Comic-Con@Home: Peek Inside the TARDIS with Doctor Who: Missy

Doctor Who Comics Panel: Titan Comics’ Doctor Who books are back and better than ever in 2021, with brand-new stories and characters from across the Whoniverse! Forbidden Planet TV’s Andrew Sumner goes behind the scenes of the critically-acclaimed series with Eisner Award-nominated writer Jody Houser, artist Roberta Ingranata, colorist Enrica Eren Angiolini, and editor Jake Devine as they discuss the success of their Doctor Who: Missy series.

Since acquiring the Doctor Who license in 2015, Titan takes great care to balance canon with new stories. One of those newer stories is Doctor Who: Missy, which just dropped its fourth and final issue. The series puts Michelle Gomez’s version of the Doctor’s frenemy The Master in a starring role, while celebrating 50 years of The Master on television. This series is a favorite here at WWAC, and this panel takes us behind the scenes.

Missy, a dark haired White woman in Victorian attire, sits at a chessboard, holding up one of the pieces of chess. The chess pieces feature the heads of the Doctors and their enemies, and the chess piece she is holding is of herself.
Doctor Who: Missy #1 by Jody Houser and Roberta Ingranata

The idea for a Missy series came from writer Jody Houser’s involvement in the Doctor Who: The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor series.  After writing backup stories with Missy, she wanted to do more with this “madcap and unpredictable” character. And while it’s fun, there’s still a lot of work to get the tone of Missy’s voice just right. Houser watches a lot of clips of Missy’s TV appearances to make sure everything is authentic.

But the script is only half the story. The artwork of Roberta Ingranata and Enrica Eren Angiolini take it to another level. From performative facial expressions to colors that mix Missy and the Doctor’s styles, the art amplifies Houser’s words beautifully.  But care also goes into making sure this series is what Angiolini calls “a continuation of what you see on screen.” Staying true to canon is at the heart of everything they do.

It’s no secret that everyone on this comic is also a fan. So naturally, the panel dove into everyone’s first exposure to the show. Angiolini and editor Jake Devine came on board during the revival era. For Angiolini in particular, watching the show at university in England with her friends helped her develop her colors for the comics. Houser came to Doctor Who earlier, with the American TV movie in 1996.  And she was able to pay homage to that with a little Easter egg you’ll find in the third issue. But when it comes to favorite Doctors, the revival era reigns supreme for everyone!

It wouldn’t be a Comic-Con panel without some work advice! Starting small, practicing, and not neglecting things like meeting deadlines are all key skills. Lockdown didn’t make much change for the panelists since many of them work from home already. It did put limitations on where else people could work, and in Angiolini’s case, a planned move to the UK.  There’s certainly enthusiasm to go back to cons, the “social oxygen” of the world.

I attended Doctor Who comics panels before with this creative team. Much of the content covered here wasn’t a surprise, particularly in the back half of the panel around career development. It was disappointing not to see artist Roberta Ingranata on the panel, especially when you would hear her colleagues talk about her role in this series. I would have loved to hear more about her inspirations and style for the book in her own words.

It doesn’t sound like Missy is the last spinoff series. There are some hints of bringing River Song more into the comics.  And she’s another fan favorite that does deserve the spotlight. With this creative team signed on to Doctor Who for a long time, we’ll eagerly await their next stories.

Kate Kosturski

Kate Kosturski

Librarian by day, comics nerd by day and by night. Also published at Geeks OUT and Multiversity Comics (where she is also the social media manager for the site). Originally from New Jersey, now of Connecticut and New York City. Raging feminist your mother probably warned you about. Body positivity and LGBTQ+ advocate. Lover of good whiskey, Jensen Ackles, Doctor Who, Funko Pops, knitting, Hamilton, and the New York Mets. Will defend the Oxford Comma to her deathbed. Find her on twitter at @librarian_kate

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