Doctor Who is coming back to San Diego Comic-Con in full force, and this year they’re even releasing a special comic book featuring the Twelfth Doctor and Clara — at a con! The details of this limited-edition comic are under wraps for now, but we chatted with the creators — writers George Mann and Cavan Scott and artist Rachael Stott — to find out what the lucky recipients have to look forward to!
(Re)Gen: At this point, fans likely know George best for his War Doctor novel, ‘Engines of War.’ George, what was it like writing for a Doctor who, by his very nature, is shrouded in mystery?
George Mann: To begin with it was slightly terrifying! I really wanted to do justice to this new and very special incarnation of the Doctor. Part of the brief was to portray him like we’d seen him onscreen – towards the end of his regeneration, battle weary, tired of the war, so I spent a few nights watching and rewatching ‘Day of the Doctor’, trying to pick up his speech patterns and ticks.
I think the big thing for me, though, is that I wanted the story to feel epic and worthwhile. To mean something. I also wanted it to feel very personal for the Doctor, to explore what tipped him over the edge and set him on the path to using ‘The Moment’. What would it take for the Doctor to consider genocide? What was the straw that broke the camel’s back? I think the answer isn’t just about what actually happens in the novel, really, but what he sees during the course of it, and onscreen, too, both during ‘Day of the Doctor’ and also ‘The End of Time’ – what the Time Lords have become. By that point in the war they’re as much the enemy as the Daleks.
(Re)Gen: Tell us about some of your other comic work, Rachel. What properties would people know you for besides ‘Doctor Who’?
Rachael Stott: I’ve only been doing professional comics work for a year, so I don’t have a lot to my name! So far I’ve done the Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover at IDW, and then a couple of issues of their ongoing Abrams Star Trek comic. I’ve absolutely loved working on Trek, so I hope I get to go back at some point soon.
(Re)Gen: Cavan, tell us about your work within ‘Doctor Who’ and its spinoffs. Where might our readers have seen or heard your work before?
Cavan Scott: Doctor Who comic book fans may recognise me from the current Ninth Doctor mini-series from Titan. Outside that, I’ve written and produced a number of Doctor Who audios plays from Big Finish Productions, regularly write for Doctor Who Magazine and co-wrote Who-ology, the official Doctor Who miscellany and The Quotable Doctor Who, both with Mark Wright.
(Re)Gen: I know you probably can’t tell us anything particularly spoilery about the upcoming SDCC comic, but are there any little hints you can give our readers?
RS: Well, for one the script was brilliant, and felt very well-suited to my style of artwork, so it was SO much fun to work on. There’s quite a few big, epic moments for one story. The monster design is very cool and creepy too. When I showed my ideas for her to Cavan and George, Cavan remarked that he wouldn’t want to see my unconscious! Oh yes, and also there are two pages where I counted them up, and I’d drawn the Doctor 33 times. So that should keep you guessing as to why that is.
CS: We were asked to come up with something that was intrinsically convention-based. At the mo nothing says conventions more that selfies. In fact, nothing says modern life more than selfies. So, we started thinking, what if there was an alien that could only be seen in a selfie?
GM: Selfies are very, very dangerous! That’s all I’m saying. Think twice before you risk it!
(Re)Gen: How do you feel about Peter Capaldi’s Doctor? Is there anything in particular about him that you attempted to work into your respective parts of the comic?
GM: I love Peter’s incarnation of the Doctor. I like how brittle he is, but how soft-centred he is, too. I’ve written for him quite a bit, now – there are some other stories coming soon – and I think for me it’s all about his banter with Clara. There’s some comic gold to be had in the way they jokingly bicker with one another, and I think it gives a real sense of light and shade to his character. He clearly cares for Clara a great deal (in a platonic sense), but struggles to admit it, and hides it behind sarcasm and grumpiness. That’s great fun to write.
CS: I love him because I see him through my daughter’s eyes. They think it’s hilarious that he’s so rude. I tell them they’re not allowed to say ‘shut up’ to people and what does the Doctor do? “Shut up, shut up, shut up.” I wanted our 12th Doctor to have that exasperated air about him, but also to have a real hero moment, as we saw at the end of Flatline, a moment when you can imagine Murray Gold’s ‘A Good Man?’ theme swelling in the background.
RS: It’ll be no surprise to anyone who follows me on social media that I think he’s amazing, and he’s absolutely my Doctor, so it was such a thrill that out of all the Doctors it was his that I got to draw. I love drawing his hair! But on a less shallow level, I really enjoy the physicality of his performance. Working on something like this, or Star Trek, trying to convey the body language of a performance is part of capturing the character, and so you try to sneak in little things- like how much he expresses with his hands a lot, or even just how he stands.
(Re)Gen: As Rachael said, she’s fairly new to professional comics. George, Cavan, what’s your favourite thing about her art, either for this project or in general?
GM: Oh, Rachael’s been a revalation. Her art is *so* great. Lovely clean lines, brilliant likenesses, unexpected and fun expressions and beautiful layout design. She’s very, very talented, and I really hope I get to work with her again.
CS: I love Rachael’s art. I suggested her to editor Andrew James, unaware of the fact that he was already talking to her. Her work on IDW’s Star Trek / Planet of the Apes mini-series was amazing, and she’s also one of the friendliest people in comics too! I’m hoping this isn’t the last time we work together. The imagination she brings to a project is immense, and the detail. There’s a wide shot of the con and I can guarantee you’ll be sitting there looking at it for ages, spotting new details and cameos every time you look.
(Re)Gen: Other than the comic, what can we look forward to seeing from each of you next?
RS: I do have something else VERY cool lined up, and it might be announced at SDCC, I’m not sure. But for now- spoilers!
CS: I’ve got a couple of comic projects on the go, but nothing I can talk about yet. Other than that, I’m currently writing a Sherlock Holmes novel for Titan Books, The Patchwork Devil while working on a new mini-series for Titan Comics.
GM: Doctor Who-wise, there’s some more comics on the way, including a special guest issue of the Twelfth Doctor ongoing, plus a couple of original Twelfth Doctor audios later in the year. There’s a new Newbury & Hobbes novel on the way too, as well as an accompanying comic series. And beyond that, a new novel in my Ghost series, about a vigilante in 1930s Manhattan, due in Spring next year. Exciting times!
You can see more of Rachael Stott’s art on her official site or her Tumblr, and check out a full list of Cavan Scott’s past work and keep up with what’s next on his official website. George Mann has a new website coming soon, but in the meantime you can check out his blog.