August 23, 2012

Hey, Look! My First Neo-Syndicated Piece!

(Yes, I'm presenting a piece originally written for Comic Related - in fact, it's still up there right now! Enjoy!)

There’s something immediately appealing about seeing an artist’s work “back in the day”, learning their craft before they “make it”...and there’s something inherently satisfying about seeing that work knowing “you were there”.

IDW’s Doctor Who - Dave Gibbons Treasury Edition # 1 is such a book - it’s some of Gibbons’ earliest work for Doctor Who Weekly (started in 1980), contains material reprinted by Marvel, and is a great book for Who fans....but more importantly, it’s a really stong testament to Gibbons’ skills as an artist.

The Treasury Edition contains two stories - Doctor Who and the Iron Legion (a parallel-world story involving imperial Rome) and City of the Damned (a tale about a repressive society....which is one of the staples of Doctor Who). Both stories - written by Pat Mills and John Wagner - are good expansions of (then) current Who, providing a certain amount of detail and depth that the old show just couldn’t afford to do. (And which, at times, the new show has some trouble with - you can easily see shades of “Gridlock” and “Rise of the Cybermen” in both of these futuristic cityscapes...and it’s no surprise that another book both men worked on involved a lone crusader in a futuristic cityscape).

But what makes this edition stand out is the coloring work by Charlie Kirchoff. Originally published in black and white, Iron Legion has always slightly suffered from previous coloring efforts, but Kirchoff’s work gives Gibbons’ art a certain texture and weight. Gibbons’ also demonstrates many of the strengths that he would bring to later projects, and there’s a nice attention to subtle detail that could easily have been lost. Kirchoff’s coloring strongly compliments Gibbons’ art, and for this alone, this book is worth owning.

Chances are, if you’re a Who fan, you already own a reprint - or several - of Iron Legion. But to see it presented in a manner that gives the story a greater visual texture is a real treat, and well worth the money. Plus, City of the Damned is a less-frequently reprinted story, and for both of those stories, Doctor Who - Dave Gibbons Treasury Edition # 1 is a must-purchase.

And given his lengthy tenure at Doctor Who Weekly, there’s plenty of great Gibbons Who art - including some great stories with the Fifth Doctor - to warrant a Treasury Edition # 2. And so on and so forth.

Very highly recommended.

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