Doctor Who fans worldwide are celebrating the 40th anniversary since Peter Davison made his first regular appearance in the part of “The Doctor” this year, so artist Pete Wallbank thought he’d mark it by reimagining his first Marvel UK Doctor Who Magazine cover commission, by way of celebration.
Pete made his debut as a Doctor Who Magazine cover artist with the cover of Doctor Who Magazine No. 172, published in April 1991, bringing the Fifth Doctor story, The Awakening, to dramatic life.
“The original commission came from the ever guiding and encouraging then editor of said magazine, John Freeman,” Pete notes on his official Facebook page. “By way of celebration, I’ve gone about creating a new celebratory piece.”
Despite his clear popularity in annual DWM polls with readers, Peter Davison’s Doctor hadn’t appeared on the cover for some years, and even then, only in group in a photograph from Castrovalva with the TARDIS crew, on No. 134. As the Magazine’s editor, it made sense, to me, to make as much of his “appearance” in No. 172 as possible – that decision made even easier by a distinct lack of suitable photographs from the story that would have made for a good cover!
Pete’s new artwork is a striking reimagining of the story, and he’s brought all his skills to bear on the subject, honed over 30 years in the business, perfectly capturing some of the elements of the story and combining them into an eye-catching new image.
“The work I did back then is very much part of my professional past as are the techniques used to create those paintings,” says Pete, “with this new painting being solely created using the digital iPad software – Procreate.”
As his former editor, I’ve joined in the fun, with my reimagining of the final cover, utilising modern software we had little or no access to, back then, too.
Alongside Andrew Pixley‘s detailed archive for “The Awakening”, first broadcast in 1984, the issue’s contents included a short story featuring the Fifth Doctor, Jago and Litefoot, “Victorian Interlude“, by Andrew Lane, illustrated by Lee Brimmicombe-Wood as well as the continuing comic strip, “The Mark of Mandragora“, written by Dan Abnett, with art by Lee Sullivan and Mark Farmer.
In hindsight, armed with the knowledge now of what would prove to be the Doctor’s long absence from TV screens, the “new stories” aspect of the Magazine would definitely be something I’d give more cover mention too, for example. Back then, even two years on from Survival‘s first TV screening, the BBC could still not be drawn to announce the show’s cancellation.
My thanks to Pete for creating this stunning Fifth Doctor artwork, and a little trip down memory lane…
• Big Finish are currently celebrating four decades of the Fifth Doctor, with new audio adventures from across his timeline. The Fifth Doctor Adventures: Forty 1, written by Matt Fitton and Sarah Grochala, starring Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton, is available now
PS Barcode? What barcode?
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.