Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why Is the Doctor Killing That Hideous Creature, Exactly?

In case you're curious about the name of this blog, the panel in question comes from TV Comic 800, cover dated April 15th, 1967. TV Comic published the first adventures of the Doctor in comic strip form, starting not too long after the show itself began. The comic's writers didn't always have the greatest familiarity with the actual show they were adapting, and so the Doctor's personality tended to vary widely from story to story.

I plan to talk more about Doctor Who's comic appearances in the future, particularly his long run in TV Comic. But for now, suffice it so say that the comic strip Doctor - or Dr. Who, as he was usually called - was quite a bit more bloodthirsty than his TV counterpart. In this story, Dr. Who and his grandchildren, John and Gillian (oh, I'll get to them eventually), are being menaced by the Master of Spiders, who is sicking one of his giant pets on them.


Gillian freaks out, and the Doctor happily obliges her with his brand-spanking-new ray gun, which he's been itching to try out.

No clever escape plan, no marveling at the infinite diversity of the universe, no steely-eyed resolve to never, ever, ever use a gun. Just a gleeful "Die, hideous creature... die!", a dead-eye ZAP to the abdomen, and an ex-spider.

Oh, but it doesn't end there. Dr. Who and his grandchildren wade through rivers of blood before the story ends! The Master of Spiders comes for the trio from inside his robot spider, but he's no match for the Doctor's ray gun of death!

Him, Doctor. You've also destroyed him - the guy inside. But he was a bad guy, so whatever.

Ok, you've taken out the baddie, and he can no longer use his sonic device to mind control the giant spiders, who are native to this uninhabited world. They can go back to their natural spidery ways. Happy ending, hooray! Back to the TARDIS, John and Gillian, double food machine pills for everyone! Oh, wait, before we go...

 ...let's just kill all the spiders first, ok? I mean, I know they're unintelligent arachnids and nothing in this whole adventure was their fault - in fact, they were innocent victims - but come on, they're SPIDERS!

So, yeah. It's not like the TV Doctor doesn't kill his enemies - he does, a lot. Way more than the modern series would have you believe, and he often shows no remorse whatsoever. But he's never quite as gleeful - or thorough - about it as he is in these early comics. And I find that strangely delightful. So when I created a blog highlighting the things I find funny about comics and Doctor Who, "Die, hideous creature... die!" seemed to sum it all up perfectly.

Ha! Ha! We just killed an entire species! Ha! Ha!

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