With the series nearing its 54th anniversary, and having just announced it’s first openly gay full-time companion, the popularity of Doctor Who shows no signs of slowing down. Once the series crossed the pond by broadcasting on BBC America, it’s relevance to American fan culture shot through the roof. Last year at NYCC, Doctor Who-related programming commanded an audience big enough to justify a spot at the off-site venue of Madison Square Garden alongside perennial hit The Walking Dead.
In the comic book world, Doctor Who has the pull to support ongoing series commitments for the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors in addition to limited series runs for Doctors Three, Four and Eight. That’s more Doctors than even the most doctor-y multi-doctor TV special! Want more? This week sees the release of Doctor Who: Ghost Stories #1, a four-issue mini-series written by George Mann and drawn by Ivan Rodriguez, part of the comic team behind last year’s five-issue mini-series Supremacy of the Cybermen.
The most recent Doctor Who Christmas TV special, The Return of Doctor Mysterio, was of special interest to the intersection of Whovian comic fans. It featured a golden-age style superhero complete with a Clark Kent-like secret identity. And that’s where Doctor Who Ghost Stories #1 picks up-eight years past the events of the 2016 special, featuring the further adventures of Grant and Lucy and their now eight-year-old child Jennifer. The Doctor needs Grant’s help to track down some alien gemstones, companions to the gem which is the source of Grant’s superpowers. Want to try before you buy? Check the end of this article for some preview pages.
Also announced this week is the date of the fourth annual Doctor Who Comics Day, which will take place on September 2, 2017. Last year’s event included the release of the aforementioned Supremacy of the Cybermen mini-series to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the terrifying, once-mortal, metal monsters. This year, Titan’s releasing another special comic which will crossover all the ongoing comic series Doctors: the Alpha issue. Not too many details on this yet, save that it’s drawn by Rachael Stott, whose intricate work can be seen in the Twelfth Doctor ongoing series.
Doctor Who is set to return to the small screen next weekend, on April 15. After nearly a year and half of waiting, fans will get their last season with the Twelfth Doctor, played by actor Peter Capaldi. It’s also the last season to feature infamous showrunner Steven Moffat, who has had a memorable–if somewhat divisive–impact on the direction of the series. What the show will be like in his absence was a question in hot debate at the Re(Generation) Who convention in Baltimore, MD in the final weekend of March.
It should come as no surprise that the US is home to a growing number Doctor Who annual conventions, where fans gather for photo sessions and panels featuring the show’s stars. Re(Generation) Who was a three-day event that boasted Seventh Doctor actor Sylvester McCoy, along with other series actors, classic and modern series TV writers, and book, comic book, and radio drama authors and artists.
The Beat was on hand to attend the comic panels and take pictures of all the fun cosplay the con had to offer. Doctor Who has become one of the most popular subjects for cosplayers at nerd conventions everywhere, but the concentration of Who-related cosplay on display at Re(Gen) led to some truly inspired takes on characters both familiar and lesser known.
The family that cosplays together, stays together: villains and heroes alike! From L to R: Missy, the 11th Doctor, and the 6th Doctor never looked so cosy. Young Ace stands off to the side, she always was a rebel.
These two did a double cosplay in honor of Re(Gen) guests Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint) and Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), the married couple and 1/2 of the Paternoster Gang first seen during the 11th Doctor’s season six.
Aint love grand? These two had different outfits for each day of the con, and I apologize for missing the final day of their cosplay, readers!
Why tap into just one fandom? These two are mashing up classic Doctor Who (and it’s related comics) and MST3K into something wonderful. From L to R: Frobisher the Whifferdill/Crow, the Second Doctor, the Sixth Doctor/Tom Servo and the Third Doctor.
Simon Fraser, artist for the 11th Doctor comic (and good friend of this reporter) gives a talk while live-drawing suggestions from the audience.
Fraser was only too delighted to live-draw a Zygon.
When an audience member asked him to draw the next Doctor, Fraser offered up this interpretation. But will Doctor Who’s future truly be female? Only time will tell…
The War Doctor, as portrayed by dearly departed actor John Hurt, came in at the end of Fraser’s panel equipped for another Time War with his bandolier and wine.
The rarely seen Weeping Angel phoning home. So joyful! Or gleefully about to consume my potential life energy. Can’t say for sure.
Speaking of creepy Weeping Angels, this one just lurked by the registration area like this for a LONG time. It was extremely unsettling.
After a long day of cosplay, the Fifth Doctor retired to the bar with a banana and a drink to watch some sport.
Did those angels not put enough fear in your heart? How about this unlucky explorer from Dr. Song’s team, consumed by the Vashta Nerada? No? How about if I told you there were sound effects that played as well?
Twelfth Doctor needs caffeine so badly he doesn’t notice the dalek RIGHT BEHIND him.
There is nothing not to love about this Fourth Doctor. The Jelly Babies were very tasty, in case you were wondering.
Rivers rivers everywhere, and only one Doctor? He’s out of his depth.
The 5th Doctor always was youthful. Here he advertises the children’s only cosplay show, and catches up on his texting.
Short-lived companion Dodo Chaplet in all her 60’s era glory. Oh Dodo, we hardly knew ye.
The fabulous Martha Jones with her bright eyes and crossed arms.
The Second Doctor, whose archnemesis was really the BBC archive department.
Thomas Kincade Brannigan and a Cat Nurse enjoy attending panels when not stuck in traffic.
Merry Gejelh, songstress from the The Rings of Akhaten, contemplates her reflection.
This Victorian gender bend of the Sixth and Eleventh Doctors is so inspired. Check out the mop fringe on 11’s parasol!
Vendors like Geek Girls’ Castle had some really inspired ways of advertising their wares. This evil Osgood was scowling and prowling the vendor room for several days.
This Twelfth Doctor wins the award for best hair. Hair is a not inconsiderable part of any 12 cosplay, and if the Series 10 press tour is to be believed, it’s more unruly for his final year than ever before.
This member of the High Council of Gallifrey had to wait in line for actor photos and autographs just like everyone else. Re(Gen) is very fair that way.
Classic series show runner Andrew Cartmel, one of the people behind the creation of Ace and who worked the entire of Seventh Doctor era, chats with a Cat Nurse and incredibly detailed Jabe of the Forest of Cheem.
True to form, Jade passed out “cutting[s] of her Grandfather” to a few lucky con-goers. Just stay away from giant fans, okay Jabe?
These Clockwork Creatures were just hanging out with Amy and the Eighth Doctor like there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Here they look much more menacing.
This Rose in her early 50’s get-up from The Idiot’s Lantern won the Best in Show cosplay prize at Re(Gen)’s cosplay competition and masquerade.
A sinister Lady Dalek gets a push from Merry, which is a fine way to thank the Doctor and Clara for saving your life!
The Eleventh Doctor, brainy specs and all, confronts a Troughton-era Dalek that was actually used on-set. The Dalek’s operator, Steve Gostelow, was also in attendance.
Gostelow also brought this assortment of Cybermen heads and classic Who props. Those could not have been fun to wear on a hot set.
One of the most accurate portrayals of the Tenth Doctor I’ve ever seen. Because you just KNOW he’d be licking his con badge.
This Twelve wins the award for best guitar. A TARDIS guitar. That LIGHTS UP.
Deadpool chats up the Sixth Doctor. Man, that guy really gets around, doesn’t he? Is no other entertainment property safe from his chimichanga-loving influence?
A swash-buckling Amy is ready to defend Madame Vastra, even a very accurate facsimile thereof.
A Doctor Who comics panel featured George Mann, writer of the Ninth Doctor, Supremacy of the Cybermen, and Doctor Who: Ghost Stories and Eleventh Doctor artist Simon Fraser. George explained how he felt the comics medium was something young, budding artists and writers naturally gravitated towards.
Fraser agreed with this assessment, and laid out how he structures putting together pages using thumbnail sketches. Mann also showed slides of how he, even as a writer, uses thumbnails to better describe the basic layout he wants for his pages.
Mann then showed the various stages of line work and coloring that emerge from his rough thumbnails, in this case from the Twelfth Doctor comic, art by Mariano Laclaustra. Fraser remarked that this work demonstrated a clear trust and collaboration between Laclaustra and his colorist.
Taken just after the crowd broke out into room-wide applause when Fraser mentioned bringing back Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer created by the dearly departed Steve Dillon in the pages of Doctor Who Weekly.
But would this lovely young Dalek give even Abslom a moment of hesitation? Eh, probably not actually…
I don’t know where this clearly lost Boba Fett was intending to end up, but if it was the Great Pit of Carkoon, Re(Gen) was a much smarter stop.
And now for that Doctor Who: Ghost Stories #1 sample I promised you: