a real world point of view
"Special issues" of Doctor Who Magazine were those published by Marvel UK which did not have a number. Instead, they were identified by a season of the year or a special event. For this reason, they are someimes called seasonal issues or holiday specials. It is clear, however, that they were a part of the regular run of DWM, rather than a standalone publication. In addition to evidence gleaned from the indicias, the issues were at least originally incentives used to grow the subscriber base of DWM. Although available for separate purchase on newsstands, the original intent of the specials was that they were free with home delivery of DWM.
Naming conventions Edit
Until the Tenth Anniversary Special, the official, indicia name of these issues were usually in the format:
- Doctor Who <season/occasion> Special <year>. Thus: Doctor Who Summer Special 1985.
However, after the 10th Anniversary, the word "Magazine", which had always been on the cover, suddenly began appearing in the indicia. At the same time, the year tended to go missing from the indicia.
- Doctor Who Magazine <season/occasion> Special, Hence: Doctor Who Magazine Summer Special was the official name of the 1991-1995 Summer Specials.
This variation over time made it difficult for fans and scholars to have a uniform approach when speaking of or citing the issues.
Overview of the Specials Edit
The very earliest specials consisted mostly of reprinted comic material from the regular magazine. Most issues, however, offered all-new material. At least one comic strip was started in a numbered issue of DWM only to be concluded in a seasonal issue. Indeed, some of the new comic material is particularly noteworthy. A number of televised companions got their comic debuts in the pages of a DWM seasonal.
Over time, their format changed somewhat. Though the majority of these issues do look like ordinary issues of DWM, some later specials tended towards particular themes, with exhaustive research done, largely by Andrew Pixley of both production history and fictional "facts".
Anniversary Specials to celebrate anniversaries of Doctor Who or Doctor Who Magazine have sometimes appeared.