The Doctor Who comic strip began in TV Comics then Doctor Who Weekly which became Doctor Who Magazine, still going strong today. Over the years, all of the doctors from William Hartnell to Matt Smith have appeared in comic strip adventures and the exhibition is a fascinating glimpse into the history of Doctor Who.
In the early days of Doctor Who, comics allowed The Doctor to have adventures which were beyond the BBC budget. The comics also provided fans with new adventures in the nineties when the show was off air.
The exhibition mainly consists of gorgeous original artwork, from initial pencils (pencil sketches indicating the placement of characters and speech bubbles) to inks, colour and black and white. One of the strips is accompanied by the original script so you can see how the comic was created. The artwork is mostly larger than the final printed comics, so the exhibition provides a great opportunity to see fine details and appreciate the quality of the work.
The Doctor faced many of his famous enemies in the comics – Daleks and Cybermen look just as menacing on paper as they do on the telly and most of the early strips were all about the Daleks.
For licencing reasons, The Doctor’s adventures in the comics didn’t always include his TV companions, and the exhibition references comic-only companions including Sharon, John, Gillian and the lovely Frobisher, the Whifferdill shape shifter who likes to look like a penguin.
The exhibition is a trip down memory lane for dedicated Time Lord fans and introduction to something new for younger viewers, but it’s a must-see for everyone who loves the adventures of Gallifrey’s favourite time-traveller.
Entry to the exhibition also includes access to the other cartoons and comics on display from the museum’s general collection and because there’s always a gift shop, you can pick up copies of the Doctor Who comic strip books on the way out if you want to read more.
27 July – 30 October 2011. Adults £5.50, concessions £3/£4, under 18 free. www.cartoonmuseum.org