An Introduction to L. J. Scottís and studiorobbís "Doctor Who: Retirement?"

("Doctor Who" is the property of the BBC!)

 

††††††††††† Letís start with the basics, shall we? On the main menu of the "Doctor Who Comic Page" is a list of the individual chapters. Simply click on the individual chapters and (hopefully!) enjoy. Or you can read the whole thing through, if you wish, as each chapter has the option of moving to the next. At the end of each chapter is a "comment page" that you can read if you so desire. The "comment pages" are sort of a "behind the scenes/making of/memory" thing that some might find interesting. I know *I* did! L. J.'s comments are wonderful, and i learned a great deal about this comic...and i supposedly worked on it! I truly appreciate her taking the time to share her thoughts and anecdotes.

Anyway, you can read them or skip them...the "comment pages" were written to not contain any spoilers, so theyíre safe to read as you go along. Entirely up to you. Yup.

 

††††††††††† Okay, now that the mechanics are out of the way, why the heck is this here? Well, not too long ago, the University of Milwaukee contacted L. J. Scott, and said that they were in the process of archiving [20th century] Doctor Who Fanzines and they asked if they could put the DWIS Newsletters in their collection. DWIS stood for "Doctor Who Information Society" and it was a fanzine that L. J. wrote stories and I did artwork for. As it turned out, she was missing a couple of issues, so she wrote me and asked if I had the missing issues. I did, and what came from that was my "re-discovery" of the comic we had done for DWIS.

 

††††††††††† When I think back on it, Iím still amazed we even completed it. Even more amazing is how well the story has held up over the last 15+ years. Just this year (2005), the BBC has started "Doctor Who" anew...yes, in case you were unaware of it, The Doctor is in the house with *new* episodes! The stories look excellent (damn things better make their way to America!) and, surprisingly, there are elements and scenes in the new series that that first appeared in our comic!

 

††††††††††† So how did this comic come to be? Well, as I said, L. J. Scott wrote short fiction for DWIS (before she went on to write her script that eventually became "The Quality of Life" on "Star Trek: The Next Generation". Yes, Iím bragging that I got to work with someone who wrote for "Trek"!) and I was doing cover art and little fillers for the DWIS newsletter (This was way, way back in time: 1988!). After doing three issues of that, however, I wanted to cut my teeth and try a Doctor Who comic. Nothing big...something that was maybe four chapters long. And I sure as heck didnít want to write it! I brought the idea up to the editor of DWIS, Jay Ritchie, who in turn got hold of L. J. --- and to be blunt, she wasnít really thrilled about the idea. Partly because she had never written for a comic, partly because she was unsure she wanted to be bothered writing a script, but probably mainly because she was used to working alone. But to my great joy she did eventually decide to give it a go.

 

††††††††††† So we met at Jayís house, and began defining just what the ground rules would be. They were pretty simple: each chapter would be four pages in length, as that made putting the newsletter together easier and each chapter would be due two weeks before the publication of each newsletter. Then L. J. put forth (I think) six story suggestions. I say "think", because right after she suggested this story, my brain pretty-well shut down...this story was so cool, I *had* to do it!

 

††††††††††† The concept was straight forward: The Doctor is tired of running around saving the universe, so he decides to Retire. He goes to a "Retirement Planet" and joins a retirement activity, namely a scavenger hunt. L. J. had a set number of items The Doctor was to recover, and as "punishment" for bring up this whole comic idea, I had to come up with two of the items...but I didnít care, since this was such a *cool*story! It was decided to use the [then] current Doctor, the Seventh (played by Sylvester McCoy) and his companion, Ace (played by Sophie Aldred) and that the last two pages of a story would be a "cliffhanger" about getting an item and the first two pages of the following story would be resolution of the "cliffhanger" and then continuing with that pattern to the end.

 

††††††††††† By story four, this pattern pretty much went out the door. The stories got longer, and what was originally going to be an eight chapter story ended up being nearly twice as long at fifteen chapters. But no complaints here, as itís still something Iím pretty proud of.

 

††††††††††† As I said, the artís certainly not "brilliant", but over all, Iím still pleased with how the whole thing turned out. Remember, the comic was done back in the Stone Age of 1988 when there were no high resolution scanners or printers or Photoshop or any of the other digital goodies that would have made my life easier. Everything, right down to the lettering, had to be done by hand (I say that like itís a "bad thing"...I guess what I really mean is that I did the comic as a "traditional" comic). As such, I decided to pretty much leave the art as it was. Yes, it was very tempting to me to "pull a Lucas" and redo most of the art with Photoshop, but Iíve been pretty vocal over the last few years with my distaste for what George Lucas has done with "revamping" the original "Star Wars" trilogy, and Iíd feel like a hypocrite had Iíd done the same here. "It is what it is." However, I did clean up the lettering, as I felt "legibility" was more important than "ethics". And time wasnít overly kind to my originals, either, so some pages did require some digital cleaning. But over all, what you see is how it is (or was).

 

††††††††††† I hope that if this is your first time encountering The Doctor, or if you were simply a casual viewer of the series (most people I know liked "that guy in the scarf", but know very little of the past or future regenerations of The Doctor) that you wonít be too confused by elements of the comic. But fear not! Iíve included a link to the BBCís official Doctor Who Web Site, and there is a wealth of info there!

 

††††††††††† Finally, on behalf of L. J. Scott and myself, we appreciate you taking the time to read our little comic, and we hope youíll enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it!

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