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DWM Review

By Paul Scoones

Doctor Who Magazine 207 (22 December 1993)

If anyone still requires proof that Doctor Who Magazine has evolved into a publication which truly provides a serious and fact-intensive coverage of the show's history, then issue 207 provides just that. Wonderful though the celebratory issue 200 was, this anniversary number scores over its predecessor for the sheer quality and quantity of its material. Undoubtedly a major highlight has to be John Cura's telesnaps of The Tenth Planet 4, just the first of many episodes to be presented in this format through the pages of both DWM and Classic Comics. For me, however, the sheer excitement generated by the photos was eclipsed by Marcus Hearn's utterly, staggeringly detailed research into the very earliest origins of the show. What the Sixties authors would no doubt have given to have had access to the documents Hearn has managed to dig up. For me, it is not the tele-snaps but the 11 pages of concentrated data on the series genesis which makes 207 one of the most worthwhile issues of DWM ever. Paul Cornell's comic strip story is a clever yet simple approach to the complexity of a multi-Doctor tale; and Andrew Pixley's archive covers Attack of the Cybermen - an ideal choice for analysis as readers of TSV 32 will attest to.

Doctor Who Magazine Winter Special 1993

Not content with celebrating the anniversary with one of the best DWM's ever, Gary Russell and his team at Marvel have also put together The Doctor Who Magazine Winter Special, cleverly realised in the form of an updated version of the highly sought-after Radio Times Doctor Who Tenth Anniversary Special. There are synopses of all the TV stories, profiles of the Doctors and companions, and guides to the spin-offs, comics, and the New Adventures. Perhaps due to space considerations, items such as the plans for building your own Dalek from its predecessor have been omitted from the updated special. The special doesn't delve nearly as deep as DWM 207, but none the less serves as a visually attractive quick-glance guide with something in there to appeal to everyone.

Doctor Who Classic Comics 13 (10 November 1993); 15 (15 January 1994); 16 (2 February 1994)

[Classic Comics 13] [Classic Comics 15] [Classic Comics 16]

Classic Comics continues to reinforce my opinion that the First Doctor TV Comic strips are not only vastly over-rated, but bear little relation to the television stories of any Doctor's era. The Christmas story in issue 15, and even the much-vaunted The Web Planet 'sequel' in 13 contain many unintentionally humorous moments, but little else of merit.

Issue 16 fortunately redresses the balance with the reasonably good DWM Sixth Doctor Exodus-Revelation-Genesis (no relation to a certain New Adventures quartet!) comic strip, featuring the Cybermen albeit briefly. This is nicely coupled with a fascinating insight into the work of DWM comic strip artist John Ridgway, written by the man himself.

In addition, issues 15 and 16 feature more of those classic TV21 Dalek strips (now approaching the end of their run), and the Third Doctor stories Steelfist and the epic Zeron Invasion, the latter of which holds a fond place in my memory as it featured on the cover of the only issue of TV Action + Countdown I can remember seeing in my childhood (No. 100, with the distinctive subway train smash front cover seen also in Peter Haining's A Celebration).

However of course the high point of these issues - and the reason why many fans will now probably start collecting Classic Comics if they did not already do so, is the centre page 'Telesnap Archives'. The loss of all six episodes of Fury from the Deep is felt all the more strongly seeing these multitudinous black and white photos documenting the story minute by minute.

I do have one gripe with the presentation of the telesnaps however - why on earth are they printed so small? There's easily enough room on the page for the snaps to be enlarged quite considerably. The Tenth Planet 4 shots filled the pages nicely, so why print these so small with so much meaningless colour background?

Otherwise, if you haven't previously paid much attention to Classic Comics and you're interested in the missing episodes, now might be a good time to give the magazine a re-evaluation.

This item appeared in TSV 37 (January 1994).