Although Gary Russell took over from me as editor of Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK with Issue 186, I continued to edit the comic strip right up to “Emperor of the Daleks”, written by Paul Cornell and drawn by Lee Sullivan, which concluded in Issue 202. (When I became editor of DWM with Issue 137, Richard Starkings continued to edit the comic right up to “Nemesis of the Daleks”, also drawn by Lee, which ran in Issues 152 – 155, so a precedent had been set for this ‘job sharing’).
Issue 203 saw the debut of Gary’s first commissioned strip, “Final Genesis” – a wonderful alternate Earth story that was one of a number of the brief run of comics that were integrated into the Virgin New Adventures continuity, starring the Seventh Doctor and Bernice Summerfield. Written by the hugely talented Warwick Gray (now Scott Gray), it was set on an alternate Earth in which a now dead Third Doctior had brokered a peace treaty between humanity and the Silurians. (Hmm – doesn’t the peace treaty element sound strangely familiar…?)
The art on the strip was the work of the late, great Colin Andrew – a wonderful artist who also worked on the Daily Express newspaper strip, Jeff Hawke with Sydney Jordan, who first worked on DWM drawing “Pureblood“, a Sontaran story written by Dan Abnett, which ran in Issue 193 – 196. His work on that strip blew me away, so it was no surprise Gary asked him back.
The strip looked, as expected, great, but imagine Gary’s shock (this was his edited first strip, after all!), and my astonishment as Senior Editor on receiving the pages of the third episode (which appeared in DWM Issue 205). The pages as they were published appear below – but I can assure you they were very different on the first pass.
Looking back on the incident now, I can only imagine that Colin had either been drawing for a more adult publication in the same week, or was taking a leaf from Frank Bellamy’s interpretation of the Daily Mirror’s Garth.
I’ll leave you to guess how the pages first looked – but thanks heavens for letratone, eh?
(Thanks to Paul Scoones for his help with this item, Shaqui le Vesconte for pestering me for more details, and no thanks at all to Gary for making me think I’d imagined it! Just joking, Gary…)
• For Colin Andrew’s many credits on Doctor Who Magazine, check out the TARDIS Data Core here
• For Warwick Gray/ Scott Gray’s many credits on Doctor Who Magazine, check out the TARDIS Data Core here