Despite being an fairly new vehicle in terms of creation, the Charon actually has quite a long history behind it stretching back to the first horrible version of Dan’s voyage!

The Charon IV

Like i said in theĀ History of the Trailhawk article back during the horrible first run of Dan’s Voyage I kept swapping out Dan’s vehicle every now an again and one of those vehicles was a Red Volvo semi truck with hover pods instead of wheels. I think i was inspired by BTTF and Vigilante 8 second offense around this time, and just as quickly as he acquired the hover truck he traded it away for a white Tracker, and this idea wasn’t really seen again…

modern recreation of the thing
After the first run of Dan’s Voyage was over I was almost aimlessly trying to create random ideas for a while there, stories and stuff to see if i can make a new comic series out of them, a few of those random ideas included a space train that combined the shape and function of a diesel locomotive with the aesthetics of the space shuttle. a small cargo tractor that shuttled freight around in orbit.

1Space train2orbital space tractor

and finally the first prototypes of what would eventually become the Charon IV!!! I think the main spark that started my want to design a new space truck/train was started by an episode of Cowboy Bebop where the crew go to a space truck stop for reasons that I forgot… In that episode they had cargo ships that worked like flying road trains. where a small truck unit pulled around a string of a few cargo containers. I guess i really loved this idea and tried using something similar to design both an massive space train that was to carry a crew of humans to the center of the galaxy! and a smaller variant that functioned like a light intergalactic space truck to deliver supplies to smaller backwater worlds where sending a heavy freighter didn’t make financial sense. both of these concepts started the hexagonal shape, cab over nose and space train functions that would later be applied to the Charon IV

3 Jovian Slingshot redo3Space Truck

Not to long after this I started to really miss Dan’s Voyage due to what i was doing with MUGEN around this time. I started to do some concepting to revive the series, at first i wasn’t quite sure what do with Dan and thought that he needed a vehicle more substantial then just his car… this lead to the creation of the light personal cargo crane “The Alpha C” but this idea didn’t get very far as i decided to just have Dan hitch a ride with Joel in the redesigned Big Red and by the time I tried rebooting the series i ended up revising the concept of a space trucks again, this would give Dan some more freedom like in the original comic an thus the Charon IV was born!

Dan Space Truck Charon IVDans Parking Charon IV


Named after the Moon of Pluto and inspired mostly by the Nova N103 concept the Charon was designed to be a simple cheap ratty old space truck from an earlier era with mismatched paneling, dulled paint and an off colored ion booster, that could house a person or two as it ferries cargo around the various human colonized worlds as a means of bringing Dan some income as well as allowing him to visit a number of worlds on a regular basis! this Proto Charon wasn’t to much bigger then the Big Red though. and could only really house a single vehicle in it’s cargo bay, it’s primary mode of cargo transport was to tow containers along. but when Eric started helping me better flesh out the story and thus world. I ended up having to up size the Charon to be able to fit the Trailhawk, the Bogey and the Big Red inside it’s cargo bay. and due to the size boost also came the bonus of more living area being able to house a crew of 4 now instead of just 1 or 2.

New Horizons ReturnDVv Space Truckers Saved ChristmasDV Vehicle Referance Charon IV

Now for Erics Take on the Charon IV.

When I started writing Dan’s Voyage for Alex, I found the Charon IV an incredibly interesting vehicle to work with in the story. It was perfect to serve as the home for the characters despite not really being designed for it, but what I found extremely interesting was the name. In classical mythology Charon was the boatman of the river Styx, he guided the dead from our world to the next. The Charon IV could be seen as a modern interpretation of the legend, carrying the lost and confused youth of our solar system across the insurmountable void of the stars, to new worlds that they could not even begin to imagine.

Alex had no idea that he had done this accidently, and had only picked the name because he thought it sounded cool. But no less it makes for an interesting parallel to classical fiction, and helps establish a tone for readers who know of the classic Charon. The number of the ship also produced an interesting effect, leading the group upon the ship to being named the “C4” as there are four of them, and they are aboard the Charon. The group of course also shares its name with the deadly explosive, a parallely to the often dangerous and unpredictable adventures the group finds themselves in.