Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time – An Interview with Kev Hopgood

Dave Sim's cover to Prisoners of Time #7

Dave Sim’s cover to Prisoners of Time #7. “Another very pretty actress,” says Dave of Sophie Aldred (Ace), “and a bit of a challenge because of her Nordic features (particularly the lips) and being at the ‘no make-up needed’ age… The Doctor Who photo was selected exclusively because of the front end of the motorcycle in the foreground. An Al Williamson dream come true.” Read more about Dave’s take on the Seventh Doctor here on his web site.

British comic creators are heavily involved in US publisher IDW’s Doctor Who at 50 celebrations for their ‘Prisoners of Time’ maxi series, which will feature every incarnation of the Doctor, as well as a long list of villains, some new, some old.

The series launched  in January with a First Doctor story drawn by Simon Fraser and continued with a Second Doctor story drawn by Lee Sullivan,

Mike Collins provided a Third Doctor tale and Gary Erskine the Fourth. Phillip Bond drew the Fifth Doctor story and John Ridgway, which saw the arrival of Frobisher as an undercover agent, the sixth.

Kev Hopgood is the latest Brit to join the project, who started his comics career back in the mid-1980s working for Marvel UK (including a Seventh Doctor strip, Claws of the Klathi for Doctor Who Magazine) and then 2000AD. Following this he had a three year stint as the penciller on Iron Man, where he co-created War Machine. Since then he’s been working mostly in children’s and educational publishing for publishers like Oxford University Press, Macmillan and Pearson.

He recently finished a graphic novel for Franklin Watts called Switch Face , which launches in October.

downthetubes: How did you gain the commission to draw the seventh issue of Prisoners of Time?

Kev Hopgood: Denton Tipton, the editor, e-mailed me and asked me! IDW have coloured and reprinted the Doctor Who strips I did for Marvel UK back in the day, so I’m assuming they liked the way they turned out and thought they’d get me to do a new one.

downthetubes: This isn’t your first Doctor Who project but you’ve been busy with many other projects, so what drew you back (no puns intended) to the Time Lord?

Kev: What’s not to like about Doctor Who! I haven’t drawn any comics for comics publishers for ages, so I was very pleased to be asked to get back in the saddle.

downthetubes: IDW are keeping their cards close to their chest about the story, but given the Seventh Doctor’s capacity for mind games, does he get more of a handle on his companion-stealing enemy in this issue, especially now Frobisher is working behind the scenes against the kidnapper?

Kev: We don’t find out much more about the mysterious hooded figure this issue, but we do see a lot of a very popular Doctor Who villain from times past.

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #7 interior art by Kev Hopgood

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #7 interior art by Kev Hopgood

downthetubes: You’re best known, perhaps, for your superhero work in comics and can draw equally well in several styles – do you have a specific approach to drawing a Doctor Who story, does SF call for particular storytelling techniques?

Kev: When I was drawing Iron Man I thought of it as a SF story rather than superhero book. I really enjoyed drawing all the hardware. The Doctor Who story I’ve just finished is set in an 18th Century Scottish castle, so it’s more of an historical story with SF elements thrown into the mix. The Claws of the Klaathi story I drew was also set in the Victorian era. I really enjoy doing all the research for stories set in the past.

downthetubes: A project like this inevitably attracts comments over likenesses, do you find that limiting given the freedom you have on other projects?

Kev: That’s the challenge of a Doctor Who story! I found all the DVDs available now to be a godsend. When I drew Sylvester McCoy back in the Eighties all I had was a few fairly ropey photos and a battered VHS I taped off the telly!

downthetubes: Will you be doing more Doctor Who projects after this one?

Kev: I certainly hope so!

downthetubes: Has the way you draw comics changed since you first drew Doctor Who and if so, what’s the biggest change?

Kev: I ink digitally now which has been a big change. Also, being able to e-mail artwork has speeded up the whole process. The Fed-Ex bill for posting artwork back in the day must have been enormous. There’s also so much reference available online now. I used to have a filing cabinet full of pictures I’d clipped out of magazines . Now I’ve just got “Google”.

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #7 interior art by Kev Hopgood

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #7 interior art by Kev Hopgood

downthetubes: 50 years of Doctor Who – what do you think is the key ingredient that’s given it such longevity?

Kev: I think the ability to “re-generate” and get a new lead actor involved every couple of years means the show’s got longevity built in.

downthetubes: What’s your next project?

Kev: One of my ongoing gigs is drawing a series of “cutaway” style illustrations for the Marvel Fact Files that Eaglemoss publish. The next one I have to do is a Sentinel, one of those Jack Kirby “cosmic god” characters. I’m also doing an illustrated version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray for publishers called Real Reads.

downthetubes: Above anything else, what one piece of advice would you offer aspiring comic artists?

Kev: Diversify! I had about ten years drawing nothing but comic books, but since I got out of the game following the comic crash of the mid-nineties I’ve found there are so many places that people with our kind of skills can find work.

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #7 cover by Francesco Francavilla

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #7 cover by Francesco Francavilla

• Kev Hopgood’s Official web site: and

Print editions of the IDW Doctor Who titles are not officially on sale in the UK but you can purchase the digital editions. #7 also includes a feature on the Seventh Doctor in comics by John Freeman.

Buy Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #6 for ipad, iPhone and iPod Touch

Buy the Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time Volume 1 for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch which collects the first four issues

Read our interview with Simon Fraser, who drew Prisoners of Time #1

Read our interview with Lee Sullivan, who drew Prisoners of Time #2

Read our interview with Mike Collins, who drew Prisoners of Time #3

Read our interview with Gary Erskine, who drew Prisoners of Time #4

Read our interview with John Ridgway, who drew Prisoners of Time #6

External Links

More about IDW’s Doctor Who range on the official web site

Read an interview with David and Scott Tipton about the maxi series on Comic Book Resources 


Categories: Comic Creator Interviews, Doctor Who, Featured News, Television

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