Doctor Who comics are based on the long-running science fiction television show from creators Sydney Newman, C.E. Webber, and Donald Wilson. The television series, which first aired on the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC) from 1963 through 1989 and was re-introduced in 2005, has become a staple of British popular culture and also boasts an international fan base. The original series has spawned numerous incarnations since the 1960s with numerous television films, videogames, and book installments.

Stories follow a Time Lord, one of the last of an advanced alien race from a planet called Gallifrey, who appears as a man that can regenerate to take on a new appearance and personality traits. He is generally called “the Doctor” but referred to in various media as “Dr. Who.” As a character who regenerates into an entirely new man periodically, the Doctor has had many different characteristics; however, he is always witty and brilliant, and he typically shows off a unique personal style (with conspicuous hats, scarves, duster jackets, pin-stripe suits, bow ties, etc.). He carries a sonic screwdriver (an advanced multipurpose tool), and he travels in a vessel camouflaged as a blue police phone box. It is referred to by the acronym TARDIS, which stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space. Time Lord technology allows for the machine to be bigger on the inside, thus allowing the doctor to travel with companions. The ever-changing companion characters are generally humans from Great Britain, but occasionally include extra-terrestrial or robotic beings.

This fiction series has been translated into the medium of comic art beginning in 1964. Doctor Who stories first appeared in comic strips in Britain’s TV Comics, then a brief stint in the publication TV Action through in the 1970s. Doctor Who Annuals were published from the 1960s through 1985. Additional periodicals followed characters in the Doctor Who universe but did not focus on him as the main protagonist One such example, The Daleks, followed the most iconic villains from the series and ran in the publication TV Century 21 from 1965 through 1967. Doctor Who Magazine, a Marvel publication which began as Doctor Who Weekly in 1979 and was translated to a monthly publication in 1980, was published without cessation throughout the break in the television series. It has included the talents of notable writer Alan Moore and artists John Ridgeway, Dave Gibbons, and Mike McMahon.

Following the reintroduction of the television series, Doctor Who stories appeared in the graphic novel, Doctor Who: The Forgotten (2008-2010). After a deal between the BBC and Titan Comics, a new comic series with the familiar title, Doctor Who, debuted on July 23, 2014. The comic series has employed a style that most resembles action and Superhero comics. Like other comics based on notable television or movie characters, the Doctor Who comics have served to connect fans to additional stories and provide detailed background information about the places and characters that have made Doctor Who an international success.

— Katelynd L. Gibbons

Further Reading

  • Hearn, Marcus. Doctor Who: The Vault: Treasures from the First 50 Years. New York: Harper Publishing, 2013. Print.
  • Peel, John, and Terry Nation. The Official Doctor Who and the Daleks Book. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988. Print.
  • Richards, Justin. Doctor Who: The Legend. London: BBC Books, 2003. Print.