Discussing "Doctor Who"-related projects in any medium always presents a conundrum for me as a journalist. At the risk of offering up the understatement of the decade, I'm sort of a fan. I grew up watching Tom Baker (and then Peter Davison) play the British science-fiction hero, and it's been thrilling to see the character and his infinitely layered universe begin to receive so much attention on this side of the pond lately.
Recently, popular comics columnist Rich Johnston announced (with no small amount of pride) that he'll be serving up his own take on the the popular Time Lord in a one-shot comic published by IDW -- who will also be launching a new, ongoing "Doctor Who" comic book series around the same time. Titled "Room With A Deja View," Johnston's story involves the investigation of a murder perpetrated by "a member of a species that lives in the opposite direction to the timeline."
Sound confusing? Johnston explained his plans for the "Doctor Who" tale -- and where it falls in The Doctor's own, oft-debated timeline -- in the following interview with MTV News.
MTV: First off, what sort of "Doctor Who" story are you planning to tell in "Room With A Deja View"?
RICH JOHNSTON: A complicated one. It's an internal time travel story, so not only does it concern The Doctor travelling to a set time and space as usual, but while he's there, hopping back and forwards in time to get the result he needs.
A good third of the comic happens backwards -- the kind of trick you can only really do in comics, where you can rely on a section of the audience willing to flip forward a few pages and read backwards. Manga has trained them in that art as well. So, basically, I took an approach to time from the "Blink" episode of Doctor Who, took the way the comic medium can approach time from "Watchmen," set it in an outlandish space station with its own rich history, and shook vigorously.
I hope it will have a unique taste. And bubbles that go up your nose.
MTV: Why is David Tennant's version of The Doctor right for this story? Why not any of the other Doctors over time?
RJ: That's the incarnation that was handed me but, oh, isn't he a great Doctor? Enthusiastic, sad, agile, thin, snappy dresser, good hair and teeth -- he's perfect.
MTV: Where does your story fit in the Doctor Who universe? Does it fall within the timeline of any particular season of the TV series, for example?
RJ: Ah, well, that's a matter for others to say. The TV series is really the only thing that's treated as canon, and they've played fast and loose with that. I've lost count of the number of Atlantises the TV series had. I wouldn't like to peg it down.
The Doctor is companionless, so you could see it happening any time after "Journey's End," between the third and fourth series or between the second and third. It features a lonely Doctor, one who is contemplating life alone and looking for peace...
MTV: As someone who grew up with this character, how does it feel to be writing a "Doctor Who" story?
RJ: Well, yes that's the thing isn't it? Daunting, exciting, a life's dream come true. I've been watching "Doctor Who" since I can remember, bought the Target novelizations, collected the Weetabix cardboard cut-out figures, debated long and hard about exactly how a TARDIS works, what was going on in the Romana regeneration scene, who was hotter, Tegan, Nyssa or Adric, all that. For decades. And now I have my chance to be a part of it, to write the "Doctor Who" story I've had incubating in my head for 15 years, get it down on paper, see it realized by amazing artists... and then it's over so quickly.
There is the realization that, in a hundred years, you'll be a footnote. But you'll be there. Immortality through "Who."
Now, if only ["Doctor Who" ongoing writer] Tony Lee could die and I could step up to write the ongoing series. You know, be [upcoming "Doctor Who" TV series lead writer] Steven Moffat to Tony's Russell T Davies [former "Doctor Who" lead writer]. But will Tony take the cyanide pills I keep sending to him? No, he feeds them to pigeons instead. And then he laughs as they fall from the sky. He's a cruel man, that Tony Lee.
"Doctor Who: Room With A Deja View" will hit shelves this July from IDW Publishing, alongside a new, ongoing "Doctor Who" series. "Room With A Deja View" will feature a story by Johnston, art by EricJ and a cover by Tom Mandrake (as seen in this post).
Are you a "Doctor Who" fan? Curious about "Room With A Deja View"? As always, sound off in the comment section!