For almost as long as Doctor Who has been on our screens, our favourite time-travelling hero has also been on the pages of our comic books. From 1964’s first TV Comic appearance, TV Century 21’s Dalek Chronicles, Marvel’s influential run in the 70s, to Doctor Who Magazine’s omnipresent strips and Titan Comics’ current content – Doctor Who has been well-served off-screen and on the shelves of comic book stores.
Featuring iconic writers such as Pat Mills, John Wagner, David Whitaker, John Ostrander, Steve Moore, Scott Gray, and Grant Morrison, and artwork from Neville Main, Martin Geraghty, Dave Gibbons, and more, Doctor Who comics are underrated gems and absolute classics.
Without the constraints of a TV budget, these comics following the Doctors, companions, and enemies could be massive, overblown, exciting, imaginative, and endless. Huge battles and dreaded foes that fans could never see depicted on-screen in the BBC show could be realised in any old edition, and any actor – any Doctor, any Master, any companion – could interact on the page.
But these stories were also populated with original characters – now with cult followings. Action heroes. Brand new companions. Horrifying monsters. Talking penguins. The Doctor Who comic strips had it all – and perhaps it’s time that Doctor Who on TV starts to show some love to them.
With their presence long overdue in live-action, these are 10 Doctor Who Comic Book Characters Who Should Appear In The Show.
First appearing in Marvel Comics’ Doctor Who Weekly comic strip in 1979, the Iron Legion were formidable foes for the Fourth Doctor. Hailing from Roma D, an occupied distant planet where the Roman Empire never fell, this technologically advanced army of soldiers had their sights on conquering everything in the known universe.
Their invasion commenced in the sleepy English village of Stockbridge in 1979 where the Doctor first encountered them. Tracing the iron legionnaires back to their point of origin, he hoped to stop their colonisation long before it even happened. Across eight issues, the Doctor battled these mechanical menaces in their alternative version of Rome until he managed to trick their leader into falling into another dimension. Releasing genetically modified ‘Beast Men’ into Rome, the Legion soon scattered and the day was won.
Nearly indestructible, and with built-in sonar and dimension-hopping abilities, the Iron Legion were fearsome enemies – and the first this Doctor encountered in the now-iconic Doctor Who Weekly/Marvel Comics run. Created by Pat Mills and John Wagner of 2000AD/Judge Dredd fame, and illustrated by Watchmen’s Dave Gibbons, there’s no question of their importance, ingenuity, and influence.
The Legion has since returned in spin-off media and a Big Finish audio adaptation, but a new attempt at rebuilding an Empire of robotic Romans would be a great callback, and a great story, for the TV show.
Galactic Rating: Something Amy Pond would call ‘Invasion of the hot, metal Italians’.