The non-profit Doctor Who Unofficial Annual 1988, the sixth release from Terraqueous Distributors, is on course for release later this month, to the delight of supporters of the ongoing fan project.
Originally due for release back in March, the 1988 annual, focusing on the Sixth Doctor, is now on course for release on 30th May.
“The project took a sideways trip, and got lost in the vortex for a couple of months,” says editor Mark William Morgan. “However, just like the TARDIS, the 1988 Annual may have not materialised when it was originally supposed to, but the good news is that the two month delay allowed for a couple of extra surprises to be added.”
The Terraqueous team have been publishing a series of annuals for a while now, that they intend as a homage to the series of books published yearly by World Distributors.
The new annuals feature stories and illustrations produced by fans, as well as celebrity contributions from the worlds of Doctor Who. They are published via Print on Demand service Lulu for a strictly limited time only – so keep an eye on the Terraqueous Distributors Facebook Page for ordering information.
The Doctor Who Unofficial Annual 1988 comes in at 177 pages and includes contributions from a huge number of creators including actress Bonnie Langford, who played companion Mel in the TV series, illustrators Danny Cushion, Shannon Gallant, Daryl Joyce, who provided the 1960s annuals-inspired cover, Paul McCaffrey, Alister Pearson, Smuzz, Paul Mark Tams, Andy Walker, Mark Worgan and many more, and writers such as comics editor and writer John Freeman.
The biggest name among the contributors by far is, of course, actor Colin Baker, “the Sixth Doctor”.
“We are extremely humbled and grateful to the kindness of Colin Baker, who has written a very special foreword for the readers of the 1988 annual,” says editor Mark William Morgan.
Why the Sixth Doctor?
For those wondering why this unofficial 1988 annual features the Sixth Doctor rather than the Seventh, Sylvester McCoy replacing Colin Baker on our TV screens in September 1987, the answer is simple. Because this fan project echoes the original annuals, any official 1988 Doctor Who annual, had their been one, would have almost certainly have been published before the Seventh Doctor made his debut. It’s more than reasonable to assume, therefore, that such an annual would have led with the Sixth Doctor.
The first episode of Time and the Rani was broadcast on 7th September 1987. That same month, an official 1988 annual would have been released, but work on that would have been completed between June and July 1987 at the very latest, depending on where the annual was printed. At that point, a publisher would have been aware of McCoy’s casting, but not his portrayal, or costume, hence the annual would have focused on the Sixth Doctor and Mel.
There is an official precedent for this, too.World Distributors 1982 Annual featured both Tom Baker and Peter Davison, presumably published around September 1981, with Castrovalva Part One not airing until 4th January 1982.
Look out for the Cyberons, and Dracula, too!
“The Doctor Who Unofficial Annual 1988 offers another great mix of stories, features, puzzles and artwork,” he continues, “And, thanks to the kindness of Bill Baggs and James Hornby, the Cyberons officially make an appearance in the annual. Although these Cyberons may not be the ones you’re expecting, redesigned by James Lee, their intergalactic menace proves to be a mighty force to be reckoned with.”
But it’s not just the Cyberons the Doctor and Mel have to look out for. Within the pages of the 1988 annual, the great vampire Dracula is looking for blood – Time Lord blood!
“As many will be aware, Bram Stoker created the original Dracula, and thanks to Dacre Stoker and Chris McAuley, we have been given permission to use the original Stoker Dracula in not one but three original blood curdling tales,” Mark tells us. “The 1988 annual is certainly not a safe place for the Doctor and Mel!”
The Doctor also makes a return to Kandalinga, where his first incarnation met the Fishmen, in the story “The Fishmen of Kandalinga” featured in the very first Doctor Who annual.
“What better way to celebrate the annuals of the past, than by visiting some old friends” Mark asks. “Well, maybe not friends…”
“The Coral Eater” is an epic sequel to “The Fishmen of Kandalinga”, written by Andrew McDonald, and illustrated by Faiz Rehman.
Earlier this year, Terraqueous Distributors also invited fans to make a £5 minimum donation to the charity Lullaby Trust, and all those who did would have their name, or the name of a loved one, printed in the annual on the page of heroes.
“Terraqueous would like to thank everyone who donated,” Mark acknowledges, “you have helped to raise more than £2,780.
“This was done by single donations as well as yearly subscriptions, and many of you donated far more than the required amount. You are heroes!”
The End of an Era
This unofficial annual also marks the end of an era – the 1980s era. World Distributors ended their run of classic Doctor Who annuals with the 1986 annual. With the release of the 1988 annual, Terraqueous have completed the 1980’s run of the classic annuals, having previously released the 1987 and 1989 annuals.
“So what’s next? Well, Terraqueous Distributors will be releasing the unofficial Doctor Who annual 1997, the only annual dedicated to the Eighth Doctor, and will include a very special alternative cover by beloved artist Carolyn Edwards. And then they’ll bridge the final gap, with the 1990 and 1991 Yearbooks.
The Unofficial Doctor Who Annual 1988 is a not-for-profit publication. Visit the Terraqueous Distributors Facebook page for further details and updates.
The price of the annual will be determined nearer the time of its release, when the precise date of publication and details of how it can be purchased will also be announced.