On April 1, Titan Comics launched its fourth Doctor Who series, this time starring Christopher Eccleston’s gone-too-soon Ninth Doctor, his ever-faithful companion Rose Tyler and their dashing friend Captain Jack Harkness. Who-ology author Cavan Scott and artist Blair Shedd (The Raptor, Ghostbusters, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return) send the fan-favourite trio on an adventure to stop TARDIS tech from falling into the wrong hands following their stint in Blitz-era London. The storyline, titled “Weapons of Past Destruction,” will run in five parts.
Scott spoke with us about the new comic, his career with the Doctor Who franchise and his hopes for a future with the internationally-beloved BBC series.
Dork Shelf: You’re heavily invested in the Doctor Who universe, having written books and audio in addition to comics. How does it feel to be so involved with a property you clearly love? Are there any challenges to being both a fan and a creator?
Cavan Scott: I’ve been writing Doctor Who professionally for 15 years or so now, and I still have to pinch myself. I hope that never changes, to be honest. I think [in] being a fan, you do feel a responsibility when writing for the series. There are millions of people out there who, like me, adore these characters. They would sell their grannies to get a chance to do what I’m doing, so I owe it to them to try and do the best job that I can, if that makes sense.
DS: What about the Ninth Doctor series are you most excited about? What do you find most appealing about this character, and how will he compare and contrast with the man we saw in action for just one season?
CS: What am I most excited about? Well, Blair Shedd’s art mostly, I think. He’s produced this amazing, almost cinematic, look for the series and really gets into the intricacies of character design. Loads of emails bouncing back and forth over the Atlantic.
This week we’ve been working on a character called Glom, and what I love about Blair is how he thinks, not just about how the character itself looks, but how that design spills over to what tools or weapons they are using, what their ships look like and so on.
How does the Ninth Doctor compare to what we saw on screen? Well, hopefully you won’t see any difference. I’ve tried hard to include all aspects of the Ninth Doctor, from his righteous anger to his appalling puns!
DS: What influences your writing? Does your inspiration and process vary at all from medium to medium and, if so, how?
CS: Well, for this project, I’ve obviously been influenced by Russell T. Davies’ writing and vision for that first 2005 series of 21st Century Doctor Who, and have tried to pick up on some of the themes that he introduced ten years ago when the show came back. I’m still staggered [over] how confident and bold Doctor Who was when it was revived. This was a series that the BBC completely lost faith in during the ’90s, but you couldn’t tell when you sat down and watched Rose [the first episode]. It hit the ground running and has never stopped.
As for process, I’m a real outliner. I’m not someone who writes by the seat of their pants, so [I] plan everything out before I start on the opening line. That’s not to say that I don’t change my mind as I go along, as new ideas occur to me, but I like to know where I’m going.
Whatever I’m writing, I start with the dialogue, whether its comics, prose or audio. With comics, I largely write the dialogue first and then go back and add the panel descriptions for the artist. You’ve got to get the dialogue right.
DS: Would you like to continue your adventures in the TARDIS once this series wraps? Is there a particular creator that you would be excited to work with on Doctor Who comics or another project?
CS: Oh, I would absolutely love to! Where do I sign up? I have more ideas for the Ninth [Doctor] knocking around my head, as well as for other Doctors.
As for other creators, I’m a big fan of Mike Collins, who has worked on the Doctor Who strip in Doctor Who Magazine for many years. In fact, he was the main artist on the Ninth Doctor strip back in 2005. I would love to work with Mike on a project. I’ve also love what Elena Casagrande has been doing on Titan’s Tenth Doctor comic. I think she’s brilliant.
Outside of Who, but sticking with tie-in books, Rachael Stott has been doing some great work on Star Trek/Planet of the Apes for IDW. She posted an amazing piece of Peter Capaldi art on Twitter the other week. I think she’d be great for Who.
As for my list dream creators, I would give my right arm to work with John Romita, Jr. (who wouldn’t?). In fact, I’d probably give my right leg and my kidneys to work with the guy! I’ve been really enjoying his run on Superman recently – and actually sticking with Supes, did you see Scott Kolins and Aaron Kuder’s recent “Horrorville” arc on Action Comics? Who would have thought that horror and Superman go so well together?
You can catch a ride on the TARDIS with the Ninth Doctor and Rose in “Weapons of Past Destruction,” written by Cavan Scott and with art by Blair Shedd. Be sure not to miss a single of issue of what is bound to be one of their most thrilling adventures yet!