by Tim Quinn & Dicky Howett
Publisher: MIWK Publishing
Out: 3rd March 2015
The Book: It’s Even Bigger on The Inside collects all the Doctor Who? Strips that ran regularly in Doctor Who Monthly and Doctor Who Magazine from Issue 64 until Issue 225, created by Tim Quinn and Dicky Howett – plus more besides. It also features new art from Dicky, persuaded out of cartooning retirement for this project.
For over a decade Tim and Dicky created a regular comic strip Doctor Who? For Marvel UK (now Panini) in Doctor Who Magazine. Now, for the first time, all their strips are collected here, together with strips from various specials, annuals and Year Books as well as their two previously published books It’s Bigger on the Inside and The Doctor Who Fun Book.
The Review: They say the Golden Age of science-fiction is when you were 14 and in my case, my early teens were certainly a period when I was ‘in’ to Doctor Who perhaps more than at any other time before or since. During the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy years, I would keenly collect each Target novelisation, every Peter Haining non-fiction book and each monthly issue of Doctor Who Magazine.
For me, the issues edited by Sheila Cranna and John Freeman were the pinnacle of the magazine’s success and I would literally wear each issue out because I would read them time and time again. Every month I would get home from school desperately hoping that my mother had collected the new issue from the newsagents. Time after time it was late and I would have to wait patiently to see if it would arrive the following day instead.
Of course, a huge part of DWM’s success were the witty and incisive cartoons by Tim Quinn and Dicky Howett. The magazine has tried several time since to come up with something to replace them (and recently struck gold with the excellent cartoons by Lew Stringer) and to me they continue to represent a golden age of Doctor who-based satire.
This rather splendid compilation volume begins with an introduction by Tim Quinn (the writing part of the duo) in which he recalls being a fan of the show since the Hartnell years and if there’s one theme which runs throughout the book it’s just how much these two guys really love the programme in all of its guises. Tim watched the show from episode one. He even wrote to the BBC about the programme in the very early days and the letters he received back are reproduced later in the book. TV Comic was an early influence for the young would-be writer and it was perhaps inevitable that come the early 1980s he would find himself co-creating a humour strip for Doctor Who Monthly.
The first section of the book is made up of Tim and Dicky’s monthly humour strips from DWM. They are wickedly funny, with no character or cast member immune from mockery. It’s all broad brush strokes here – producer John Nathan-Turner is a bushy bearded Hawaiian shirt-wearing ‘hairy gooseberry’ (their words, not mine!), the Sixth Doctor is big and bombastic and Peri is all legs and boobs. We’re then in to reprints of the two books that were compiled by the pair – The Doctor Who Fun Book from WH Allen and It’s Bigger on the Inside from Marvel UK.
The introduction page of the first of these two volumes features a cartoon which has stuck in my mind ever seen I first saw it – a small boy asking Peter Davison for Tom Baker’s autograph! It just goes to show how long a successful cartoon can stay with you.
The book finishes with a whole host of rare and interesting material. There are some strips that were never published, artwork produced for private commissions and even some Doctor Who-related cartoons produced for other publications, one from as early as 1966. One of the most fun parts is the scrapbook which contains some great photos of Tim and Dicky from the 1980s (gosh, they had big hair!) and some more up to date photos as well. Did you know, for example, that Dicky appeared in the drama An Adventure in Space and Time?
There’s even a reproduction of a stern memo from Marvel UK Editorial Director Paul Neary to Tim that I’d love to know more about…
This is as pleasant a trip down memory lane as you are likely to read. A must for fans of Doctor Who or humour strips generally.
• To pre-order It’s Even Bigger on the Inside (and buy other great MIWK books such as Jamie “Baxter” Lenman’s Woah! right now) visit www.miwkpublishing.com/store
• MIWK Publishing main site: www.miwkpublishing.com
• Download a PDF of extra material (and some strips missing from the collection) on the MIWK Publishing web site (PDF)
After publication, MIWK discovered to their horror that two pages of strips had been left out of the collection in the pre-production process. This PDF includes those pages, and the photo section from It’s Bigger on the Inside, which MIWK chose to leave out of their collection due to the poor quality of available source material