The Comic Strip Companion


The Comic Strip Companion: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who in Comics: 1964 — 1979 by Paul Scoones
The Comic Strip Companion: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who in Comics: 1964-1979

Written by Paul Scoones

Published by Telos

The expression ‘labour of love’ is overused, but this book, covering 15 years across 600 pages, is nothing short of miraculous. With painstaking research, Paul Scoones details every Doctor, Dalek and related strip that graced the printed page from the show’s inception to
the height of Fourth Doctor mania.

Each strip is given its own detailed entry, with origins, storyline, continuity references and trivia. This structure makes the book one that can be dipped into as well as read from start to finish. If you do read the book in a linear fashion, it presents a fascinating account of the development of comics, and the number of titles that carried Doctor Who material is quite staggering.

If you thought the strip began with Doctor Who Weekly, think again. Did you know, for example, that the first Peter Cushing film was adapted as a one off comic? Or that a number of Third Doctor strips were republished years later with Tom Baker’s face rather crudely replacing Jon Pertwee’s (often without amending his costume).

Annuals and spin off books are also given their due, as are some interesting Doctor Who spoofs. I can certainly recall the MAD Magazine one as a young boy. And Scoones also shines a light on the projects that ran aground, not least an early 90s attempt by Gary Russell to reprint classic original strips, scanning his own pristine copies, as the original artwork had long since been dumped.

If there is one disappointment, it is that this fantastic book cannot reproduce any of the original strips itself. The covers of Annuals and copies of TV Comic adorn the front cover and a small colour insert, but presumably a combination of production costs and rights issues have prevented any examples of the inner pages.

Despite this, Scoones manages to bring the strips to life with his rigour and enthusiasm, and perhaps a proposed second volume will find it easier to include excerpts from later strips (many of which were displayed at The Cartoon Gallery exhibition in London earlier this year). For now, fans should enjoy reliving their youth.

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