This Christmas, “Doctor Who” fans are getting a special present from IDW Publishing — the “Doctor Who Special 2013” by fan-favorite writer Paul Cornell and his “Knight and Squire” artist Jimmy Broxton. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Doctor Who” and debuting the same week as the Doctor’s latest regeneration in the form of Peter Capaldi, “Special 2013” centers around Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor traveling to our world and visiting a “Doctor Who” convention.
Cornell, who has written “Doctor Who” in both comics and television, chatted with CBR News about “Doctor Who Special 2013,” revealing details about the high-concept story, what he loves about Matt Smith’s Doctor, why he feels Peter Capaldi should have been a woman and more.
CBR News: What’s the “Doctor Who Special 2013” about?
Paul Cornell: It’s called “The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who,” and it’s about Matt Smith’s Doctor landing in the real world, finding out his adventures are all on DVD, going to a “Doctor Who” convention, and meeting Matt Smith! But there’s peril as well, of course. And some important stuff about what the show meant to me, and to, I guess, a lot of other fans.
What antagonists will the Doctor face in this tale?
I’m keeping that a secret, but I think it’s something apt for where he is, something that also came there from his universe.
What inspired “The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who?”
It’s one I’ve had in my head for decades, that I never got to do in any of the other “Who” media I’ve worked in. It’s sort of obvious, so the idea is to do it in a surprising way, hopefully.
What’s your most memorable, weirdest or noteworthy con experience yourself?
Too many to mention, really. I love fan creativity, particularly cosplay. I remember still being in a con bar in the early hours and the Morbius monster from “Brain of Morbius” walking in. I did wonder for a moment if anyone else could see it.
How did you find yourself writing “Doctor Who” comics for IDW?
It isn’t my first “DW” comic by a long way, I did loads of them for “Doctor Who Magazine” back in the day. I wanted to do something to mark the 50th anniversary (this comes out in the week of the regeneration), so I dropped a line to IDW.
So where did your love of the Doctor begin?
I watched “The Brain of Morbius” to finally get over my fear of watching “Doctor Who,” it slayed something in me that needed slaying, in terms of the unconscious fears of childhood, and I became utterly hooked. It’s been the golden thread of my career ever since.
Why had you been afraid of watching “Doctor Who?”
The kids in the playground made it sound absolutely terrifying. I’d carefully watch whatever was on BBC2, and then turn over for a second to “Doctor Who,” and I’d always see something that proved them right.
What did you think about Matt Smith’s turn as the Doctor?
He’s my favorite of the modern Doctors, I think. I love how vulnerable he is, how relatable for children.
And what’s your take on Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor?
I’d have preferred a woman, but if it’s going to be a bloke, then he’s an amazing choice, a great actor.
Why would you have preferred a woman?
Because he’s rolled those dice ten or eleven times now, and every time they’ve come up as a white male, which shows exactly how much the dice are loaded. It’s possible, so it’s way past time.
So who would you have cast?
Today it’s Rebecca Front, who’s got that distance and sense of humor and intellect about her.
What are your favorite “Who” episodes?
“The Massacre,” “The Mind Robber,” “The Androids of Tara,” “Kinda,” “The Happiness Patrol.”
Finally, what does writing for comics allow you to do that you couldn’t when writing “Doctor Who” TV episodes?
It’s like the TV show with an infinite budget, and using all the skills a comic artist (particularly a great one like Jimmy Broxton) can bring in terms of atmosphere, likenesses that live on the page, effects using panel shapes, etc. The artwork on this is beautiful. It’s really been a lovely thing to see take shape.
“Doctor Who Special 2013” by Paul Cornell and Jimmy Broxton hits shelves Christmas Day from IDW Publishing.