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Neil Gaiman, the Cybermen and ‘Doctor Who’s’ comics links

by  in TV News Comment
Neil Gaiman, the Cybermen and ‘Doctor Who’s’ comics links

I’ve often heard creators who’ve worked on the comic-book adventures of Doctor Who comment that current showrunner Steven Moffat is somewhat dismissive of the contributions comics have made to the character’s extended canon. That said, last Saturday’s episode featured the recurring series MacGuffin “the Eye of Harmony,” which has Alan Moore to thank for around 50 percent of its backstory.

In his first season in charge, Moffat inserted an episode based upon the Doctor Who Monthly strip “The Lodger” by Gareth Roberts, adapted by Roberts himself. His second season featured the Ray Bradbury and Hugo award-winning “The Doctor’s Wife” written by Neil Gaiman, who’s been known to write a comic or two in his time. He’s returned to the series this season to write “Nightmare in Silver.”

Gaiman’s second script for the long-running sci-fi show is rumored to be something of a soft reboot for classic Who villains the Cybermen. The BBC has released the above promotional image as a teaser for the episode, due to air May 11 as the penultimate installment of the current season. The redesign of the Cyberman costume strikes me as very influenced by comics, specifically the work of Adi Granov. The art direction of the show hasn’t hidden the comic-book influences in its recent past: Bryan Hitch was hired as concept artist when the show relaunched in 2005, redesigning the TARDIS console room; then-showrunner Russell T Davies repaid the debt by having the assistant Rose Tyler essentially cosplaying as Hitch’s Jenny Sparks for a sizeable chunk of Season 1, and later freely admitted basing the look of two characters from the show upon designs lifted wholesale from 2000AD.

All this talk of the interplay between the Doctor, the Cybermen and comics reminds me that possibly the greatest-ever Who strip was Steve Parkhouse and Mick McMahon’s “Junkyard Demon.” Now who wouldn’t like to see that adapted for the small screen?

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