Article as printed in CM.....
It was in the dark days of 1990, the year after the shows original run had ended that I, as a Who obsessed thirteen year old decided to create my own Doctor Who comic strip. The fact that the show had recently been axed and this was the first year that it had not been on TV since the 85 hiatus was surely no coincidence. If I was unable to watch new episodes of Doctor Who I’d have to make my own!
As a youth in those pre-internet days it was impossible to know that others out there were also producing what is now termed ‘fan art’; no less companies like Audio Visuals and later Big Finish who were to take this to a whole new level in the nineties and beyond.
The audience for my comic was mainly my mother and sister who it has to be said were pretty indifferent to the comic and to Doctor Who in general (though mum was polite and encouraging) Attempts to show it to some school friends proved disastrous and the strip was met with ridicule. By 1990 the show was not a hip proposition amongst Britain’s youth (not at my school anyway) and one could argue that for various reasons the show was at its lowest ebb of popularity (though this was unjustified based on the quality of Sylvester McCoy’s excellent last season ) A few copies were run off priced 10p each.
My Doctor Who comic strip featured my own self-created incarnation of the Doctor. The idea was that this was who the seventh Doctor might have regenerated into. My Doctor wears a red bow tie, stripy trousers reminiscent of those you might see on some Cambridge punters in the twenties. He wears a purple velvet dinner jacket with question marks on the lapel. His character is good natured, stoical and he has a friendly, grandfatherly manner about him. He is old looking with grey hair and a moustache. His assistant is Adrian, a tank top wearing fop from the fictional town of Pennyworth.
The comic strip doctor met various derivative monsters including Killdroids, Insecticides as well as Daleks, The Master, Cybermen and The Rani in a story that was very similar to ‘Time and the Rani’ Story titles included ‘The Factory of Fear’, ‘Revolt on Castle Zynak’ and ‘Faceless People’ He had eleven adventures in total spread across nine one off issues, plus two more included in the 1991 annual. Most of them were created in 1990 with two more and a few unfinished stories being produced in 1991 but by then, with the show still off our screens my interest was waning and the comic fizzled out after the completion of a spin-off magazine. An attempt to revive it in 1993 with a second incarnation of the comic strip doctor was spurred by some re-runs on BBC2 but was not completed.
With Doctor Who largely AWOL from our screens for most of the nineties and into the mid noughties my enthusiasm for all things Doctor Who went with it to some degree. It was not its revival in 2005 that reignited my interest in Doctor Who. It was in fact the viewing of some vintage classic era DVD’s including ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ ( a masterpiece of dystopian sci-fi by any measure) that got me thinking about my childhood fascination with the show and about my own Doctor Who comic.
I dug out the original strips and decided to make an all new story for old times’ sake. This resulted in the spoofy ‘The Dalek Invasion of Keighley’ in 2012. Keighley is my home town and the story was a kind of meta-Doctor Who story featuring me and my family members as characters visited by the Doctor and his assistant Adrian just in time for a Dalek invasion. I made the comic at a time when I was getting back into making comics , partly as a fun exercise that would serve to re-familiarise myself with the process of creating sequential narratives..
It was a lot of fun to make but ended up taking much longer than I originally planned. It was also created partly as a nostalgic Christmas gift to my sister who was once again pretty non-plussed by the whole thing. I still have all the original drawings from my original run of home-made Who and I cherish them (though they reek of my parents cigarette smoke) Doctor Who clearly has the power to spark the imagination in all kind of ways. For writers and artists it provides an open circuit platform from which to operate. A place where any idea, no matter how idiosyncratic can be explored within the framework of Doctor Who.
Every fan has their own personal history with Doctor Who, their favourite Doctor, favourite companion. My formative memories of watching Doctor Who (beginning with early eighties Tom Baker) are mixed with the ideas it sparked in my imagination and ultimately my own version of the Doctor. Though he is known only to me, he is in a strange way as much a part of my relationship with Doctor Who as the character depicted on television and truly 'My Doctor’.
Here is a previously unpublished list of the entire Comic Strip Doctor bibliography listed in order of publication.
'The Killdroids' (1990)
'The Factory of Fear' (1990)
'The Deadly Time Trap' (1990)
'The Masters Mastermind' (1990)
'The Ranis Plan' (1990) Title later changed to 'A Hole in Time'
'The Snowman' (1990)
'Joint Destruction' (1990) Part of annual.
Faceless People' (1990) Part of annual.
Annual 1991 (1990)
'Revolt on Castle Zynack' (1991)
'The Professors Revenge'(1991) Unfinished.
'The Tunnels of Terror' (1991) Unfinished. Featured a second incarnation of Doctor.
'The Salvagers' (1991) Unfinished. Returns to first Doctor incarnation.
'The Timelord Times' (1991) Spin-off Magazine.
The Best of....Volume 1 (1993) Featured 'The Killdroids' and 'Revolt on Castle Zynack'
'Robot Rampage' (1993) Unfinished. Featured second incarnation of Doctor.
'The Best of...Volume 2 (1995) Featured 'The Factory of Fear' and 'The Ranis Plan' (title changed to 'A Hole in Time')
The Complete....(1995) Compiled unfinished stories.
'The Dalek Invasion of Keighley' (2012)
Pics below from 'The Killdroids', 'The Factory of Fear', 'The Ranis Plan', 'The Masters Mastermind',
'Joint Destruction', 'Insecticides', 'Robot Rampage' , 'Doctor Who Annual 1991' and 'The Dalek Invasion of Keighley'