Saturday, April 17, 2010

Great Moments in Comics #8: Dr. Who and the Iron Legion

In honor of tonight’s US debut of the latest reincarnation of “Doctor Who”, I thought I’d showcase a comic that was way too good to be a TV-tie-in. In the late ’70s, before he gained everlasting fame and fortune co-creating “Watchmen”, Dave Gibbons put an amazing amount of care into his weekly serial about the adventures of the fourth Doctor, then being played by Tom Baker.

Many younger fans of the current show have shied away from the doctor’s first 42 years of adventuring because the production values on the original show were so insanely bad, and I can’t blame them. But the wonderful thing about these comics is that the budgetary problems disappear, so this was really the only time, before the current higher-budget re-launch, that the Doctor was truly allowed to go anywhere in time and space. Gibbons and the various writers who worked with him on this strip (Here it’s Pat Mills and John Wagner) really make the most of that freedom. They also do a great job capturing the timeless appeal of the character in just a few pages, including both his sense of mischief and his righteous fury. These strips are currently back in print from IDW and well worth getting, especially since what I’m giving you ends on a cliffhanger:

Okay, part one didn't really make my point about the bigger canvas, so here’s part two. (Still a cliffhanger, though...)

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