Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vworp Vworp # 2

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 # 2 (self-published, 2011).

I was starting to despair that I wasn't going to see this magazine! I intended to order it, lost track of things, got busy and when I finally got around to ordering it, it was sold out! I drummed my fingers and waited for a second print run. I waited like a refugee in Casablanca for an entry visa to the USA. A couple of months went by before it was finally made available for order again. Do not make this mistake. If you enjoy Doctor Who, order this today!

Vworp Vworp is a fanzine about fandom, basically. It's a celebration of Doctor Who Magazine and its often terrific comic strip. The zine is professionally laid-out and designed, absolutely packed with information, and is, overall, a far larger package than can be absorbed in one sitting. Some of the interview material is really dense and detailed, and it strides a thrilling line between unchecked enthusiasm and scholarly, academic distance. Colin Brockhurst, Gareth Kavanagh and the various writers are taking their subject seriously, but also having a blast.

One of the major focus points in this issue is Abslom Daak, a supporting character in some back-up comic strips from the early eighties. Written by Steve Moore and illustrated by Steve Dillon and by David Lloyd, the character was retired after a few well-remembered adventures. Moore reveals details on how much backstory went into his creation and an abandoned expansion of the idea. One of the trademarked Who-universe members of the cast was due to be killed off in the next episode, which is visualized in a newly-commissioned full comic treatment of Moore's old script; it's one of two new comics in the magazine. Interestingly, Daak's creators daydreamed about moving the character into a separate Marvel series without any Who ties, should the license ever be lost. This could have, in some fantasy world, resulted in an American TV series starring Gil Gerard or a BBC-TV series starring Ian MacShane. Much fun is had visualizing such programs and their attendant early-80s merchandising.

There are lots of other terrific interviews, including with Mick McMahon, artist of the legendary "Junkyard Demon," a pile of former editors including the always entertaining Dez Skinn and the seldom-interviewed Cefn Ridout, and Gareth Roberts, who adapted his hilarious Tenth Doctor comic "The Lodger" into a not-quite-as-hilarious Eleventh Doctor television episode.

The magazine shines with affection and good humor, and anybody reading this will be taken with how lucky the creators are to get to play in a sandbox with so many toys, and how much fun they're having sharing their hobby. Highly recommended!

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