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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 them 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 banner 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, or the various long-running series of three-panel comic strips such as Doctor Who? and The Daft Dimension.

Early history[]

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"[]

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.


DWM Title Featuring Collected In
1-4 The Return of the Daleks Daleks
5-7 The Soul of a Cyberman Cybermen, Kroton The Glorious Dead
8 The Final Quest Sontarans
9-11 The Stolen TARDIS Gallifreyans
12 K-9's Finest Hour K9
13-14 Warlord of the Ogrons Ogrons
15-16 Deathworld Ice Warriors, Cybermen
17-20 Abslom Daak... Dalek Killer Abslom Daak, Daleks Nemesis of the Daleks
21-22 Twilight of the Silurians Silurians
23-24 Ship of Fools Kroton The Glorious Dead
25-26 The Outsider Sontarans
27-30, 44-46 Star Tigers Abslom Daak, Star Tigers, Daleks Nemesis of the Daleks
31-34 Yonder... The Yeti Robot Yeti
35-38 Black Legacy Cybermen
40-43 Business as Usual Autons
47 Star Death Rassilon, Time Lords
48 The Touchdown on Deneb-7 K9
49 Voyage to the Edge of the Universe Azal
50 Crisis on Kaldor Kaldor androids
51 4-D War Time Lords
56 The Greatest Gamble The Celestial Toymaker
57 Black Sun Rising Time Lords
58, Winter 1981 Skywatch-7 Zygon
59 The Gods Walk Among Us Sontaran
61 Devil of the Deep Sea Devil
64 The Fires Down Below UNIT, Dominators, Quarks

Other comics[]

These are comics that do not feature the Doctor and were not published as backup comics in DWM regular issues.

DWM Special Editions[]

DWM Title Featuring Collected In
Winter 1981 Minatorius Time Lords
Summer 1982 The Fabulous Idiot Ivan Asimoff
Summer 1982 A Ship Called Sudden Death Freefall Warriors
Holiday 1992 City of Devils Sarah Jane, K9, Silurians

DWM Main Comics[]

DWM Title Featuring Collected In
183 Conflict of Interests Sontaran Evening's Empire
311 Character Assassin The Master Oblivion
475-476 The Crystal Throne Paternoster Gang The Eye of Torment