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Published on December 17th, 2010 | by Grant Webb

Planet of the Ming Mongs Review

Brand new on the fanzine market last week was the satirical Planet of the Ming Mongs; a disparaging and hilarious view on Doctor Who fandom.

Hardcore Doctor Who fans have earned a reputation for being somewhat ‘obsessive’ when it comes to their favourite television show, but never before has any fanzine delved into what it really means to be a Ming Mong. From the front cover we get the impression this fanzine aims to be something very different. Let’s just hope we never forget Lynda Bellingham modelling in a Time Lord bikini any time soon – I know I won’t.

The message from the editor page sets in stone what Ming Mongs is all about, instantly being a warped parallel to the gloriously brilliant and well beloved Doctor Who Magazine. It really takes into detail everything a Ming Mong would notice, such as, unsurprisingly – new series numbering and Steven Moffat. It really has the guts to make fun of the magazine readers and the people who make DWM, but you know once The Audio Adventures of Nicholas Briggs grabs you by the scruff of the neck and makes you wail with laughter, that this wonderful fanzine has an innocent twinkle in its eye.

I don’t honestly think I’ve ever laughed so hard at the humour that has lovingly been put into this fanzine. Each and every page has something unique to offer; like the news page which has a mix of camp humour, fan stereotypes, a sex chat line with the Candy Man – you heard that one right – and a play on ‘infamous news headlines’ that have been made by The Sun and have obviously been snatched from the lower levels of Gallifrey Base.

The more in-depth articles work very much as a counter balance to the strong humour of the fanzine to spread out the variety Ming Mongs has to offer. One insightful article by Tomlyn Grey describes how the new series brought her back as a fan to Doctor Who and how one contributor finds Doctor Who and girls are not always a good mix in the brilliantly titled Love and Monsters article.

But the crème de la crème of this issue has to be the ‘missing extracts’ from Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook’s The Writers Tale. Not only is it funny but it also feels like it could have come from the pages of the very book. The design is immaculate and the drawings inside and beautifully made. The writer of the piece wasn’t afraid to make fun of both Ben and Russell which makes it work brilliantly. If the piece had tried to be apologetic, it wouldn’t have worked at all.

The Ben Morris interview was also a lovely feature. His work on Doctor Who Magazine and The Brilliant Book of Doctor Who has been much loved by the fans and it is nice to know more about the man behind the drawings. I hope if Ming Mongs II is ever released that we can have more unique interviews in the future.

Another feature in the magazine is The Diary of a Doctor Who Convention Virgin and really brings light what it is like to be immersed with fandom in a confined space, often revealing a surprising, mad and an utterly delightful picture of Doctor Who conventions.

Contributor Jonathan This puts his all into defending 42 and why it is a great story. I can’t say I’m a fan of the episode, but I could certainly see where he is coming from. But what really caught my eye was his Life on Miles comic strip based on the controversial fan figure Lawrence Miles. It is terrifically off-beat, very much in the dour style of Miles, but not once does it make fun of Lawrence; he’s a guy who is complicated, an enigma, if anything. Any fan wanting to see Paul ‘Shagger’ Cornell personified should read this comic – it is a brilliant, mad and a concept which is a tiny bit frightening.

Tom Braford’s The Enduring Myths of Doctor Who is well worth the read, as is 20 Amazing facts about Doctor Who we didn’t know about.

Rebecca Foster’s article about being a teacher to children who will be the ‘new generation’ of fans – a scary thought, right – is a wonderful insight into the younger fans of Doctor Who which fandom doesn’t always acknowledge. Doctor Who is only made for 40 year olds, right? Wrong – it is made for children and always will be.

So many things could have gone wrong with Planet of the Ming Mongs, but this felt so right. It didn’t feel like reading a straight laced ‘serious’ fanzine – it was like being bungled into the back of a blue van at night, being driven down the whole of the M4 at 80mph with “Doctor in Distress” blasting from the speakers at full blast and being dumped on a quiet side road, not knowing where you are or what the hell happened, but knowing full well you bloody well loved it!

Bring on issue II of Planet of the Ming Mongs, please!

Planet of the Ming Mongs can be read from http://www.mingmongs.co.uk/ for free.

POTMM can be found on Twitter at http://twitter.com/_POTMM and can be found on Facebook.

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