Editorial dw-comicsexhib-gall1

Published on March 13th, 2013 | by Philip Bates

Why Doctor Who Should Have A Graphic Future

I love comics. It’s a bit of an understatement, frankly. In fact, I’ve loved them since the age of 3. Yes, really.

In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, I also love Doctor Who.

Doctor Who: The Five Doctors

So when I heard that former-showrunner, Russell T. Davies (the man responsible for introducing me and countless others to the show back in 2005) had an idea for a Doctor Who graphic novel, I was over the moon. But then BBC Books said they didn’t want it, as Russell explains:

Don’t ask me about the 50th anniversary because it’s nothing to do with me. I’m just a happy viewer now. This’ll teach me though – I did ask BBC Books if they fancied a graphic novel, and they went, ‘No’. I sat here thinking, I could write a graphic novel, I could even draw the graphic novel, that’d be brilliant… No. There we are then, I tried.

And this is my plea. Rewrite your mistake, BBC Books. I’m loyal to all your Doctor Who ranges, and I enjoyed The Dalek Project. I collect Doctor Who Magazine and pore over the comic strip as I think every Whovian does, and read IDW’s monthly series.

Doctor Who volume 3 issue 1 from IDW

I propose a new range. How great would it be to get original graphic novels from previous show creators? For all the Doctors! Russell T. Davies writing for the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory. Andrew Cartmel trying his hand at the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. Terrance Dicks scribing the Ninth Doctor and Rose. Christopher Bidmead flexing his creative muscles on an Eighth Doctor and Lucie tale.

Or what about Toby Whithouse writing for the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough?  Andrew Smith on the Tenth Doctor and Donna? The First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki, by Ben Aaronovitch? A Third and Fourth Doctor team-up by Paul Cornell? The Seventh Doctor rolling his ‘r’s, as provided by Donald Tosh.

Or the Sixth Doctor and Peri written by –gasp! – Colin Baker.

Peter Davison and David Tennant as the Fifth and Tenth Doctors

The possibilities are endless!

Don’t get me wrong, I love the novels. If you want a fantastic read, grab a copy of Dead of Winter by James Goss. I also love the audios. Take a bow, Wirrn Dawn. And the animations are lovely, too. Here’s looking at you, Infinite Quest. But comic books also deserve the same love and attention.

Why? Well, comics are special. They’re probably more popular now than they’ve ever been, thanks to the success of the movie adaptations. They’re no longer seen as ‘something for the kids’ (and even if they are, so what?!). Get a good creative team, and they can shine.

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A good page dynamic can mix panning shots with close-ups; break down the boxes and play with the captions; show strong people and strong emotions. Comics are underestimated, and unique. They’re television, captured on a page, showcasing art better than you’ll find in a lot of galleries!

C’mon BBC Books. Let RTD have a go. Let him kickstart a range that could potentially top DWM’s own incredible strip.

Give comic readers an extra special treat for the 50th anniversary…

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About the Author

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When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.



4 Responses to Why Doctor Who Should Have A Graphic Future

  1. avatar TimeChaser says:

    I’m not a huge comic book fan, but I loved the Eighth Doctor comic strips from DWM and bought the graphic novel collections, and I love the Seventh Doctor special “Evening’s Empire”. I think if they were to create a proper graphic novel series, I would be interested in reading it.


  2. I would love to see a big crazy book of Doctor Who, and have a plan. I suggested it to a publisher who knows my work, and they turned it down flat. I don’t think they were aware of how much money it would make the company.
    Anyone interested in getting involved?

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Sounds interesting, certainly – but wouldn’t there be a rights issue?

  3. avatar Rick Lundeen says:

    I originally pitched a comic book adaptation of Hartnell’s “Daleks’ Master Plan” to IDW but they turned it down as well. Probably because they don’t have the Dalek license, nor do they want any unsolicited work. I thought that of all the adventures that were either all or partially lost in the archives, the DMP deserved to be restored in some proper fashion.

    So, since I’m a huge fan, AND it’s the 50th anniversary, I did the whole thing independently just for the challenge. 12 chapters, full color, 168 pages total. Since there is a license and copyright issue, it’ll be available in print through comixpress.com but all profits and proceeds will be going directly to the Children in Need charity. There will be an online version as well but news on that very soon, I hear…….

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