Doctor Who Magazine (1979)
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Publisher: Panini Magazines (Panini UK)
Publication Date: October 1979 - Ongoing
Country: United Kingdom
Published as Doctor Who Weekly from its inception until issue 43. It became Doctor Who Monthly with issue 44. Starting with issue 85, it was, variously, The Official Doctor Who Magazine and The Doctor Who Magazine, before finally settling on the simpler, Doctor Who Magazine in 1985. It is frequently referred to by its initials, DWM.
Its initial publisher was Marvel UK, and for much of its early history Stan Lee was the credited publisher.
Since 1990, it hasn't been a monthly magazine, but a 4-weekly magazine, resulting in 13 regular issues per year.
It is currently published by Marvel's legacy company, Panini, who retained numbering system (and staff) over the change-over period.
Though in the main a newsy kind of magazine, it is the original home to most of the comics featuring the 4th-10th Doctors, and is included in this database mostly to be able to give as complete an archive of Doctor Who materials as possible.
Comics appearing in the series tended to be of two types. In all but two issues, to date, there has always been a "main" story, which always features the Doctor. Usually, though not always, the Doctor featured was the then-"current" Doctor. This resulted in Doctors who had fairly brief televised careers having some of the longest runs in comics. The Fifth Doctor, for example, made more episodes than any Doctor since the Fourth, yet only the Ninth (and, so far, the Tenth) Doctor has had a shorter run in Doctor Who Magazine than he.
In the earliest issues, and occasionally throughout the run, there has been a "backup strip". Generally these backups do not feature any Doctor, but instead explore some aspect of the Doctor Who universe. For the bulk of the run, all comics were monochromatic.
At issue 300, comics transition from being exclusively black and white to full color.
In general, the magazine has enjoyed editorial freedom from its licensers (the BBC). Thus, it has contained at least as much material critical of Doctor Who as complementary. However, for a period of time in the mid 80s, the then-poducer of Doctor Who, John Nathan-Turner, was also the credited "advisor" to the magazine. During this period, criticism of the program was notably muted. Since the relaunch of the new series in 2005, the magazine has undergone a similar facelift, becoming notably more "mainstream" in paper stock, article construction, and editorial viewpoint. The producer responsible for the relaunch, Russell T. Davies, has no editorial control over the magazine, save for being the unofficial "executive story editor" of the comic strip. However, he does have a regular editorial column on the back page. Also, the magazine does act to preserve the mystery of upcoming episodes by making no attempt to break news that could be considered to "spoil" an upcoming episode. Whether this is self-censorship or response to requests by Davies is unclearóbut in the current editorial climate, DWM has gone so far in this direction as to frequently note that it's sitting on a story until after an episode has aired and to delay its own publication simply because the TV schedule was changed.
The current editorial mission statement is thus something along the lines of, "We can print what we wantóso long as it doesn't spoil anything."
A note on cover prices:
This is a British publication, written by the British arm of Marvel, for a British audience. Until issue #96, it didn't display a suggested US$ price. With that issue, it started its long tradition of displaying a US$ price that was always much higher than the actual currency exchange rate at the time. Initially the US price was about double the then-current rate; in recent years that's calmed down a bit, to the extent that it might be considered a reasonable exchange rate + shipping costs from England. Because of the extreme inconsistency of US$ cover pricing, I'm going to list the UK£ rate throughout the title, so as to give a more consistent idea of the pricing of the publication throughout the years. In any event, the US$ price given is next-to-meaningless because there are very few shops in the US where this magazine may be found with regularity. Worse, US shops that do carry the title often don't charge the US$ cover price, anyway.In short, it's a British show, it's a British magazine, it's a British price. Deal. A note on cover dates
Since issue #164, the magazine has used quad-weekly dating. This is distinct from monthly publication in that if you publish strictly once every four weeks, you will publish thirteen, and not twelve, issues a year. To make things a tad more confusing, from an American perspective, is the nature of the precise dating. From issue 164 onwards, the date is effectively the "expiration" date of the issue. Thus, if issue 164 had a date of 8 September 1990, issue 165 would be available in shops on 9 September 1990.
At issue 381 there was a slight interruption to this schedule. Because the contents of the issue assumed readers would've already seen the first episode of series 3 of the Russell T. Davies series, its release had to be delayed when the television series debut was pushed back by a week itself. It was the first time in the publication's history that an issue failed to come out on time.
A note on story naming conventions:
DWM, like the television series that spawned it, does not generally name the individual "parts" of stories. There are exceptions, of course, but in general there are names for story arcs, but constituent parts will be named "Part X", even if there's only one part in the story. Each issue will be given a story arc name so that the story name will appear in the listing below. Not only is this appropriate (as the magazine as a whole is not known by the title of the comic strip inside), but this method will also ensure that a story can be tracked in every other title in which it appears, as many of the DWM stories appeared in several other venues. Clicking on a story arc name will ultimately show you every publication in which it ever appeared.
Despite all this, it should be noted that in the early history of the magazine, individual parts were given an "unofficial" name by the "coming next issue" advertisements in the final panel of the preceding part. This database means to make note of these unofficial, "coming next week" names. However, it by no means alleges that the parts actually were named. Only very rarely, and usually only on part 5 of longer stories during the Fourth Doctor's era, did these names actually appear as the title of a part. These "teaser" names were also sometimes unreliable, as there are cases in which the "teaser" name given at the end of one part wasn't actually used at the beginning of the next part. Check the "notes" sections on individual parts for more details.
As these unofficial names haven't been well-recorded, elsewhere, comicbookdb.com expects that the process of recording them will be a fairly slow one, dependent upon our editors painstakingly researching the issue. Thus, as of 2007, it's somewhat difficult to say exactly when this process of giving a teaser name generally stopped. All that can be established currently is that it was always the practice to do so during the Fourth Doctor's era, and usually, but not always, the practice during the Fifth and Sixth Doctor's eras. By the Eighth Doctor's era, the practice was almost completely abandoned. By then, the "teaser" in the final panel of a part had been reduced to, simply, "to be continued" or "to be concluded"óas is the current practice in the Ninth and Tenth Doctors' eras. That said, there are occasional stories from the latter half of the Sixth Doctor's era through the Eighth Doctor's era where the practice occasionally resurfaces. For instance, the Eighth Doctor's last regular story, "The Flood", employed teaser titles, just like was done all the way back in issue #1.A note on time:
As one would expect with Doctor Who time is important. The magazine has gone through a few distinct "eras" in its life, and the comics therein follow suit. At first, when it was Doctor Who Weekly, the magazine had a lower page count, and comic strips in this era were consequently shorter. Generally, the main strip--that is, the one involving the Doctor himself--was a mere 4 pages long. Consequently, the stories were either of many parts or simply quite superficial.Later, when the magazine morphed into a monthly publication, the stories were 8 pages long, and "final episodes" often got 10 pages to wrap up story lines.In both of these eras, there was a very basic attempt at creating a comics-only continuity, but it was a half-hearted effort, at best. By and large, story arcs were independent from one another, and the reader could easily miss a number of issues and be none the poorer for it.Later, during the late nineties, when the show itself had been off-air for a number of years, there was a much more serious attempt at building a real continuity--in a way that hadn't actually been done, even on TV. Of course, during this period--one that mostly featured the Eighth Doctor--there was no televised history to speak of, nor any apparent hope that the TV show would return, so the comics became more important to keeping the franchise alive than they had ever been previously.Since the advent of the Ninth Doctor, the strips have struck something of a balance. Now mainly written by the television writers themselves--and dutifully "executive story edited" by the television show's head writer and executive producer--the strips may not be positing multi-story arcs anymore, but they do "fit" within the continuity of the 2005 revival. The larger arcs of the television series, such as the "Bad Wolf" motif and the Doctor's involvement in the Time War, are present in the comic strips as well.
Number of issues cataloged: 475
Number of users with this title in their pull list: 6