The story behind some terrific Doctor Who strip samples created by Brian Bolland, drawn in the 1970s, will be revealed in the next issue of independent Who comics zine, Vworp! Vworp!
The feature is one of many fantastic discoveries made by the Vworp! Vworp! team since the publication began; a high quality, irregularly published title which has also featured some incredible art and fascinating interviews.
Brian drew three Doctor Who pages, one previously published, originally in another comics fanzine in Arkensword 13/14 in the 1980s, edited by Paul Duncan (today, an editor at Taschen), as part of a giant Brian Bolland interview.
The page was also reproduced in The Art of Brian Bolland, published by Image Comics in 20006.
Now, Brian has coloured two more recently-discovered pages, and they will appear in their full glory in the next issue of Vworp! Vworp!, together with background on their origin.
For now, what we know for sure is that these are not the near-mythical samples Dez Skinn recalls commissioning from Brian in 1978, in the run up to the debut of Doctor Who Weekly in 1979 – art the veteran editor and publisher has previously joked that he thought Brian may still be drawing.
Intriguingly, these amazing samples were commissioned for another publication.
“In February 1979 in my room in Chiswick… I drew a couple of pages of Doctor Who for some people called Lyncross,” Brian noted in The Art of Brian Bolland. “It says in my job book that they were in colour, but I don’t remember them that way…”
“Lyncross“, not to be confused, with a modern publisher of the same name, may be Lyncross Publishing Limited, a London-based company with offices in Farringdon, established in September 1977 and dissolved in late 1979.
Was this work for a potential rival to Look-In, perhaps, pre-dating BEEB, launched by TV Comic publishers Polystyle Publications? Was the project stymied by Dez Skinn’s successful acquisition of a Doctor Who comic license from the BBC for Marvel UK?
An added wrinkle to the mystery is that the story is a different take on a strip written and drawn by Paul Crompton published in the 1979 Doctor Who Annual, titled “Emsone’s Castle“, featuring Leela as the Doctor’s companion, but with an amended script.
During the version of the story drawn by Brian Bolland, the Doctor’s companion, Romana’s (played on screen by Mary Tamm) is seen using a “wand” rather than a sonic screwdriver, a device she carried during the show’s “Key to Time” season.
With tantalising hints of some other great treats in store that will feature the next issue of Vworp! Vworp! from the team, I’ll be keeping my eye on the titles’s web site (where limited copies of Issue Three are available), Facebook and Twitter and YouTube pages for publication news!