Spring is in the air and I’m dusting off the keyboard and blog in order to once again join up with an amazing group of pod-casters and bloggers for the one and only Super-Blog Team-Up. An event like no other, where like minded pod-casters and writers get together to discuss and write about pop culture as it relates to a specific theme. For this outing “The Doctor is In” and we’ll be taking a look at Dr. Doom, Dr. Thirteen, Dr. Voodoo, and Lucy Van Pelt to name a few of the fictional practitioners that are there to tend to the ill and care for the sick…maybe. Join us, won’t you?
For my Team Up entry I want to examine the Marvel Comic Doctor Who adventures and what got me interested in these old comics and the classic Doctor Who adventures in the first place. In order to understand how I got here we have to go all the way back to February of 2019, when one of my favorite pod-casters devoted a whole month to a network wide event hilariously called Feb-Who-Ary. But we’ll get there in due time.
My first exposure to Doctor Who came in the sixth grade when a classmate would wear a ridiculously long scarf to school and espouse on the virtues of the TV show that aired on PBS called Doctor Who. I may have watched 20 minutes of the show before realizing that it did not impress me. It could not compare to the wonderful adventures that took place in the universes of Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, or Buck Rogers. At that young age the budget restricted show could not hold my attention and I was not in a place to appreciate British science fiction and humor.
Hop in the Tardis and head into the future twenty some odd years and my brother convinces my wife and I to watch an episode of the modern Doctor Who called “Blink”. I was blown away and all in. We devoured the new stories with Christopher Eccelston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith and their wonderful partners Billie Piper, Karen Gillan, Freema Agyeman, and Catherine Tate. Eventually our interest died off as the quality of the stories changed. During those years of watching the modern stories I did feel that something was missing from my experience. Where was the scarf? Where was the combination of great storytelling and special effects put together with rubber masks and paper mache that paved the way for this modern super series?
Back the present where I listen to six or seven pop culture and comic book related podcasts on a regular basis. The really good ones have an impact on me in that I want to follow up on and experience that subject in a more personal way, whether it is watching a movie for myself or reading the comic that was discussed. Enter the podcasts on the Relatively Geeky Network where Professor Alan, Em and their friends & guests took an extended look at the wonderful world of Doctor Who in the Feb-Who-Ary event. Over the course of the month and into March they discussed Doctor Who in a way that I had not experienced the property for myself. They talked about the TV shows, the actors and actresses, the conventions and the comics. Since that time I’ve really made an effort to learn more about the classic Doctor Who material and have been very pleased to find a good deal of it is available on various streaming platforms.
The podcast episode that stood out the most for me was Quarter Bin Podcast #131 where Professor Alan and Shagg, from the Fire and Water network, took an in depth look at Doctor Who #8 and the Doctor Who comics in general. Listening to them talk about this comic that they both loved made me want to read it for myself. From that point on I’ve been on the lookout of the Doctor Who Marvel comics whenever I’m bin diving. I’ve picked up a couple over the last two years which brings us to the main event.
Doctor Who and the Time Witch
Writer – Steve Moore
Artist – Dave Gibbons
Editor – Paul Neary
Reprinting material from – Doctor Who Weekly 35 – 38
The story begins with a woman, Brimo, being dragged by armed aliens towards a small chamber, sentenced to imprisonment for life, for get this, “using her subconscious mind to conspire with creatures unknown to pervert the course of destiny”. Whatever that means. Over the next few panels, eons pass for Brimo in her solitary confinement. Eventually the plant she is on disappears and the sun goes nova sucking her into a black hole and nothingness. Things are now very different for Brimo.
She appears to be in a white void of nothingness. She also realizes that she has the power to create a reality around her with just her mind and heart’s desires. We then cut to the Doctor and his companion Sharon in the Tardis. As the Doctor is telling Sharon that she’s got to keep up with studies while on adventures with him a rupture in time starts to appear in the Tardis. The Doctor is quite concerned that something that should not be happening is. Just as quickly as the rupture opens the Doctor and Sharon are sucked from the Tardis to a new planet. A larger than life alien dressed in something resembling samurai armor, named Meltron, is there. Meltron offers the visitors tea while the Doctor questions him on where they are.
The Doctor is concerned that energy from his dimension is being sucked into this new dimension by whomever is in charge and thinks that could lead to a very bad outcome. While Brimo, master of all reality in this dimension, sees the visitors with Meltron and decides to do something about them. While she attacks, the Doctor has been able to figure out that he too can control reality in this dimension. He thwarts each of Brimo’s attacks all the while trying to explain to Brimo and Sharon what is really going on.
As the battle progresses with the moves and counter moves made by Brimo and the Doctor growing more sophisticated Brimo appears to have the upper hand. In the end though the Doctor tricks Brimo into conjuring up her original solitary prison that once again she cannot escape from. The Doctor and Sharon leave the wacky dimension in the Tardis ready for another adventure.
The Tides of Time Part Seven
Writer – Steve Parkhouse
Artist – Dave Gibbons
Editor – Alan McKenzie
The lead story in this issue of Doctor Who features the fifth Doctor. The story is the last part of a series with this chapter originally featured in Doctor Who monthly #67. The story is a little hard to follow because it is the final chapter and there is little exposition. It actually took me a couple of times reading to grasp what was happening. I’ll try to be brief.
The Doctor and a man named Justin, dressed like a knight, are waiting for coordinates that will be given to them when the higher evolutionaries have completed the task of suspending time. I think. These coordinates will allow the Doctor and Justin to find the “event synthesizer” and the demon who stole it, Melanicus. Those things happen and the Doctor and Justin are transported in the Tardis to Earth. An Earth that is in ruins. As the Doctor and Justin leave the Tardis they hear music coming from a bombed out church.
They enter the church only to find the organ and the demon. Justin attacks the demon and there is a brief battle. When Justin has to assist the Doctor with a zombie that is attacking him the demon gets away. The demon Melanicus climbs to the top of the church only to be shot in the eyes by a being that is all black and appears to be filled with stars. Melanicus falls past a window and Justin leaps through it with his sword driving it into the demon’s heart. There is a massive, blinding explosion and the Doctor is hurled through time and space (?) only to awaken in what appears to be the same church, fully reconstructed, with a statue that looks like Justin.
The story closes with the Doctor being greeted by someone he knows and joins a cricket match. As this happens he is observed by the strange all black being who is communicating telepathically with his “masters”. They refer to him as Shade, tell him that he has done a good job, and that he should return to Gallifrey. I have no idea what any of this means, but I suspect it probably is a call back to something that happened at the very beginning of the adventure.
Doctor Who Time Slip, and other features.
This issue contains another story featuring the fourth Doctor where time moves backwards and the Doctor reverts to his original form, the first Doctor. There is a text piece about what is going in the world of Doctor Who, conventions and that kind of thing, followed by a one page text piece about the Doctor Who villain, the Meddling Monk.
Both comics close with a story that is opened or closed by the fifth Doctor and feature characters from Doctor Who, I believe, but are not stories about the Doctor himself.
Each of the comics contain exactly what I was looking for when I bought them, classic Doctor Who stories that are completely new to me despite the fact they are over 35 years old. I’m a big fan of Dave Gibbon’s work from Rogue Trooper and Judge Dredd to his work at DC, notably Watchmen and The Sinestro Corp War. The first story with the Time Witch is a little easier to take in because it is a self contained story, while with the Tides of Time I was a little lost having not read the previous chapters.
As we come out on the other side of the pandemic, I am looking forward to continuing the search for more issues from this series. Heck maybe I’ll find some of the Marvel Premiere issues where the Doctor was first brought to Marvel readers before getting his own series.
Similar to Doctor Who adventures where one action can have ripple effects across time I really want to stress how important those podcasts that Professor Alan and his friends and family put together were for me. Without that impetus who knows if I would have discovered such a desire to look into the world of classic Doctor Who. Sure I knew about Tom Baker and his cool scarf and the battles between the time lords and the Daleks but until Feb-Who-Ary I was pretty content with my collection of David Tennant DVDs gathering dust on the shelf. Those podcasts that were filled with such passion and knowledge they made me curious about that world and what it was like. They made me want to seek it out, find out who the Brigadier was, to see what Dave Gibbons’ Doctor looked like in full color Marvel comics, to see what that young boy I knew in the sixth grade was so keen on when he wore that dorky scarf to school.
That’s really the point here. Through this great comics community, that the Super Blog Team up is part of, we share in each other’s passions. We discover new worlds that we didn’t know existed before. I’m very glad to be part of that community which is why I am going to encourage you to visit my fellow pod-casters and bloggers and check out these other awesome Super Blog Team Up entries. Click the links below for more great Doctors, they’re good for what ales you.
Between The Pages Blog:
The World’s Most Popular Football Holder & Psychiatrist – Lucy van Pelt https://www.betweenthepagesblog.com/2021/05/the-worlds-most-popular-psychiatrist-lucy-van-pelt.html
Daves Comics Blog:
The Immortal Doctor Fate
Magazines and Monsters:
In My Not So Humble Opinion https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com
Radulich in Broadcasting Network:
Long Road to Ruin – SBTU Edition: Dr. Dolittle (1998 & 2001)
Metal Hammer of Doom – SBTU Edition: Mötley Crüe – Dr. Feelgood
The 1970s Incredible Hulk Television Series: The Lonely and Tragic Life Of Doctor David Banner
Doctor Bong: For Whom the Bell Tolls