Tag Archive for science

Collie-Cyborg Art Series by Dmitry Izotov

The very first Beholder strip for Blueprint Magazine centered around the theme of “Death”. I chose to take an approach that asked the question: “Why do humans value death?”

My answer was to use a mad scientist transplanting the head of his beloved canine best friend onto a new human body so that it could live on with continued, unhindered, blissful happiness.

A series of images started cropping up in my Google Reader and I (unexplainably) scrolled past them to check out later. I assumed they were science journal designs to compliment the experiments of Vladimir Demihov in the 1950s, concerning his experiments with dog head transplants. Dr. Robert White would later conduct similar experiments with the monkey heads. Christiaan Barnard, who considered Demihov his teacher, would be the first to successfully transplant a heart from one person to another in 1967. And so, these historical facts were the basis of the concept behind my Beholder #1.

Artist Dmitry Izotov manufactured a series of images that pushed the history of “transplantology” forward in a “What if…” scenario. The images are quite fascinating and realistic. He starts the series off with the following blurb:

The end of the 1950s and the beginning of 1960s was a time of significant achievements in the sphere of scientific experiments worldwide and in the USSR. During those years, Soviet scientist started bold experiments on animals. A whole series of pioneering experiments was carried out at the University of Moscow and the Academy of Science. And as early as 1950 a Russian scientist Vladimir Demihov surprised the whole world when he transplanted the head of one dog onto another one. The two headed dog lived for a whole month.

At the beginning of the Cold War, all efforts of Soviet science were concentrated on creating a perfect weapon. A secret Soviet project to create a robot-cyborg was started in 1958. The scientific consultant was a Nobel Prize laureate V.Manuilov. As well as designers, medics and engineers also took part in the construction of the robot. Mice, rats and dogs were used in experiments to test if it was safe for humans. The use of monkeys was also considered, but dogs were chosen as they were easier to train and were calmer than monkeys. Consequently this project got the name “The Kollie” and existed for almost 10 years. Under orders from the Central Committee on 4th January 1969 project “The Kollie” was closed down, and all the information became classified.

In 1991 all information about project “The Kollie” became unclassified.

This places it into an area of historical relevance, expanding on the lifespan of “Kollie” to 10 years, whereas, Demihov’s two-headed dog lasted one month in a state deemed “alive” by science. I like how the statement claims that a dog was used instead of a monkey because dogs would be easier to train and were calmer. Here are the staged/manipulated images Dmitry Izotov then offers to support the well-constructed illusion:

Remarkable! What an elaborate piece of work! All this based on a wire model and great graphic design skills. The rest creates a wonderful, believable illusion of possibilities that are equally discomforting and fascinating!

The most rewarding part of all this is when you keep scrolling down his gallery of photos until you get to the placement of the Collie-Cyborg amongst people in real life. This has comic-making possibilities written all over it and it’s the type of thing you’d expect to one day see in a Mike Mignola “Hellboy” or “B.P.R.D.” book!

PORTFOLIO: Behance Network, Dmitry Izotov, “The Kollie”
LIVEJOURNAL: Dmitry Izotov

Trip to the Moon: A Visit to Cowboy Western Comic, 1953

I’ve been reading old golden age western comics for the last week. It started, in part, because I am “researching” for a possible new project on the horizon. On a secondary level, I was curious and have been reading superhero or war hero golden age stuff off and on for the last few months–again a bit out of simple curiosity, and a bit for brain food to chew on later.

The below page is from Capital Stories Inc., or otherwise known as “Charlton Comics”, in a one-page “story” titled “Trip to the Moon“. It’s not REALLY a story because it’s actually an informative piece that discusses the future of space travel and–oh hells yes–the reality of man traveling to the moon. Not just men like Neil Armstrong over a decade later, but ANY man!

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After reading it I chuckled at some of the awesome enthusiasm in the narrative. I had to step back so that I could put into focus a time when this was actually released–and then I read it again. It was the kind of thing that COULD have come out of a creative story-teller’s mind. It was REAL possible and presumably TANGIBLE science fiction come to life! This would have been a phenomenal experience to have as a teenager back in the 50s!

Below is a list of observations I had during the first reading, thoughts I had after I was done reading the page, and then thoughts I had after reading it again to ponder further what has come since the time it was written.

  1. The Hayden Planetarium was taking applications for people to take trips to the moon in 1953?!? WHAT?! Awesome, right? Except that, as we know half a century later, this never happened, or is even PLANNED to happen anymore. At least not with the support from the Hayden Planetarium. That’s right folks, they now have a website and are more focused in bringing the frontier of astrophysics to the public via exhibitions, books, public programs and online resources. They couldn’t take you 75-year-olds to the stars, but they sure as hell do their part to bring knowledge of the stars to you! I really hope 25,000 never PAID to fill out those applications though. Dreams destroyed by a shredding machine.
  2. Having an possible endorsement in a comic book calling out would-be astronauts in 1954 is WAY ahead of its time… and reality. The first scientist astronaut selection process began in 1964 in which NASA received 1400 applications (most of which by men). In 1977, during the third selection round, 8000 applications were reviewed (this time 1/3 were from women). Even during this round only a few hundred were deemed fit for the challenge. The fact that this comic page could have helped at least start the youthful American enthusiasm to start studying to be an astronaut is very exciting to me.
  3. The comic page mentions interplanetary trips within 25 years. The truth of the matter is that it came 16 years later in 1969 with Apollo 11. There have only been 9 manned missions to the moon, 6 of which actually landed, with a total of 12 men having walked on the surface. All this happened between 1969 and 1972. That’s it. The vision and dreams in the panel were and still are commendable, but alas now we have everyone focused on the next big thing: Mars. Imagine that 56 years later!
  4. Apollo 16, in 1969 dollar currency, cost up to $25 billion–that’s about $135 in 2005 dollar value. I think the dream of nuclear fission rocket engines turning this dream into possibility is pretty much out the window… especially during “today’s economic crisis”.
  5. In 1953 it couldn’t possibly have been known how long it would take to even GET to the moon–so they didn’t even bother guessing in fantastical ways that would likely have been a humorous attempt looking back at it today. Apollo 17 took about 3 days to travel the 400,000 km. The comic panel wasn’t too far off as to the top speeds though. According to Harrison H. Schmitt’s report on his Apollo 17 mission, they eventually reached about 25,000km/h. So, “well over” that amount was a bit of another dream fulfillment–but for a 16-year-away estimate. That wasn’t too bad!
  6. Although many geological studies were done on the spot and plenty moon rock samples collected and thousands of photos collected, the last panel was once again a bit too eager in its prediction. Many future trips equalled exactly 6 landed explorations within 3 years before funding was cut and the program was shut down. Cost is still a major factor 55 years after this comic–even if you ignore the required selection process and requirements individuals need to pass. No other exploration trips have been attempted by governments much less funded, organised, executed and made profitable by Google Microsoft corporations.

Republic Domain Special 02: Love Hertz

Another special Republic Domain strip comes to you this fine New Year’s Eve day! This strip, like the first special, was included in a steampunk fanzine entitled “Gatehouse Gazette”. You can download this most recent issue (for free of course) over at The Gatehouse website. The request for this strip’s direction was one that revolved around romance and science–the theme of the magazine–so how could I NOT revisit the topic of one of Webtertainment.tv’s earliest lowdowns on “Love” and the chemical/scientific studies done concerning our “emotions”.

I’m mildly embarrassed (and irritated) to admit that the title “Love Hertz”–a seemingly obvious one for this theme–took me longer to come up with than the strip itself.

Fanzine Issue’s Synopsis:

Let “The Romance of Science” enchant you with the fourth and winter issue of the Gatehouse Gazette.

Discover that winter is the perfect season for steampunk fashion in the columns of Miss Hilde Heyvaert and learn that it is the perfect time for gin again from Mr Craig B. Daniel. Read an interview with steampunk artist Miss Molly “Porkshanks” Friedrich and enjoy an exclusive preview of the upcoming steampunk MMORPG Remnants of Skystone by Col. Adrianna Hazard!

Download Gatehouse Gazette