IDW's Doctor Who Classics series, now re-publishing the Seventh Doctor's adventures from Doctor Who Magazine has a 'first' and 'last' feel to Issue 5, on sale this month in the US.
The collection sees the publication of 'Culture Shock', Grant Morrison's final Doctor Who comic story to date, but Bryan Hitch's first Who work - not that the accomplished artist would like to be reminded of it.
With a new cover by Robert Hack and colouring from Charlie Kirchoff, also included is 'Echoes of the Mogor', a cracking spooky tale from Dan Abnett and John Ridgway.
Grant Morrison, whose past Who strips included the hugely popular Cybermen origin story, 'The World Shapers', may have gone on to better known comics such as The Invisibles, All-Star Superman and X-Men but he has always been a Doctor Who fan.
“These stories were very early on, when I was starting to work in comics,” Morrison told MTV in 2008, with the focus of Culture Shock – a living creature playing host to a microscopic universe all its own – pre-dating wider exploration of such themes in series such as The Invisibles. “It came up because I met John Ridgway through some other work, Liberators, on Warrior, so it was kind of through John, he suggested it,”
“I was a big Doctor Who fan all my life, so it was a good fit..." says Grant of his time working on the DWM. "I absolutely enjoyed doing it, and I would love to do more Doctor Who.” Although not necessarily as a comic, “because I’ve done enough of it in the comics.”
Might Grant one day follow Neil Gaiman and write a TV episode?
Bryan Hitch, now well known for his stunning work on Marvel's Utlimates and Fantastic Four and more, would rather skate over his first ever Doctor Who strip, which he drew when he was just 17. "I usually encourage people to burn my early work," he pleads.
Notable as the first appearance of Dan's Foreign Hazard Duty, a futuristic version of UNIT, Dan Abnett confesses that although he is “ridiculously good” at archiving back issues of his work, his Doctor Who Magazine collection seems to have disappeared into an alternate dimension, and, like Alan Grant, he has few memories of 'Echoes of the Mogor'. “I hope it’s a good one, and not an ‘Ooh, did I really write this crap” one,” he opines.
“The funniest part of all is where working on DWM got me. I loved it, but I never expected to write for Doctor Who again. I tried to get a Virgin novel commission early on, and they didn’t even reply. I felt I was very much ‘not in the Who clique’ and had only been lucky enough to write for the good Doctor because I knew you and Richard.
"Then, suddenly, in the last few years, it all came back to haunt me. Gary Russell came to me for a couple of Big Finish adventures, which led to the likes of my Torchwood novel and audios, and the Martha novel, and the Tenth Doctor audios for the BBC etc., and that train of events only happened because Gary had remembered how much he’d liked my DWM strips and came looking for me.
“The FHD were envisaged as a future version of UNIT,” he confirms. “I can’t be sure, but I think that connection actually gets made somewhere. I intended it too, anyway. They’ve popped up from time to time in all sorts of places, not all of them Who stories.”
“The FHD was originally a very infantile piece of slang that was invented by my mates at college,” Dan reveals. “An FHD was a really good night out, because one got so drunk, one had a terrible hangover in the morning, otherwise known as a F****** Horrible Death. Obviously, for DWM purposes, I changed what it stood for!”
At one point an FHD US title was considered, along with a number of other projects (including an Abslom Daak - Dalek Killer story by Steve Moore), but it was shelved after editorial changes instigated by Marvel Comics directors in America.
Other IDW Doctor Who titles on sale this month are Doctor Who #6, written by Tony Lee (with interior art from Matthew Dow Smith, who also provides a rare variant cover, the other by Tommy Lee Edwards), which sees the start of a three-part tale, 'When Worlds Collide', featuring Sontarans, a rift world, cowboys and Romans.
Doctor Who: A Fairytale Life #3 (of 4) by Eisner Award-nominated writer Matt Sturges (with art by Kelly Yates) features a cover by Mark Buckingham, in which the Doctor is forced the question, what's better, an ugly reality or beautiful fantasy? Meanwhile, Amy finds herself reluctantly cast as a damsel in distress on a medieval fantasy world...
• While print editions of IDW's Doctor Who titles aren't officially available in the UK, you should be able to buy the digital editions of these comics.
• IDW Comics is at: www.idwpublishing.com
In Praise of… Dan Dare and Trigan Empire Comic Artist and Illustrator Oliver Frey - Illustrator Oliver “Oli” Frey is well known for his work in many fields – as a book and magazine cover
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