Sunday, 14 December 2014

1992: DOCTOR WHO CLASSIC COMICS Issue 1 (Marvel UK)


From late 1992: the first issue of MARVEL UK's DOCTOR WHO CLASSIC COMICS, a surprising show of faith in a defunct TV show (placed on an unofficial hiatus in 1989 to avoid fans sending the TV Centre switchboard into meltdown) but also a reflection of the success of the regular Marvel magazine (a steady seller which shifted roughly the same number of copies each issue, regardless of the contents).  
The genius (and, surprisingly, never repeated) behind this four-weekly was to take the extensive back catalog of WHO strips (Marvel's own along with everything from TV COMIC, COUNTDOWN, TV ACTION, TV CENTURY 21 and even the US one-shot adaptation of the first sixties Dalek movie) and reprint 'em.  

Marvel encountered retailer and distributor reluctance to carrying a new launch based on a fading TV show and packed full of out-of-time monochrome reprints so the British Bullpen had to colour material originally published in black & white.  Long-time fans were (occasionally) agog but it was a compromise worth making just to get the vintage material back into the public domain.

DWCC eventually clocked-up a 27-issue run and spun-off the EVENING EMPIRE one-shot (of which, only the first installment had ever seen print before... and even that was reworked for the collected edition).  Several other contemporary Marvel WHO specials, most notable the done-in-one compilation of the TV21 DALEK strips, were DWCC specials in all-but-name.

Every issue featured a brand new, specially commissioned cover and many featured text pages devoted to the history of the strips.  The Telesnaps feature, a mainstay of the regular magazine, also appeared in CC in an attempt to encourage readers to sample the spin-off. 

Panini apparently still hold the rights to all the material acquired for DWCC (as well as all the strips published during Marvel/ Panini's long stewardship of the license) but, surprisingly, have yet to do anything to exploit them.  Personally, I still hope for a hardback partwork in the style of the two Marvel runs (red and black) and the upcoming (now confirmed for a national launch) JUDGE DREDD series. 

2 comments:

  1. There was also a 100-page full colour story published for magazine racks during the CC run written by (Sixth Doctor) Colin Baker called Age Of Chaos that was originally supposed to be a four-issue miniseries, which makes me think that around this time Marvel were trying to wring what they could out of their inventory stories in case they didn't renew the Dr Who licence.

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    1. Yes indeed, AGE OF CHAOS was meant to launch in November 1993 as part of the next wave of 'Genesis' books but was put on indefinite hiatus in the 'Genesis Implosion'. It was subsequently cancelled as a US book but reworked as a UK done-in-one special for the summer of '94.

      More here:
      http://starlogged.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/1994-doctor-who-age-of-chaos-marvel-uk.html

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