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Remember when the Cybermen were creepy? by Jemibunny Remember when the Cybermen were creepy? by Jemibunny
"...you know what makes Jason Voorhees such a striking figure? It's because from a distance you see nothing but his hulking form and black spots where his eyes should be. Closer up, you can see just a touch of the face behind the mask, that one baleful eye. The first Cybermen were like that."

Knowing what retro Sonic fans can be like, I hate to be so puritannical about this. I like Cybermen a lot, and Cybus Cybermen are the only low point for me... I think it's because they're so far away from this concept. I can't deny anymore that these are my favourites. As much as I like Cybermen in general, and the new Nightmare in Silver design... if I had my way, they'd go all the way back to their roots and look like this, but... updated somehow, obviously.

I bet most Who fans don't know what this is. This is the original Cyberman costume from 1966's The Tenth Planet. It's an important story in the show's history, first time the Doctor regenerates, first Cyberman story ever. In the audio drama Spare Parts, the Fifth Doctor lands on Mondas while the Cybermen are being created. It's a much better story than Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel.

I heard someone (on the set of Nightmare in Silver, I think) saying that "Cool slot-like mouth and a more blank, fitted headpiece. And dare I say it, as close to cloth faces as would work in 2012." What an idiot.

Right up to Silver Nemesis, the Cybermen always had a suit of some kind underneath that wasn't armor, that you can see, and you know there's a man inside wearing it. But people's headcanons of what's inside a Cyberman has always been so inconsistent and confused... I mean Rise of the Cybermen states that the Lumic versions are a brain in a suit, but then the way people are converted in the new series seems to contradict that, and one Cybus head in the Pandorica Opens has a whole human skull inside it. In Revenge, Tom Baker's Doctor said they were "Total machine creatures," and different accounts have said they've replaced everything they possibly can. But a low budget tv program like classic Doctor Who could never achieve that, so conversion is more of a Borg-ish "take away bits and pieces and add bits on".

In Tenth Planet Cyberman figure review he says that what he likes about these Cybermen is that they have replaced bits and pieces. It's not a robot with a stupid C on its chest. I'm glad the Cybermen are finally more sinister looking, but it's only a small step. I think Neil Gaiman would probably agree with me, but not enough for my liking.

The more I think about it, the more I think the BBC version of Doctor Who HAS to pander to as wide an audience as possible, so Big Finish audios are just naturally better at... being what makes Doctor Who great. Doctor Who is successful, and the more successful something gets the more pressure it gets to make money. There's always the danger of getting too adult or horrific.... I wish the same kind of happy accident could happen again, with something primitive and terrifying, but terrifying because we don't have the technology to make it look any "better" quote unquote.

I guess it's just a matter of personal taste at the end, but the fact remains...Big Finish are lucky they're making DW for a specialized audience with a sense of nostalgia for past Doctors and past shows.

Inevitably one day I'm going to use all my ideas for my own stories about fictional cyborgs... not exactly Cybermen, but something that's a love letter to Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis' original concept as much as a fantastic adventure in a steampunk world.
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:iconkingofpriderock:
kingofpriderock Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2016  Hobbyist
Original Cyberman are scarier to me . I especially like their voices .
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:iconmagshi:
magshi Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015  Student Digital Artist
They still are creepy, even more so now that they actually look like souless humanoid robots with empty eyes rather than some corny costume.

I don't mean to hate, i just can't see how the corny-looking cyberman costumes of the classic era could be scarier than their new age counterparts.
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:iconjemibunny:
Jemibunny Featured By Owner Edited Jul 4, 2015  Student General Artist
Corny? There's nothing corny about the old costumes, if anything humanoid robots are corny and overused in sci fi already anyway. There's nothing else like the old Cybermen, they stand out far better. At their best, they're like cyborgs like the Borg crossed with the Mummy or something, and that's unique. And if it's "corny," then maybe that's what I like about it.

But at least the worst of the corny stompy robots are behind us, I think... no more Cybusmen designs at least...

I don't wanna argue about it any further than this, because if you're not convinced by now then it's pointless even trying. At least you have Steven Moffat on your side.
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:iconmagshi:
magshi Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015  Student Digital Artist
That being said, you have to remember that post classic era the concept of the cyberman was reworked,
the only organic parts they have now is the brain and nerves, thats it. Hardly a cyborg.

But yes, lets not argue about it further.
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:iconjemibunny:
Jemibunny Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015  Student General Artist
Yeah well, I'd punch RTD and Tom Mcrae in the face, as well as the designers production team from 2005/6 who actually OKAYED the whole "brain in a robot suit" idea. They could have made something like Spare Parts, for TV, with creepy Cybermen that were more menacing and intelligent and independent of some human figurehead like Lumic or Miss Hartigan or the Master/Missy/whoever.

It's been said that the Cybermen haven't had a good episode since 1982 when Earthshock came out. I don't know if I'd go that far, since last year's Cybermen episodes were ones I liked, but it's kind of true... they NEVER had a good, strong story where they were their own entity, and working as a credible threat on their own like the sixties, seventies, and eighties.

Whatever the "philosophy" is towards bringing back classic series monsters like Cybermen and Sontarans, and Silurians, it's crap. Daleks and Zygons are a bit different, or more varied between good stories and bad ones, but no underlying problem in the BBC's whole attitude to said monsters. It's like the Daleks needed to be taken super seriously in 2005, to make up for their image, but other classic monsters just don't earn that much attention... so it's hard to say if they'll ever fix the inherent flaws and do them justice. Especially Sontarans and Silurians, they're even less of a household name than Cybermen, let alone Daleks.
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:iconmagshi:
magshi Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Now, you can't say that their hasn't been a good cyberman episode since
1982, Especially with "Nightmare in silver", "Dark Water" and "Death in Heaven"
are three particularly good ones.

Please leave other modern redesigns of old enemies out of this, before you can get all
huffy about it, the new design for the Silurians is fine, they are supposed to be human
like in appearance as well as retain their lizard characteristics. Their species name is
"homo reptilia", the first word in that name "homo" (in scientific terms) implies that the
creature is human-like. The sontarans look fine as well, but they do need another episode.

But you know what doctor who monster i think needs more screen time? Autons. There hasn't
been a single Auton-centric episode since S1 E1 of the new era, and that is really dissapointing,
Autons have a lot of potential and it is being wasted by confining them constantly to cameo
roles, which is why i'm praying that the Autons will FINALLY get another episode centered on
them in Season 9.
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:iconjemibunny:
Jemibunny Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2015  Student General Artist
I wish I could say I liked Nightmare in Silver...

But the other monsters aren't here nor there. There's still a problem bringing back old monsters, even from recent series like Weeping Angels or Silence. You can never please everybody and there's diehard fans who want every little thing to be correct and yet want it to be fresh and new, and then there are diehard fans who don't care about said old monster in the first place, so it's just way too tough. Regardless of how they look, however you write them somebody will say you got them wrong.

I have no idea why that was the only Auton story though, it's weird... and yet there are Cyberman stories and Silurian and Sontaran stories occasionally, and the Zygons coming back this year... maybe it could have been an Auton one instead....
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:iconjemibunny:
Jemibunny Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2014  Student General Artist
www.doctorwhotv.co.uk/capaldi-…
Even Peter Capaldi agrees with me. But Steven Moffat doesn't.
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:iconantediluvianwhovian:
AntediluvianWhovian Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Tru dat.
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:iconjemibunny:
Jemibunny Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014  Student General Artist
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:iconranisyowlum:
RanisYowlum Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2013
I wouldn't go as far as saying that rise of the tenth planet was much better that rise of the cybermen/age of steel. I think if that two parter was about the real mondasian cybermen, it would be the best cyberman story to date. It certainly is one of my favourites.
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:iconshiki-scarlet:
Shiki-Scarlet Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I agree the tenth planet Cybermen where fantastic. Most of the designs can easily be explained due to Mondus having a 1950s level of technology and having to work with what they had.

Plus the Cybermen work better as a race of survivors rather than armored borgs. They do cyber convert others but they don't go nuts about it or anything.

Personally While I loved episodes like Earthshock, Attack of the Cybermen and Silver Nemesis and even dug the design of the 1980s Cybermen, my one gripe with them was that they went from survivors who added people to there ranks to a bunch of destructive war lords that wanted to wipe humanity out for some reason, and they sounded like Darth vader.

As for the Cybus ones they felt like catchphrase spouting robots rather than converted humans and there stories really suffered villain decay under both RTD and Moffat, such as Cybermen in Victorian London helping some evil governess lady for some reason, Cybermen invading Tesco, Cybermen invading Alton Towers in space.

Also Spare parts was amazing, more people really need to check it out.
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:icondarkone10:
Darkone10 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013
I prefer the new Cybermen myself. They just feel like actual mechanical men instead of a guy in suit.
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:iconjemibunny:
Jemibunny Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013  Student General Artist
I guess I'm one of those "bring back the bubble wrap!" fans. I just like them better because they're less like robots and more.... post-human? Like a mummy or a zombie, something that was human once, but now just meat being kept fresh.

They feel like a guy in a suit, and that's exactly what I like about them.
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:iconthe-rarispy:
The-Rarispy Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I hated the Cybus Cybermen. It's hard to be creepy when their feet are going "STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP" all over the place. Nightmare in Silver was a little better, but yeah.

Then again, even in the classic series, I feel like they were really only effectively scary in The Tenth Plant and the early Troughton stories. Once it got to the "radio-head" design, the weakness to gold, and the hammy Cyber-Controller that likes to say "Excellent!" a lot, they started to lose their touch.
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:iconjemibunny:
Jemibunny Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Student General Artist
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:iconjemibunny:
Jemibunny Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Student General Artist
Isn't it telling that no other Cyberman head suits that comic panel any better?
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:iconrobot-electro-jones:
Robot-Electro-Jones Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013
Agreed with pretty much everything you said here.
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:iconsigmaskylord:
SigmaSkylord Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Student General Artist

I liked the fact that the Cybermen were always changing. That's part of their charm. They were always upgrading themselves.

I think by the time they were travelling in space in the Revenge of the Cybermen, there was little organic matter left.

The Cybermen are always trying to better themselves, so maybe they try upgrading humans in different ways.

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:iconmaxvision92:
maxvision92 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I think Earthshock was the last time we saw signs of their origins, the jaws of the Cyberman were visible in that.
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:iconsigmaskylord:
SigmaSkylord Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2013  Student General Artist
Well, considering that you can see the Cyberleader's brain...
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:iconjemibunny:
Jemibunny Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Student General Artist
I keep thinking of the new Cybermen saying "Upgrade in progress" every time I discover some new way of doing things. I just found out the figures of them could twist their arms. It's like they got an upgrade all of a sudden. So I can understand liking that about them, it's a memorable part of Nightmare in Silver.
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:iconsigmaskylord:
SigmaSkylord Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Student General Artist
I'm just annoyed that we aren't sure that the newer versions of the Cybermen aren't weak to gold. Because that was an awesome weakness.
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:iconrcxdirectrix:
rcxdirectrix Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i thought the greatest asset of the newest cybermen was that they could adapt to a weakness they encounter. like how they encountered gold again when the Doctor slapped a golden ticket on the cyber-part of his face, and the cybermen quickly created a patch for the gold weakness (or i think the Doctor implied that ^^; can't remember). so that would mean that the patch would have been uploaded to their history computer to be distributed to all cybermen.. thus abolishing the gold weakness... 
too overpowered if you ask me. i don't know how future script writers would deal with an overpowered cyber-race... they would have to "implode" (pfff, the planet actually exploded in the episode..) an entire planet... or destroy an entire cyberfleet by i dunno what means just to defeat them. 
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:iconsigmaskylord:
SigmaSkylord Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013  Student General Artist

Well gold clogs up their ventilation ducts or something and since it's non corrosive it wont go away, thus the Cyberman dies.

It was given that in the old series, especially when thy encountered a pure gold planet.

Its nice to have a big baddy have a terribly crippling weakness, but the weakness is hard to get

And I'm not sure the Golden ticket really was gold. It was just the shine of gold. thus, the cyberman could get over the information it was given that the ticket could destroy it.

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:iconrcxdirectrix:
rcxdirectrix Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, yeah you're right. Because having no weakness is being overpowered. Lol. Problem is, gold can be supplied easily (if humanity is that dedicated to overcome the fact that it's also expensive and do it for the sake of survival and safety). Maybe they can hunt down the fragment of Voga that survived the Cyberwars and trade with the Vogans.
Oh and nice theory on the golden ticket. If it applies, it would mean that their gold weakness isn't over yet. Hope is not lost? :XD:
Sorry for the late reply ^^;
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:iconsigmaskylord:
SigmaSkylord Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Student General Artist

I actually watched the episode and the Cybermen freaked me out. Too much like the Borg for my tastes.

But I don't think the Golden ticket was pure gold. It wouldn't have survived the rough treatment from the Doctor. Gold compounds are easier to handle than pure gold.

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:iconrcxdirectrix:
rcxdirectrix Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree. but for the first time since backtracking to (some of) the classics (because netflix isn't supported in our country), and some audios and books, i got somewhat scared again by their current form. detachable parts, speed, upgrading-on-the-spot, etc.. and yeah, it is too Borg-ish.. and iron man-y actually. i liked the original designs of the classics better. 

oh and i just thought.. who in the world (or in the universe), in their right minds would make a ticket to a carnival out of pure gold? (excluding the Vogans). its a precious metal. rare, and expensive.

just another thought. maybe it survived the golden ticket because the device on the Doctor's face doesn't have a breathing apparatus? pffff :XD: sorry. 
but of course, yes you're right. gold compounds would be easier to handle than pure gold. (somewhat different chemical make-up than pure gold, am i right?)
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(1 Reply)
:icontime-n-space01:
Time-n-Space01 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013  Student General Artist
kinda like how old green lantern was defeated by wood, and the newer green lantern, yellow. Like raj from Big Bang Theory said, "Great, so i can take them both on with a number two pencil?"    
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:iconsigmaskylord:
SigmaSkylord Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013  Student General Artist
I know, but the inventive way of killing cybermen was awesome
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:icontime-n-space01:
Time-n-Space01 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013  Student General Artist
yeah.
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:icontrav28:
trav28 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Professional Photographer
I agree with every word you say!  The armour thing has been done to death - let's see the flexible body suits back and different sizes of cybermen like we saw in Tomb.
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:iconjemibunny:
Jemibunny Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Student General Artist
Yeah, it's less original. People are saying the new Cybermen look like Iron Man, and before that it was Robocop.
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:icontrav28:
trav28 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Professional Photographer
It also detracts from the "body horror" aspect of the conversion process.  Ack, just not that keep on the cybusmen although I did a cyberwoman shoot using one of the helmets, examples here:





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:iconjemibunny:
Jemibunny Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Student General Artist
:iconiknowrightplz:

I'm trying to set up something for my visual arts course project, a photo that uses the Tenth Planet costume as inspiration for a kind of... I dunno, cosmetic zombie I guess. Not sure how to make a jersey mask for the head, it may have to be just paper mache type stuff or bandages.
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:icontrav28:
trav28 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Professional Photographer
Perhaps a ski mask bleached white might do the trick?
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:iconjemibunny:
Jemibunny Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Student General Artist
Oh yeah.

Better not make it look suspicious though. The original masks were a thin jersey material, I know because I've watched and read Sandra Reid talking about making them. Nothing too balaclava-ish, like a Cyberman robbing a bank or something.
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:icontrav28:
trav28 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Professional Photographer
Good point - Perhaps lycra or vinyl might work?  Good luck with your project and make sure you post pictures - adding you as I speak so I can keep up with your artwork, I hope you don't mind :)
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:iconthe-artist-64:
The-Artist-64 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You said it. Tenth Planet Cybermen worked best, Cybermen pretty much began sucking after Earthshock.
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