Panini UK are celebrating after achieving the highest ever ABC figures for Doctor Who Magazine, which features news and features about the BBC’s top SF show, along with all-new comic strip every issue.
No doubt boosted by the series 50th anniversary and associated coverage, ABC figures for Doctor Who Magazine reached a total of 36,151 in the release period July to December 2013, with circulation rising by 26 per cent, at a time when the British consumer magazine market has recorded a year on year drop of 6.3 per cent
The magazine has been produced for 34 years, launching back in 1979 as Doctor Who Weekly, helmed by Dez Skinn. Back then, the title was a very different beast, leading with comic strip written by Pat Mills and John Wagner, drawn by Dave Gibbons. Early issues also included Doctor Who-inspired ‘monster’ strips featuring the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans and other TV horrors, some written by Alan Moore.
News and feature content was minimal, but this was to change when the title adopted a monthly frequency, reducing its strip content and boosting coverage of the show’s production.
While those early monthly issues had less access to the show’s actual recording, cast and crew, the format remains the same today, often delivering exclusive news on Doctor Who‘s developments as the TV series ramps up for a new season.
Although the TV series itself went off air for many years until its recent revival, Doctor Who Magazine continued throughout the show’s enforced hiatus in the 1990s and helped boost other Doctor Who tie-ins as it continued to keep fans happy in the absence of new production.
Many of the title’s comic strips have been reprinted as albums (including Hunters of the Burning Stone, the 50th anniversary comic story) and the strip remains an integral part of the magazine, despite almost being dropped as a cost saving measure on more than one occasion.
The magazine’s continued faith in the comic strip element means Doctor Who will celebrate another 50th anniversary this year – this time, for the continuous production of related comic strip since William Hartnell’s First Doctor appeared in the pages of TV Comic back in November 1964. And, unlike the TV show that spawned it, the comic strip has never had a ‘production hiatus’.
“It has been a fantastic year for Doctor Who,” enthused Panini Circulation manager, Katie Wilkinson, said:. “At a time when many magazines are struggling to maintain their circulation figures, it is really exciting to be able to post great growth in sales both on the news stand and in subscription.:”
Tom Spilsbury, editor of the magazine, added: “Doctor Who Magazine has been running non-stop for more than 34 years. With the general downturn in sales across the magazine industry it’s extraordinary to see that DWM has just recorded its highest circulation figures since 1980.
“The 50th anniversary edition – DWM 467 – ended up selling more than 50,000 copies, and had to be reprinted to try to meet demand.
“The six month average figure for the magazine is an incredible 36,151 copies, which is also the best average figure for more than 33 years.
“Thank you to all or our loyal readers who have stuck with us over the years, as well as to all the new readers who have joined us more recently.”
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.