After Thursday’s “Doctor Who Comics Panel,” Juan Pineda and I stole a few moments of Simon Fraser’s (artist, Titan’s Eleventh Doctor series) time to discuss an upcoming issue of the series they teased during the panel: a story written backwards, so that with every page you turn, you’re jumping backwards in time. Juan and I are both huge fans of the season three episode “Blink” where time was described as “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey” for the first time (even though it’s been at the core of many Doctor Who episodes over the years), so of course we were intrigued.
Juan: Specific to your issue of Doctor Who: when you normally write a story, the story-telling progresses linearly from front to back. So what were the challenges with doing this backward-time story?
Simon: Well the laws of causality are reversed so things affect things backwards. And you plan a location, and you organize it for a certain thing to hap[pen]–well, you organize it and then you realize when you’ve got like four pages in that it doesn’t work. Like “Wait, I should have planned this out better!” Because you didn’t think ahead, it’s very hard to put everything in reverse in your head. It’s just little organizational things. A lot of comics are about getting things done in a certain space and constructing a space so that things can happen logically, and it’s a real pain in the ass when you’ve got a doorway that the main character won’t fit through. That’s dumb. So I’ve got to try and work that a little bit, retroactively go back and look at the artwork that’s been done and try and make the doorways bigger.
Juan: So the long distance phone calls with Rob sounded like “Why did you do that?”
Simon: It’s all email, man, it’s all email. Most of these problems are my own. I mean, most people wouldn’t notice, that’s the thing. Hopefully no one will notice.
Julie: How did you come up with the idea for going in reverse?
Simon: I think it was always on the cards that we’d do a wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey story, and it fell on Rob [Williams]—who’s the least wibbly-wobbly writer. He’s a very rational, very solid, very concrete writer, so he was given the job of the backward time one, which he hated. I mean, it’s really good, but he did [hate it]because had to write it forwards and he had to reverse the whole thing. It’s a nuisance, it’s really hard work.
Eleventh Doctor fans, get ready! The wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey story (otherwise known as issue #6) by Rob Williams and Simon Fraser hits the stands in December or January and it sounds fantastic. Geronimo!
[Author’s note: Simon Fraser contacted me after this piece went live to tell me that Rob Williams actually came up with the idea of the backwards story and pitched it himself, something that wasn’t clear to him at the time of our interview. Rob is apparently a glutton for punishment, and I’m now even more intrigued by the storyline.]
Simon gave us some exciting news for his UK fans as well. As many of you know, prior to his work on Doctor Who comics, Simon collaborated with Rob Morrison (who is currently writing Titan’s Twelfth Doctor series) on a series about 27th Century swashbuckling thief Nikolai Dante. The series originally appeared in British sci-fi anthology 2000 AD, but is being released in trade paperback from Simon & Shuster. Nikolai Dante: Love and War (which Simon is justifiably proud of—he told us it was his “masterwork”) just dropped on Amazon UK on the 9th. Fans worldwide can get the DRM free editions via 2000 AD online. Nikolai Dante is new to me but I’ll definitely be checking the series out.