Doctor Who: The Problem of Getting to Know the Eighth Doctor

Categories: Doctor Who
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2. The Comics The problem with the Eighth Doctor is that the three different media in which he appears outside the film rarely interact in any way, and it's never been established how much if any of it is fully accepted as canon by the show proper. In "The Night of the Doctor" he mentions companions from the audio stories, but not from the comics or the books. This leads most to consider the audio Eight's true adventures after leaving 1999 San Francisco and before ending up on a shipwreck on Tarn.

However, the comics that appeared in Doctor Who Magazine previously held the title of most-likely canon to the extent that Eight's regeneration was originally supposed to happen in their pages. Regardless, once you have McGann's voice in your head the comics are a great avenue to explore. Scott Gray has some really tremendous arcs, and without the budget of the show to hold it back the stories have absolutely fantastic visuals.

Though the Gary Russell Radio Times comics are sadly not collected anywhere (He confirmed with us via Twitter that he has offered them to IDW, who were not interested in republishing them), all the DWM strips were collected in four trade paperbacks by Panini Press. Three of them, The Glorious Dead, Oblivion, and The Flood are still in print and easily available. Most of the Eighth Doctor's comic output can be had for less than $50.

Unfortunately, Panini allowed the first trade, Endgame, to go out of print and has no plans to reprint it. That means the only way to fill this gap in the comics is to either track a copy down on eBay, where they fetch at least $100 if you can find one, or buy old copies of DWM individually. Issues usually don't cost more than $7 on Amazon, but you have to buy more than 40 to get the entire missing strips. There's nothing wrong with jumping in at The Glorious Dead. In fact the writing and art has tightened up considerably by then so the stories are much better, but it's frustrating that the whole set is almost unfillable.

See also: Doctor Who: Is It Time to Break The Sonic Screwdriver Again?

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The Books: In the time after the film the Eighth Doctor lived on in a series of more than 70 novels. As is often the case with spin-off models, they are of varying quality, but the ones that are good are absolutely magnificent. John Peel's Dalek stories are some of the best in the series, and Kate Orman turns in several entries like The Year of Intelligent Tigers that are more than worth the read.

The first book in the series, The Eight Doctors by longtime series novelization master Terrance Dicks, is essential reading for all Whovians. It's not very good, honestly, but the reconciliation between the various timelines as Eight seeks to cure his amnesia by observing his past selves makes it a vital tome in the overall mythology.

The books are also the most expensive way to experience the Eighth Doctor. Most of the early books run $20 to $30 used on Amazon, and few are available on Kindle. Those that are suffer from terrible formatting that makes the savings almost pointless. As the series progresses, the price drops off some, but there are enough spikes here and there to insure that you'll drop at least $1,000 collecting them all.

There is so much apocrypha in the world of Doctor Who... so many stories that probably no one has read, seen, or heard them all. With all the celebrating we just did of 50 years worth of the show's history, it might be nice if some of the folks at the BBC started giving some thought to preserving and making these edges of Doctor Who more easily available to a fandom hungry to find out more about their new favorite Doctor. Unless we get our wish of a new web series, it's almost all we've got of Eight.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

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7 comments
cassandra.simplex
cassandra.simplex

Hey, don't write ol' Eight off yet

It's only on TV that he's left out

And looked down on.

'Cause he's the best,

That Mister Paul McGann

He played the role another dozen years

Anyway.

It just took some time,

Doctor Eight, there in the middle of the line,

Everything, everything will come out right.

Claim your place, claim your place in the spotlight, spotlight.

Hey, it always works the same

We all resent it when the Doctor goes,

Some new guy's in.

That movie sucked,

But don't blame yourself.

No script can ever be good enough

With someone else.

It just takes some time,

Doctor Eight, for everyone to find their stride.

Everything, everything will come out right.

Claim your place, claim your place in the spotlight, spotlight.

It just takes some time,

Doctor Eight, for all the fans to re-align.

Everything, everything will come out right.

Claim your place, claim your place in the spotlight, spotlight.

Hey, don't overlook ol' Eight,

Regeneration sickness hits them all

When they walk on.

Just play the part

In everything you can,

And don't you worry what the bitter fans

Are gonna say.

It just takes some time,

Doctor Eight, to bridge the gaping storyline.

Everything, everything will come out right.

Claim your place, claim your place in the spotlight, spotlight.

It just took some time,

Doctor Eight, to pave the way for war and Nine.

Everything, everything worked out in "Night".

Claim your place, claim your place in the spotlight.

drusilla.grey
drusilla.grey

Thanks for this. I really do need to dig deeper into 8. I think the audio will be the start. I can burn them onto cd and listen in the car with the kids on road trips.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@drusilla.grey You can also just order the CDs, but they're more expensive and not really worth it. They're also usually the same price used on Amazon, so downloads is really the way to go. 

drusilla.grey
drusilla.grey

I always opt for downloads. That way I can burn as needed :)

drusilla.grey
drusilla.grey

Just downloaded Storm Warning to my phone to listen to while I have some time to kill

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

I like to listen to mine through my phone while level grinding on RPGs :)

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