(I should note that this is NOT a paid post. Neither Doctor Who nor Paradox Comics-n-Cards are compensating me in any way, and if you click on any links here I don’t get any money for anything. I just want to share cool things that aren’t sad or political right now.)
I’ve long fancied myself a nerd, but meeting Richard illuminated some areas where I could use some further education. Nerducation, if you will. Comic books, in particular, are a less-traveled medium for me. I’ve read a handful of comics since the mid-90s, and even taught Persepolis and Maus in some of my writing classes, but aside from a deep dive into R. Crumb after undergraduate school and my childhood love of Garfield, I really don’t have a wide base of knowledge on the subject.
And I’ve loved Star Wars and Star Trek forever, but never really got into much other sci-fi stuff. In the last year and a half, I’ve learned the joys of Lost in Space and Firefly, among others. The last major franchise for me to explore, by my reckoning, is Doctor Who.
Here was my understanding of Doctor Who until about two months ago: he was a doctor of some sort, from the UK, who was played by a handful of skinny actors who sometimes wore bow ties. He traveled in a blue vintage phone booth that for some reason everyone said was “larger on the inside,” and…and that’s it. I felt like I understood the basics and had no real need to learn more.
But then, as you do in a new relationship, we started talking about things we wanted to do together before we got married. For example, I needed Rich to see Harold and Maude, and he wanted me to see Doctor Who. Which sounds like a pretty fair trade and all until you realize there have been 37 seasons of Doctor Who. Thirty Seven. 843 episodes so far. Plus at least four made for tv specials…this was turning in to a very long engagement.
BUT! There was a re-boot of the series, which is sort of what they seem to call it when they get a new actor to play the doctor. And this time, for the first time, the doctor would be a woman. This caused quite a stir in Nerdom, as you might imagine, and there was much consternation and excitement. A new form for the doctor is often a good time to step into the series, too, it turns out, so we started watching Jodi Whittaker as the doctor this fall. Rich has 37 seasons of reference to this character, and I have none, but I love this show already. It’s clever and righteous and the history behind the character (which I’m just barely cognizant of) enhances everything, as far as I can tell. I know there are nods to previous iterations of the doctor that I don’t get yet, but I’m really enjoying a show with so much history that still allows new fans to jump in and be entertained and moved by new storylines. It makes those 37 seasons seem a lot less daunting and a lot more like a treasure trove of stories I get to enjoy.
I know we are literally drowning in choices when it comes to entertainment, but I want to recommend you watch the new season of Doctor Who. And like all good nerdy things, there is a comic book to go along with it. Want to get a glimpse of past doctors? Check out Doctor Who: the many lives of Doctor Who, a 64-page comic that is gorgeously drawn by several different artists and highlights important events in the canon of Doctor Whodom.Doesn’t it look magical? I knew almost nothing of the franchise, but this book gave me all kinds of feelings about time travel and balance in the universe and general goodness.
Technically this is issue 0 of a new comic series, Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor. Now, as I mentioned, I am by no means a comic book expert, but often tv shows that crossover into comics tend to be mediocre, at best. I generally feel like they are just trying to get more money from me as a fan, rather than provide me with genuinely interesting stories and/or good artwork. But based on issue 1 of this series, I’m pretty excited. The first issue has thirteen variant covers (you don’t have to buy them all! But you can pick one or three you most like!), and I love that kind of thing. And it tells a new story about the characters from this season, with solid, interesting writing that somehow maintains the characters’ voices really effectively. I didn’t feel strung along or taken advantage of by this book, as I have in some other crossover comics, and genuinely enjoyed a new story in a new format about tv characters I’m coming to care about very much.
All in all, my continuing Nerducation is going well, and I’m so excited to see where else we go. Check out the tv show, if you please (we watch it on Hulu, I think), and go to Paradox Comics-n-Cards to pick up a copy of issue 0 or one (or all!) of the thirteen variants of issue 1. I really think you won’t be disappointed.