Last month Bleeding Cool mentioned that in August, the Doctor Who comics from Titan, written by Jody Houser, would feature ‘the Doctor’s Childhood Time Lord Hero’. Commentor Alex Greystar wrote ‘This is going to be the Corsair, right?’ It is, Alex, it is. From September’s solicitations…
DOCTOR WHO 13TH #12 CVR A FISH
(W) Jody Houser (A) Roberta Ingranata, Enrica Eren Angiolini (CA) Veronica Fish
As the true stakes of their conflict are revealed, the Doctor joins forces with the Corsair! The first year of the official Doctor Who comic comes to a grand climax – Eisner-nominated writer Jody Houser (Mother Panic, Stranger Things, Star Wars, Faith, Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows) delivers fast-paced, fun new sci-fi stories, perfect for fans and newcomers alike!In Shops: Sep 11, 2019
And the Corsair just appeared in this week’s Doctor Who comic too. Neil Gaiman once wrote of The Corsair, ‘His TARDIS looked like a sailing ship whenever it was practical – and sometimes even when it wasn’t – because small, piratical sailing ships are cool.’
And we get to meet her too.
From Neil Gaiman‘s script from The Doctor’s Wife:
He’s called The Corsair. Fantastic bloke. Hearts in both the right places. Time Lord High Council couldn’t stand him either…
So what happened to him?
Went off in a TARDIS, never came back. Problem unique to Time and Space exploring. You never know if someone never came back, or if they just haven’t come back yet. Lovely man. And occasionally, lovely woman. He had a tattoo on his arm. A snake, eating its own tail. Incorporated it into every regeneration. Said he didn’t feel like himself unless he had the tattoo.
This was the first time it was explicitly stated in the TV show that Time Lords could switch genders when regenerating, though that would later be seen onscreen with The General and The Master/Missy and confirmed by the Sisters Of Karn.
Here are some things Neil Gaiman wanted you to know about The Corsair from The Brilliant Book published in 2012.
- His TARDIS looked like a sailing ship whenever it was practical – and sometimes even when it wasn’t – because small, piratical sailing ships are cool.
- The Ouroboros tattoo, showing a snake eating its own tail and symbolising Eternity, moved around the Corsair’s body with each regeneration. The largest version was huge and multi-coloured and covered the Corsair’s entire back. The smallest version was the size of a ten pence piece and was discreetly inked upon the Fifth Corsair’s upper thigh.
- The Corsair met his doom while working for the Time Lords on the Fourth Universal Survey Expedition. They were surveying the whole universe. It’s a big place. Somebody has to keep track of it.
- Most Time Lords disapproved of the Corsair. The Doctor, on the other hand, got drink with him (in the Corsair’s Fourth and Eighth incarnations) and with her (in her Fifth). Each time, the Doctor swore he would never do it again. Twice, they woke up in jail. Once, they woke up in the Bank of England vaults.
- The Corsair took his name from a term for ‘privateer’ – a sort of legitimate pirate. Some people assumed that this was because the Corsair did things for the Time Lords that they could deny responsibility for – such as stealing the secret of the Callisto Pulse from the Callistan Kleptocracy. The Corsair denied having stolen the Callisto Pulse. The Time Lords denied having asked him to steal it. The Callistans would like their pulse back.
- The Corsair never actually fought the Daleks. But her seventh incarnation was definitely spotted on Clarkor Nine the night the Dalek Scout Ship landed. On the following day the nine Daleks on the saucer discovered that their weapon arms and their suction cup arms had somehow been removed in the night, rendered inoperable, and fused together into a shape that means something very rude in Skarosian. They left immediately and did not return. The Corsair’s role in this is unclear.
- The Corsair visited Earth a number of times in its history. He was worshipped as a god by the ancient Assyrians until he got bored after a week and went off with the sacred temple cat.
- In every incarnation the Corsair had an amazing smile. It was variously described as ‘reckless” ‘roguish’, or ‘very bad girl’. Whatever race or gender the Corsair was, he or she smiled the kind of smile that made the person being smiled at want to trust the person who was smiling, run of with him or her, and get into all manner of trouble. Sometimes people did.
- The Corsair liked having a cat and, sometimes, a parrot aboard his TARDIS. He never had a companion, however, preferring to travel alone. (Having said that, the Corsair took enormous pleasure in Rescuing Good Looking People from Dangerous Situations, but rarely stuck around long enough to be properly thanked.)
- The Time Lord High Council formally censured the Corsair following the disappearance of the mysterious Portrait of Rassilon in Lord President Borusa’s time. The Censure was later formally revoked by President Flavia, for reasons she declined to go into, although she was once heard to say that the Corsair had an extremely attractive smile.
- By the time the Ninth Corsair (a strapping big bloke, he was) realised he had been trapped on the intelligent asteroid that called itself House, his TARDIS had already been killed and eaten. He recorded a distress message, but before he could send it there was a tap on his shoulder and he felt and thought nothing more, not ever again.
And as for Jody Houser, she was once on a Doctor Who RPG show and played The Corsair… so it goes deep…
"What's my father's name?" – The Corsair
I had SO MUCH FUN playing The Corsair on #EricsTBDRPG. I can't express how much this game meant…
— Jody Houser ✒️🗯️🎲 (@Jody_Houser) June 16, 2017