Ahead of Doctor Who Comics Day on August 15th, next week sees the launch of a brand new five-part Doctor Who crossover from Titan Comics.
Four Doctors will feature the 10th, 11th, 12th and War Doctors, and will be penned by prolific Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell with art from Neil Edwards.
We were lucky enough to be able to sit down and have a chat with Paul about what we should expect from the event, as well as the overall appeal of the Doctor Who franchise.
Big Comic Page: So, what can you tell us about The Four Doctors? Because we know nothing!
Paul Cornell: It’s just called Four Doctors, though I keep dropping in that ‘The’ myself. Titan have halted their 10th, 11th and 12th Doctor lines, and this crossover between all three will take their place for five weekly issues. The War Doctor’s in it at the start, but there are several other reasons it’s called *Four* Doctors.
BCP: How did it come about? Was it your idea?
PC: Titan editor Andrew James asked me if I was interested, and I couldn’t say no.
BCP: How do they interact with each other? And what do they think of each other?
PC: I intuitively felt that the 10th and 12th Doctors would be very tense with each other. Twelve doesn’t want to explain how he can even exist and Ten finds him not very Doctor-ish and very suspicious. Eleven tries to moderate between them.
BCP: Speaking of interaction, are they going to be together much, or acting independently to come together at the end? Hopefully the former!
PC: They’re on the page together for almost all the time. I think the audience wants Doctor interaction and I’m loving giving it to them.
BCP: From what point in each Doctor’s continuity are you taking them from? Have 10 and 11 already met?
PC: No, they haven’t. Titan take each Doctor from a specific place in their onscreen story, so for Ten it’s just after he’s left Donna on Earth, for Eleven it’s while he’s leaving the Ponds to wander about on his own, and for Twelve it’s halfway through last season.
BCP: You last wrote for 10 on Human Nature, probably his finest story. What’s it like coming back to him? Can you slip into his mannerisms and language easily?
PC: Oh yeah, the speech patterns and body language of all the Doctors is kind of imprinted on my brain. And Neil’s art does the actors’ likenesses and body language really well.
BCP: You wrote for the 11th Doctor in IDW’s Doctor Who Special. What’s your take on him?
PC: The eternally young professor/schoolboy. He’s great fun to write for. At one point during this series he awards himself a ‘most sensible Doctor’ badge, and he’s absolutely right.
BCP: And of course, this is your first time dealing with the 12th Doctor. How do you see him?
PC: He’s wonderful, an examination of everything that motivates the Doctor, free of the guilt of destroying Gallifrey. He’s continually surprising, to the point, and utter moral, underneath *all* that bluntness.
BCP: How does the War Doctor fit into all this?
PC: You’ve already seen his appearance in the preview pages. He’s important to the back story.
BCP: What companions, if any, are we going to see?
PC: Clara, and Gabby and Alice, the companions from the comics, who new readers will be introduced to, so this is a perfect jumping-on point.
BCP: You’re working with Neil Edwards, what does he bring to the table? His likenesses look pretty remarkable from what we can see…
PC: They are, and I can write ‘Eleven makes a point’ and have him respond with a picture of Matt doing that ‘one finger up on each hand’ gesture he often does. His special effects and monsters are amazing too. I’ve asked him to do so much on this, an assault course for an artist! A couple of panels of Bernard Cribbins!
BCP: What makes a good multi-Doctor story?
PC: Interaction between them, character points to be made.
BCP: What previous ones worked best for you?
PC: The Day of the Doctor is a work of sublime plotting genius. Three Doctors is great fun, if a bit hampered. Five Doctors has loads of lovely moments.
BCP: If you could write either present Doctor or a past Doctor comic, which would you prefer and why?
PC: I have loads of scenarios I’d like to explore, but I’m not sure, it depends on the artist, the idea… I’m not answering that!
BCP: You got your break into writing with the NAs. What’s it like coming back to Who yet again?
PC: I now feel I’ve proved myself elsewhere, so I feel more comfortable about coming back. It’s the golden thread through my whole career, really, and maybe I should stop fighting it.
BCP: Any plans for more Who comics?
PC: Not sure!
BCP: 52 years down the line and Doctor Who is still going strong. Why does it endure?
PC: It’s the only show where the intellectual is the hero and the monsters are the ones with the guns.
BCP: Thanks for your time, Paul.
The first issue of Four Doctors hits shelves on Wednesday August 12th,, and you can check out a sneak preview of the issue below.
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Interview by: Jules Boyle
Jules tweets from @Captain_Howdy