Monday, 29 December 2008

"I'll just keep my eyes closed and hope it's quick Doctor!"

Return of the Daleks Episode 6.
Our adventure begins to spiral towards it's dizzying conclusion this week, as the Doctor and Sarah-Jane put plans into action and make their escape from the Daleks. After some archetypal running up and down corridors our heroes are cornered with Daleks on both sides! They close in, ready to release the fatal death rays (four cries of "Exterminate!" and not one Dalek manages to actually open fire!) The Doctor deploys the classic, 'jump over the side and let the Daleks exterminate each other' maneuver, but not before Miss Smtih utters the immortal line '"I'll just keep my eyes closed and hope it's quick Doctor!" Well, I know Tom Baker had something of a reputation with the ladies, but as far as I'm concerned, Sarah's dying request crossed a line, especially for a children's comic strip. However, before she can literally get her knickers in a twist, the pair find themselves loose in the bowels of the Dalek ship.

Meanwhile, the Time Lords, sensing that Shazar might just be telling pork pies, send him back to the Daleks, carrying what he believes is the correct mineral to effect the Tardis' repairs...

More fun next week as (so we are told) the Doctor "masterminds the Dalek's destruction!"

Sunday, 21 December 2008

"Stop mooning over there, Sarah-Jane!"

Return of the Daleks Episode 5. Yep, I want my money back also (not that the original cover price would equate to a great deal these days) as you can't have a line of dialogue like that and simply not deliver graphically. So, as things become desperate for the Doctor, he bargains with the chief Dalek to let him have Sarah-Jane help him repair the TARDIS' 'time cuircuits'. While the Doctor scribbles instructions on the back of a fag packet to her (presumably hoping daleks can't read) Miss Smith apparently reacts to the current situation by getting her ar$e out, (which we sadly don't get to see) presumably at the sentry dalek guarding them as they work on the TARDIS. Meanwhile, Shazar is sent on a mission to find some Cirenium as part of the repair efforts and (surprize surprize) is captured by the Time Lords. Of course, in typical treacherous weasily baddie style, he tells the Time Lords that it's all the Doctor's fault and nothing to do with him... will they believe him?

Sunday, 14 December 2008

"Exploding Comets! They're manufacturing the TARDIS!"

This week's thrilling installment - the good Doctor is woken from his slumber and given a guided tour of the Dalek 'spaceball' by Shazar. That's when he inadvertently spies what the fiendish mutants are up to - manufacturing copies of the TARDIS so that they can invade all of time and space! "Exploding comets!" exclaims our hero, as, like some bizarre version of the Generation Game's final round, dozens of police boxes file past on a conveyor belt. Sadly, there is no fondue set or cuddly toy, just Tardises. (Or is that Tardi?) Whatever the plural is, it doesn't matter, the Time Lords are too busy flapping about the fact they can't locate the Doctor's ship still and so decide that it's obviously because he's 'up to no good'. Until next week's thrilling 'seasonal' installment, readers... farewell!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

"Put out an Intergalactic Time Search!"

Return of the Daleks - Episode 3. From TV Comic circa April 1975, this week's installment sees the Doctor sabotage the 'power circuit of the time factor' in his Tardis, in order to stop the Daleks getting their plungers on it. However this alerts Gallifrey that there's some jiggery pokery going on in Time and Space and so a Time Lord with a striking resemblance to Bernard Horsfall orders they "an Intergalactic Time Search" for the Doctor, who can longer be found in their 'time thread'. Meanwhile, the Doctor himself decides to sleep through the entire episode. Keen to wake him up, the Daleks and their stooge Shazar decide the best way to do that is to torture poor Sarah Jane... strangely, she's happy to go along with the plan and so the electrodes are attached and they crank up the voltage! More fun and frolics next week!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

"Every planet in that mighty swirl will be a Dalek world!"

The second installment of the 1975 'Return of the Daleks' TV Comic strip. Contains the immortal line "Every planet in that mighty swirl will be a Dalek world!" which was robbed by Big Finish for their Dalek Empire audio plays, if I recall. There's also a panel which shows the Police Box doors opening directly into the console room, just like the current TV series. The design of the Dalek space station is just fabulous and the pepperpot in charge is a homage to the Planet of the Daleks supreme, but he has a dark dome, indicating he migt be a black Dalek? Anyhow, until next week, enjoy!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Happy Birthday Doctor Who!

Just a quick post to say Dr Who is 45 today and to celebrate, Inky Adventures is giving away this free cut-out-and-fold paper Tardis model - drawn in the style of how the Tardis appears in the pages of TV Comic! Enjoy!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

In the beginning...

The purpose of this journal is to take fans of Doctor Who young and old on a journey through his forgotten history - his comic strip adventures throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

It's hard to believe it now, but back then our favourite Time Lord was not the merchandise cash cow that he is now.

There were no Doctor Who action figures, books were limited to a smattering of titles and there was "The Doctor Who Annual" to look forward to at Christmas and that was pretty much it. Britian's biggest TV folk hero for almost two decades didn't even have his own magazine.

But, if you knew where to look during those commercially naiive times, you could enjoy exciting adventures in Time and Space every week, hidden in the pages of children's comics such as 'TV Comic', 'TV Century 21' and 'Countdown featuring TV Action'.

Drawn by some of Britains' finest comic artists, these strips told stories much bigger and bolder than any episode of the television series could at the time. Some were juvenile, some were just plain silly, but many were intelligent, thrilling and engaging continuations of the Doctor Who story... oh, and his nemesis the Daleks.

The Daleks, between 1964 and 1966 were a law unto themselves. Britain was in the grip of Dalek mania, so while the Doctor's adventures could be followed in "TV Comic" from issue number 674 onwards, the "Dalek Chronicles" - a strip telling the history of the Daleks from their creation all the way up to planning their televised invasion of Earth - graced the back page of "TV Century 21" for 104 consecutive installments. Quite an achievement, when you consider the magazine was primarily a vehicle for Gerry Anderson's ever increasing stable of puppet based sci-fi fantasy shows.

Only when the Dalek Chronicles came to an end did the good Doctor get to battle his number one foe in comic strip form. In January 1967, TV Comic issue 788 saw the metal mutants take on the 2nd Doctor and his companions John and Gillian. It would be the first of many encounters between the Doctor and arch enemies between the pages of TV Comic (and later "Countdown" comic for a couple of years in the early 70s)

In 1979, at the height of Tom Baker's tenure, Marvel launched Doctor Who Weekly and the Doctor's adventures in TV Comic finally came to an end. The tail end of the 70s, spurred on by the commercial success of Star Wars saw Doctor Who merchandising finally come into it's own. The Target range of books began expanding rapidly, closely followed by the Denys Fisher range of Dolls. Up until then, only the Daleks had been seen as a viable force to be used in marketing.

For me, as someone who spent their childhood waiting all week for two precious pages of TV Comic, these stories are a forgotten golden age of Doctor Who. From 1979 onwards the Doctor's 2 dimensional adventures went world wide and all those stories are easily available today, often republished over and over again both in the UK and the US. But the TV Comic and Countdown strips have been seen by a much smaller audience - a few have been republished by Marvel, but on the whole there are around 15 years of adventures that have become lost in the mists of time... until now that is.

So, what I intend to do, approximately once a fortnight, is share an installment of those forgotten adventures with you all. I won't be posting them in any particular order, just whatever takes my fancy - but I will post all the episodes of each story I feature, in order. I will also mainly focus on the Doctor's skirmishes with the Daleks for now, as those were the stories that we all looked forward to the most, when we opened that weeks' TV Comic to help pass the rainy play times trapped in our classrooms across 1960s and 70s Britain...

So, sit back and let us begin, with an adventure from arguably the Doctor's most popular incarnation from the classic series, Tom Baker's Doctor number 4. Part One of TV Comic's Return of the Daleks from 1975...


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