Doctor Who News Junkyard Demon from Doctor Who Monthly 58-59

Published on May 3rd, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds

Moffat: Mining Comics For His Own Ends?

During his first season as Executive Producer Steven Moffat made perhaps the most explicit link between Doctor Who and its comic incarnation with Gareth Roberts well-received adaptation of his own DWM comic serial, The Lodger.

Junkyard Demon from Doctor Who Monthly 58-59

However, according Mark Kardwell over Comic Book Resources, creators who’ve worked on the comic-book adventures have commented that Moffat is somewhat dismissive of the contributions comics have made to the character’s extended canon.

There are hundreds of references within the show that call upon that rich history – take last week’s Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS which featured the recurring series MacGuffin “the Eye of Harmony,” which has Alan Moore to thank for around 50 per cent of its back story.

Meanwhile the whole impetus for that episode, the TARDIS being scooped up by scrap merchants, was borrowed from the Fourth Doctor serial Junkyard Demons.

Back in the Russell T Davies era, ‘Kronkburgers’ and ‘Mood Pushers’ made appearances – there’s no denying that the comics have had the greater impact on the look of the show:

The art direction of the show hasn’t hidden the comic-book influences in its recent past: Bryan Hitch was hired as concept artist when the show relaunched in 2005, redesigning the TARDIS console room; then-showrunner Russell T Davies repaid the debt by having the assistant Rose Tyler essentially cosplaying as Hitch’s Jenny Sparks for a sizeable chunk of Season 1, and later freely admitted basing the look of two characters from the show upon designs lifted wholesale from 2000AD.

In fact, Kardwell was so enamoured with the Junkyard Demons and the influence of Adi Granov’s Cybermen artwork on the recent redesigned Cybermen for Neil Gaiman’s Nightmare in Silver that he’s calling for a TV adaptation of Steve Parkhouse and Mick McMahon’s strip.

So should the show adapt other serials? Which serials would you like to see adapted for television? Do you think Moffat is dismissive of the comic canon?

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About the Author

Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.




29 Responses to Moffat: Mining Comics For His Own Ends?

  1. TonyS says:

    Blink was adapted form a story in the 2006 Dr Who annual

  2. Koth says:

    There are loads of references in the RTD era taken from the New Adventures novels.

  3. Gareth says:

    Tides of Time would be good or the present comic strip , I’m really enjoying that one.

  4. Mez says:

    Moffat is a STEALER of Doctor Who comic strip canon, chack out the Doctor Who Yearbook 1993. The comic stip in it, by Paul Cornell called Metamorphosis, has the Seventh Doctor up against the Daleks. People all over the ship he arrives on are saying ‘Eggs’ until later, when the Doctor himself starts saying ‘Eggs’…’Stir’ and then a Dalek turns up.

    Sound familiar?


    • Steady on, Mez!

  5. Gareth Kavanagh says:

    Actually, the most uncanny for me was the Flood and Parting of the Ways which has a very similar ending and was written virtually concurrently. That said, the Flood would make extraordinary television nowadays. And Children of the Revolution. Both ingenious reinventions of old favourites, which we could really do with nowadays….


    • Well we might get one next week…

      Tbh though, you don’t even have to remake The Flood. The idea of future Cybermen is enthralling enough, IMO…

  6. 00who1987 says:

    There’s also the Synopsis of “The Name of the Doctor” which sounds a bit similar to the 7th Doctor strip where Ace is killed off, with companions being kidnapped left, right and centre. I’ve forgotten the title, but someone else may remember it.

    • Guy Grist says:

      Ground Zero.

  7. iank says:

    I’m not sure Moffat has much respect for anything beyond his own era.

    • Philip Bates says:

      Moffat loves the show, and always has done. I’m not sure why people are saying he doesn’t respect it, just because he’s bringing new ideas to it. It’s what Doctor Who does.

      Also, with 50 years of storylines, some are going to be reminiscent of others. To paraphrase Sherlock, “The wheel turns. Nothing is ever new.”

      • Bunvendor says:

        Anybody who has heard Moffat’s rant from a few years back (in conversation with Paul Cornell) about how bad the original Doctor Who was, and how William Hartnell and most of the 60s companion actors weren’t worthy of their Equity cards would be inclined to disagree that the man loves the programme, rather than the IDEA of it…

        • Philip Bates says:

          I’m not going to comment on that rant – because I haven’t heard it. But I don’t think it’s right to judge him based on one conversation. I genuinely believe he LOVES the show.

          When I saw him at the Doctor Who Experience, the interviewer pointed to a telly showing a 7th Doctor ep and asked him which it was. He identified it straight away and continued to talk about Doctor Who with genuine love and warmth. It was lovely, knowing that Moffat is just a big fan, like you or me.

          Then there’s that famous picture of Moffat as a kid, reading Doctor Who and the Daleks.

          If Moffat hates Classic Who so much, why would he include so many nods to it, more, even, than previous showrunner, and fan, Russell T. Davies?

          Are people also so averse to Gareth Roberts, for instance, who claimed, in DWM, that Doctor Who didn’t really begin until the Second Doctor era…?

    • matthewstott says:

      This is clearly not true. He’s a huge Doctor Who fan. All this talk about an arrogant Moff who doesn’t care about anything but his own stories is baffling to me. He is CLEARLY a massive Who fan. People not liking how he writes Who does not change this fact.

  8. matthewstott says:

    Yes, there’s no way two people could think that up. He stole it, and we should no, what with us having no idea what went on with the writing of the episode or how he came to that idea. Stole it. Obvs.

  9. Howard Railton says:

    Moffat’s dismissive of 90% of fandom as he wont pick the phone up and call McGann and McCoy.

    • Steve Andrew says:

      90%? Citation needed.

      • Philip Bates says:

        I, too, would like more Doctors in the 50th anniversary. But if he’s got a great storyline, why should he shoehorn in other Doctors, when much of the audience will be satisfied with just the two Doctors? Two Doctors! That’s still excellent, people!!

  10. TonyS says:

    If it makes a good idea, what does it matter where he got it from? He should acknowledge his sources, obviously. But let’s not get sniffy if he takes ideas from comics etc…

    • Steve Andrew says:

      Agreed. There are some great ideas in the comics and extended book range. I love seeing them in TV episodes – makes them more canonical. (Human Nature probably being the best example.)

      Now if only the Doctor can start travelling with a shapeshifting aquatic bird… a penguin, perhaps… ;-)

      Doesn’t really matter where the writers get their ideas from as long as they’re honest and upfront about it. I think a lot of people are assuming malice in Moffat that most likely doesn’t exist.

  11. TimeChaser says:

    I thought to myself at the time while watching JTtCotT, “Is is possible some inspiration from this came from Junkyard Demon”?

  12. J W says:

    The Mutants in”Utopia” were lifted from a Tom Baker strip, don’t remember the name.

  13. Meredith Burdett says:

    All agreed, maybe I was somewhat fast and loose with the word ‘stealer’ as ideas can generate years later and be similar to ideas before them. Either way, there’s a very similar line in the Doctor Who 1993 yearbook…

    • Philip Bates says:

      People like you disgust me, Mez. ;P

  14. Geoff says:

    For my money the golden era of the strips was Iron Legion through to the Stockbridge series. I think they captured the essence of those two Doctors perfectly during that period. That said I read the strips in DWM and the writing is seemless with the show. I can actually hear Matt Smiths voice in my head when I read the speech bubbles.

  15. vortexter says:

    World Shapers which was a story about an older Jamie meeting up with the Doctor and Mondas was Marinus and The Voord became the Cybermen. I think that would make a great transition to the series.

  16. Thom Solo says:

    End Of The Line

  17. zarbisupremo says:

    People seem to he getting confused between homage and plagiarism on here. I remember RTD saying that the city in Gridlock was inspired by Mega-City One from Judge Dredd, and there was also a character in that story which looked identical to Max Normal, Dredd’s former informer. I liked those little nods to the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic.

  18. Mez says:

    In fact, ignore my first comment completely as stuff like this happens all the time and it’s probably just a case of two talented people having a similar idea.

    I day that ’cause i’m reading Nemesis of the Daleks graphic novel which has graveyards for TARDIS’ outside of time and space and wormhole travel via London trains and buses!

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