WABAC machine

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Three years ago, straight out of school, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work on Peabody and Sherman. Not only did I love the aesthetic of Jay Ward and the premise of a genius dog and his pet boy, I had the chance to work with a team of tremendous talent. The array of places in time periods and richness in Peabody’s world as a result of the WABAC (time traveling machine) made this show particularly fun to work on. The art team was led by our production designer, David James and the amazing Tim Lamb, as art director.

I’m happy to say that I have grown hugely as an artist, over the course of this film. The following is a body of selected works from my time on Peabody and Sherman.
All images are property of DreamWorks Animation.

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A List of 2014’s Animated Films:

Jack & the Cuckoo-Clock Heart - 2/5

Jack & the Cuckoo-Clock Heart is Stéphane Berla and Mathias Malzieu’s French language, stop-motion adaptation of Malzieu’s fantasy/romance novel, La Mécanique du Cœur. The story revolves around the titular Jack, a young man born in 1870s Scotland on ‘the coldest day ever.’ Because of the extreme cold, Jack’s heart stops beating. An attending midwife saves him by replacing his heart with a cuckoo-clock, only this has an unintended side effect: Jack must never get angry or excited, or the clock will stop working. As he grows up, Jack realizes that he also cannot risk falling in love, because that too could stop his fragile, clockwork heart!

The LEGO Movie - 2/7

In the LEGO universe, an ordinary minifigure named Emmet (Chris Pratt) is mistaken as being the Special—the last living Master Builder—who can save the LEGO universe. With the help of an old mystic named Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), a tough young lady named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Batman (Will Arnett) along with a small troupe of LEGO DC Heroes, Emmet will have to unlearn everything he saw in the instructions and learn the power of imagination to defeat the evil tyrant Lord Business (Will Ferrell) who is bent on destroying the nature of LEGO universe and recreating it as he sees fit by gluing it together.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman - 3/7

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an upcoming American 3D computer-animated comedy adventure film based on the characters from the Peabody’s Improbable History segments of the 1960s animated television series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. The film features Mr. Peabody, a talking dog who is the smartest being in the world, and his adopted boy Sherman. When Sherman’s misuse of their time traveling WABAC machine results in disastrous and comical results, it is up to them to put things on track before the space-time continuum is irreparably destroyed. It is produced by DreamWorks and directed by Rob Minkoff.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 - 6/13

It has been five years since Hiccup and Toothless successfully united dragons and Vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snotlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. At the beginning, Hiccup is pressured by Stoick to start a family and become chief, but Hiccup rebels by flying away from Berk and exploring new lands. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. Now, Hiccup and Toothless must unite to stand up for what they believe while recognizing that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons. HTTYD2 is a DreamWorks film directed by Dean DeBlois.

Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary  - Summer 2014

Legend of Sanctuary is the sixth movie — but the first CG film — based on Masami Kurumada’s manga Saint Seiya. Originally serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine from January 1986 to December 1990, the series was later collected in 28 volumes. Toei adapted the manga in an animated series which aired on TV Asahi from October 11, 1986 to April 1, 1989. The Saint Seiya anime continued with theatrical films, an OVA series, and the current TV series. The new film is based on an original story by Masami Kurumada and focuses on Sanctuary, the hidden realm ruled by Athena that strives to maintain peace on Earth. SS:LoS is directed by Keiichi Sato, whose credits include Tiger & Bunny and  Asura.

Omoide no Marnie - Summer 2014

Studio Ghibli’s next film will be an adaptation of Joan G. Robinson’s English children’s novel classic When Marnie Was There. The story: Anna hasn’t a friend in the world - until she meets Marnie among the sand dunes. But Marnie isn’t all she seems. An atmospheric ghost story with truths to tell about friendship, families and loneliness. Anna lives with foster parents, a misfit with no friends, always on the outside of things. Then she is sent to Norfolk to stay with old Mr and Mrs Pegg, where she runs wild on the sand dunes and around the water. There is a house, the Marsh House, which she feels she recognizes - and she soon meets a strange little girl called Marnie, who becomes Anna’s first ever friend. Then one day, Marnie vanishes. A new family, the Lindsays, move into the Marsh House. Having learned so much from Marnie about friendship, Anna makes firm friends with the Lindsays - and learns some strange truths about Marnie, who was not all she seemed. Hiromasa Yonebayashi is returning to direct his second film after 2010’s The Secret World of Arrietty.

The Boxtrolls - 9/26

The film tells the story of an orphaned boy named Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) who was raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors called the boxtrolls. The boxtrolls are targeted by an evil exterminator named Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley), and Eggs has to save his friends from that evil exterminator. The Boxtrolls is a Laika film, directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi.

Book of Life - 10/17

The film is described as the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds, where he must face his greatest fears. Directed by Jorge Gutierrez.

Big Hero 6 - 11/7

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes Big Hero 6, an action comedy adventure about brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. With the help of his closest companion - a robot named Baymax - Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action and all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios. Directed by Chris Williams and Don Hall.

Home - 11/26

Home is based on the 2007 Adam Rex’s children’s book The True Meaning of Smekday. When an overly optimistic, yet inept, alien race named Boov, led by Captain Smek, invades Earth to hide from their mortal enemy and make it a new home. Convinced they are doing a favor, they begin to relocate the human race, but one resourceful girl, Tip, manages to avoid capture. When on the run, she is accompanied with a banished Boov, named Oh, who has accidentally notified the enemies of his whereabouts. Home is a DreamWorks film, directed by Tim Johnson.

Also being released in 2014:

Gekijō-ban Tiger & Bunny -The Rising, Giovanni’s Island, The Jungle Book, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, The Nut Job, The Pirate Fairy, Pokémon XY the Movie: The Cocoon of Destruction, Planes: Fire & Rescue, Rio 2.

Note: Plot descriptions were culled from a variety of sources including Wikipedia and press releases.

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I never,,ever,,,ever understood why Mr Peabody was soo cold to Sherman,,, till I saw this. He just doesn’t know how to express or give love… And that’s so sad. I can’t imagine how it should have been being soo different as nobody wants to be close to you. And because of this, he adopted Sherman. He didn’t want Sherman to pass over the same situations that he passed, he wanted Sherman to have a better childhood than his one,, he wanted his kid to have a home,, and he gave him that and even a looot more. And that’s something only a good dad will do,,,want his son to have a better life than his own one.

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Can we take 5 minutes to look at the Peabody’s eyes,,,he’s just… he looks soo happy,,it’s like he’s going to cry!

And then look at Sherman,, he’s just like the cutest little thing in the world!!

Normal person listening to the song “Beautiful Boy (Darling boy)” by John Lennon:

Me listening to the song “Beautiful Boy (Darling boy)” by John Lennon:

Birth control, way back when: the 1920s-30s

 

Modern life isn’t perfect, but there are definitely some perks–like a whole lot of options when it comes to birth control. So which methods were U.S. couples using in the days of yore, while dialing land-lines and watching Bewitched? Let’s get in the WABAC machine and find out!

*****

Even after Margaret Sanger’s rabble-rousing, things didn’t improve much on the birth control front in the Roaring ‘20s. After a huge number of American soldiers returned from World War I with venereal disease (STIs or STDs in modern lingo), condoms became more common but were still only available to men with a doctor’s prescription. And here’s the kicker: they were only prescribed to prevent STIs, never to control fertility. (A married couple couldn’t get a prescription for condoms!) And while in theory a woman could get a prescription of birth control for “therapeutic use,” in practice it was difficult to find a sympathetic doctor to grant such a request.

Without access to reliable birth control options, women were essentially left with abstinence as their only effective option. Though abortions were illegal in the '20s (along with booze), that didn’t stop desperate women from seeking them out in droves. 5,000 women a year died of complications from an illegal abortion. The '30s and the Great Depression didn’t offer much more hope: women tried to use “feminine hygiene” products like douches, jellies, and suppositories as alternatives to abstinence.

Though the future must have looked bleak, activists like Margaret Sanger continued working to change the prevailing attitudes toward birth control throughout the '20s and '30s. At the same time, scientists were making great strides in understanding fertility, with researchers in this period calculating the first accurate fertility cycles and identifying the hormones progesterone and estrogen. Behind the struggles of the '20s and '30s, the necessary first steps toward widespread, effective, and legal hormonal and barrier birth control were being taken.

*****

“Birth Control Review 1919” by SasiSasi.

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This compare and contrast is by no means complete–various other parts of the new door are assimilated from the old one. The problem is that the background drawings were outsourced, so the show’s version of the WABAC was wildly inconsistent. For this to be comprehensive I’d have to draw from dozens of other shorts, all with competing versions of this thing. I think I hit all the salient points, though.

I’m still not entirely sure what the heck those tubes are.

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Peabody has been the whole movie treating Sherman as if he wasn’t old enough to do some kind of things… like driving the WABAC… And then,,suddenly,,he says “You have to drive”,, that it’s the same as saying “You’re old enough to do it, Sherman. I trust you”

Just look at Sherman’s eyes… He’s shocked,,but decided to prove that he can do it!! :3

Birth control, way back when: the 1970s

Modern life isn’t perfect, but there are definitely some perks–like a whole lot more options when it comes to birth control. But what methods were couples using in the days of yore, while dialing land lines and watching Bewitched? Let’s get in the WABAC machine and find out!

*****

The first birth control pills had way higher doses of hormones than today’s pills and the Senate held hearings in 1970 about their safety. Lower-dose birth control pills were manufactured after the risks of high doses of estrogen to women’s health were brought to light.

The Supreme Court’s 1972 Baird v. Eisenstadt ruling established that all women had a right to access birth control. The struggles for access of the 1960s were over—but new problems were on the horizon.

IUDs were trendy in the 70s, and one popular brand, the Dalkon Shield, turned out to have a flawed design that caused serious health problems and damaged the IUD’s reputation for many years. What could have been the heyday of one of the most effective methods instead turned a generation of women away from IUDs for good.

The silver lining? After Dalkon, the FDA began thoroughly vetting all medical devices, making future birth control innovations safer for everyone. Today, IUDs are one of the safest, most effective methods around, and have finally earned their spot in the limelight.

Groovy;)

****Dalkon Shield image by User:RatchickAndy (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.