I grew up on Doctor Who, Quantum Leap, and a whole bunch of TV shows, movies, and comics about time travel. I loved the freedom of the genre and its ability to visit important historical events while also revealing character personalities, aims, and objectives.
Know Yourself had great characters to start with, and I came on board once Nancy made the (in my opinion, really great) decision to use comics and graphic novels as a way to engage kids and expand the universe of Pinky and her mentor Dr. Bonyfide. Writing for the Know Yourself Adventure Series, I knew we could teach children about anatomy by laying down the underpinnings of an exciting, episodic framework.
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to introduce a time-travel device in order to tell an especially unique story, one that draws together lessons about the human body and related moments in history. Just like the stories that inspired me as a child, it provided additional educational opportunities.
Design-wise, I wanted our device, our Historator, to have a unique look that was recognizable and would stand out from the stock modern tablet style I had seen in other stories. I wanted it to be both innovative and recognizable. I have a personal affinity for Steampunk, and so suggested toying with the notion of a device that looks as old as it is new; both antiquated and futuristic. Something that could have been unearthed from an advanced civilization that had disappeared long ago.
As I started writing, though, the Historator transformed from a run-of-the-mill time-travel vessel into something more versatile. I discovered that it could be somewhat of a technological Swiss Army Knife, not just a utilitarian object opening portals in the space/time continuum, but acting as a tracker, a locator, an x-ray, an encyclopedia, and much, much more. It’s an adaptable machine that, personified by the superior artificial intelligence HANK (Hyper Adjusted Ninja Komputer) becomes a character in its own regard.