Doctor Who News The Magician Comic

Published on January 24th, 2014 | by Alex Skerratt

‘Forgotten’ Story in TV Comic

Anybody attempting to canonise all-things Who might encounter a stumbling block with this one! Some fascinating comic book pages have surfaced which depict a ‘forgotten’ Doctor Who story entitled The Magician. Ripped from a now-defunct ’70s publication known as TV Comic, these obscure frames show an early Tom Baker in fine form at the wheel of his trusty TARDIS. Or should that be Jon Pertwee…?

Well, both, as it turns out. Apparently, the adventure was originally released with the Third Doctor at the helm, but in the mid 1970s the strips were reprinted to save money, and Jon Pertwee was unceremoniously ‘painted over’ and replaced with Tom Baker! This leaves us with the slight problem of two separate Doctors experiencing the same adventure twice, which is enough to rip a hole in the fabric of the space-time continuum. Unless we say the whole thing took place inside the Matrix (I like to think it did…).

In all seriousness, these frames give us a fascinating insight into the Time Lord’s more obscure adventures, so meticulously realised by artists Gerry Haylock and John Canning.


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About the Author


likes William Hartnell, whisky, being creative, debating canonicity, The Gunfighters, The Keys of Marinus and City of Death. He has a strong dislike of cold quiche, corporate PowerPoint presentations and lanyards, but loves terrible puns. He's currently employed by a mute teddy bear with black ears.

7 Responses to ‘Forgotten’ Story in TV Comic

  1. avatar Paul says:

    They did this to quite a lot of third Doctor stories – it’s fairly well known among fans of the comics.

  2. avatar Effjay says:

    This was done for about a year. The original art was tippexed to replace Jon with Tom. If there can be two Shadas, why not two of the TV Comic redraws?

  3. avatar IGettings says:

    I am being a bit anal here – but it’s called The Amateur (The Magician appeared a little later in the series)

  4. avatar Gillian Who says:

    You tease but someone’s already tried to explain it Check Here: and go down to “the Changing face of Doctor Who”

  5. avatar Paul Scoones says:

    It is fascinating to see that page of artwork.

    In the mid 1970s TV Comic was still publishing an original weekly Doctor Who strip. It wasn’t until late in the decade that it replaced this with one overlaying Pertwee (and in one case Troughton) with Tom Baker’s likeness.

    As noted above the featured page is from ‘The Amateur’, specifically the second page of the third episode, from #1392, 18 August 1978.

    In May 1978, a few months before the publication of this strip, TV Comic had advised BBC Enterprises of their intention to quit their licence (paving the way for the arrival of Marvel’s Doctor Who Weekly later the following year). TV Comic seems to have been obligated to serve out one year’s notice from the time of , hence the abrupt switch to considerably cheaper reprinted weekly strips in 1978-79.

    best wishes,
    Paul Scoones
    Author of The Comic Strip Companion – The Guide to Doctor Who in Comics 1964-1979.

    • Thanks for your informative post Paul!

      I’m now going to demand that anyone who wants to know more about the pre-DWM strips seek out your unmissable guide forthwith.

  6. avatar Eldon Terry says:

    I don’t know if Destiny got involved in the classic stories, but he apparently was co-opted by Neil Gaiman and used as one of the Endless in Sandman. Len Wein mentioned this in the new issue of Alter Ego, which is the only reason I know it. Yes. This is a fascinating piece of really obscure information which is not even remotely well known to just about anyone who was reading DC in the 70s and is very definitely not a case of stating the totally bleeding obvious. Honest.

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