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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dalek Zeg!

This year's fun and fast paced Doctor Who Christmas special gave us a glimpse of the 2007 season, where we saw that Dalek Sec is to return. This is the renegade black Dalek first seen in the finalé of the 2006 season, Doomsday.

Back in the old days, Daleks never had names... or did they? Not in the tv series perhaps, but in the comics it was a different matter. In 1965 The Daleks was featured as the regular back page strip in the new weekly TV Century 21 and although it was uncredited at the time (except for a nod to Dalek creator Terry Nation) the strip was apparently mostly written by Dr.Who tv scribe David Whittaker and superbly drawn by Richard Jennings (and later by Ron Turner).

One of the early serials in the comic strip featured a renegade red Dalek who went by the name of... Zeg! Accidentally saturated by a chemical called Metalert, Zeg became invincible and, even by Dalek standards, turned into an egotistical control freak, demanding that the other Daleks announce him as their new Emperor. Naturally it all ends in tears, or whatever the Dalek equivalent is, and the upstart is eventually defeated.

As the new series of Doctor Who has already seen it borrow ideas from the Dalek strips (flying Daleks, and the design of their saucers) I'm wondering if Dalek Sec wasn't influenced by the similar sounding Dalek Zeg?

The example above, drawn by Richard Jennings, is from TV Century 21 No.13, dated April 17th 2065. (The comic was always dated 100 years in advance for a bit of fun.) That Dalek vs Dalek confrontation is one of my favourite sequences from a sixties comic. I don't know who holds the rights to those Dalek strips now, (not Panini apparently, even though they publish Doctor Who Magazine) but if ever there was an appropriate time to reprint them all again it's now. With shops full of Dalek toys, the Doctor Who Annual being the top selling annual this Christmas, and the tv series and its spin-offs hardly out of the news, a collection of Dalek strips or a new Dalek Annual seemed inevitable, yet it didn't happen. Anyone know why?


Doctor TOC said...

I'd pay good money for an archive edition reprint of the classic Dalek Annuals and the old Dalek Chronicles comic strip. As I recall, Doctor Who Monthly did produce a rather flimsy collection of the Dalek Chronicles, but its fragility means that it's almost impossible to find these days.

I think the reasons the reprint didn't happen were tied into the care with which the Doctor Who brand is being managed these days. With a lot of very new, very young fans around, it's possible the powers that be thought that the adventures of Zeg and co might confuse the kiddies overmuch. Such a shame though, to deny a new generation the thrills of those classic Richard Jennings and Ron Turner strips!

SID said...

Must admit I would leap at a chance for a reprint book containing the Dalek strips.

Lew Stringer said...

I think Panini would jump at the chance of doing it but there are holdups with the licencing rights, and the cost of using so many Dalek images in one book. I really hope it can happen one day. The Dalek Annuals deserve reprinting too. I think the same problem is why we haven't seen a consecutive reprinting of all the Dr.Who strips from Countdown/TV Action, because some episodes feature Daleks.

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