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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > The Essential Doctor Who 12: Time Travel > Time STRIPS


Highlights of the Doctor Who comic-strip stories that have explored time travel…
The TARDIS as seen in The Eternal Present in Countdown issue 40 (1971). Script by Dennis Hooper, art by Harry Lindfield.
The opening page to the second part of Timebenders from Countdown issue 7 (1971), featuring Jon Pertwee’s Doctor. Script by Dennis Hooper, art by Harry Lindfield.
The Doctor drives a time-travelling bulldozer inThe Kingdom Builders, a story written by Alan Fennell and illustrated by John Canning which ran in TV Comic issues 992 (1970) to 999 (1971).

The very first Doctor Who comic strip, in TV Comic issue 674 (November 1964), features the Doctor explaining the TARDIS to his grandchildren John and Gillian. “It is – er – a time machine,” he says. “See – I can choose any year in the past or the future.”

This line set out the limitless potential for the series at the outset, but the weekly TV Comic stories were largely confined to numerous visits to alien worlds, with the occasional foray into Earth history. Although there was an element of time travel, this was limited to the TARDIS journeying from one adventure to the next.

It was only when the Time Lords impeded the Earth-exiled Doctor’s ability to use the TARDIS that time travel began to regularly appear as a plot element in the comic-strip stories. With his time machine out of action for a while, the comic’s creators had to resort to other means of getting the Doctor away from the present day.

One example was The Kingdom Builders, illustrated by John Canning (TV Comic issues 992-99, December 1970-January 1971), in which the Third Doctor meets wealthy industrialist John Henderson, who has invented a time-travelling bulldozer. As Henderson explains, “That machine will not only move earth – it will move time!” The Doctor agrees to take the improbable creation on a test run, arriving on Earth in 2971, when society has devolved into feudalism. Returning to the present, the Doctor advises Henderson to keep the bulldozer safe, saying, “You never know when I may need it again.” For better or worse, this was the Doctor’s one and only bulldozer-based adventure.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

The Doctor has always challenged the linear conception of time. Since his television voyage began in 1963, the TARDIS has travelled backwards, forwards and even sideways through the mysterious Vortex. This lavish publication traces the development of these time-bending narratives, describing the rules that were laid down – and subsequently revised – by the series’ writers and producers. We unravel this timey-wimey journey with exclusive interviews, rare images and revealing features that explore the most intriguing corners of the Doctor Who universe.