Pixar Artist Picks Up His 'Heroic' New Year's Resolution
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Now to a heroic kind of New Year's resolution.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
EVERETT DOWNING: My goal was to create 365, draw a super every day.
CORNISH: That's Everett Downing, a story artist at Pixar Animation Studios. He's worked on some of their best-known films, including "Wall-E," "Up," and "Toy Story 3." Three years ago, as a side project, Downing challenged himself to draw a superhero of his own making for every day of the year.
DOWNING: And I figured, eh, it'd be easy to belt out 365 supers, I think I have that many in my brain.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Well, like many New Year's resolutions, the effort started out well enough...
DOWNING: And then it was really, really hard.
SIEGEL: Downing stopped that first super-resolution around his 210th superhero. That's not bad. But as we recently read on the website of Wired, this year he's made a vow to finish what he started. Among Downing's creations so far...
CORNISH: Silent Knight. That's Knight with a K.
SIEGEL: Cable Guy.
SIEGEL: Shoulder Blades.
DOWNING: Death Ray, Cataclysm, Whipper Snapper - that's a duo, by the way - Fancy Pants, Superfreak, the Silencer, Kung Fu Hustler. You've got Quik Shogun, Ball and Chain - that's another duo.
SIEGEL: A married duo: Ball is a cannonball who propels himself at his enemies. His wife, Chain, frequently lashes out against her foes with mystical chains.
CORNISH: There's also Emoticon.
DOWNING: I think I wrote that he's, like, a disgruntled public worker.
CORNISH: A man more villain than superhero who leaves a trail of destruction and a winking smiley face.
SIEGEL: And another team of two: Dober-Man and the Pincher.
DOWNING: So the idea behind this guy is that he's actually, like, this exotic veterinarian who got bitten by a genetically altered Doberman, so he has Doberman-like powers. So he can run about as fast as a Doberman Pinscher and...
DOWNING: He can bite really hard.
SIEGEL: We presume the dog, on the other hand, inherited a mild disposition and lots of student loans.
CORNISH: As for the origin story behind Downing's love of superheroes...
DOWNING: You know, whenever we're faced with something that's kind of overwhelming, all of us wishes that we could have something that could make us larger than life, that we could make a lot of the problems go away.
CORNISH: Even after three years and hundreds of sketches, for artist Everett Downing superheroes will always have a special kind of draw.