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In the early days of Doctor Who Magazine, short backup comic stories appeared in addition to the issue's main story. These strips typically did not include the Doctor other than as a "presenter", and tended to focus on other characters within the wider Doctor Who universe. Most backup comic stories were published prior to 1982, and so were printed in issues that otherwise featured the Fourth Doctor.
The term "DWM backup comic story" does not actually designate a formalised series. There was never a masthead featuring the term, and there was no particular consensus as to which strips could be considered "backups".
On this wiki, the term means any strip appearing in any issue of DWM or its predecessors which:
- is set in the DWU
- doesn't feature the Doctor, or at least doesn't use him as the main protagonist
- isn't clearly a part of the main strip's narrative
- has no other series name
- is original to the pages of DWM
Therefore, strips under the Tales from the TARDIS or The Cybermen banners, or Dalek Chronicles reprints are not covered by this article. Also not considered here are the occasional stories which are integral to the main strip's narrative, like Darkness, Falling, Me and My Shadow and Unnatural Born Killers.
Early history Edit
Because the format of Doctor Who Weekly originally included a greater concentration of comic strips, the magazine's comic staff was initially comprised of two creative teams. One group — Dave Gibbons, Pat Mills and John Wagner — was assigned to the "main" strip. This was the strip that was often featured on early covers and involved the Fourth Doctor.
It then fell to another team — initially Alan Moore, Steve Moore and David Lloyd — to make strips that didn't involve the Doctor. These tended to feature well-known villains, such as the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Sontarans and others. During this period, the Doctor often served as "host" of the stories, appearing in the opening and closing frames as a kind of narrator. Though many of the individual characters slipped into obscurity, the series did produce at least a couple of stand-outs. Both Abslom Daak and Kroton originated in the backups, but went on to be used in the main strip.
Appearing regularly through issue 59, the strip was initially absent in DWM #60, and was effectively cancelled after The Fires Down Below in DWM #64. Secondary stories that appeared thereafter were not original, but rather reprints from TV Century 21 or, more rarely, TV Comic.
Latter day "backups" Edit
Disregarding "special issues" of DWM, non-Doctor stories were incredibly rare after 1982. In fact, the next time a non-Doctor story appeared in a regular issue of DWM was in issue 183's Conflict of Interests —with the next occasion over a hundred issues after that.
These latter-day stories generally didn't fit the mould of a "backup story", however, in that they were the only comic story in the issue. Thus, they weren't so much "backups" as the main story of the issue. Nevertheless, because there are so few of this kind of story, this wiki has simply elected to consider them the thematic heirs of the early 1980s stories.