As we’ve already mentioned, Doctor Who Magazine has just published its 500th issue, and is celebrating with a special 20-page comic strip adventure, “The Stockbridge Showdown” – and writer Scott Gray kindly took time out of his schedule to give us some more information on this landmark story, featuring a number of characters longtime readers will remember fondly, including the shapeshifting Frobisher the Penguin!
“It’s an artists’ jam,” Scott explains. “We have a grand total of nine artists from the strip’s history contributing to the story, and we’re kicking off with three beautiful pages from the man who started the whole ball rolling: Dave Gibbons!”
Dave Gibbons of course needs no introduction to downthetubes readers – he’s illustrated acclaimed runs on series such as Watchmen, The Secret Service: Kingsman, Green Lantern, “Dan Dare” and Give Me Liberty. In 1979, Dave became Doctor Who Weekly’s first artist, illustrating stories written by Pat Mills, John Wagner, Steve Moore and Steve Parkhouse.
“It’s certainly a lot easier to draw the Doctor these days,” Dave remarks. “The only visual reference I had when I first drew Tom Baker was a couple of dozen photographs of a live episode broadcast on a black and white TV set taken by a fellow artist. With Peter Davison, I started with two pictures clipped out of a newspaper before he graciously submitted to a photo session which gave me all the stock angles and expressions I needed.” (The DWM team caught up with Peter during the shooting of Time-Flight, taking numerous photos of him in costume in his dressing room). “But with Peter Capaldi, I have all the Google Images and screen grabs I could want at my fingertips!”
The other artists taking part in “The Stockbridge Showdown” are a stellar line-up of Doctor Who comics talent: John Ridgway, Roger Langridge, Adrian Salmon, Dan McDaid, Mike Collins, John Ross, David A Roach and Martin Geraghty.
“All these artists have made a major contribution to DWM over the years,” Scott Gray says, “and I’ve done my best to give them all scenes tailored to their strengths. I’ve been blown away by the results.
“Anyone who’s enjoyed the DWM strip over the years should take a look at this story – there are a lot of old faces returning, some friendly, some not-so!”
Doctor Who Magazine started life in October 1979 as Doctor Who Weekly, at a time when Tom Baker was starring on British TV as the Doctor. Featuring comics, articles and interviews, the magazine quickly became essential reading for all avid Doctor Who fans and Doctor Who showrunners Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat were eager followers from the start, as was the Tenth Doctor himself, David Tennant.
“Dave Gibbons’s final story for DWM was “Stars Fell on Stockbridge” in 1982. It featured a great supporting character called Max Edison,” Scott explains. “It seemed very fitting to bring Max back for this anniversary adventure, and have him meet Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. They’re battling Josiah W Dogbolter, an old enemy with a major score to settle…”
• Doctor Who Magazine Issue 500 is on sale now, published by Panini UK, and includes a terrific supplement packed with information on the history of the Magazine, interviewing every editor and featuring pictures of every cover.
• Doctor Who Magazine Issue 500 is also available as a digital download at Pocketmags.com and on mobile devices
The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.
John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.
He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.
Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.