I’m new to Who; I started watching the modern series roughly a year ago. I was caught up with all six seasons by the time the Christmas special hit; suffice it to say that I was a fan.
At some point, I picked up some of the newer Doctor Who comics being put out by IDW, because, as if this weren’t obvious, I kind of like comics. They consisted of largely mediocre writing with decent art, so after I finished what I had, I decided that I should probably avoid Doctor Who outside of television (although I’ve heard great things about some of the radio dramas).
Up until then, I knew that there was about 40 years worth of The Doctor that I just hadn’t been exposed to, and I finally took the plunge into watching classic episodes after a combination of reading Brandon Graham tweeting about Tom Baker Doctor Who and seeing that there were quite a few classic seasons that came free with my Amazon Prime membership.
There’s something really strange and somewhat charming about those old episodes, because, despite having never seen them before, they gave me the feeling of rainy weekends from my childhood, laying down in front of the TV when I couldn’t go out and play.
As if by fate, the following Wednesday, I stumbled on this gigantically oversized Doctor Who: Dave Gibbons Treasury Edition #1, and wouldn’t you know that flopping down on my bed with a humongous comic like that brought back really similar memories?
At 13 x 9.75, IDW has done an amazing job at reproducing and upscaling Gibbons’ artwork, and it’s the perfect mixture of beautiful art with some of the corny ideas of older Doctor Who that causes it to mesh pretty well with what I’ve been exposed to of the Fourth Doctor.
The stories contained within the Treasury Edition (“The Iron Legion” and “City of the Damned”) are not horrible, but they very much fall into the “charmingly bad” category that some episodes of the television series do. They have the advantage of feeling a bit campy at parts, which causes me to enjoy them more than the modern Who comics, which seem to be boring and take themselves too seriously.
At the same time, it almost feels a bit unfair to criticize the storytelling too much. Both the oversized nature of the work and the fact that it’s collected together based on the artist are very clear indicators that this was intended for Gibbons art, which portrays the world of Doctor Who rather brilliantly, managing to translate much of what Tom Baker brought to the character right onto the page.
You’ll need to weigh whether $10 is a reasonable price for about 70 pages of oversized Dave Gibbons artwork, but for me, it was a no-brainer.
David Fairbanks doesn’t get many things right the first time. He studied physics in college, loves science, music, comics, poetry, movies, books and education pertaining to all of the above. He will talk your ear off about Grant Morrison and Ben Folds, has an indie bookshelf larger than his Marvel, DC and Vertigo ones combined and if he ever actually grows up, more than anything else, he wants to still be happy as an “adult,” whatever that is.