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Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Dr.What and his Time Clock (1964)

First episode. 30th May 1964
Considered to be the first spoof of Doctor Who in comics, Dr.What and his Time Clock appeared in Odhams' Boys' World Vol.2 No.22 (30th May 1964) to Vol.2 No.40 (3rd October 1964).

The artwork was by Artie Jackson, who would also contribute to Odhams' Wham! and Smash!, specifically on Danger Mouse for the latter comic. (No relation to the TV character that came much later.)
6th June 1964
13th June 1964
20th June 1964
The character of Dr.What was clearly modelled on William Hartnell's Doctor Who, although his method of time travel was completely different. Dr.What had invented a "Time Clock" that propelled him into the past or the future, in several serial adventures in different time periods.
8th August 1964
There's a rumour that pressure from the BBC forced Odhams to drop the strip, but I'm not convinced by that. The strip ended along with some other strips in the very last issue of Boys' World; a common fate for less popular strips when two comics merged. (Boys' World merged into Eagle the following week.) 
Final episode. 3rd October 1964
Some episodes of Dr.What and his Time Clock were reprinted in an IPC holiday special years later. (I think it may have been in the first Whizzer and Chips Holiday Special but I'm not sure. I sold my copy long ago.)

Anyway, with the first Doctor revised for the recent Doctor Who Christmas Day episode I thought it was an appropriate time to show this strip. I hope you enjoyed these examples!


Cakesniffe said...

Hi Mr Stringer & New Years' Greetings.
Quick enquiry, bit of a long shot. I'm trying to track down a Beano strip, or more precisely a single frame, which I think was from the story The Three Bears. It featured a character who was described as the Unluckiest Man in the World. A sad looking gentleman who I vaguely remember had a raincloud over his head belching out lightning bolts, and whose presence also seemed to provoke landslides. I don't know what year it was from. I've been trying to track down this picture because ever since I saw it I always identified very strongly with this character. Wonder if it might jog your memory, but I doubt it.

Best wishes
A. Cakesniffe

Lew Stringer said...

The 'cloud of gloom' has been used in comics since the 1950s so it's hard to pin down one panel. I think it may have been Leo Baxendale who came up with it, or at least used it most distinctively, so it could be a 1950s Three Bears strip you're thinking about.

In more recent times, since the 1980s, it's been used frequently in The Beano's 'Calamity James' strip. The character was often called 'The Unluckiest Boy in the World' so could it have been that?

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