Friday, 15 June 2007

Absent Friends

Captain Jack Harkness returns to Doctor Who in Saturday’s episode on BBC1. The picture above was drawn by Roger Langridge for a book review, and I’m posting it here instead of a panel from a comic because Jack has never appeared in a Doctor Who comic strip.

He’s hardly alone in that. Of the dozens of characters who have formed the regular supporting cast of Doctor Who, TV Comic only featured Jamie, Liz, the Brigadier, Sarah and Leela, while Marvel only gave us K9, Peri and Ace while they were appearing on TV.

Some of the others appeared in annuals, or in the “past Doctor” strips that Marvel/Panini ran after they had given up on Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor and before Paul McGann’s version appeared. Jo Grant had the unique distinction of appearing in a comic strip in the Radio Times. But it is still the case that the Doctor’s TV companions were more commonly absent from than present in the comics.

It doesn’t seem to have done much harm. Some of the most memorable of the Doctor Who comic strips, including all of the Countdown, TV Action and Doctor Who Weekly runs, have omitted the TV companions. Perhaps it even helps the writers and artists to find a space and tone of their own by freeing them, just a little, from the TV template.

Pictures and panels

Illustration by Roger Langridge for a review of Gareth Roberts’s Doctor Who novel for BBC Books, Only Human, from Doctor Who Magazine issue 362, 9 November 2005, Panini Comics

Doctor Who “The Orb”, art by John Canning, Mighty TV Comic issue 1338, 23 July 1977

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