I’ve railed against the idea that kids should blindly copy things out of textbooks before. Mainly because it was something we were asked to do again and again and again, and I very rarely learned a thing. But this is one time I’m willing to admit I might be wrong. All I’ve done here is try my hardest to copy some optical illusions out of a book. In the book, they were obviously mindblowing. But in my hands? Well, I’ll come back to that. There are no dates in this book so I can’t say for certain what came when, but towards the end of March 1980, the noted science demystifier James Burke hosted a state-of-the-art documentary on BBC 1 called The Real Thing. Focusing on perception and the way our brains use the information our senses provide to build a picture of the world, it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. There’s a sequence towards the end of the first episode in which Burke stands in a room which, viewed from one angle, looks completely normal, but looked from any other angle, looks absolutely insane. It’s impressive stuff. This might have been what inspired me to buy a book about optical illusions. The school had a book club service which allowed us to order books from a catalogue, maybe once a month. I remember using it one time to buy a book which absolutely did my head in. I thought it might be this one, but a look inside the reprinted edition makes me think maybe not. Whichever book it was, this here in my Topic book is me copying directly from it. And failing miserably. It’s just so unbelievably bad. So bad it borders on genius. I guess I couldn’t have known in advance how badly it would turn out, and maybe I had to try. But it’s just so bad. I’ve no actual memory of how I felt about it at the time, but I just imagine myself being really proud of all the effort I’ve put in. Look at the spiral I took the time to draw! Look at the rectangles where I’ve actually used a ruler for the first time! Love and care went into this. And all for nothing, because it’s just so bad. We’ve all seen the originals, right? Or other illusions like them. The face/vase one is famous. The duck/rabbit is another. And at least you can kind of tell with those what I was trying to do, even if I haven’t managed it. But what the hell is that Topsy Turvy one? “Look at this picture, then turn it upside down” it says - and then what? It looks just as stupid either way. What the hell is it supposed to be? Number Five as well - “See this picture turn round.” I’ve looked at that so many times and it’s never, ever turned. But it’s written with such confidence! I must have been absolutely certain that, when you looked at my amazing illusion, you would see a still picture spinning around in circles. I drew three pages of this stuff and it never once occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t quite hitting the mark. So yes - I suppose it did turn out to be pretty amazing after all. I wish I’d done more of this.
March/April 1980
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
TOPIC 1 He knows the names of all the dinosaurs
Dinosaurs 1 Space Travel Ships Sport Dinosaurs 2 Judge Dredd: The Blood of Satanus Captain Carnivore A-Maze-Ing! Star Poster: Super Jesus The Micronauts: Giant Karza The Origin of Electro Optical Illusion Time Frantic Thingies Men in Space Topic Book Word Find Puzzleman Evel Knievel: Fury Falls More Puzzlers Star Poster: The Hulk 1 Grobschnitt’s Page Captain Starlight Star Poster: The Hulk 2 The Yellyog Gang The Adventures of Puzzlemaster Jupe Woman Line Pin-Up: Doctor Doom Lazer Lash The Human Maze Three Squares Raven Mad Marvel Sketches Robschnitt’s Age: 1 Snotty Notty Space Battles Metalorian Man Robschnitt’s Age: 2 The Superhero Sports Day Captain Kirk & Pywal Carbo-Catalogue How Dumb Are You? The Space Invaders: 1 Pin-Up: The Empire Strikes Back The Space Invaders: 2 Gi-Gant-Ic! Index
The Flame in the Desert An evil fire threatens the safety of the world
Optical Illusion Time
HELP ME KEEP THIS WEBSITE ALIVE
Puzzlemaster Help Puzzlemaster escape the clutches of the Martian spacelords!
The Human Maze Meet Whirlwind, the man whose face is an impossible maze!
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
Optical Illusion Time
March 1980
I’ve railed against the idea that kids should blindly copy things out of textbooks before. Mainly because it was something we were asked to do again and again and again, and I very rarely learned a thing. But this is one time I’m willing to admit I might be wrong. All I’ve done here is try my hardest to copy some optical illusions out of a book. In the book, they were obviously mindblowing. But in my hands? Well, I’ll come back to that. There are no dates in this book so I can’t say for certain what came when, but towards the end of March 1980, the noted science demystifier James Burke hosted a state-of-the-art documentary on BBC 1 called The Real Thing. Focusing on perception and the way our brains use the information our senses provide to build a picture of the world, it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. There’s a sequence towards the end of the first episode in which Burke stands in a room which, viewed from one angle, looks completely normal, but looked from any other angle, looks absolutely insane. It’s impressive stuff. This might have been what inspired me to buy a book about optical illusions. The school had a book club service which allowed us to order books from a catalogue, maybe once a month. I remember using it one time to buy a book which absolutely did my head in. I thought it might be this one, but a look inside the reprinted edition makes me think maybe not. Whichever book it was, this here in my Topic book is me copying directly from it. And failing miserably. It’s just so unbelievably bad. So bad it borders on genius. I guess I couldn’t have known in advance how badly it would turn out, and maybe I had to try. But it’s just so bad. I’ve no actual memory of how I felt about it at the time, but I just imagine myself being really proud of all the effort I’ve put in. Look at the spiral I took the time to draw! Look at the rectangles where I’ve actually used a ruler for the first time! Love and care went into this. And all for nothing, because it’s just so bad. We’ve all seen the originals, right? Or other illusions like them. The face/vase one is famous. The duck/rabbit is another. And at least you can kind of tell with those what I was trying to do, even if I haven’t managed it. But what the hell is that Topsy Turvy one? “Look at this picture, then turn it upside down” it says - and then what? It looks just as stupid either way. What the hell is it supposed to be? Number Five as well - “See this picture turn round.” I’ve looked at that so many times and it’s never, ever turned. But it’s written with such confidence! I must have been absolutely certain that, when you looked at my amazing illusion, you would see a still picture spinning around in circles. I drew three pages of this stuff and it never once occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t quite hitting the mark. So yes - I suppose it did turn out to be pretty amazing after all. I wish I’d done more of this.
Captain Carnivore Gary Shepherd is hunted down by a deadly flying meteor
The Origin of Electro Waen Shepherd, TV Star, turns evil and drains the city!
Super Jesus A special pin-up of your favourite Nazarene webslinger
Giant Karza! Arch-enemy of the Micronauts grows to super size!
A-Maze-ing! The most unbelievable maze you’ve ever seen in your life!
HELP ME KEEP THIS WEBSITE ALIVE
Puzzlemaster Help Puzzlemaster escape the clutches of the Martian spacelords!
The Yellyog Gang Meet my latest hideous bunch of nutty nightmare fuellers
The Human Maze Meet Whirlwind, the man whose face is an impossible maze!