Those eagle eyed readers of Talking Comics will have realised that this is my second feature on the In Print series. This is a web comic featuring various incarnations of Doctor Who with a delightfully humorous edge. This time we are focusing on the narrative of the series and the writer himself – Alasdair Shaw. When I first read this comic it blew me away with it’s powerful satire and also with the reverence with which it held the series. It was clear that the writer was a Doctor Who fan who had a tremendous amount of knowledge regarding the show.
Alasdair creates a stage which resides within the Matrix, a place where the previous incarnations of the Doctor live after each regeneration. With this clever premise, their is powerful scope to critique the various incarnations of our favourite Time Lord and also an ability to have them comment on the current series. Initially focusing on the 7th and 8th incarnation, the story begins with subtle rib nudging between the two incarnations. The topics of the New Adventures books (now out of print) and the slight narrative inconsistencies regarding season 24 illustrate a writer who grasps and loves each era of the show. It’s all demonstrated with a rare wit and sense of fun.
There’s in-jokes and running gags and each strip never fails to bring a smile to the readers face. Writing humorous comic strips and keeping a sense of reverence to the source material is an incredibly difficult writing task. Alasdair accomplishes this with distinction, never do we see anything that would be out of place for the Doctors. Every reference is made thoughtfully and when an old favourite character is introduced or a newer character from the current era of the show appears it’s done appropriately.
The storytelling of each narrative is incredibly tight, in a few panels we are introduced to the setup, expectation and then the comedic follow through. There’s references peppered throughout the strips to previous panels and this really shows Alasdair’s ability to tell a congruent narrative with a myriad of characters and personalities. Each story segment is also thematic structured around a concept, such as the ‘Infinity Doctors’, a nod to Lance Parkin’s book title and featuring the various alternative universe Doctors which popped up throughout various media. The guest appearances aren’t just confined to Doctor Who, there’s also wonderful references to British popular culture icons that have links to the show, such as Blackadder.
Alasdair has crafted a remarkable comic strip which would be at home in the pages of The Doctor Who Magazine. The snappy story telling and the wealth of knowledge which tumbles from each well constructed reference will have ever Doctor Who fan smiling from ear to ear in delight. I am hoping for a printed hardback release of these strips but in the meantime you can read the entire series at the In Print Website.