The brilliantly illustrated log recounting the epic exploits of the 19th century adventurer Kermit van Rensselaer was discovered purely by happenstance in 1997. Dr. Johannes Shenk, DDO was attending a private auction of the rare paintings of a lost tribe of South America known as the Utori Banan. After winning a lot of more than 800 Utori paintings depicting men defecating into the mouths of fish and reptiles, Dr. Shenk dropped one of the paintings – believed to be executed on cured animal skin – and discovered that they were actually painted on the backs of overlapping sheets of paper. More amazing still, the sheets appeared to be individual pages from a journal or diary. Dr. Shenk immediately donated all of the paintings to the American Society of Antiquarian Texts who, in turn, began the laborious and delicate process of taking apart the hundreds of pages and then ordering them. Curiously, the pigments used in the paintings were dated at over six centuries old, but the paper and ink used was only a bit more than a century old.

Once the magnitude of the find had become clear, ancient texts expert Christopher Ferrara and art restoration expert Calvin Wong began painstakingly transcribing the text and restoring the accompanying illustrations. We are now pleased to present the journals of Kermit van Rensselaer, made available incrementally as the restoration work is completed.


As the Infinite Bravado sliced through the entrance to the wine-dark sea, the great Pillars of Herakles stood stark and imposing, as if to remind man of his infinitesimally inconsequential nature when compared to the majesty of The Lord Our God. Instructing my man-at-arms to explode a great salvo of cannon-fire at the rocky southern facet, I watched in casual disinterest as a great clutch of Barbary Apes plunged into the sea. Returning my attention to matters of greater consequence, I could not help but reflect upon the circumstances which have brought me to traverse once more the surface of the Mare Internum in the service of that noble minister of state, Chester A. Arthur.

The magical lamp of Far-Araby, secreted away since time immemorial in the foreboding City of Brass; it consumed my every waking thought and in truth, haunted my dreams as well. Since the days of the Great Flood, legend has told of the city first cleansed of sin by the fearsome deluge, then buried beneath the sun-blasted desert sands to stand empty until the day of Man’s Final Judgment.

The voyage across the Atlantic was quite calm and almost entirely without notable occurrence save for one, which I shall relate to you, gentle reader. For it was during the second week of our intrepid trek across that wild and vital ocean that a great bird did berth upon our fine vessel. This fine bird was unfamiliar to even my considerable experience in Ornithological matters, stood quite tall when upright, dwarfing even the greatest of my crewmen in both height and weight, though more commonly was seen to stoop about across the deck, weighted down by the great mass of it’s talon-encrusted upper-limbs.

As it set down upon the deck, the great avian beast reared up immediately upon it’s hind haunches with deadly intent towards any crewman who would attempt approach. Two stout sea dogs were quickly disemboweled and of terrible fortune, the pernicious predator managed to demolish an invaluable casket of Port from my own private stocks. This finest of liquors was acquired personally from the King of Portugal and I skulked below decks with fearsome intent that I might acquire the means to revenge my lost libations.

Retrieving my great rifle Dido (For she is of surety the Queen of Africa as much as her classical namesake and together we have brought rule to both man and beast upon the Dark Continent) I resolved to make short work of the rapacious raptor. But no sooner did I poke up my head above the deck then I was confronted with a most wondrous sight. For the fierce feathered foe had emptied the contents of another cargo container across the deck, this one storing a quantity of smoked vittles and other mature delicacies.

Like a bolt of black lightning Confucius shot from beneath a damp pile of rags where he had taken refuge from the raptor’s wrath, raising up a terrible yammering in his incomprehensible native tongue. With wild gestures and signs the perfidious pipsqueak confronted the coarse cockerel and it occurred to me that perhaps my constant impressions of courage and valour had finally had some effect.

Alas! The famished flamboyant sought merely to gather up the spilled succulents, his sooty little cheeks puffed out as he stuffed his fat mouth with whatever he could gather, his thick arms and vest filled in comical fashion as he made to stave off the great gander with one hand and draw in damaged dining with his other. Finding no threat in this nincompoop of a Negro, this fat-framed fop, the savage starling raised up it’s mighty winged talons to deliver the killing blow.

With eyes awide I took careful measure that I might one day describe the queer habits of this uncommon cuckoo to the Royal Ornithological Society, who perhaps in reward might name the strange beast in my honor. "Van Rensselaer’s Voluminous Vogel" perhaps, or "Kermit’s Krazed Kite." Leveling Queen Dido upon a nearby crate I awaited a clean shot and thought for a moment as to whether it might be safer to shoot Confucius clean through as well and prevent the unfortunate mangling of his corpse which would be a severe detriment to the successful preservation of the pot-bellied pygmy for posterity. My mind focused on the gala opening at the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, pulling back the curtain to reveal the bird and Confucius, locked in eternal combat as a lesson for all of the world.

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