Thursday 8 October 2015


From 1996: the DOCTOR WHO MOVIE SPECIAL, published by Panini to coincide with the premiere of the long-awaited, but short-lived, return.

This glossy one-shot (which wasn't as pink as my scan suggests... Sometimes my scanner does strange things when confronted with certain colour combinations) hit the shelves just as the movie hit the screens. Intended as a primer/ refresher for all things WHO, it caused some disquiet amongst regular readers of DWM who feared it heralded a similar "dumbing down"/ reaching out to the mainstream for the main mag if the movie had been a success and spawned a series.

Such is the way of TV, once the green light was given to shoot the movie (a complicated co-production between BBC TV, BBC WORLDWIDE, UNIVERSAL TV and the FOX network) then things moved fast and the  DWM team found themselves racing to cover the story and have everything ready for the impending airdates on both sides of the Atlantic.

The movie was, broadly, a creative success (and WHO had definitely never looked so good) and certainly not the Hoff-tastic train wreck fandom had long been predicting.

Ratings in the UK, bolstered by plentiful hype and TV listings magazine covers, were great but the reception across the Atlantic was more mooted, killing hopes of either new movies or a new series. The BBC, unable to bankroll a series alone (and still impregnated with a corporate mentality that the show was rather " naff" put the franchise back on the back burner.

As a result, DWM also returned to a business-as-usual approach, devoting its energies to revisiting the past and looking to the present and future being portrayed in the burgeoning audio and print lines. For many readers, it was the magazine's golden age.

Other quick-to-the-shops merchandise pegged directly to the movie included a VHS tape (which was delayed to accommodate last-minute cuts for violence), novelization, script book and postcard book. An excellent "making of" book followed later, a must-read for anyone interested in the movie's complicated, and fraught, journey to the screen.

Sylvester McCoy, returning to the show for his swansong, also recorded an excellent video diary of his time in Vancouver which formed the basis of a fan-made documentary release.

DWM eventually did spawn the sort of easy-access spin-off that this Special piloted. The US-focused DOCTOR WHO INSIDER (borrowing some of  the title from their STAR WARS stablemate) contained a similar mix of material that seemed intended to reach out to American readers unfamiliar with the back story of the series who may have found the regular magazine too inaccessible. It didn't last long.



    Due out tomorrow is issue 1 of the rebooted Comic Heroes from sfx. Except its actually number 25 so they seem to be continuing on from where they left off when the title was cancelled. It looks promising as you can see from this preview :

    1. Hi there

      I grabbed a copy of COMIC HEROES yesterday. I liked the redesigned cover but, at first glance, I don't think the contents were as strong as some of the issues in the previous run. There seems to have been a decision to shift the emphasis away from screen adaptations onto comics themselves. Presumably Future thinks screen superpowers is now a crowded market with plenty of coverage in the film and genre mags.

      The rebooted (another number one) Titan British DOCTOR WHO comic is out today.

      Books to watch for include STAR TREK COSTUMES, X-FILES FAQ, THUNDERBIRDS VAULT, a Jack Kirby Marvel slipcase, a 2000AD/ STARLORD hardback RO-BUSTERS collection, the new DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE strip collection (which announces EVENINGS EMPIRE as the next volume. Yay), HISTORY OF TV IN 100 SHOWS, 1001 TV SHOWS and I think I picked up a few more too recently. A couple of nice sounding tomes from Titan based on the BATMAN TV show still to come.

      WHS have new printings of various STAR WARS, MARVEL and DOCTOR WHO hardbacks amongst their Xmas stock.

      Titan's new US HEROES REBORN comic shipped this week. No sign of the magazine yet but it is promoted on the back cover.

      MARVEL published a new collected version of CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS this week including some nice bonus bits in the back.

      FOPP have literally dozens of previously unavailable Empire and Full Moon straight-to-tape flicks in what must be a Halloween promotion. DVDs start at £3 and BR at £5. I filled my boots but only bought a fraction of titles in the promotion.

  2. Why did titan reboot the dr who comic to number one again ? Its only reached 7 issues so far.

    The only book I've seen so far from that list is the Kirby slipcase. However I did pick up the fabulous GHOSTBUSTERS VISUAL HISTORY last week.

  3. just saw the ad for dr who comic, its actually volume 2 no 1....Panini do this all the time with their marvel collector editions but you have to wonder why titan switched volumes so soon.

    Its certainly a value for money title in that we are getting three usa reprints in one uk issue. Although its becoming quite hard to keep track of the doctors many incarnations in the usa series , even the paul mcgann doc has been touted for a future run. A bearded Absalom Daak has just re-appeared in the most recent matt smith issue. Hurrah !


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