It’s hard to keep a good Doctor down, especially when there are 11 of them. That’s the case this January when IDW Publishing launches “Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time” to coincide with the BBC property’s 50th anniversary. “Prisoners of Time” is a 12-issue miniseries featuring all 11 TV incarnations of Doctor Who, a new Doctor every issue each drawn by a different artist.
IDW is entrusting the task of bringing all these Doctors to life to Scott and David Tipton, the sibling writing team behind “Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation2.” Joining the Tiptons for the first issue of “Prisoners of Time” is “2000 AD” and “Nikolai Dante” artist Simon Fraser.
The Tiptons spoke with Comic Book Resources about bringing all 11 incarnations of Doctor Who to life for this ambitious new project. They shared details on which villains and companions you can also expect to see, their favorite personal Doctor Who and Doctor Who villains, getting support from the BBC and more.
CBR News: Scott and David, what’s the idea behind “Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time?”
David Tipton: “Prisoners of Time” is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of “Doctor Who.”
It’s a 12-issue miniseries featuring all 11 incarnations of the Doctor. Each Doctor will be featured in one of the issues.
Scott Tipton: And of course, there’s a larger mystery spanning the course of the series, one which is set up in the opening pages of issue one, and which will increasingly come to light as the series progresses.
Are all of the issues connected or does each one feature a new Doctor with a new storyline?
Scott: Each issue features a new Doctor and a new story, while a larger story connects them all and becomes more and more prominent as the series progresses.
Which version of the Doctor will be the main protagonist? Do any of the Doctors act as antagonists?
Scott: I don’t think the Doctor is ever an antagonist, but some of his incarnations are certainly more antagonistic than others, to be sure. Since this series is meant to celebrate the history of “Doctor Who,” we’re trying to give them all equal time. After all, every Doctor is somebody’s favorite.
Do any classic “Doctor Who” villains make appearances in “Prisoners of Time?”
David: We can’t give away too much at this time, of course! In the first issue, we will see the Zarbi, the giant insectoid species who are among the most infamous antagonists of the First Doctor. I think you’ll see equally well-known “Doctor Who” villains throughout the series.
Scott: The Doctor has a great rogues’ gallery, and we’re aiming to use as many as we’re able.
You just mentioned how great the Doctor’s rogues’ gallery is. Who are your favorite “Doctor Who” villains and why?
Scott: I love the Master, for sure, and Davros, who’s just so creepy. I’m also a big fan of the Sycorax, although that may just be a function of how cool Tennant was in that episode.
David: We’re just getting started on “Prisoners of Time,” but we can say that the Zarbi make a very interesting appearance in a place you might not expect in issue #1.
Will we also see all of the different companions that have assisted the Doctor over the years?
Scott: As many as we can squeeze in! We’re trying to tell a story for each Doctor that really feels like what most fans would think of from that era, and then it’s a matter of using the companions that fit the story best, and making sure it works within the established “Doctor Who” timeline.
Will “Prisoners of Time” be in-continuity with either the TV show, the Andy Diggle-helmed ongoing “Who” comic or “Assimilation2?”
Scott: If by “in continuity” you mean it will connect and refer directly to goings-on in the new episodes or what Andy’s doing (which, by the way, is great stuff and you should check it out), then no. But if you mean will it feel like it fits smoothly and seamlessly in the same world as both, that’s what we’re always striving for.
Who’s your favorite Doctor Who to watch and which one is your favorite to write?
Scott: They always say your first Doctor is “your” Doctor, but my favorite to watch is still Tennant, who brought such a depth and emotion to the part. As for which is my favorite to write, I can’t say yet! I feel like I have a good handle on the Eleventh Doctor, but the First and the Second were both incredibly fun to write, as are Three and Four, which we’re currently working on.
David: We’re working on all of the Doctors for this series; we’re taking some special effort to make sure they all get attention to mark the 50th anniversary.
What’s it been like working with artist Simon Fraser for the first issue? Were you familiar with his work before “Prisoners of Time?”
David: We’ve just recently seen some of the first few pages, and they look fantastic! Indeed, we were familiar with his previous work, and we were both excited to hear about his involvement in the project.
Scott: I love Simon’s style, and seeing his versions of so many very familiar faces was a real treat.
Why should viewers of the “Doctor Who” show read this comic?
David: This miniseries will be a rare opportunity for a series of stories featuring all the different incarnations of the Doctor. We’ll also be taking a special look at the role that the companions play in “Doctor Who.”
You’re coming off the wildly popular “Star Trek The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation2” miniseries for IDW. Did the success of that lead to you landing this “Doctor Who” series? Is “Prisoners of Time” a follow-up to “Assimilation2?”
Scott: I wouldn’t call it a follow-up series, no. This is strictly a Whovian affair. As for whether the success of “Assimilation2” led to us landing this series, I’d have to imagine that certainly played a part, in that it hopefully demonstrated to the BBC our knowledge and affection for “Doctor Who” and our ability to tell compelling stories about him.
Did you need your stories to be approved by the BBC before being given the assignment?
Scott: To be clear, that’s a supposition on my part, that the BBC thought our work on “Assimilation2” measured up — they’ve certainly been very kind to us and a pleasure to work with. Like any other licensor, they’re the ones who approve the series proposal and give the green light to move forward. There’s really been no restrictions from them so far, and in fact they’ve have made some excellent suggestions to make the series even bigger and more exciting.
As a sibling writing team, what is your writing process like?
Scott: I write all the nouns, he writes all the verbs, and every issue we rotate.
Seriously, though, it all runs pretty smoothly. We figure out the plot together and break down the issue roughly by pages, in terms of what’s happening on each page. Then we divvy up the pages by scenes in such a way that we each have roughly half to contend with. We each script half the book separately, then once it’s put together, we both take a rewrite pass over the whole thing to make sure everything lines up. Like a well-oiled machine.
Do you guys plan to stay in the “Doctor Who” world for a while, the way you’ve become a mainstay in the IDW “Star Trek” comics?
Scott: As long as they’ll have us!
“Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time” #1 written by Scott and David Tipton with art by Simon Fraser goes on sale January 23rd from IDW Publishing.