Wednesday 4 June 2008

Doctor Who: Voyager, Steve Parkhouse, John Ridgway and Others

Doctor Who - Voyager (Complete Sixth Doctor Comic Strips Vol. 1)Previous volumes in this series – the Tom Baker and Peter Davison ones – hit me like hammer blows from the past, but this first Colin Baker collection is even better: like the Paul McGann volumes this was all brand new to me.

Before I get onto saying why it was brilliant, I should cover the two things that are slightly annoying about it. Like all of these Doctor Who books from Panini it has the words “Graphic Novel” on the front cover, when it patently isn’t. A graphic novel is a lengthy comic book conceived as a single piece of fiction. At a push it might cover a single storyline pulled out of an ongoing series, but this is a collection of short serials.

The other thing is that on the back it says “The Complete Sixth Doctor Comic Strips”, when the Colin Baker-penned special, “The Age of Chaos”, doesn’t appear in this volume and isn’t scheduled for the next either (maybe they’d argue that as a graphic novel itself it doesn’t qualify as a comic strip).

Those minor issues aside, this is a glorious book. John Ridgway’s art is magnificent (and reproduced beautifully) – pages 26 and 51 being particular examples of his talents being given free rein – and the storytelling retains the cosmic scope of the Fifth Doctor stories while reining in the more confusing elements. None of the television stories in which the Sixth Doctor appeared could stand even the slightest comparison to these stories, and it isn’t often you can say that about a tie-in.

Doctor Who: Voyager, Steve Parkhouse, John Ridgway and Others, Panini, tpb, 172p.

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