This is an archive of the old ancillary content that went along with the older version of NTFE. This used to be hosted at ntfe.thornvalley.com. --Simon
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Director of Research
Lazarus Laboratories LTD.
Yes, I am that goofy looking guy over there.
So, anybody want a small helping of biography? Anyone?
|Name:||Marcus Alexander Lindemann|
|Date of Birth:||April 10th, 1976|
|Height:||5 feet, 11 inches (1.76 meters)|
|Weight:||140 pounds (I am a skinny shrimp!).|
|Siblings:||Monica (younger sister), Ray (older half-brother), Karin (older half-sister).|
|Marital Status:||Sadly single (I am just too weird to attract a mate.)|
|Pets:||Genie (dog), Robbie (another dog), Domingo (dog as well).|
|Hobbies:||Swimming, SCUBA diving, free diving, snorkeling, walking my dogs, paleontology (Fossils rock!), dolphins, deep-sea fish, wood and stone carving (Polynesian gods), fantasy miniatures, animation drawing, painting, listening to music, movies, books, Easter Island, treasure coins, history… (There’s probably no end to this list.).|
Enough with all the boring statistics already!
I was born in Germany at the age of 0 years. My dad was and is a U.S. citizen and my mom is still German (but a German with a Green Card, so you better watch it). As a consequence, I am both, although recently I have grown so fed up with certain “German attitudes” that I am more than glad I emigrated.
For the first 19 years of my life I have lived in Germany. I went to Kindergarten, Elementary, and High School in Germany (everything in German of course). Subsequently I speak German fluently (Jawohl!) and I hope my American is not to shabby either.
After finishing High School I left for the U.S. to go to college. I got my Bachelors of Science diploma in Marine Science at Eckerd College, St. Pertersburg, FL and I am currently finishing up my Masters of Science in Marine Science at the University of South Florida.
If, for whatever reason, you want to drop me a line just click on the e-mail address below.
Here you will find a short synopsis of our cast.
There are only a few of the characters present right now, but in time the whole crew, even the background characters, will get an entry here.
Characters are in alphabetical order.
For comments on the actual design and design changes from the movie “The Secret of NIMH” go to the Design section of the site.
Can you say “old and grumpy”?
Mr. Ages is both, and to an amazing degree.
The white mouse is one of the two that had managed to escape together with the Rats of NIMH from the horrors of that place, the other one having been the departed Jonathan Brisby.
During the Rats’ occupation of the Rosebush Mr. Ages lived in an old tractor on the Fitzgibbon farm serving as doctor to both the Rats and many of the animals that lived around the farm. He also cooked up certain “powders” for the Rats, the most famous being the “sleeping powder” that was used repeatedly to pacify the farmer’s monstrous cat, Dragon.
At first Mr. Ages kept his distance to the widow of Jonathan Brisby and only after the events regarding her son’s illness revealed the unique heritage of her husband did the old mouse warm up to her.
Now, three years later, Mr. Ages has taken residence at the Thorn Valley colony and serves as both head physician and part of the Rats’ science department. He can be either found berating the younger doctors, of which there are only two in residence now, or griping about how some of the other scientifically inclined colony members keep abusing his laboratory equipment.
Amazingly, the grumpy old bag has managed to attach himself to the Brisby household somewhat. Neither he or Mrs. Brisby and her children comment much on that. After all, Mr. Ages would never admit to any affection he feels for the family of his dead friend anyways. He has become the incarnation of “the grouchy old uncle that everybody still loves when he drops by”.
What a strange life it has been for Elizabeth Brisby!
She never knew where her husband had really come from before she met the Rats of NIMH and ever since then things have not been quite the same.
When her children had grown old enough they had been allowed to join the Rats of NIMH at their new colony and despite the reservations of a few of the Rats Mrs. Brisby had been allowed to come with them as well. The fact that she had informed her late husband’s friends of the approaching danger of NIMH also played a part in that. Many of the Rats felt indebted to the wild mouse and did not think that allowing her to live out the rest of her presumably short life with them would present any problems.
That was two and a half years ago.
Oddly enough, Mrs. Brisby is still alive and seems as healthy as ever. With her children grown up now the mouse has a hard time finding things to do in the Rats’ colony.
Someway, somehow she actually wound up on the teaching staff and now gives classes in elementary reading. How she managed to pass the rigorous requirements the Rats tested her with is still beyond the other teachers. As the head doctor, Mr. Ages has been wracking his brain about that for some time now as well.
Still the quiet type, Mrs. Brisby has gained a strange air of serene confidence. She no longer is overwhelmed by the wonders around her and has acquired a reputation for being a “voice of reason” within the colony. She is not one to speak out harshly, but when asked will voice her opinions in a calm manner that more often then not serves her better than angry argumentation ever would.
For some reason, Mrs. Brisby has grown tremendously in character.
There is only one word that adequately describes this rat and it is “huge”.
Having been the first rat to be born in the Rosebush, Brutus appears to have inherited some rather peculiar genes. I mean, this rat is big enough to make cats start praying and dogs start running.
Brutus is a grumbler. He never speaks much and usually looks like he just swallowed a lemon. Add that to the fact that he is also freakishly strong and you get somebody that you wouldn’t want to walk on the same side of the street with. As a Guard he is the kind of cop that can make your life a living hell.
His first encounter with Mrs. Brisby still shames him as he almost cut the mouse down to bits. Even though his former quarry doesn’t bear him a grudge it still nags at Brutus’ mind.
Nowadays Brutus has been promoted by Justin to sergeant, which is not really to his liking. He hates any kind of paperwork and the administrative functions he is now forced to attend.
To make matters worse the huge rat always winds up on special duty when one of the Brisby children is going out into the forests. Not that he dislikes the mice, far from it, but having to play babysitter is really a tad embarrassing.
Don’t ask him about “heights” or “depths”.
Look at how Cynthia has grown!
The youngest daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth Brisby has finally matured to adulthood, at least physically.
Don’t get me wrong, she is as smart as anything, but she sure retained her childhood tendencies towards mischief and pranks. Being endowed with an innate cheerfulness this spinster of a mouse lives life to the fullest each day. Cynthia’s sunny disposition goes much to the chagrin of people who cherish their own “grumpiness”, Mr. Ages and Brutus usually being the foremost.
Cynthia now works in the Thorn Valley gardens and the infirmary. She likes to grow things and doesn’t really care what some of the Rats say about her working in a “menial profession”. She helps brew up ointments and is not really a bad “field medic” either.
On and off she gets asked by Mr. Ages to go out into the forests to bring back certain samples. It is creepy how this chipper mouse always manages to find exactly what she is told to get. In many cases she doesn’t even know the names of the fungi and mosses she is supposed to collect.
The final straw is that Cynthia appears to have an innate sense of location. She always knows where she is. And trying to sneak up on her his nigh impossible.
Just try to jump up behind her and go “Boo!” and you’ll find out.
Who said being a leader was fun?
Justin, one of the youngest of the original Rats of NIMH is discovering that his current position as Head of the Council is not all that it is cracked up to be.
After his duel with Jenner and the news about the men from NIMH having found them it had seemed like such a straightforward idea to get the Rats to evacuate the Rosebush and move to Thorn Valley. In all the confusion and terror they had followed him gladly.
How was he supposed to know how much bureaucratic stuff would pile up later?
The Rats of NIMH still elected him, as they have done so until today. But Justin has a hard time trying to please everybody and is about drowning in complaints. He can’t imagine how Nicodemus, the former leader, had ever been able to put up with all of this. No matter what he does, somebody still gripes about it.
While most of the Rats supported his decision to create a separate administrative body to the Council Meetings, called the Chamber, it still hasn’t helped with his workload. Justin hardly ever has spare time to spend with his personal friends. He is too busy trying to keep up with all the colony’s woes.
He needs a vacation.
The creation of this story was spurred mainly by one of the most unlikely events imaginable: The release of “The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue”.
Views on this sequel to “The Secret of NIMH” are manifold but I was personally appalled at the lack of “feeling” and “depth” put forward in both storyline and character design.
In the end, the poor quality of this sequel enticed me to pick up paper and pencil and, for the first time in my life, draw. My intention was simple. I wanted to see whether somebody with no training in art and with only mediocre talent would be able to do a better job than the creators of this piece of animation infamy.
The hallowed work of Ken Sinshow, rightfully famous among NIMH fans for his astounding graphic novel “NIMH: The Unauthorized Sequel”, was the main inspiration behind this project.
Here are some of the ideas and motivations that went into the way I chose to render the different characters.
In the original movie Brutus' design was markedly different from that of the other rats as his character's sole function was to look as intimidating as possible and scare Mrs. Brisby witless. He sported large, insect-like eyes that glowed, and an almost complete lack of facial features.
For my own story I needed a version of Brutus that was more aligned with the rest of the rat characters in order for him to interact better.
"The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to The Rescue" had already attempted this but the resulting Brutus was nothing more than a muscle-bound oaf. All the air of "power" and "danger" had been replaced with dimwitted awkwardness. Brutus had become the "dim sidekick" to Justin.
I decided on a different approach.
I looked at the function "my" Brutus was to fulfill in the story and then adapted his design accordingly. In "NIMH: The Final Experiment" Brutus' first function is to lead readers into the story. He is one half of an almost humorous duo of characters that allows an entry into the storyline.
For this I decided that Brutus was to retain his intimidating size and required a character of grumbling discontent. Looking at the original design for Brutus I retained his overall proportions and size in relation to mice and then altered certain aspects to make him more "human".
The body of the original Brutus was hunched over with a huge abdomen and a smaller, lumpier torso, giving him a "flowing" and "unrefined" appearance that suited his function perfectly. For my own story I needed a character that was always "on the edge" from a calm to a violent state. Also, the new function I had in mind required Brutus to be still immensely intimidating, only in a more "promising" rather than "outright" fashion.
So, I smoothed out and hardened his torso as well as enlarged his chest cavity. The lines along his upper body were smoothed out to make them look "harder" and "bulkier". His tunic was supposed to give an appearance of "barely containing" the rat inside. Combined with his original bulk this gave Brutus the ability to change from being "hugely awkward" to "brutishly violent" within the story.
To express his discontent character I went along the lines of "animal association" and gave Brutus a face resembling a grumpy grizzly bear. With Justin looking a bit fox-like and Jenner having been positively "lupine" in the original movie I felt this was a justified approach. The final touches to add to Brutus' inherent "danger" were bushy black brows, small ice-blue eyes and hard-lined facial markings.
Brutus Design by Marcus
The principal character of “The Secret of NIMH”, Mrs. Brisby’s was probably the most well designed rodent ever to fit the categories “lovable” and “serious”.
In my own story Mrs. Brisby was once again supposed to be the prime character, but her importance to the story would arise from a different angle than in the original movie. I needed her to be a bit more “confident” and “collected” than she had been before.
Again, “The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to The Rescue” managed to come up with a version of Mrs. Brisby that shall forever live in the annals of “how not to do it”. In the sequel she was simply aged by adding some gray to her fur, adding round spectacles and dressing her up in a heavy red garb with countless pockets. The resulting image was that of a tired old mouse that was about as likely to have any sort of adventure as a block of wood.
Once more, it was looking at her character’s role in the story that supplied the ideas for the design changes I implemented.
First of all, her overall appearance in terms of body and face remained the same. I had no intention of “aging” Mrs. Brisby, for which the reasons will become apparent further into the story. In short, one should not try to fix what is not broken.
What I did need was to make her a bit more self-reliant. Mrs. Brisby was by no means supposed to turn into a “loud” or even “aggressive” character, but I did have a higher level of confidence for her in mind. It was supposed to express itself in a greater level of calm and serenity, as would befit her original “humble” personality.
I decided to retain the original color scheme but give Mrs. Brisby a more “sophisticated” cape. The colors define the “soul” of a character and are usually the last things I am inclined to alter. I felt it would not do to give her more elaborate clothing as much of her allure had been due to her rather “simplistic” and “unassuming” nature. By simply “fixing” the ragged edges, adding a rim and a button the cape showed how her life with the Rats of NIMH had altered her while not being too “overbearing”.
To add a tiny bit of age she was also equipped with a pair of reading glasses. Amazingly, through the act of putting them on or removing them her character attained the ability to shift between levels of “energetics” that I had actually not even planned for.
Mrs. Brisby Design by Marcus
The Cynthia of the original “The Secret of NIMH” was the adorable baby-girl child, still a bit chubby but lovable in the way she badgered the more “adult” characters. Of all the children she was the most “adorably annoying” one.
I had plans to use an adult version of Cynthia as one of the principle characters of my story. As such I needed to come up with a design that would make her likable.
Sadly, “The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to The Rescue” sported a grown-up version of Cynthia that was definitely not along the lines of what I needed. This particular Cynthia was largely obese, taking her childhood chubbiness to new extremes, and was wearing a set of suspender pants that only added to the feel of a “dunce”.
On the other hand, Ken Sinshow had developed an adult version of Cynthia that was much more flattering. His version, having inherited her mother’s red cape, was remarkably adorable as well as aesthetically pleasing. It was the inspiration to my own designs for her character.
Again, the “function” I had in mind for Cynthia largely defined the way I approached her design.
In my story Cynthia would first play the “other half” of the two introductory characters. I needed her to retain a child-like cheerfulness and impish delight that would serve as the antithesis to her counterpart.
To achieve this I gave her a similar body shape that Ken Sinshow did in order for her to appear “energetic” and “active”. I altered her eyes a bit towards a triangular shape to make her feel tad more “tomboyish” rather than “gracefully” female.
I decided to retain the original Cynthia’s color scheme and gave her clothing of a light blue coloration. Since she was supposed to be very active and outgoing I equipped her with a simple but thick poncho.
The final touch was a shoulder-strung bag, which showed that Cynthia was not only “fun” but that behind all her cheeriness there still was a “serious” core.
Cynthia Design by Marcus
He was the original, dashing hero of “The Secret of NIMH”, a rogue with the whimsical allure of a rat-type Robin Hood. His face was that of a charming fox and his body showed the slinky agility of a cunning weasel.
All these attributes were still what I needed for Justin in my own story.
Another dishonorable mention has to be made for “The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to The Rescue” at this point. While not really having degraded Justin’s design as the sequel had done with so many characters, its depiction of Justin as a rather indecisive leader was still less than flattering.
What I had planned for Justin’s character was something more along the lines of a conflict of personality rather than a full-blown change in design.
Justin, as seen later in the story, is battling with the difficulties of his new position as leader of the Rats of NIMH in “NIMH: The Final Experiment”.
Being somewhat of a “nice guy” personality he has come to grips with the difficulty of both wanting to live up to the expectations people have of him as well as trying to make everybody happy. Of course, as everybody knows, neither of these goals ultimately make one a successful leader and having Justin realize this is a major part of my story.
This shows in the way Justin feels forced to don ceremonial robes that are reminiscent of those seen on Nicodemus in the original movie. The vain attempt of trying to be like the old leader becomes painfully apparent this way.
Importantly, I decided that when wearing these robes one should still see that the “real” Justin is only “covered up”. Through the gap in his robes the reader can spot his casual uniform peaking out from underneath the cloak.
Also, the robes themselves were made to look cumbersome and confining to represent how Justin is literally entrapping himself in a role and a self-image that only restricts his true qualities. A final dash to that aspect of futility lies in the robes’ collar, which was intentionally fashioned along the lines of a wizard’s cape. This was supposed to allow an association with themes of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and underline the fact how desperate Justin tries to be something he is not.
Justin Design by Marcus
This is the place where I want to place special thanks to those who have helped to make this idea come to life. A single person with only limited talent and imagination like myself could have never pulled any of this off alone.
First, I’d like to thank Simon for all his help in setting up this website and even hosting. As a computer no-know I would have never been able to get this project anywhere without his support.
Of course, the story itself, at least what little of if already exists in written form had to be proofread and edited before it became even remotely comprehensible. And I have Gregg Anderson (Gregory) to thank for spending hours digging through the bad grammar of my document.
Also, I’d like to thank Kriz. Without the existence of her extensive NIMH Fan Archive and the creation of NIMH MUCK I probably would have never realized that there are other NIMH fans out there, much less people who compose their own fan-fiction stories.
And of course, I have to lift my hat to the one who inspired me to actually try and draw NIMH characters. Although I never met him in person, Ken Singshow’s illustrated story “NIMH: The Unauthorized Sequel” was what showed me that if one put effort into it, one could actually develop the characters of the movie for a sequel in a way that would keep the true spirit of the original alive.
Last, but definitely not least, I have to thank none other than Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. Thank you for creating a world that has tantalized fans for over twenty years now and continues to draw new followers even today!
Don Bluth and Gary Goldman with the cast of NIMH: The Final Experiment
This site has been created for fan appreciation and entertainment only. MAL (Marcus Lindemann) and any other contributing artists or authors do not benefit financially (or otherwise) from any of the stories, designs, and works posted on this site.
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The Secret of N.I.M.H. is © 1982 Mrs. Brisby, Ltd. and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is © 1971 Robert C. O’Brien. The information here is being used as per Fair Use Laws. Any copyright infringement is purely unintentional.