Sunday, May 10, 2015

Doctor Who and Comic Books

Today is the end of Comic Book Week here at I’m So Glad My Suffering Amuses You. Today is also Sunday which is when I tend to post Doctor Who stuff. So let’s cross the two and take a brief look at Doctor Who in the comics.
My first exposure to Doctor Who stories outside the TV show was in Marvel’s Doctor Who comic. This book reprinted in color the black & white comic book stories from the UK’s Doctor Who Magazine. (Eventually, DWM switched to printing their stories in color.) These issues featured the 4th Doctor as portrayed by Tom Baker. 

As comic books tend to do, I was struck first by the art. These stories were my first look at the work of Dave Gibbons who would later go on to fame and fortune as the artist for Len Wein’s run on Green Lantern. Oh, and something called Watchmen. Gibbons’ art was dynamic and detailed and he drew a fairly decent likeness of Tom Baker.
The stories were enjoyable if not particularly memorable. The distinction for the Doctor Who comics versus the TV show was that the Doctor travelled sans companion (with the exception of K-9). The Doctor either travelled alone or with companions designed for the comic.
Marvel published its Doctor Who comic right after the transition of the 4th Doctor to the 5th and eventually, the Doctor in the comic changed as well to reflect Peter Davison’s take on the character. Dave Gibbons stayed on as artist for the 5th Doctor’s first story arc but eventually other artists came on board, artists that I felt were vastly inferior to Gibbons’ work. Doctor Who#23 was the last issue of the Marvel series.


Several years later I was attending a local comic book convention and looking through the bargain boxes for some cheap comics, I can across a trade paperback collection of DWM strips featuring the 6th Doctor called Voyager

It was a color collection of original B&W stories from DWM. The artist was John Ridgway who I discovered when he and Jamie Delano first launched the John Constantine series, Hellblazer. Given how garish the 6th Doctor’s costume was, you might think I would’ve preferred seeing these stories without color. But oddly enough, this was one time where that outfit was completely off-putting. Still ugly though but in a comic book, it wasn’t so bad. 

In this book the Doctor had as a companion a shapeshifter named Forbisher who, when he wasn’t shifting shapes, spent his time in the form of a penguin. Ah, you gotta love comics! Still, could modern Who bring Forbisher to the TV screen? I think I would like to see that happen.

I like the comic series that runs in Doctor Who Magazine, these days, particularly the stories written by Scott Gray. Below is the cover to the trade collection of the series that ran in DWM during Doctor Who's 50th anniversary year which reunites the 11th Doctor with two of his first companions, Ian and Barbara. It's a tale epic in scope but what really sells it are the personal moments, particularly when Barbara and Ian catch on that the young, quirky man in the bow tie is actually the crotchety old Doctor they used to know.  

One final note about Doctor Who and comics. I missed out on this on Free Comic Book Day this year. 

And I'm still bummed about that. And my wife was not too happy with me missing out on that one too. 

Andrea who is NOT the comics fan has been reading the new Titan comics featuring the 10th and 11th Doctors. (She's saving the 12th Doctor stories for the trade.) Fun stuff exploring untold adventures of the Doctor but with companions unique from the TV show. (Clara is travelling with the 12th Doctor in his comic.)  

And now we come to the end of the post. 

And that's enough reality avoidance for one week as we say goodbye to Comic Book Week here on the blog. I'll poke my head outside the El Fortress of Ineptitude and see what's going in the world, maybe write about that. 

We'll both see tomorrow. Until then, remember to be good to one another.  

Well, It's Monday Again.

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