Change is a constant in the universe of Doctor Who. Every few years, the main character regenerates into a different person. For example, Matt Smith recently handed over the role to Peter Capaldi, a decidedly different actor, so we can expect The Doctor to move in another direction as a person as well.

Another big change that recently took place was when the comics license for Who left IDW Publishing, a company that had a pretty successful run with that franchise, among others like Star Trek.

Recently, it was announced that Titan Comics would now publish new comics adventures of The Doctor.

JUST WHO IS TITANS COMICS?

The following is from a news release: “In the universe of Doctor Who, regenerations bring not only a new Doctor, but often a fresh look and feel to the series … and BBC Worldwide is bringing that same approach to Doctor Who comics as it signs a new deal with Titan Comics. The deal will open up the world of Doctor Who and provide fans with new stand-alone adventures featuring the Tenth Doctor, Eleventh Doctor and, after the new series launch, the Twelfth Doctor. Creative and production teams will be announced in the coming weeks, and the first comic books will be released in 2014.”

Just who is Titan Comics?

Doctor Who, Billie Piper, Titan, IDW Publishing, Matt Smith, Steven Moffat, Peter Capaldi, Star Trek, The Doctor“Titan Comics is the comics and graphic novel division of global publishing giant Titan, a pioneer that has proven itself over three decades with internationally recognized brands such as James Bond and Sherlock Holmes, as well as creator-owned successes like Tank Girl, Lenor and Death Sentence. Titan’s magazine division is the largest publisher of licensed entertainment properties in the U.S.”

Titan is a British-based publisher anxious to gain a bigger share in the States, a significantly larger market than the UK.

While Who is a big franchise, the question will be, will the popular series be enough to give Titan the success here that they want?

In my personal opinion, no.

WHAT CHALLENGES DOES TITAN COMICS FACE?

Now, if Titan had received the license back at the beginning of the Matt Smith era, I think they would have done very well indeed!

However, I’m just not at all certain that Capaldi will hold up to the past two incarnations, Smith and David Tennant. I’ve seen quite a number of American fans say they’re done with the new Who. Smith really took hold with younger viewers and readers. Even though Capaldi is more in line with what showrunner Steven Moffat originally wanted, it’s not at all clear that Americans who just glommed onto the program in the past few years will “get” the change and want to continue.

And that line of reasoning could be completely wrong, of course. When every new Doctor comes along, fans get the same reaction: “Oh no, not HIM!” Then when new episodes begin to air, they change their minds and, by the time he’s announced he’s leaving two to three years later, many of those same fans just can’t believe he’s going and start sobbing!

There are also a number of fans who won’t touch a comic adaptation of a television series. “I get to see it on the TV for free, so why would I spend money on a comic?” is what I often hear.

Also, while sales have been slowly increasing for comics in the U.S., I’m not at all sure there’s room for another company at this time. It’s hard enough for the publishers we have going to thrive!

But an even bigger problem may be that Titan could struggle to convince the owners of local comics shops to order their product.

That doesn’t mean the books will be bad. It’s just that, for instance, reorders could be difficult to come by. Hopefully American comics distributors will order big on the first few issues so fans can access them via their nearby stores. Fans will need to make sure they get their requests in for the title in asap once the issues are announced! Otherwise, it could be a long drive to another town to pick up a book! No idea yet if these titles will be available digitally or not!

TITAN NEEDS TO MOVE THROUGH TIME AND SPACE TO MAKE WHO A SUCCESS

Titan has a serious uphill climb ahead of it, even with the popularity of Who at an all-time high. Can they do it? Sure, they can! But it’s going to take some powerful marketing and fascinating strategies for the company to carve out their part of the American comics market.

My biggest suggestion is that more Who actors like Billie Piper, already scheduled to come here, visit the States, then Titan can purchase a booth at the conventions they attend, drawing attention to their product.

Stay tuned, and we’ll see how this develops!

The Author

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. Each episode also includes reviews, news and previews. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

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5 Comments

  1. February 4, 2014 at 10:38 am — Reply

    “I’ve seen quite a number of American fans say they’re done with the new Who.”

    To be perfectly honest, I see enough of that talk every time there is a new Doctor as far back as I can remember. As a kid it was the guys at the comic shops when my brother would take me in to pick up our comics, now as an adult it includes people online. While I have seen some stop watching, many of them continue to watch long past the time they say they are done.

    • February 4, 2014 at 11:45 am — Reply

      Agreed. The thing people forget about fandoms is that they are a population, not a group. Populations are constantly in flux, and people saying that they’re forever done with Doctor Who and it’s ruined forever date back to the introduction of the Daleks into what was supposed to be a historical show.

      People are always getting done with Doctor Who, as with any long-running property, as people drift in and out of consumption of any kind of pop culture. It’s the circle of nerds…

  2. February 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm — Reply

    Lookit! Lookit! The sonic he has looks like the one River Song has when she first meets the Doctor. *squeal*

  3. Frank
    February 6, 2014 at 3:29 pm — Reply

    When my wife first saw Tennant, she did not care for him. Then, a strange thing happened. When Matt Smith came along, she did not want to like Smith because liked David Tennant too much. Now, she is excited about the new doctor even though she loves Matt Smith.

    As long as the acting and writing are good, we’ll watch.

    • February 7, 2014 at 12:33 am — Reply

      I’ll admit my first exposure to Tennant as The Doctor (combined from his minor appearance at the end of the first season and the Christmas episode) left me severely unimpressed, although I was pretty amused by the comment about saving the world in pajamas was “very Arthur Dent” since Douglas Adams wrote a few old series episodes (and there is a whole thingie where Hitchhiker’s Guide may be part of the Who Multiverse, but that isn’t the point right now). But all of that changed after a few episodes in, and by the time he left he was definitely my favorite Doctor of the new series as well as being one of my top 5 overall.

      On the other hand, my eldest brother DID quit watching during Tennant’s run, but I don’t think it had anything to do with Tennant specifically. Of course, he’s a bit snobby and thinks anyone who hasn’t seen the old series isn’t a real fan, so he’s probably just being a crotchety old coot.

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