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DWM Review

By Paul Scoones

DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE 208 (19 January 1994); 209 (16 February 1994); 210 (16 March 1994)

[DWM 208] [DWM 209] [DWM 210]

In TSV 37 I praised DWM 207 for its indepth and ground-breaking study of the earliest origins of the series. Marcus Hearn reveals more of that early history in the following two issues of Doctor Who Magazine, including coverage of the formulation of the series' concepts - including rejected ideas! - and an outline of what was to have been the very first serial, The Giants by CE Webber. It seems likely that this new information will find its way into the forthcoming First Doctor Handbook for those who missed issues 207-209.

The general SF magazine TV Zone has for many months now scored over DWM by featuring informative interviews with each New Adventures author as the books are released. DWM have at long last attempted to redress the balance, with a two-part collection of mini-interviews with most of the 1993 authors (in fact, all but Neil Penswick and David Banks), but interesting though these are, they are really no substitute for a full interview with each writer.

The Archived stories are The Mind of Evil (208), The Underwater Menace (209) and Terror of the Zygons (210). All three are as usual excellent, but The Underwater Menace has the additional appeal of being a story I knew next to nothing about.

Interviewed subjects included Wendy Padbury (Zoe), John Gorrie (director of The Keys of Marinus), Philip Hinchcliffe (producer), and Glen McCoy (writer of Timelash). With the exception of Padbury, who has been interviewed many times, I can't recall previously seeing interviews with these people before.

A new addition to the pages of DWM is the cartoons by Leighton Noyes. I fail to see the point of including these as to my mind they're not very funny. Perhaps they'll improve, but personally I'd much rather have 'Nix's View' back - now they were amusing!

The Preludes are short stories by the authors of the New Adventures which tie in with their novels. Usually these are rather dull, but just lately they've picked up in quality, but then so have the New Adventures, so perhaps it is only to be expected! Steve Lyons' Prelude for Conundrum (actually it's more of an epilogue), is particularly good.

The High Council is a new regular feature which makes its debut in 210. Essentially it presents questions for which there is no definitive answer available, and invites readers to submit their own solutions, as well as other questions. Jon Preddle is credited with asking the first question, although oddly enough, he can't recall ever having submitted it!

DOCTOR WHO CLASSIC COMICS 17 (2 March 1994); 18 (30 March 1994)

[Classic Comics 17] [Classic Comics 18]

There are two really good things about recent issues of Classic Comics: Colin Howard's superb cover paintings (the latest two should have been the issues' posters); and the telesnaps. Following the conclusion of Fury from the Deep Marvel have given the presentation of this feature a re-think and come up with a much-improved format. The Web of Fear sees the introduction of the new layout, with larger photos and a detailed narrative alongside each snap. This is a highly commendable move, as is the removal of most of the unnecessary colour from the telesnap pages.

On to the comic strips themselves, and the highlight of the latest issues has to be the Davison story Stars Fell On Stockbridge, featuring the wonderfully detailed art of Dave Gibbons, and carefully coloured by Paul Vyse. Also well worth reading are the superb TV21 Daleks strips which appear in both issues 17 and 18. Classic Comics have for some reason been rushing these through, and consequently there is now only one story left to print.

If only the same were true of the Hartnell and Troughton stories! At present Marvel is only one-fifth of the way through their stock of material from the sixties. On the whole these have been rather poor examples of both art and writing; their only value is as nostalgia pieces.

Issue 17's Fourth Doctor Dalek story is curious in that it contains startlingly accurate likenesses of the Time Lord council from The Three Doctors - though the same cannot be said of Tom Baker's likeness! The Time Lords' planet is called 'Jewel', even though the strip post-dates the introduction of the name 'Gallifrey' in the TV series.

This item appeared in TSV 38 (March 1994).