I’ve called this piece “The Body Electric”. It is another of my tinkerings with taking a very old anatomical illustration and subjecting it to a process of cybernetic conversion, the idea being to depict early experiments to produce a functional Cyberman and to consider what might lurk beneath their metal exteriors…
The title, “The Body Electric” comes from a book, “The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life” by Robert O. Becker and Gary Selden in which Becker, an orthopaedic surgeon, describes his research into “our bioelectric selves”. Becker set out to examine why normal bones heal, and then explore the reasons why bones fail to heal properly. His experiments were mostly with salamanders and frogs, and his scope was widened to studying regeneration after lesions such as limb amputation. He suspected that electric fields played an important role for controlling the regeneration process, and therefore mapped the electric potentials at various body parts during the regeneration. This mapping showed that the central parts of the body normally was positive, and the limbs negative. When a limb of a salamander or frog was amputated, the voltage at the cut was lessened —a phenomenon called the current of injury. In a frog, the voltage would simply change to the normal negative after some weeks, and no limb regeneration would take place. In a salamander, however, the voltage would eventually normalize —and the limb would be regenerated. The electric field changes turned out to be caused by currents in the nerves, and the limb regeneration occurred from red blood cells. Becker later observed several interesting properties of bones and bone growth, proposing that bones are semiconductors and piezoelectric in nature. These tie into the healing process by electrically stimulating bone marrow cells to differentiate into a form of adult stem cells which regrew the bone from within by regeneration. By applying external electrical stimulation in the proper form, he was able to induce bone healing in patients whose bones had failed to heal together. Later in his research, observing from prior research that silver had been used as an antibacterial material in the past, he used a combination therapy of silver with electrical stimulation to drive silver ions further into tissue to enhance its antibacterial action. With proper stimulation fibroblasts would dedifferentiate and apparently became able to form new cell types, leading to the possibility of wider uses for regenerative healing in humans and other animals.
Quote from “The Body Electric”: “the (‘positive silver’) technique makes it possible to produce large numbers of dedifferentiated cells, overcoming the main problem of mammalian regeneration – the limited number of bone marrow cells that dedifferentiate in response to electrical current alone. Whatever its precise mode of action may be, the electrically generated silver ion can produce enough cells for human blastemas; it has restored my belief that full regeneration of limbs, and perhaps other body parts, can be accomplished in humans.”
My bit of art simply plays with what the early Cybermen might have done with experiments of this kind, attempting to regenerate their failing bodies and adding ever more cybernetic technology to themselves in order to prolong their lives – at any cost. “We Will Survive” – or at least, a few bits might…
The Doctor Who redesign project
– by Niklas Jansson
“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something… silver-ish.”
- There was a hose going asymmetrically across the shoulder on an old concept art piece, I wanted have that asymmetry to break up the bilateralism.
- The bandy balls on the joints are from The Moonbase.
- The joint tubes and tight diving suit are from The Wheel in Space. The chest/shoulder (lower pecs) have a hard edge to them, giving the impression that there’s not a soft body under the suit there.
- The bandages are from The Tenth Planet, but I moved them to the wrists to break up the suit into parts, which serves to enhance the cyborg look. It also makes them look a bit like walking dead with a violent medical history.
- The face is from the new 2006 series Cybermen. If the steel mask is removed a bandage face from The Tenth Planet can be seen.
- The horns are an experiment.
- The gun is devenloped from The Tenth Planet belly flash weapon.
- The rust material on the horns are from a spaceship seen in The Revenge of the Cybermen. I also use this material on my Cybermen spaceship designs.
- I like Gun Metal / Brushed Metal. I don’t like shiny silver.
The Cybermen ships are partly inspired by the ships seen in Wheel of time, The Invasion, and Revenge of the Cybermen.
The Invader (longest ship) has a central honeycomb structure containing invasion ships. The main cannon is some kind of large accelerator, and there are also a bunch of ‘smaller’ turrets.
The transport is modular and can stretch on, repeating the cargo segments.
Other Doctor Who redesigns can be seen on the Doctor Who Redesign Project homepage here
I’ve called this image “We Shall Cast Off The Weakness Of The Flesh”.
This is just something I was playing with. It is based on a 16th Century anatomical study by Juan Valverde de Amusco called “Anatomia del corpo humano” which shows a cadaver apparently having removed its own skin with a knife to reveal the muscle structure beneath. I’ve (obviously) somewhat heavily added to this, giving the figure a “10th Planet” style Cyberman head (the original design from their first ever appearance on TV) and then rather gone to town on adding cybernetic life support systems to the body, and generally mucking about with things, playing on the idea of Mondas (the Cybermen’s home planet) being a dying world set adrift from a regular orbit to wander on its path and the Mondasians choosing to abandon their humanity in search of cybernetic immortality – as the Cybermen say, “We Will Survive”. In the Cybermen’s case, the shedding of their skins is both symbolic and literal, as along with their failing organic body parts they also chose to discard their other “limitations” – emotions – in favour of pure logic, and thus in the process of making themselves free from the “weaknesses of the flesh” – love, desire, hatred, ambition, joy (and so on) they become something less than human; true “monsters” – because they are in essence humanity without any saving graces, with no purpose other than survival for the sake of survival. Life in essence is only worth living because of the very limitations of the flesh; to discard ones humanity is to become a true Cyberman.
“You Will Be Like Us” – let’s hope not…
I’ve added a page of Cyberman (re)designs from “Librarian-bot” – it is well worth having a look at the page here
“DarkAngelDTB” produced these designs as part of a game he was developing
Doctor Who – The Animated Series was a proposed cartoon version of Doctor Who.
In the early 1990s, whilst the BBC were in negotiation with David Segal and CBS, they were also in talks with Canadian animation house Nelvana (who made such shows as “Droids” and “‘The Raccoons”) with regard to producing an animated version of Doctor Who.
Concept sketches were prepared by artist Ted Bastien and scriptwriting had begun when the project was cancelled.
This is Ted Bastien’s concept sketch for a “Dr Who – The Animated Series” Cyberman.
These designs are based upon Matthew Savage’s vision of the Cyberman as presented in his tutorial for ImagineFX magazine issue 39
Matthew Savage’s Original
Guthrie Watson’s Version of the design
“I went ahead and did the “cyberman” workshop in the January issue of Imagine FX and wanted to get some feedback on it. Rather than use Matthew’s existing sketch, I created my own. I wanted to give my cyberman a little more of a post-apocalyptic feel. The layout, basic shade, and elements are essentially followed from the tutorial, however there are some differences. I used different textures and bolt elements, moved the metal handles to a different angle, added eyes, and gave each robot 3 headlamps instead of one. In addition to a critique of the art, I wanted to know people’s opinions on how best to represent art that has been created from a tutorial. I obviously can’t say it was my concept, but I do feel as if the character is distinct enough to be my own.”
A wider selection of Steampunk Cyberman designs has been added to the gallery here
“Illegal Alien” is/was-to-be a Cyberman story featuring the 7th Doctor and Ace.
“Illegal Alien” was under consideration as a three-part script for the 1990 season of Doctor Who. It was never produced as the original run of Doctor Who ceased production in 1989. A novelization of “Illegal Alien” (which is for the most part close to the original proposed TV story) was published as a (now out of print) novel by BBC Books, written by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry.
The story that became the novel was originally submitted as a television script to have been part of Season 28 of the original series of Doctor Who. It was initially submitted under a pseudonym as Mike Tucker had been known within the BBC as having predominately worked with special effects.
“Illegal Alien” (the unproduced TV story) was a Cyberman story set in the 1940s, originally submitted just prior to the production of “The Curse of Fenric Tucker and Robert Perry were asked to re-submit it for the following season as Fenric was also set in the 1940s.
Mike Tucker noted in Doctor Who Magazine about the writing of the novel (and its TV heritage) that –
“Illegal Alien was originally written in script form. When I (Mike Tucker) was writing the novel, the early part I was working from our original script to get all the dialogue for the novel, so that was quite nice for me – it was the novelising of an unmade story in effect. The opening two parts of Illegal Alien, when it finally hits the bookshelves, is damn near what was in the scripted version. When it does come out it may show some of the problems, in that it would have been a very expensive production, which could ultimately have been its downfall.”
(Doctor Who Magazine #255)