In a large panel featuring many artists and writers for their Doctor Who comics line that hit the shops during SDCC this past summer, Titan started by showing a presentation talking about the exclusive covers featuring the 10th and 11th Doctors and a launch trailer for the Twelfth Doctor #1:
Written by Robbie Morrison, with art by Dave Taylor, we've got alien worlds, deserts, possibly exploding suns and of course EYEBROWS…for the Twelfth Doctor comic coming out next week. "If Moebius drew Doctor Who", titan said, it would be this. It's a short 2-part arc to kick off that series, and focuses on the relationship between the Doctor and Clara. They gave a first look at issue #2 which featured sword fights with robots.
Issue 4 Sneak Peek for the Tenth Doctor series "goes inside the mind" to find out what it is like for companions traveling with the Doctor. There are pages in this issue from the female companion's perspective including her sketchbooks and diaries in her own art and writing.
Issue 4 Sneak Peek for the Eleventh Doctor series showed different strands of the story and a large TARDIS team with two artists following 2 different companions. Teaser panels from the issue showed a cocky Doctor and a slightly pissed off Alice. Al Ewing said that Alice is older than companions usually are and he and Rob Williams were thinking that if she was an actress, she'd be older than Matt Smith. Alice doesn't take any guff from a "student", creating a lot of spark and "to and fro" between them. She has some serious concerns and "voices them" in issue 4.
Issue #6 of the Eleventh Doctor will start in December as a new arc on the series, and a Sneak Peek showed some astonishing science-fiction art by Simon Fraser. Fraser wishes he had a less cluttered TARDIS to draw. Violence from Alice and danger to the TARDIS seems imminent.
Issue #6 of the Tenth Doctor is going to feature the Weeping Angels (which got some applause). It's in the trenches of WWI with the Angels. Robbie Morrison's working on the "high concept" for that one. Daniel Indro will be taking over the artwork for 4 issues at this point. His artwork, though early, is very historically-minded and evocative, showing gothic architecture and wartime scenes. This is where Gabby finds out that it's not all "sunshine and roses" traveling with the Doctor.
The big news (Bleeding Cool broke this morning) is that Titan will be doing a past Doctor mini-series, and now every 5 issues of their two ongoing series, they'll fill with a 2 issue miniseries featuring a past Doctor. And first up is the Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston. The audience went fairly mad at the information revealed. Cavan Scott and Alex X. Zhang will team up on the book.
Titan explained that they have the rights to all past Doctors and conversations are ongoing about what will appear in future.
When the audience asked why the comics tend to feature "new" companions rather than established ones, the response consensus seemed to be that because those characters already have established "entrances and exits", it's a little more difficult to create as much drama as they can create with new characters. Not impossible, necessarily, but just a little more difficult, leading to their choices.
A fan asked that doing back Doctors in mini-series will lead to more. Titan clearly stated that each one of these mini-series with past Doctors is a kind of "audition" for a possible ongoing series. They don't want to overload retailers or move too quickly, however, given that they are just working to establish their two Doctor lines and now a third in the first instance.
A fan asked if they'll be doing anything with the War Doctor and Titan said he has "unlimited potential" and has had the "least screentime" so they will be looking into it.
When writers were asked about what Doctors they prefer to write, Nick Abadzis said he grew up with Tom Baker, but he'd be worried about writing him since he "changed quite dramatically" over his run. The Tenth Doctor has been his top choice, but if another appealed to him it would be the 8th. For the "gap years" when Doctor Who wasn't being made, the 8th was Abadzis' Doctor. He thinks of the first four growing up, then Paul McGann during the gap period.
The "whole thrust of the editorial line" on their comics, Titan said, it should feel like a "lost episode", not a visual adaptation of something else and so new companions and stories will always be the priority.
When asked what monsters they want to draw, Zhang said "any kind of monsters except the Daleks". And added that she'd like to draw The Silence. Fraser loves the old designs, so he'd like to draw the Draconians. The original Silurians, weirder than those later, also intrigues him. Trying to make "old designs" work better in comics than they did on the screen is a challenge.
A fan asked, given that Capaldi is new to the series, is it difficult to create a comic about him and his personality. Titan said it is tough, but BBC have been "wonderful" in giving them scripts ahead and briefing them on the relationship between the Doctor and Clara so they can depict the emotional climate. In terms of needing to know what happens, that's not as urgent. Peter Capaldi's Doctor is, in many ways, what you'd expect from Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, which helps. It's "tricky" and with every episode that airs, they get a better picture, they said. It's a "fun challenge", they added.
A fan asked if they ever find themselves working on comics that clash with the main story of the show or that are currently in development, and Titan said that it hasn't really been an issue yet.
A fan asked if, as writer and artists, they feel constrained by the actors and the acting roles rather than having freedom with their characters. Robbie Morrison said that about "once a panel" he'll listen to Matt Smith "to listen to the tone" and capture that. Abadzis says he keeps a DVD "on the tray" and does the same but doesn't feel constrained. Some constraints are a "gift anyway", he said. He was asked to give the Doctor a new companion "post Donna" which freed him up to explore new territory. That's how Gabriella came about, a gift for him as a writer.
The most general, final question for the panelists was what they most liked about Doctor Who. Fraser said that it's all of time and space and there are no limits. Who wouldn't like that? Everyone wants a TARDIS, Zhang agreed.
The "hardest" thing about writing Doctor Who, Morrison said is getting the voice right, getting it "Who enough". Abadzis said that Doctor Who is "famed for its possibility" but it's "got to be fresh", so coming up with new ideas and needing that "original angle" is the tough thing.