Monday, March 22, 2010

Vworp Vworp! # 1

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of Vworp Vworp! # 1 (2010)

Doctor Who Magazine has been running its tie-in comic for more than thirty years now, and it's usually been a terrific read. There have certainly been patches where it hasn't been as consistently entertaining as the TV show, but frankly, anybody who'd rather watch "Destiny of the Daleks" than read "The Star Beast," or watch "Terminus" over reading "The Stockbridge Horror" just needs their head examined.

It's for people who know that the comic is as vital and engaging a part of Doctor Who's canon as anything else in the fiction that Vworp Vworp!, a fanzine co-edited by Colin Brockhurst and Gareth Kavanagh, is intended. The first in a planned periodic series, the zine is a loving tribute and analysis of the comic. Just like British newsstand comics from the 1970s, it even comes with a free gift - a set of rub-on transfers of the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and some Daleks, drawn by Paul Grist!

Inside, I quickly realized that the writers really know their target audience. The writing, like the best work in Doctor Who Magazine, expertly strides the line between "academic analysis" and "huggingly enthusiastic." The story of "The Iron Legion," the magazine's first serial, is told via interviews with Pat Mills, Dave Gibbons and original editor Dez Skinn, and would not be at all out of place in the professional magazine that they're praising. The writers also turn their attention to the final Eighth Doctor strip, "The Flood," and to Adrian Salmon's thunderously weird "Cybermen" serial. There's a tribute from the magazine's archivist, Andrew Pixley, and David J. Howe resurrects his early '90s "Collectors Corner" feature, designed to look like it came right from an old issue.

There are three new comic strips as well. None of them are necessarily essential, but I enjoyed all of them just the same. "The Master's Life on Mars," by the zine's co-editor Kavanagh and John Daiker, was my favorite of the three. It's a clever little runaround that fiddles with the resume of the last actor to play the Master on television. Daryl Joyce's "Clash of Empires" and Christian Cawley and Justin Abbot's "Time Leech" are also very fun. I think that Joyce has been doing professional work for some time, but there's no reason why the other creators couldn't be doing work for the big leagues pretty soon as well; it's all high-quality stuff.

Overall, it's a really good-looking package, very slick and professional. (It's easy to forget just how terrific fanzines can look these days!) Brockhurst's design work is really impressive, and they're able to cram buckets of entertaining and insightful material into the eighty pages. I enjoyed it all very much and will certainly return to it frequently. Very highly recommended to all Doctor Who fans.

1 comment:

Colin Brockhurst said...

Many thanks for such a glowing review, sir!