DOCTOR WHO

ComicsVerse had the chance to speak with the creators of the DOCTOR WHO comic by Titan Comics at NYCC! Simon Fraser, Rob Williams, Alex Paknadel, and Nick Abadzis tell us about their relationship with the good Doctor and what to expect in the future.

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

ComicsVerse: Welcome to New York Comic Con 2017. My name is Rachel Davis, and I am with the creators of the Doctor Who Comics, Simon, Rob, Alex, and Nick. And you are watching ComicsVerse. How’s your Con going so far, guys?

Simon Fraser: Very good. It’s been very gentle so far, but I’m enjoying myself.

Rob Williams: Yeah, we’re alive, which is a good thing I think.

Alex Paknadel: I live here now.

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Nick Abadzis: Yeah, the wrath of Con, slight Con fatigue.

ComicsVerse: Oh, those are the best answers I’ve heard so far on that question, thank you for that. So, can you tell us about your current storylines that are going on in your DOCTOR WHO comics? All the doctors are currently meeting from what I’ve heard.

Simon Fraser: I’m not on board for this, I’m finished off with DOCTOR WHO, unfortunately. But I was working with these two gentlemen on a story which was … Was it called THE SEAT? In general, the whole ark.

Alex Paknadel: Yes.

Simon Fraser: Tell us that story.

Rob Williams: Well, we’re just finishing up. It’s like, the third series of the 11th Doctor that Alex and I have been co-writing, a couple of issues, and it’s kind of paying off the overall ark, where we set up with the doctor meets an alien called The Sapling who steals a lot of his memories.

So, it’s kind of a story about fatherhood, and you’ve got this niece, and this being which could either become the evilest thing in the universe or be a force for good, and the doctor has to shepherd it. So, yeah, does that sum it up fairly well?

Alex Paknadel: Yeah, I would think we’ve got a pretty strong antagonist as well. It’s a rogue silence called The Scream.

Rob Williams: Who wants to be remembered because no one can remember the silence? That whole thing with The Scream is the fact that he was the most forgettable of all the silence, and so that’s his motivation. He’s kind of fun.

Simon Fraser: The whole thing is nerd-rage really.

Rob Williams: Yeah, absolutely, yeah.

Nick Abadzis: Is his name Edvard?

Rob Williams: Indeed.

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Alex Paknadel: Absolutely.

Rob Williams: It’s along those lines, yeah.

ComicsVerse: And what are you up to, Nick?

Nick Abadzis: Well, I’ve just got, in fact, my first 11th Doctor adventures has come out, which is a lost dimension time, which is our big crossover this year. That neatly dove-tails with the 10th Doctor adventure that I wrote before, and he’s the doctor that I usually write. So I had a holiday come when I’m writing the 11th doctor for once. And then after that, I’m back on the regular duty of the 10th Doctor.

ComicsVerse: Great, wonderful. I must ask, DOCTOR WHO is known originally as a TV show, and you’re adapting it into comics. What is that process like? Are there any challenges and rewards to it?

Simon Fraser: It’s surprisingly intuitive, I don’t know. You know, we’ve been brought up with Dr. Who basically, so you feel like you know the characters so well, that drawing it doesn’t… There’s no working up to it, period. It just sort of comes out surprisingly naturally. The voices just seem to be there. So you do feel at home there, which is, one of the reasons I wanted to do it so much. I’m such a fan that it just is no effort. In some ways it’s like, why would I stop, because it’s like, it’s no effort. I can’t stop this.

Rob Williams: It’s also I think, the main challenge is, he’s not just the smartest person in the room, he’s the smartest person in the universe, and he’s inherently smarter than any of us. Right?

Collective: Of us, yeah.

Rob Williams: So you have to try and write a very, very smart alien. That’s the biggest challenge sometimes, you know. He can get out of any trap. That takes a bit of sort of thinking of sometimes when you’re writing the scripts.

Alex Paknadel: I don’t know, I reckon I can take him. I went to college.

ComicsVerse: I would love to see that in a comic. Can we see that in–

Simon Fraser: I’ll draw it.

Nick Abadzis: You’ve convinced him now, mate.

Alex Paknadel: That’s it, I’m done. Shut it down.

Nick Abadzis: Yeah, you’ve got to be constantly inventive. And Dr. Who is a monster that eats stories, so you can never repeat yourself. So remaining original, as Rob said, is the greatest challenge of all. So you’ve got to read a lot, you got to be constantly aware and open-minded, which is all good because those are all kind of qualities that the doctor himself has.

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He goes around the universe, he’s insatiably curious about everything, and you kind of need to be that way too to sort of write him because he’s very open-minded. As a whole, Dr. Who sort of embraces diversity and this idea of being open to the universe. As long as you sort of come at it with that intention, then you can usually find something new and interesting to say.

Rob Williams: And plus, there are 50 years of DOCTOR WHO material, right. So you can come up with an idea and think, oh that’s a great idea, and someone might have done it somewhere along the line. That’s a challenge as well.

Alex Paknadel: It’s such a kind of nuance character. Everyone has their own approach. So some writers will … I mean, a lot are lined up within that, a lot of nuance within that, but some writers will favor the kind of goofy guy in a box and others will favor the kind of, the angry God. And there are no wrong answers. There are no wrong approaches. Well, there are wrong approaches, but you have to sort of be respectful. But yeah, that’s the thing I love about it. He’s such a protean, such a plastic character.

Simon Fraser: It is the perfect format. I mean, structurally speaking, it’s like the man in a time machine, which can fit anywhere, who can be anything, and do anything. It’s so powerful, yet so simple. It really lends itself to any kind of storytelling you want, which makes it a great thing to do. It’s just so much fun.

Nick Abadzis: That’s why we love it.

Simon Fraser: That’s why we love it. Yeah.

ComicsVerse: And speaking of loving it, there are quite the Dr. Who fans, Whovians. I’m sure you’ve encountered many here today…

Simon Fraser: Look in this room right now.

ComicsVerse: …in this place that we live in now. What has been your dialog with fans of the comic series? Have they ever had any requests from you? How have they influenced your work?

Simon Fraser: I’ve got to say, DOCTOR WHO fans are the nicest people. I do a lot of conventions, comic conventions, sci-fi conventions, and I also do DOCTOR WHO conventions. The Who conventions are the best. They’re lovely, and they’re very enthusiastic, they’re very kind. They’re just so enthusiastic and passionate, and they seem to follow the ethos of the series, which is like compassionate, intelligent, outward looking people, which is just glorious. It’s such a fun community to be a part of.

Rob Williams: Yeah, they come from far and wide as well. When we’ve done DOCTOR WHO signings in London, people have flown in with their families from all over Europe and whatever, just to come … Yeah, they’re just amazingly passionate. They seem to just eat it up, they don’t get tired of it. It will be interesting to see what happens now with the new doctor as well if they get a little bit of a change in face on the fan base. Hopefully, it does make it more diverse and opens it up even more.

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Alex Paknadel: I love American DOCTOR WHO fans. I don’t know what to say now because I live here. I was at a show in Portland, what three years ago before I was writing any, Rob actually brought me on board. But I was just standing, talking to a friend, and it was my first year at show, and there was a guy standing next to me wearing a fez and like a check blazer.

He was kind of hovering, and he was really nice and everything, but he was just listening to me speak. Then he kind of tapped me on the shoulder and just went, “I love DOCTOR WHO,” but this was just from hearing me speak. I kind of turned around, well I don’t know him, but just that level of commitment, you know what I mean? Yeah, I mean, you don’t see it.

Alex Paknadel: In the UK the fan base is huge, and it’s passionate, and it’s committed. But yeah, I think when you come to the States, I think you see another level of Who fandom.

Nick Abadzis: DOCTOR WHO fans are glorious, and they’re multi-generational. This is the great thing.

Simon Fraser: Yes.

Nick Abadzis: As well as it being sort of international, now. You know, it’s truly global, worldwide phenomenon. It’s a uniting force as well as a united force. Everybody is into the same thing. Everybody has their own interpretations, but it’s that wide. That’s why it’s wonderful. It encompasses all of us, humanity.

Although he’s an alien character, we can all sort of aspire to be like the doctor and have those kinds of ideals and be very passionate, and creative, and open-minded. But seeing it kind of like, from … It’s 53 years, 54 years now it’s been running, and my own daughter is really, really into it. She’s a massive 10th doctor fan, so we have a little bit of a repartee about that at home. Seeing her into it, seeing other kids into it, I’m really into it, he knows how long I’ve been into it.

Simon Fraser: My daughter was brought up with it, and I know how long you’ve been into it, even our parents were into it. It goes that far back.

Nick Abadzis: So, it’s wonderful to be a part of that.

ComicsVerse And you should all be a part of that, too. Pick up this comic. Thank you very much, gentleman.

Collective: Thank you.

For more interviews as well as reviews, analyses and more, make sure to check out ComicsVerse.com. My name is Rachel Davis, that was DOCTOR WHO, and we’ll see you next time.

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