Tag Archives: Doctor Who

Doctor Who – Eleventh Doctor: Issue 6

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This is a somewhat interesting read. The story is reversed, so it begins at the end and the page numbers sequentially decrease. At first I thought I needed to start at the back of the issue and read right to left, but that didn’t work. So I scrapped that approach and started at the end (beginning?) and read it left to right. This is the correct order and you will notice clues in the story letting you know you are reading it correctly.

I like that the writers took a chance and did something daring with the structure of this tale. At first it was frustrating, trying to figure it out, but now I appreciate it.

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Doctor Who – Eleventh Doctor: Issue 4

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This issue continues where Issue 3 left off, only now John Jones (the David Bowie-esque character) is traveling in the TARDIS with the Doctor and Alice. They end up on a planet where people have been mysteriously going into comas after being attacked by an unseen entity. It is also revealed that secret research on the planet is being orchestrated by the sinister organization, SERVEYOUinc.

The story moves along well and is interesting, but leaves you hanging as it will be continued in the next issue. The real strength in this issue for me, though, is the inclusion of all the humorous puns and references to David Bowie. They are very witty and if you read closely you will catch a lot, like when Jones notices some flies on the space station and comments: “Oh look, there’s flies. Flies from the stars. I’ll call my next band that.” Clearly a play on the Spiders from Mars. There is also a scene where Jones and Alice are in a cafeteria and there is a box of “New Chunky Dories” cereal, which I thought was a clever reference to Bowie’s 1971 “Hunky Dory” album.

To fully appreciate this issue, it helps if you are a David Bowie fan. That said, the story and artwork are both good and you will probably enjoy it, even if you don’t catch all the Bowie references. I’m kind of looking forward to the next issue, especially since I love the early Bowie music. In fact, I think I put my vinyl copy of “Hunky Dory” on the turntable today and give it a spin. And to conclude, here is my favorite track from that album. Enjoy!

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Doctor Who – Eleventh Doctor: Issue 3

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This installment takes place in three time periods and deals with musical genius. While Alice is looking through her deceased mother’s record collection in 2014, she comments on two of her mom’s favorite artists: Robert Johnson and John Jones (who is a fictional representation of David Bowie, whose original name is David Jones). The Doctor then takes Alice back to 1962 to attend the first John Jones concert and then to 1931 to see Robert Johnson.

When Alice sees Jones perform, she is very disappointed that he has not yet embraced the glam-pop persona and is kind of dull on stage, or as she harshly states: “John Jones, it turns out, has no talent whatsoever!!” The Doctor then provides an astute observation regarding talent.

Now, now. If I’ve learnt one thing over 900 years, Alice, it’s that everyone has talent. Even if it’s sometimes… extremely well hidden.

As I thought about this, I had to accept the truth in the statement. All people have unique talents and sometimes it takes time for individuals to discover those talents and nurture them. And sadly, some talents are left undiscovered. I cannot help but wonder how many people, caught up in the craziness of daily life, neglect to search for and hone their particular abilities. I feel fortunate that I discovered my personal talents: playing music, reading, writing, running. These things have brought happiness to my life. I think that connecting with your unique talents provides a spiritual fulfillment that cannot be attained otherwise. I encourage everyone to find that special thing that you are passionate about and dedicate the time and effort to grow it.

The issue leaves off on a bit of a cliffhanger. Just like Robert Johnson, the Doctor was willing to “sell his soul” for something that he wanted more than anything. But after being freed from the spell, he cannot remember what it was that he desired so much that he was willing to sacrifice everything for it.

To be continued…

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Doctor Who – Eleventh Doctor: Issue 2 (On Shifts in Government and Environmental Policy)

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As I was reading this issue, I couldn’t help thinking about the results of the recent election. Political power can change quickly and the results can sometimes be drastic. Already, it looks like there will be changes in environmental policy that will have far-reaching effects. There is a section in this issue where the Doctor is contemplating the environmental destruction of a planet that was the result of a shift in government.

There was a shift in government, and the new rulers of the system decided that maintaining Rokhandi was an unnecessary expense. And let’s face it, they were right. I mean, what does a hummingbird provide, eh? What do candy lizards manufacture? What profit is there in a canyon that sings? So they sold it all. The friends of the rulers got first pick, of course. Lovely big bonuses all around. There were a few petitions, but there always are, aren’t there?

This is sad, but ever so true. I hate to sound cynical, but every time I see a petition going around Facebook I can’t help but think that it means nothing, and if anything, it is detrimental. Without trying to sound like a conspiracy nut, what do you think happens to your personal information when you sign a petition? It goes into a database somewhere and you are tagged.

I like to balance my cynicism with some optimism. Governments can quickly shift in the other direction, too. I have seen it happen in my lifetime. The pendulum swings both ways. I just hope that it never swings too far that it gets stuck.

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Doctor Who: Issue 1

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I bought this comic for my daughter, but really, I was also interested in reading it myself. It is touted as the “new adventures with the eleventh Doctor.” I have been a long-time Doctor Who fan. My mom was British and she introduced me to Doctor Who when Tom Baker steered the TARDIS. It makes me happy to see that it is still popular after all these years.

This issue is a little silly, with the Doctor chasing around a giant rainbow dog, but it is silly in an endearing way. Artistically, it is similar to the Wizard of Oz. The beginning is black and white, where Alice (who ends up being the Doctor’s new travel companion) has buried her mother and is depressed. Once the Doctor and the rainbow dog appear, then the panels burst into vibrant color. It marked a transition from the gray dullness of everyday life to the rich visual beauty which is inter-dimensional fantasy.

I really liked Alice’s character. She is smart, educated, brave, and emotional. Alice is a library assistant and as the Doctor points out after they enter the TARDIS, being surrounded by books has had a positive impact on her.

Alice: We’re in a different dimension here, aren’t we?

Doctor: Yes! Clever! I knew you were clever, I can usually tell. What do you do again?

Alice: I told you. I was a library assistant.

Doctor: Books! That’ll be it. Clever and books, usually goes together.

I completely agree with the Doctor here. Reading is so important to individual growth and development. And it’s enjoyable. I couldn’t imagine a life without books. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you feel the same way.

Keep calm and read on.

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Doctor Who Special 2013

DoctorWhoSpecial2013So if you are a geek like me, then you were probably swept up in the excitement surrounding the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. I watched the live broadcast with my 12-year-old daughter and it was great. So when I saw that the Doctor Who comic series was coming to an end and closing with a feature-length special edition, well, I had to reserve a copy.

To sum up the story, the Doctor crosses into a parallel universe, which ends up being ours. Of course, in our universe, Doctor Who is a television show and he is a character played by an actor. The stage is set for some great comic interaction, where the Doctor attends a Doctor Who convention complete with nerds engaged in cosplay and winds up meeting Matt Smith, the actor who portrays himself. It is all very clever and well-executed.

I have to say, though, that what really got to me in this issue was the 12-year-old girl who the Doctor meets in this universe. The girl, whose name is Ally, is a huge Doctor Who fan and is overwhelmed by the fact that she is meeting her hero. Ally is a nerdy girl who loves science and wants to be an astronaut. I’m sure you’ve figured it out. I have a 12-year-old daughter who loves science and watches Doctor Who with me. In fact, both Ally and my daughter own toy sonic screwdrivers. I can feel myself choking up as I write.

My mom was British, so as a kid, I was exposed to Doctor Who through her. Back then, it was Tom Baker with the trademark scarf. I feel a sense of continuity watching the new episodes with my child. I felt the same way reading books to my kids when they were young, books which my parents read to me. There is something really bonding about sharing stories with your kids. For certain, I’ll be sharing this graphic novel with someone close to me. Cheers, and happy reading!

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Gender Issues in “The Murder at the Vicarage” by Agatha Christie

MurderAtVicarageI recently watched a Doctor Who episode where the Doctor was working with Agatha Christie to solve a mystery. I realized while watching that I had never actually read an Agatha Christie book. I decided it was time I did so.

The Murder at the Vicarage is the first of Christie’s books to feature Miss Marple, an elderly woman with a sharp memory and a keen eye for details. The basic plot is that someone is found shot within the vicarage of a small English town. Everyone suspects someone, but the lack of solid evidence makes it a puzzle as to “who done it.” That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, because I don’t want to give away the ending. I will say that the person I thought was the murderer was not.

What I do want to talk about are the gender issues I found in the book. While the majority of the women in the book are depicted as nosy spinsters, it is Miss Marple, who is grouped in with the stereotyped women, who actually solves the case. So there is an interesting contrast between the gossipy women and the reserved and focused Marple.

I found that the two views of women are embodied in two of the male characters in the book. The vicar represents the idea of gender equality, while Inspector Slack represents the view that women are inferior to men.

Early in the book, the vicar states:

“But surely,” I said, “in these days a girl can take a post in just the same way as a man does.” (p. 15)

The vicar clearly advocates for gender equality. He makes this statement very matter-of-fact. He has no issues with women entering the workforce, choosing the type of work they want to pursue, and believes they should be provided with the same opportunities as men.

As a contrast, Inspector Slack does not seem to hold a high opinion of women. In fact, he comes right out and states that men and women are different, thereby implying that the words and actions of a man are of greater value than those of a woman:

“That’s different. She’s a woman and women act in that silly way.” (p. 69)

The more I think about this book, the more impressed I am. Not only is it a great plot-driven mystery that keeps you guessing until the end, it also touches on important issues of gender bias. Finally, there are a lot of astute observations on human behavior and society included in the book. I’ll close with one that really hit home with me.

“I’m afraid that observing human nature for as long as I have done, one gets not to expect very much from it.” (p. 18)

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