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Futurama Comics #32

Posted: Saturday, July 28, 2007
By: Ray Tate



"Doctor What"

Writer: Ian Boothby
Artist: Mike Kazaleh(p), Andew Pepoy(i), Nathan Hamill(c)
Publisher: Bongo

Well the odds that I’d grade this issue of Futurama Comics with anything less than four bullets were pretty damn slim. It's a full-length spoof of the greatest show of all time--namely Doctor Who. Dum, da, dum, dum, da, dum, dum, da, dum, dum, da, dum, dum, da, dum....Excuse me. You just can't say the title without thinking about the greatest theme song on television.

The TARDIS is the Doctor's ship. It stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space. TARDISes contain chameleon circuits and have the ability to blend in with their surroundings. On a mission to the nineteen fifties, the Doctor's TARDIS got stuck in the form of a Police Box. In Futurama Comics, Professor Farnsworth creates a kind of TARDIS, but it's shaped like a blue port-a-potty and is specifically meant to be a spacious bathroom. The reason why it travels through time and space is as dotty as the Professor.

Like the TARDIS, The Professor's port-a-potty is indeed bigger on the inside than on the outside. The Doctor controls his ship in the console room. The console to the TARDIS is a collage of anachronisms in the form of levers, knobs and buttons, mostly. The Professor controls his ship through flushes.

After a proper demonstration, one of the crew accidentally flushes the toilet and sends the port-a-potty into the time and space vortex. Since this wasn't a programmed journey, the Planet Express Crew spend the rest of the issue trying to get back to their own place in space and time. Let the games begin.

Ian Boothby, while fattening the dialogue with plenty of jokes dependent on characterization, lets the capable visuals of Kazaleh, Pepoy and Hamill to relate most of the humor. That said, there's a special intelligence behind every spot-the-monkey moment. The scene for instance with the bona fide Daleks--the Doctor's greatest enemies--doesn't just generate comedy in their mere appearance. Rather Boothby actually alludes to the finale of Doctor Who Series One in which Russell T. Davies, the mastermind behind Doctor Who's return, gave a new spin to the Dalek superiority complex.

The running joke in the story is that another doctor unwittingly becomes the hero in each short trip. Our hero becomes daring toward the conclusion, and the ending actually could be reworked as a proper drama if not for the inherent goofiness of the characters.

One of the differences between comedy and drama is that some characters in comedies simply are forbidden to grow. Boothby hilariously brings back the status quo through a novel device that emits a classic consequence of some time travel tales. This makes everything learned forgotten and "The Doctor's" feats less substantial.

What could have been a nasty excursion into bathroom humor instead becomes a charming little send-up Doctor Who. Even the Daleks stop by to rant.

Futurama's "So Bright I Have to Wear Shades" (SPOILERS IMMINENT)

"Doctor What"--emblazoned in the traditional Doctor Who logo design. (page one)

"Woo, Woo, Woo!"--The TARDIS when dematerializing makes a windy, grinding sound. In the Doctor Who comic strip published in Doctor Who Magazine this sound has been interpretted as "Vworp, Vworp, Vworp." Not even close.

The Black Hole--Disney's first excursion into dramatic science fiction. Both the ship and the robot are dead ringers from the film. (page three)

The Yellow Submarine--Famed animated fantasy with the Beatles, and drawn that way. (page six)

Ice Crystals from the Urinal--The crystalline computer rods of Krypton. (page ten)

The Candyman--Another Doctor Who reference. The Candyman was a candy coated robotic lifeform seen in the late eighties episode "The Happiness Patrol." Like the Candyman seen in Futurama Comics he was a torturer and executioner. In this issue, the Candyman apparently whips the children of Sonny "the Cuckoo for Cocoa-Puffs" bird. (page fourteen)

"My Vision is Impaired!"--A classic line spouted by the Daleks. Their weakness is in their eye-piece. Before they designed an impressive force-field to surround them, the Doctor consistently embarrassed their race by tossing his hat or whatever happened to be handy over their eye-pieces to blind them. After which, he would push them into things like empty elevator shafts. Don't feel sorry for the Daleks though. They are complete fascist bastards. (page seventeen)

Tin-Man--from Frank L. Baum's Oz books (page seventeen)

K-9--The Doctor's robot dog, acquired from Professor Marius in the seventies episode "Invisible Enemy." K-9 decided to stay on Gallifrey with Leela, one of the Doctor's companions. The Doctor built a second K-9. That model went off with Romana, another of the Doctor's associates, when she elected to stay in a pocket universe, at the end of the early eighties episode "Warrior's Gate." The Doctor constructed a third model for Sarah Jane Smith, whom many consider the companion. He cunningly boxed it up and left it in her Aunt Lavinia's attic to be found years later for "K-9 and Company." This model sacrificed himself for the Doctor, Sarah and the entire cosmos to destroy the Crilotanes in the recent Series Two episode "School Reunion." The Doctor left behind for Sarah a fourth model, which also likely duplicates the memory of K-9 Mark III. (page twenty)

K-9--Unrelated to the Doctor's K-9, this yellow robot dog appeared in the wrap pieces of Battle of the Planets, the American version of Gatchaman. (page twenty)

Dynomutt--Faithful robot partner to Blue Falcon, a comedic Hanna-Barbera super-hero voiced by Gary Owens who lent his vocal chords to the more serious "Spaaaaaaaaaaaaace Ghooooooooooost!" (page twenty)

Moppet--weird robot dog from Battlestar Galactica, the original, not the one with the sexbot Cylons.
(page twenty)



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