobiographical — in a futuristic United Space Navy standing a watch that’s “never gonna end.”
Born of an assignment in a graphic design class, “Hey Shipwreck” has taken on a life of its own.
“I e-mailed it to a friend,” he said, of its humble beginnings.
Hrabe recently transferred to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor after completing three years of recruiting duty in Idaho. The navigation electronics technician is still waiting to be assigned to a submarine at Bangor.
But the first item on his moving agenda was to give his Tube Daze production studio a home. For that, he knew the perfect place was downtown Kingston, as he’s always been partial to North Kitsap.
So he set up shop in a professional office building on California Street in Kingston in January, where he’ll continue the adventures of Seawolf and Thresher, who, while real life unfolds around them, stand watch outside their submarine — which is actually a space station of sorts — and ... talk about pop culture.
They’ve taken on “Twilight,” chatted about “The Office” and “Lost.” They’ve taken issue with the ending of “Transformers” and even waxed poetic about Rock, Paper, Scissors. His creation is a more realistic depiction of submarine life than Hollywood has to offer, Hrabe said.
While the silver screen’s take on life aboard a nuclear submarine is stone-faced, serious and all business, it’s not the reality. Hrabe’s show has spread in popularity throughout the Navy community mostly through word of mouth. On the average month, Hrabe will get about 15,000 to 25,000 visits on his Web site, tubedaze.com.
Because “Hey, Shipwreck” shows the goofier side of submarine life, hence comes the popularity amongst those who punch holes in the ocean for months at a time. They get it. And so does Hrabe, who sums it up this way: Submariners will understand 100 percent of the jokes; anybody in the Navy will understand about 50 percent; those in the military will understand about 25 percent of the jokes. Those who aren’t?
“They can go watch ‘Hunt for Red October’ or ‘Crimson Tide,” he said. Well played, sir.
While season two is about to wrap up, Hrabe has set his sights on season 3, which will see some changes. The ship will actually leave port and go under way, setting in motion a lot of action that Seawolf and Thresher will have nothing to do with.
While long-time fans will be introduced to new characters, “Hey, Shipwreck” will remain true to itself. Fans will meet more characters in their chain of command to add to the already-introduced coffee-sipping, gruff-voiced, cynical chief.
“All the action will go on in the background,” Hrabe said. So, while the officers deal with impending crises and alien invasions, Seawolf and Thresher will continue to ... talk about popculture, and avoid any real, actual work at all costs.
When Hrabe isn’t cranking out new webisodes of “Hey, Shipwreck,” he’s working on a full-length illustrated movie, “Join the Navy,” about his experiences as a recruiter.
The first season of “Hey, Shipwreck” is available on DVD and Hrabe welcomes orders through tubedaze.com. He’s also on Facebook and MySpace.
For more on “Hey, Shipwreck” or Hrabe's new project “Join the Navy,” go to www.tubedaze.com.