Monday, December 22, 2008


Doctor Who 45th Anniversary – Why Was 1979 Brilliant?

The Doctor starts the year and ends a quest by upsetting Black, White and Mr Brown in prizing dossing about over knuckling down. Douglas Adams becomes script editor for imaginative, literate, often funny stories: free-trade fable The Creature From the Pit; space holiday disaster Nightmare of Eden; the gloriously tuneful City of Death. Doctor Who Weekly brings terrific comic strips such as (Judge Death and New Labour precursor) City of the Damned, and of course…

The Iron Legion
“Put your gas-masks on, citizens! It’s your favourite and mine… The Ectoslime! Will the Doctor be its CXXIV victim of the season?
“As ‘Eccy’ fans know, the monster stuns its victims with its odour before liquefying and drinking them!”
Comic legends Pat Mills and Dave Gibbons’ opening strip mixes robot soldiers, the grandeur that is an alternative Rome, and some I, Claudius. Watch for the rise and fall of General Ironicus and one moment of horror that seized my imagination (it’s in Part Three).

Fans of ‘Eccy’ from 2005 will notice that this does the “narrows it down” scene, too!

This strip originally ran in issues 1-8 of Doctor Who Weekly – which became Doctor Who Monthly within a year, and then the Doctor Who Magazine that still continues today – and is the first, one of the best and undoubtedly the most-reprinted of the lot, including summer specials, US editions and, cleaned up and the best way to read it now, a 2004 graphic novel from Panini Books titled The Iron Legion and collecting it together with several other Tom Baker Show strips.

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