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A science fiction series as long-running as Doctor Who could hardly avoid spawning its fair share of comics. By the same token, comics tying in with a science fiction series as long-running as Doctor Who could hardly avoid being just a little erratic.
From 1964 through to 1979, Doctor Who strips appeared primarily in Polystyle’s TV Comic, a publication that also carried the adventures of various other television characters; this led to some amusing crossovers on the covers, with the 1968 TV Comic Annual showing Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor riding a rollercoaster with Beetle Bailey and Popeye. For a period from 1971-3 the Doctor’s adventures migrated to sister comic TV Action in Countdown (also known under numerous variations on this title); meanwhile, the vagaries of licensing rights led to the Daleks having their own comic stories in rival publication TV Century 21.
Although the Polystyle Doctor Who stories were generally well-drawn, the scripts are more questionable. The earliest incarnation of the strip – aimed at a younger audience than the television series – is notorious for giving William Hartnell’s First Doctor a pair of never-before-seen preadolescent grandchildren named John and Gillian and sending him on oddly whimsical adventures including a trip to Santa’s workshop, where he helps the jolly old elf to meet demand for toy TARDiSes. Subsequent issues depicted the Second Doctor as a TV celebrity on twentieth-century Earth, while stories starring Third Doctor were reprinted as Fourth Doctor adventures, with Tom Baker’s face drawn over that of Jon Pertwee. [READ ON]