By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Two grand comic book licenses are making a transition from one publishing company to another. On one side of the spectrum, most fans are lukewarm at the news of Star Wars moving from Dark Horse to Marvel Comics. On another front, most readers may well wonder about Doctor Who’s transition from IDW to Titan Comics.
In the business perspective, the publishers are cordially appreciative of the time they had to grow the licensed property into new territory. But as for what will happen next, with a different publisher, what will become of both relicensed products is anybody’s guess. Perhaps readers should consider the following:
In a galaxy far, far, away, in a saga that Marvel Comics ran from ’77 to ’86, long-time fans will recall that the comic book had a few bright moments, namely issue #52, “To Take the Tarkin.” If Marvel Comics can recreate some of that magic, then the transition is in capable hands. Sadly, with the fact that thirty years have passed and that tastes have changed, not everyone is enthused. There are three generations of fans to satisfy. Dark Horse Comics had a great start with Dark Empire (1991). Tales of the Jedi was even better when it segued to look at the history of the original Sith Lords. For later titles, fans had to invest a fair bit of money in order to keep up with all the multiple titles.
At least for Doctor Who, the transition looks like it will be in capable hands. Titan, the parent company, claims that it has proven itself with over three decades of internationally known popular culture icons, namely James Bond and Sherlock Holmes. With other series like Tank Girl and Lenore, well-known within particular reading circles, just what will happen to the Time Lord may well be an exercise for figuring out who the target audience will be. The company already seems to want to pigeonhole themselves by announcing that they want to focus on the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctor.
Not every new fan of the series will be aware of the Eighth incarnation, played by Paul McGann. He received two canonical appearances to date, and not everyone will be following the audio releases by Big Finish to appreciate the hard work McGann is putting forth to be the Doctor. Sadly, IDW did not spend a lot of time with him either, and this particular incarnation is deserving of a finer treatment, especially in the comic book front.
Only time will tell if readers are accepting of the change. The publishers who are taking over better live up to the expectations comic book readers hope to see. For the fans who loves these comics, coming in half-assed without acknowledging how it was left off just will not work. Only Yoda and Paul Stanley’s advice applies here: Do or do not, there is no try to give the best when readers are uncertain if these new companies even have the best to put out a great product.