Erin Wilhelm writes
On the television show Doctor Who, Doctors come and go, sometimes after one season, sometimes after many seasons. But in the Titan comics, the Doctors can live on, having additional adventures, finding new companions, and occasionally running into each other.
Moderated by Titan Comics brand manager Chris Thompson, the panel consisted of writers Jody Houser (Thirteenth Doctor), Cavan Scott (Ninth Doctor), Richard Dinnick (Thirteenth Doctor #0: The Many Lives of Doctor Who), Paul Cornell (Third Doctor), George Mann (Eighth Doctor), and cover illustrator Kelly Yates.
Saturday’s panel at SDCC was aimed at energizing the fans in the lead up to the release of The Thirteenth Doctor #1 in October 2018 (and, of course, for the Thirteenth Doctor’s television debut, also expected to be in October). Leading up to the start of the Thirteenth Doctor series, Titan is running a miniseries called “The Road To The Thirteenth Doctor.” This three issue series, the first of which has already been released, will dedicate one issue each to the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors and each issue will contain a small portion of a Thirteenth Doctor story. These three issues are setting the stage for whatever the Thirteenth Doctor will face in #1, and today at the panel Jody Houser hinted that each of the previous Doctors may have met, interacted with, or in some way noticed whatever it is that the Thirteenth Doctor will be forced to deal with.
The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor #1, written by James Peaty with art by Iolanda Zanfardino, was released on July 11, 2018, with Issue #2, written by James Peaty with art by Pasquale Qualano, to be released on August 8, 2018. Issue #3, written by James Peaty with art by Brian Williamson, will be released September 12, 2018.
Following the Road to the Thirteenth Doctor series will come The Thirteenth Doctor #0: The Many Lives of Doctor Who, written by panelist Richard Dinnick and illustrated by Giorgia Sposito and Pasquale Qualano. It will be released on October 9, 2018 and will be the first comic to feature all 13 Doctors. In fact, the panelists mentioned that they think Dinnick is the first writer to actually pen stories for all 13 Doctors.
As previously reported on Bleeding Cool, Chris Thompson announced that the Thirteenth Doctor #1 would celebrate the Thirteenth Doctor by having 13 cover variants (Thompson showed visual slides of 10 of the 13 variants). After the panel, I was able to confirm with Thompson that, in fact, all of the creators working on The Thirteenth Doctor comic would be women, at least to start, and that Titan intentionally hired women to work on the title.
On the panel, Jody Houser discussed how, on one hand, she had an advantage over her fellow panelists, because she gets to write the Thirteenth Doctor right at the beginning of the Doctor’s tenure, when there are fewer plot limitations. However, because Houser has had to develop the comics before the Thirteenth Doctor’s first episode even airs, she had to work hard to be true to a character that didn’t even really exist yet and had to think about continuity and working within the constraints of a character that is still on TV.
All of the panelists discussed how they work within the existing television show canon while still making the material their own. For example, George Mann discussed how he likes to create all new companions for the existing doctors he writes. Yates, a Doctor Who Comics illustrator said that he concentrates on a few key features that make a certain Doctor immediately recognizable to the audience, such as Jodie Whittaker’s eyebrows. Jody Houser told the audience that she has been watching episodes of Doctor Who in order to hear the Doctor’s voice in her head, enabling her to better write what the Doctor would do and say (though I did wonder at the time, episodes of which Doctor? Does Houser have Thirteenth Doctor screeners to use as background?).
Overall, other than the fact that Titan formed a team of all women to create The Thirteenth Doctor comic and all 13 variant covers, the panel did not really have much new information for the crowd to feed off of. Houser refused to divulge plot points from the upcoming series. It seems that Titan (and the larger Doctor Who brand) are counting on the steady trickle of monthly Doctor Who Comic releases to keep fans satisfied until the show returns this fall.