Monday 31 May 2010

"Hey nonny, where's my iPod?"

Fanzine edited by Gareth Kavanagh and Colin Brockhurst, 2009

It took three attempts (the post is rubbish around here), but I finally got my copy of Vworp Vworp!. An honest-to-god printed fanzine – with nifty transfers, no less – Vworp Vworp! makes me feel all warm and fluffy about Doctor Who, which, after the ennui-inducing Cold Blood, is quite impressive. It’s a love letter to Doctor Who Magazine, which particularly pleases me as DWM has always been close to my heart, but which is so ubiquitous that it’s easy to overlook.

It’s heartening to hear that I wasn’t the only one to get knuckle-whiteningly excited waiting for the latest issue to drop through the letterbox (I used to wake up early and sit by the front door), or feel excruciatingly hard done by if it was late. DWM is still one of my favourite parts of, what – not the series, but Doctor Who as something that encapsulates numerous media. It probably wasn’t until I discovered the magazine that I really got into Doctor Who, as it formed my introduction to 30-odd years of history. It being the nineties – a time I hold as being a particularly if unexpectedly worthwhile period to get into the series, when it was in the domain of the fans, and the series entirety was being explored and analysed to a uniquely far-reaching extent, in lieu of fixating on a new series.

I still have all those back-issues, and every so often I’ll heft them out of the wardrobe and, unlike most things from childhood, they never disappoint. Obviously nostalgia plays its part, but I’m a fairly critical, analytic kind of person, and I still think, on balance, those nineties issues’ design is gorgeous, the strip’s never less than involving, and frequently better than that, and the articles – the sort of in-depth discussion there isn’t really any space for when the series is on-air – are still funny, perceptive, clever, and always self-aware. That’s what I love most about DWM; its obvious, unfailing love and interest in the show, but which doesn’t mitigate its ability to take the piss spectacularly, both of the show and of fandom itself.

A lot of Vworp Vworp! focuses on the comics, which I’m a massive fan of – the nine-year Eighth Doctor cycle is rightly fondly remembered, and was a large part of my enjoyment of the magazine, even if it’s not quite as dementedly wide-ranging and wonderfully unrestrained as the best of the Fourth to Sixth Doctor’s runs. There’s also a feature on the making of The Cybermen strip, which is especially welcome as that strip is probably one of my favourite things in Doctor Who. Even in the small images printed in the article, it still looks incredible - stylistically incomparable, and not only within Doctor Who. I’ve never failed to be massively impressed by Adrian Salmon’s art, and it was particularly effective there, meshing perfectly with the arc’s epic, faux-mythological tone. (Trade paperback? Anyone?)

Also, unexpectedly enjoyable are some short interviews with the artists of the various DWM funnies over the years, something I’ve never given much thought to. Also, hands up who knew the artist on the current, wonderfully daft Doctor Whoah! panel on the letters page is the singer from Reuben? (You can see a couple on Jamie Lenman’s page, here.)

Vworp Vworp! is obviously a labour of love, but that isn’t enough to make something a success - so I'm really pleased that that effort has completely paid off. It looks great (the fake seventies Doctor Who Weekly-style design), and it’s genuinely unique in looking into both DWM and specifically the comic with anything like this amount of depth and genuine interest.

Really, really impressive. Can’t wait for more.

It’s for sale here.

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