Back in my days as editor of Doctor Who Magazine, one of the first comic strips I edited for the title was “Stairway to Heaven”, a story that is much noted for being the first published professional work of a talented young writer, Paul Cornell. (Whatever happened to him?)
It also marked the Marvel UK debut of artist Gerry Dolan, who also drew some sample Doctor Who newspaper strips for me that we pitched, unsuccessfully, to the Daily Express.
Gerry previously worked with Syd Jordan and Trevor Goring at art agency Helicopter. In 1996, for example, he provided storyboards for the only published episode of Syd Jordan’s revival of Dan Dare for the short-lived Planet newspaper.
I can’t remember just how we met originally – whether it was a cold pitch or a pub meet – but as you can see from the sample from “Stairway” above, he has a good eye for likeness and was, I felt, a perfect artist for the Doctor Who strip. (Because of the way we ‘rotated’ artists on the strip back then he was just one of many creators who I employed, although I would have loved to have gotten him to draw more).
We’ve maintained contact, on and off, down the years, Gerry moving to Los Angeles some time after his work on Doctor Who and working as a storyboard artist on many animated series on shows such as Starship Troopers rather than continuing his comics career – which, in my view is a loss to comics.
Earlier this week, I received worrying news from fellow artist Trevor Goring that Gerry was in hospital after suffering a “hemorrhagic stroke”. This is, apparently, not as bad as a full heart attack – even if it sounds like it.
Naturally, I’m sure those of you who recall Gerry from Marvel UK days, or have worked with him down the years, will want to be thinking about him and offer good wishes. Right now, he’s doing well in hospital, according to Trevor Goring. Although he is still in intensive care and highly sedated, the signs look good for a recovery – although no-one is sure how long it will take.
We’ll keep you posted on news of Gerry as we get it and wish him all the very best from across the pond.
2015 Update: “Stairway to Heaven” was re-published by Panini in their Doctor Who collection Nemesis of the Daleks and Gerry’s newspaper strip Who who features in the collection The Good Soldier. Both books are available from all good bookshops