The Saturday Comics: Doctor Who

11 Jun

June 11, 2011

Doctor Who may not need an introduction but it does need an explanation.

It is a British science fiction show that debuted in 1963, coincidentally on the same day that President Kennedy was shot. It is about a mysterious alien time and space traveler known only as The Doctor and his rotating cast of assistants. Early on the lead actor, William Hartnell, became too old and sick to continue so the part was recast and Patrick Troughton took over as The Doctor. What was really slick was that the producers didn’t just have him continue as the same character, they hit on a way of keeping the show running, potentially, forever. When Patrick Troughton joined the show, he didn’t just slip into the same part. The Doctor “regenerated” into a new version of himself. It was a great way to explain why he looked different and allowed the new actor to bring something new to the role. No matter who plays the part, it is still the same character introduced in 1963, with all the memories and experiences but with a brand new personality. Really, it was a great way to keep the series fresh. All in all, eleven actors have played him on TV, Peter Cushing played him in two feature films, and some others have done non-canonical versions as well.

You can check out some clips of him here, from The Late Night Movie House.

The strips below are a sampling of the first four actors to play the role. While Doctor Who has always (and very unfairly) been called a kid’s show, the comic strips below are positively juvenile and not the best representation of the show. In many cases they are based not on any real knowledge of the show and feature characters who may never have been in the program. I’m also including some strips featuring The Doctor’s biggest foes, the Daleks. They became so popular that they rivaled The Doctor and nearly had their own American TV show. How popular are they? Check out these fangirls:


Can you imagine better plumbers?

I freely admit all the flaws in these strips but I still have some affection for them.

William Hartnell

Patrick Troughton (easily my favorite Doctor)

Jon Pertwee

Tom Baker

The Daleks


11 Responses to “The Saturday Comics: Doctor Who”

  1. JRD Skinner June 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    I love the art in these, but you’re absolutely right that the writing leaves a lot to be desired. “AAARGH!” indeed.


    • bmj2k June 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

      Yet I love the simplicity of the Cyberman/Troughton strip. The fact that he’s wearing that big hat in most of his strips just shows how litle the artist knew the show- he wore that hat in one story but it pops up all the time! And in the Tom Baker strips, any good rendering of Baker is clearly a copy from a photo reference. And while I love the style of the Dalek strip, that Dalek in the first panel is way, way off.

      The Pertwee strip is a nice representation of that era of the show, in both story and style. The Hartnell strip? The less said the better.


  2. The Hook June 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    I’ve never seen this! Thanks for sharing!


    • bmj2k June 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

      I don’t think there have been any real collections of those strips. The Doctor Who Weekly/Monthly strips have been collected but if the TV Comics stuff has been done I don’t know it.


  3. Daniel June 15, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    I remember having a somewhat sizeable hardback book of Whovian history that had some of these comic strips in them. I wish I knew where it had gotten to. I became a fan of the series when PBS started showing it in the 70’s in the U.S.A.

    I’m not sure whether I prefer ” Classic Who ” or the Christopher Eccleston / David Tennant version ( SyFy in the US stopped showing DW because of some contract dispute ).


    • bmj2k June 15, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

      I would love a collection of the old strips. All I’ve seen are DWM strips from Tom Baker forward.
      I got into the show in the 80’s on some out-of-state UHF stations. At least one, probably both, was PBS. The first one I remember seeing was Pertwee’s Day of the Daleks. I prefer Classic Who but that isn’t a knock on the new version. I like Matt Smith a lot more than I expected to and I thought the others were great, though Tennant began to wear out his welcome when they dragged out his swan song. New Who is on BBC America and my cable system refuses to carry it.


      • Daniel June 16, 2011 at 3:38 am #

        If I ever ” unearth ” that book from the boxes of things I’m still unpacking, you’ll be among the 1st to know !! It was refreshing to encounter a science – fiction character who wasn’t part of the Star Trek, Space : 1999 or original BSG canon. PBS used to carry it somewhat regularly. I remember that Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor was the 1st Doctor they carried, & the Time Lords had divested him of his TARDIS & sent him & his 2 companions ( Via a ” Time Ring ” ) to Skaro & the birth of the Daleks.

        I even saw 2 movies from the 60’s starring Peter Cushing as The Doctor, but he was merely depicted as a dotty old human scientist as opposed to the alien adventurer of the series. All ” hulu ” carries are clips from the Eccleston, Tennant, & Smith Doctors. Comcast doesn’t carry BBC America or Canada’s Space network either.
        Maybe Netflix has the latest eps…..


        • bmj2k June 16, 2011 at 4:21 am #

          I have the second Cushing film on DVD but I’ve on;y seen the first in clips on youtube. I love Peter Cushing but I think those films are for Who completists only. I never checked Netflix for Who because I’ve gotten lucky seeing the new eps from various other sources. Tom Baker was for a long time the only Doctor I everr saw. Even after he regenerated the stations I found it on just went back to Robot. It wasn’t until I started getting the VHS tapes that I saw anyone else.


          • Daniel June 16, 2011 at 4:55 am #

            Tom Baker was the 1st Doctor shown in the States, & he had the longest tenure of any actor in the original series, & a lot of Americans & Canadians developed a fondness for his eccentric but loveable, sometimes nearly un – emotional, sometimes childlike character.
            What about the Doctor in the 1996 movie ? It was a collab between Fox, Universal ( ? ) & the BBC, & I think having 3 different studios affected the quality of the end product. Eric Roberts may have been a big DW fan, but he was NOT able to play The Master all that well.


            • bmj2k June 16, 2011 at 5:18 am #

              The movie wasn’t bad but didn’t feel like Who. Eric Roberts wasn’t much of a Master, and I heard that he wasn’t that great a guy on set either. McGann really developed nicely on audio.


              • Daniel June 16, 2011 at 5:26 am #

                Part of me liked it, part of me thought ” meh….. “, although I thought McGann was reasonably good as the Doctor. Eric Roberts belongs back in crime dramas as either a criminal or protagonist ( CSI, I think ? ).


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