Doctor Who And Comic Books

Fan drawing by user Gaugex from Deviant Art. 

Over the years Doctor Who has been compared to many things. Some say its like a fairy tale, others see it as being more like Sherlock Holmes but personally I’d say that first and foremost, Doctor Who is a comic book.

It has all of the same tropes and features of a comic book, and over the years comic books as a whole have been among the biggest and most consistent influences on Doctor Who.

In this article, I am going to run through all of the ways in which Doctor Who is like a comic book, the massive overlap between Doctor Who and comic book fans, the ways they have inspired one another, and why they appeal to people in similar ways.

Similarities Between Doctor Who And Comic Books

Image result for Doctor Who dc comics

Fan drawing. Sadly I don’t know who it was that drew this originally, but whoever it was well done. It’s brilliant!

Now when I say comic books, I primarily mean American comic books, specifically DC and Marvel, though I will also be looking at some British comic books too such as Dan Dare.

Overall the comic book style for want of a better term that Doctor Who follows was really popularised by American comic books.

Comic books are not a genre. They are a medium, but I do think at the same time there are some tropes that are more common at least to comic book stories.

Comic books are a visual medium and unlike film, television or theatre there are really no limits to their visuals except for the artists imagination. As a result everything in them tends to be a bit more exaggerated, simply because it can. As a form of art, comic book illustrations almost lean towards caricature.

Male heroes like Batman and Superman for instance will often have the most square jaws, big bulging muscles, and ripped physiques, whilst the female characters will similarly all be striking, statuesque beauties.

Its not just the drawings that are over the top however. The stories are accordingly more extreme than in other mediums as again there are no limits.

Characters origin stories tend to be more melodramatic in comic books. Heroes can start from watching their parents die, to having their entire home planet being destroyed, to being the reason their uncle died tragically, to being a hero sculpted by the Gods themselves.

Similarly the hero is often a superhero. Wonder Woman can’t just be someone who is brave and resourceful. She has to be stronger, faster, and better at everything than every person around her. Even Batman, a character who doesn’t have any actual super powers is still a top athlete, scientific genius and the worlds greatest detective rolled into one.

Comic books also often have to develop a rogues gallery for a particular hero too.

Every hero needs a memorable villain. However in other mediums having a full blown rogues gallery can actually be quite detrimental.

You can’t afford to bring a villain back, even in a book series simply because you, or even the audience wants to see them again, as you have so much less time to just mess about with supporting characters.

This is why Sherlock Holmes’ two most famous villains, Moriarty and Irene Adler were only used fleetingly in the original Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with Moriarty being in a grand total of two Doyle stories, and Irene Adler only being in one.

Similarly in a film series there is only a limited amount of time to tell the stories you want, so again there isn’t really space to bring a villain back unless you need too.

Look at James Bond. James Bond’s villains are as iconic as any other heroes. Everyone knows Oddjob, Blofeld, Jaws and Nik Nak. However only two of James Bonds many colourful enemies have actually appeared in more than one film. Blofeld and Jaws.

In a television series meanwhile there is, depending on the show, often more time to reuse old characters, hence why television is the medium that features rogues galleries the most often after comic books.

Still even then tv shows can be limited in what villains they can bring back in a number of ways. For instance if the actor or actress who played the villain is unavailable, or even if they have just grown tired of the role, then their character can not return.

There is a limited amount of time to tell a story even on tv, as most television series have an ending in sight, and as most television series tend to focus on story arcs these days, then there is even less time to fit a villain or character in unless they are vital.

In comic books however the story goes on for decades with no end in sight. (If its a big character like Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman or even Dan Dare.)

Added to that they often churn out stories on a far more regular basis. In some instances such as with the Eagle, or the old Batman newspaper strips there could be a new story every week!

So naturally not only is there more time to explore an individual villains story, but a recurring and popular villain can also be useful if the writers are on a tight schedule, and need something to spice up a particular story.

Also recurring villains and characters can help to give a comic some much needed familiarity.

If a comic is a big mega hit like Batman, Superman or even Dan Dare then it could go on for centuries! The same is not true for any other form of entertainment.

Sure someone else might come along and write their own Sherlock Holmes sequel novel after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s death, and similarly a popular character that appears in dozens of films like James Bond, can still continue to appear even after one particular film series has ended, via a reboot. That’s not quite the same thing however.

All of the different versions of Sherlock Holmes are their own separate stories. There’s not one definitive canon for Sherlock Holmes after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books come to an end. Similarly all of the different film and tv versions of the great detective, from Basil Rathbone to Jeremy Brett are not connected to each other either.

With a comic character like say Spider-Man however, it is actually the same story now that it was in the 1960’s. Sure there have been other versions of Spider-Man across other mediums, but the original versions official story is still going strong in the Amazing Spider-Man series.

This can end up being a double edged sword for the publishers when Spider-Man ultimately has to change.

All characters have to change to some extent, as the world changes around them, but because Spider-Man is the same character, fans can end up having more of a problem with major changes.

Thus iconic recurring villains and other characters in general, as well even iconic symbols, gadgets and locations such as the Fortress of Solitude, the Batcave, the Batmobile, the Utility Belt, can often help to reassure longtime readers that its the same character and story that they are following.

Now Doctor Who despite being a tv show shares many strong similarities to comic books.

To start with its very over the top. Even more so than most other science fiction television series.

Lets compare it to Star Trek. The aliens in Star Trek tend to be a bit more toned down, a bit more human, and more relatable.

The aliens in Doctor Who however are the most over the top creatures you can imagine. Look at the Daleks, the main monsters in Doctor Who.

The Daleks are slimy little mutants, housed in ridiculous looking robots, with electronic, screaming voices. They want to kill every single other life form in the entire universe as they were conditioned to by the deranged scientist Davros. They are utterly devoid of any compassion, pity, or remorse and will gun people down in cold blood without a seconds thought.

Similarly look at the Cybermen compared to the Borg. Though both are similar ideas, (cybernetic races who convert organic life forms into members of their own kind.) The Cybermen are somewhat more cartoony in that they have no physical human features left and are just gigantic, towering robots.

The TARDIS is also far more over the top than say the USS Enterprise or the Millennium Falcon. It has a surrealist twist to it the way its bigger on the inside than the outside.

Even the Doctor himself is also something of super hero. His intelligence is far beyond that of almost any other character you can name.

The Doctor is someone who can speak over 1 billion languages, can rewire the most complex alien equipment in seconds, and can pilot a machine that is beyond even the most intelligent person’s comprehension.

Compare him to Spock who is still intelligent, but less cartoonish in that he doesn’t know absolutely everything.

However perhaps the greatest similarity between Doctor Who and comic books is that Doctor Who can run for decades.

There are two reasons for this. First of all the Doctors machine the TARDIS can travel anywhere in time and space, allowing there to be no limit to the types of adventures the Doctor can go on.

Second the Doctor can change his appearance, allowing a different actor to play him.

The Doctor we are watching in 2017 as different as he may seem on the surface, is the same character people were watching in 1963, just as its the same Spider-Man we are reading now that people were reading in 1962.

As a result of this Doctor Who just like any long running comic book series has a large rogues gallery and iconic cast of supporting characters and objects like the TARDIS, sonic screwdriver etc, to help reassure people that its the same show.

Also what’s interesting is that the villains in Doctor Who can go on and on for decades too, just like a comic book villain. None of the iconic Doctor Who villains are linked to any one actor. The Daleks, the Cybermen, the Ice Warriors are all played by multiple actors, but even the individual villains like the Master, Davros, and the Rani can all be played by different actors too. The Master and the Rani are time lords so they can simply regenerate into a different actor, whilst Davros is a monster whose face is covered by a mask, and so therefore a different actor can simply wear the mask and become Davros.

The Doctors rogues gallery is so large that just as with many comic book heroes like Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, The Flash and Wonder Woman, its hard to decide who the Doctors archenemy actually is.

You wont get this with literary heroes like Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter. The original authors won’t have time to accumulate as many villains over just a few stories, so there will often only be one villain stand’s out as the heroes main enemy, like Voldemort or Moriarty.

Any sequel novel by another writer or film or tv adaptation will either have to feature this villain, or at least pay lip service to them. Even if they do decide to introduce a new villain, then that character will never usurp the classic archenemy of the hero. No enemy of Sherlock Holmes introduced in the non Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories has rivalled Moriarty, whilst when Harry Potter falls into public domain decades from now, and other writers take a crack at it. Its doubtful anyone will come up with an archenemy for Harry that could possibly rival Voldemort.

Similarly with tv heroes as they have a shorter run and are not always able to bring any villain they want back, then they tend to settle on one villain as the main one, or might not even establish an archenemy for the hero. Buffy for instance though having a large and exciting collection of villains, never really had any kind of archenemy.

With the Doctor, Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man however there are so many to choose from that I’d say it goes like this.

They all had one villain who was introduced early in their careers who became their archenemy, simply because that villain was so beloved by the public.

The Joker in Batman’s case, Lex Luthor in Superman’s, The Green Goblin in Spider-Mans and of course the Daleks in the Doctors. None of these villains are what you would call traditional archenemies. For instance Bats and Clowns aren’t a thing people have tended to put together, neither are Spiders and Goblins, but it doesn’t matter because the likes of the Joker, and the Green Goblin, and the Daleks are such brilliant characters.

Often these villains due to their popularity will be used in the biggest story lines, and be made responsible for the greatest tragedies in the heroes life, which just further cements their archenemy status.

For instance in the comics the Joker killed the second Robin Jason Todd and crippled Barbara Gordon. In the 1989 movie meanwhile, the villain was also revealed to be responsible for the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents, whilst in The Dark Knight, the Ledger Joker not only created Two Face, but murdered the love of Bruce Wayne’s life, Rachel Dawes.

The many ways in which the Joker has made Batman more broody over the decades and mediums.

The Green Goblin meanwhile famously murdered Spider-Man’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy.

Finally the Daleks in New Who are responsible for just about every tragedy in the Doctors life. They were responsible for the destruction of his home planet Gallifrey (before it was undone in the 50th.) They were also responsible for the departure of his companions Rose and Donna Noble under tragic circumstances, and they have also been responsible for the deaths of more Doctors than any other villain.

Naturally all of these villains become the most important to the hero as well as the audience.

At the same time however there was another villain in all cases introduced fairly early on, who many fans considered to be the heroes archenemy, and who was a villain that the general public would recognise just as much, but was never really made as prominent in the same way.

In Batman’s case this is the Penguin, in Superman’s case this is Brainiac, in Spider-Man’s this is Doc Ock, in the Doctors this is the Cybermen.

Sometimes this villain can be made more prominent in later adaptations. Maybe the author of that particular adaptation will prefer them, and be sick of the likes of the Joker, the Goblin and the Daleks constantly hogging the spotlight. Or maybe the producer might want a change, but still want a villain that the public will recognise to sell their version.

Examples of this include the tv series Gotham, which makes the Penguin the main character, Spider-Man the Animated Series which makes Doc Ock Spidey’s most recurring foe, the Peter Capaldi era of Doctor Who which gives the Cybermen far greater prominence than any other era of New Who (and even has the monsters be the enemy who finally kills the Doctor, though not for good obviously.)

Many years later however there is yet another contender for the archenemy title. This character in all three cases is more of a classical nemesis to the hero, IE someone who is like them, but has gone down a very different path.

In Batman’s case this is Ra’s Al Ghul. Ghul just like Batman wants to rid the world of crime and corruption, but he intends to do that by destroying all of civilisation, and then rebuilding it from the ground up. Ghul is also a great detective, scientist and highly skilled fighter like Batman too.

In Superman’s case it is Darkseid. Darkseid is like Superman, a God like alien with nearly limitless power, but where as Superman believes in truth and justice, Darkseid seeks to cause chaos and misery across the entire universe as he feeds on fear.

In Spider-Man’s case this is Venom. Venom has all of the same powers and abilities as Spider-Man, and he even believes in protecting innocents too. Ultimately however Venom is consumed with hatred and is prepared to sacrifice innocents for his own selfish desires.

In the Doctors case this is the Master. The Master just like the Doctor is a time lord. He too defied the society of the Time Lords, but where as the Doctor is compassionate and uses his great intellect to help those in need, the Master is a power hungry sociopath.

These villains usually physically resembles an evil version of the main hero too. Ra’s Al Ghul has a long flowing cape like Batman, the Master has his own TARDIS like the Doctor, except it is black on the inside (whilst the Doctors was always white in Classic Who) whilst Venom resembles an evil Spider-Man.

As this villain is like a dark mirror of the main hero, they are often the most dangerous, as they can do anything they can only better!

Finally all 4 heroes have another archenemy who emerged later and became so prominent simply because they were the most evil and destructive of all the heroes enemies.

In Batman’s case this is Bane. Bane fucked with Batman more than any other villain. He figured out his identity on his own, easily pummelled the caped crusader and eventually put him in a wheelchair.

In Superman’s case this is Doomsday a villain who managed to actually kill the man of steel (he got better.)

In Spider-Man’s this is Carnage, Venom’s twisted son who actually forced Spider-Man and Venom to team up to bring him down.

Finally in the Doctors case this would be Davros, the evil creator of the Daleks who is more twisted than even the Master, and in the 2008 story The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End actually tried to destroy every universe.

In addition to this different enemies are more prominent during certain periods of Doctor Who and long running comic book characters like Batman and Spider-Man’s existence too.

Take Batman for instance. In the 30s-40s The Joker and the Penquin are unquestionably Batman’s main enemies. In the 70s however it is Ra’s Al Ghul. In the 90s however its Bane. Also in terms of adaptations I see it like this.

In the Adam West series its the Joker, Penguin, The Riddler and Catwoman who are Batman’s most prominent villains. Of all 4 the Penguin and Catwoman are actually the two most prominent. The Penguin appears the most, whilst Catwoman is the most famous from the series and has the greater personal link with Batman.

In the DCAU the Joker and Ra’s Al Ghul are Batman’s two archenemies (the Joker is more prominent,, recurring and personal, but Ghul is more dangerous). Catwoman and The Penguin in contrast to Adam West aren’t really important at all in this continuity, whilst the Riddler is a very, very minor villain. Two Face is also more prominent in Batman TAS, though not in other DCAU adaptations

In the Burton film series its once again the Joker who is Batman’s archenemy (as he murdered his parents.)

In the Nolan film series it is Ra’s Al Ghul, Bane and The Joker. Ghul is the grand mastermind behind the League of Assassins and responsible for the creation of most of the other villains in the series like the Scarecrow, Talia and Bane. The Joker however inflicts the worst tragedy on Batman, the murder of Rachel, whilst Bane is the most dangerous and much like his comic book counterpart brings the caped crusader to his knees.

Finally in Gotham the Penguin, the Riddler and Doctor Hugo Strange are the most prominent villains.

In The Flash’s case meanwhile in the 1990s series The Trickster played by Mark Hamill was The Flash’s archenemy, whilst in the DCAU it was Gorilla Grodd and Shade. Finally in the 2010s series, the Flash’s archenemy is Eobard Thawne.

With Wonder Woman on the other hand Ares was her archenemy during the 30s and the 40s, but he was later replaced during the 60s by Cheetah, who was in turn replaced by Circe in the 90s.

With Spider-Man, the Green Goblin and Doc Ock were the wall crawlers main enemies in the 60s, whilst in the 70s it was the Kingpin, and in the 80s through to the 90s, it was Venom and later Carnage.

In Doctor Who’s case it seems to be a different archenemy for every Doctor.

With the First Doctor its the Daleks, who are the most recurring enemies in his era, cause the deaths of two of his companions, and also cause him to develop as a character more than any other enemy.

With the Second Doctor it is the Cybermen (who appeared the most) and the Great Intelligence.

With the Third Doctor it is the Master and the Daleks, who are his two most recurring enemies and just about the only villains the normally extremely moral Third Doctor takes a pleasure in killing (or attempting to kill!)

With the Fourth Doctor meanwhile it is Davros, The Black Guardian (who is the main villain of the Key to Time season) and the Master who finally kills him off.

With the Fifth Doctor it is the Cybermen (who caused the death of his companion Adric), the Master (his most recurring enemy) and the Black Guardian once again.

With the Sixth Doctor on television it was the Valeyard and Sil, whilst in audios it is Davros.

With the Seventh it is Fenric on tv and the Timewyrm in spin off material.

With the Eighth Doctor it is the Master and the Daleks.

War its the Daleks and Rassilon.

With the Ninth Doctor its the Daleks.

With the Tenth it is the Daleks and the Harold Saxon Master.

With the Eleventh Doctor it is the Daleks (who are his most recurring enemies, cause his regeneration, and are technically responsible for everything that happened to him as they are the ones who kick off the war on Trenzalore.) The Silence, the Weeping Angels (who cost him Amy and Rory) and The Great Intelligence.

Finally with the Twelfth Doctor it is the Cybermen (who are among his most recurring enemies both on tv and in spin off material, convert his companion Bill, and ultimately cause his death) Missy and Rassilon.

Personally I think its more interesting to give the hero multiple choices for their archenemy.

It can certainly allow for more variation among different adaptations. With Sherlock Holmes for instance you always know that Moriarty is going to be Holmes main villain.. Unless its just a one off version, but if its a film or tv series, then you know Moriarty is going to have be the main villain. Sure they can change Moriarty about a bit, but ultimately you know no villain will truly match him in terms of importance.

With comic book heroes and Doctor Who however its interesting watching how in some versions, a villain can be the main rival of the hero, whilst in others they might not even appear! You absolutely can not predict which of a hero like Batman, The Flash or the Doctors iconic villains, never mind archenemies is going to be the most important in a particular adaptation or era.

The Penguin for instance is the main character overall almost in Gotham, yet he isn’t even in the Nolan movies.

Similarly look at the Flash. Eobard Thawne, the Flash’s archenemy in the 2010s series is not in either the DCAU or the 90s Flash series, whilst the Trickster, his archfoe in the 90s series is a completely harmless frenemy in the DCAU and a very minor villain in the 2010’s series.

You couldn’t get two more different villains than Thawne or the Trickster, and you can see how as a result both versions of the Flash couldn’t be more different either. 

Finally in Doctor Who itself when you watch the Second Doctors era then the Cybermen are the biggest threat to the Doctor, whilst if you watch the Third Doctors era they don’t even appear!

Similarly when you watch the William Hartnell era its hard to imagine the Doctor having any major enemy other than the Daleks, but when you watch the Davison era then they are nothing. They only appear in one story right at the very end and have 0 impact on any major story lines involving 5.

With all of this in mind, I don’t think you can say that any other television series quite follows the comic book formula quite as much as Doctor Who.

Star Trek for instance though a long runner isn’t really the same as Doctor Who and Spider-Man, as all of the different Star Treks are ultimately different series with different characters, actors etc.

Added to that Star Trek whilst having many iconic aspects such as the Enterprise, and iconic alien races like the Klingons, doesn’t really have a rogues gallery in the way that Doctor Who and comic books do.

In the original series there were actually only two recurring alien races, the Klingons and the Romulans, whilst in later series the Klingons, and other races like the Cardassians, and the Borg felt more like other actual races, rather than simply “Captain Picard’s enemies”.

They don’t shout “YOU ARE THE ENEMY OF THE KLINGONS!” whenever they encountered Picard for instance. They were treated as simply another race that he and humanity had to try and find a way to peacefully co-exist with.

Other series meanwhile like Buffy and Xena, though undoubtedly drawing from comic books as their main source of inspiration; are still limited by the natural constrictions of television. They have a limited time to tell a story, they have to end when their leading actors get too old to do an action series, or simply don’t want to appear anymore. Take for instance Callisto, Xena’s archenemy who was written out of the show when her actress Hudson Leick stopped wanting to play her, and then compare her to the Master who was still able to appear after his original actor Roger Delgado was tragically killed.

Doctor Who I think is the only television series that can be said to follow pretty much the entire comic book formula from everything being exaggerated, to the fact that it can run indefinitely as the same canon as it isn’t dependent on its cast, to finally its large set of iconic villains and supporting characters that will always reappear in order to reassure viewers and long term fans that it is still the same story they are following.

Fan Overlap

Not surprisingly there seems to be quite a large overlap between Doctor Who fans and comic book geeks.

One of the most famous examples is Ian Levine. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, Levine is a famous and influential record producer from the 70s and 80s. Whilst a respected and prominent figure in Northern Soul (with his record sales totalling over 40 million.) Levine is still better known in some circles for his life long love of Doctor Who and DC Comics.

Levine played an important role in stopping the BBC from destroying old Doctor Who tapes in the 1970s. Throughout the 70s the BBC destroyed many old tapes from all of their most popular television series. This was before the advent of home video and DVD, and there were only two channels back then as well, so even repeat showings were a rarity.

As a result old recordings were destroyed to make way for new tapes and sadly many Doctor Who stories were lost this way. Levine however played a big part in getting the BBC to stop junking old programmes altogether and even personally saved many Doctor Who stories from destruction, including the very first Dalek adventure.

Levine would also find many other lost Doctor Who stories overseas in the ensuing decades.

Ian Levine also served as the shows unofficial continuity adviser during most of the 80’s as well and even supplied clips from old episodes to producer John Nathan Turner.

As for DC comics, Levine has possibly the only complete collection of DC Comics in the world, with Levine owning at least one copy of each DC Comic book sold at retail from the 1930s to present.

Levine also played a key role in helping DC celebrate their 75th anniversary. His collection served as the basis for the massive 75th anniversary book.

DC Marks 75 Anniversary With Huge Tome

Despite the many good things he has done for Doctor Who and DC Comics, Levine is a very controversial figure among both fandoms (and not just because he produced the awful Doctor in Distress single in the 80s.)

By his own admission he can be a somewhat prickly individual, and has had major feuds with many prominent members of both fandoms. His most recent controversy was when he openly declared that he wouldn’t watch Doctor Who anymore due to the casting of Jodie Whitaker as the 13th Doctor.


Still regardless of whatever you may think of Ian, it cannot be denied that without him a huge chunk of Doctor Who history would be lost forever.

You also got to respect that collection too.

Another influential figure in both fandoms is Paul Cornell. Now its no secret that I am not too keen on Paul Cornell’s contributions to Doctor Who. I did not like either of the stories he wrote for tv. Still it doesn’t matter what I think as both of those stories are very popular and Paul regardless of whatever else you may think of him, did play an important role in keeping the show afloat during the wilderness years.

Cornell has also become a celebrated writer for Action Comics too, though he has written for various other characters over the years from Wolverine, to Captain Britain, to Vampirella.

Russell T Davies, the man who revived Doctor Who in 2005 was a big comic book fan as well. He even named the iconic Doctor Who character Captain Jack Harkness after the Marvel character Agatha Harkness.

David Tennant meanwhile who most famously played the Tenth Doctor for 4 years is also a huge fan of comic books too (and obviously was a Doctor Who fan growing up.)

From One David Tennant Fan To Another

Finally Grant Morrison is another major figure in both fandoms. Grant Morrison is definitely more famous for his contributions to DC and Marvel comics, but he actually began his career writing Doctor Who comic books as well.

Doctor Who and Marvel and DC comic books appeal to people in similar ways. There’s the colourful rogues gallery, charismatic hero who can do anything, decades worth of stories, and rich, full universes full of strange creatures.

Specific Examples of Comic Books Influence on Doctor Who

60s Who/ The Dan Dare Years

Main Article The Roots of Doctor Who 7/ Dan Dare

I have written extensively about Dan Dare’s influence on Doctor Who before, so I won’t go into too much detail here.

However at the same time, I can’t not mention how Dan Dare helped to shape the time lords adventures when talking about comic book influences on the show.

I’d say that Dan Dare was the main influence on Doctor Who throughout the 60’s. Many of its key writers during that decade were big fans of Dan Dare, including Terry Nation the creator of the Daleks, and Kit Pedler the co-creator of the Cybermen.

Dan Dare for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, was a British comic book series that initially ran from the early 50s right the way through to the late 60s, though there have been many revivals since. During its heyday, it was the most popular comic in Britain, regularly outselling any American comics like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

It was set in the then future of the 90s which was depicted as a golden age, where all the nations of the earth now lived together in peace, the technology was incredibly advanced, and mankind had begun to explore space. The main character was Space Pilot Dan Dare, whose main enemy was the evil Mekon, former ruler of Venus.

Terry Nations first two Dalek stories are similar to two Dan Dare adventures, Voyage to Venus and The Reign of the Robots. Voyage to Venus and the first Dalek story both revolve around a war between a race of ruthless, xenophobic monsters who live in a cold metallic city, surrounded by a lake of monsters, (the Daleks and the Treens) and a race of blonde haired pacifistic humanoids who don’t want to fight due to memories of a previous conflict (the Thals and the Therons), but are ultimately convinced to by the main hero.

Reign of the Robots and The Dalek Invasion of Earth meanwhile both see the main heroes return to earth after a long absence only to discover that the Treens and the Daleks have conquered it, and wiped out most of humanity. Both stories also feature the Daleks and the Treens using robot servants to help rule humanity, which Dan and the Doctor are able to turn on the Daleks and the Treens at the end.

The Tenth Planet, the first story to ever feature the Cybermen, also follows a similar plot to the second Dan Dare adventure, The Red Moon Mystery. Both feature a planet that falls out of its orbit, and later becomes a kind of giant spaceship. Its inhabitants also become hideous monsters, who are forced to conquer other races in order to survive

The Daleks and the Cybermen were closely inspired by the Treens too. The Daleks and the Treens were both cold and logical monsters who sought to conquer other races in the universe. Both were based on the Nazis, with The Dalek Invasion of Earth and The Reign of the Robots both representing a what if the Nazis had won the war scenario too.

The Cybermen meanwhile and the Treens both lose their planet in their first story. Mondas the Cybermen’s home planet is destroyed, whilst the Treens are merely driven off of Venus by the Therons and humanity. Still all of their subsequent stories portray them as desperate and show them trying to reclaim their former power and influence.

The Mekon, the leader of the Treens and Dan Dare’s archenemy also inspired a number of villains in Doctor Who.

Davros the evil creator of the Daleks was inspired by the Mekon in terms of personality and design. Both Terry Nation and Philip Hinchcliff, the producer of Genesis of the Daleks admitted to this.

Davros also fulfilled a similar role to the Daleks and the Doctor as the Mekon did to the Treens and Dan Dare. The Daleks and the Treens are all basically drones who think the same. Davros and the Mekon therefore were designed to give the main hero a single adversary that they could interact with in a one on one basis.

Both Davros and the Mekon would also later attempt to destroy the Treens and the Daleks, so that they could build in a new super race of Daleks and Treens, as seen in the stories All Treens Must Die and Resurrection, Revelation and Remembrance of the Daleks.

The Cybermen would also gain a Mekon like figure in the Cyber controller. The Cyber Controller was originally intended to be a small, withered creature with an enlarged braincase like the Mekon. They even intended for the Controller to fly as well. Sadly however the budget would not allow for it, and so the Cyber Controller merely had an enlarged brain which still came from the Mekon.

The Ice Warriors leader, the Ice Lord, first appearing in The Seeds of Death was also inspired by the Mekon visually. Like the Mekon he had green skin, was weaker physically than his servants, but had an enlarged brain.

There were also a number of more minor aliens whose look at least was inspired by the Mekon too including Sixth Doctor adversary Sil, and the Moxx of Balhoon.

You can definitely see how all of these guys are just kind of variations on the Mekon’s look.

Dan Dare and Doctor Who together shaped popular sci fi in the United Kingdom, and though Dan Dare has sadly fallen from mainstream attention, there is still quite a lot of overlap between Classic Who fans and Dan Dare fans (particularly the original Frank Hampson era Dan.)

70s Era Who/ DC and Marvel Comics Take Hold

The Jon Pertwee era borrowed a bit from DC and Marvel comics. It makes sense in a way. During the 60s Doctor Who was all about exploring other planets, so many of the writers of the show would naturally turn to Dan Dare for inspiration.

During the early part of the 70s however, the Doctor was exiled to earth and so I think we see the writers of the show start to turn to old American comics about earth bound heroes (among other things) like Batman, Superman and the Fantastic Four instead.

Over the years the Third Doctor has been compared to many characters from James Bond, to Bernard Quatermass, to Sherlock Holmes, to Jason King, yet surprisingly hardly ever Batman.

Now to be fair there are elements of all those characters in the Third Doctor. The great thing about the Third Doctors era is that its just pure escapism. Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts, the script editor and producer respectively combined elements from so many great adventure stories together, from old Errol Flynn movies to Star Trek episodes, to Sherlock Holmes stories to make what was one of the best era’s of Doctor Who in my opinion.

Still there is definitely a bit of American comic books in there too, which sadly is almost never commented on.

The Third Doctor is kind of like Batman in a number of ways. He is a big dashing hero in a cape who uses gadgets, is a great scientific genius, yet also an incredibly skilled hand to hand combatant too.

His relationship with Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart is also very similar to that between Batman and Commissioner Gordon. The Brig and Gordon are both figures of authority who though competent at their jobs, are sadly not able to deal with the more colourful and crazy villains they regularly face. As a result they both often call in their somewhat unusual friend in a big cape (who technically operates outside the law) to help deal with them.

The Brig and Gordon also have ways of summoning the Doctor and Batman when they need them too, the Bat signal, and the space time telegraph respectively.

The Doctor during his time with UNIT also has two trademark special cars like Batman’s famous Batmobile (one of which was actually called the Whomobile.)

Not quite as iconic as the Batmobile, but it served Jon Pertwee well.

Also more importantly the Doctors archenemy introduced during this period, The Master is really an amalgamation of comic book villains.

The initial inspiration for the Master was Moriarty, but I think that when shaping the character, Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts actually drew more from comic book villains instead.

You can draw quite strong comparisons between the Master and many of the most iconic Marvel and DC comic book villains, like the Joker, Lex Luthor and Doctor Doom.

The Master much like the Joker is a villain whose real name and identity we don’t know.. They both simply go by an alias and their origins even after all of this time, are still shrouded in mystery.

Both also have a gruesome way of killing their victims which serves as a calling card, letting the hero know they are in town.

In the Jokers case this is smilex, a lethal form of laughing gas which causes its victims to laugh themselves to death, and leaves their corpses with a hideous grin similar to his own.

In the Masters its his tissue compression eliminator which shrinks his victims.

The Master much like the Joker is also a master of disguise too. Many old Joker stories including his first appearance will feature the villain wearing a disguise that seemingly makes him look like a totally different person, but it will later be revealed to simply be a latex mask and wig, leaving you to wonder how Batman didn’t know it was him.

Similarly the Master during the Delgado years would often wear a disguise so perfect, that another actor would actually play the role whilst he was in that disguise, but when he revealed himself, Roger Delgado would just pull a crappy latex mask off.

The Master also much like the Joker is utterly obsessed with not just destroying the Doctor, but in proving that he is superior in every way. In the story called the Mind of Evil the Masters is exposed to a machine that reveals his true fear, which is revealed to be a giant Doctor laughing at him relentlessly. This is also replicated in Trial of a Time Lord where an evil version of the Doctor is created called the Valeyard, who taunts the Master, calling him a second rate adversary and even outright laughs in his face, all of which deeply disturbs the Master.

The Joker meanwhile has been shown to be deeply insecure whenever Batman taunts him. Its even hinted that the reason he is so fixated on Batman is because Batman is utterly humourless and therefore in his twisted mind won’t “upstage him”.

The best example of this is in the classic animated movie Batman Beyond Return of the Joker, where the second Batman Terry McGuiness battles a resurrected Joker 50 years on. This Batman unlike the original, outright mocks the villain to his face and laughs at him, causing the Joker, even by his standards to completely lose it!

The Master and the Joker are the classic examples of being able to dish it out, but not take it. 

Whilst the Master does bare many similarities to the Joker, at the same time there are also shades of both Lex Luthor and Doctor Doom in his characterisation too.

During the Delgado era the Masters main aim was to rule the galaxy because he believed, genuinely that under his rule he could make it a better place. He believed that he could advance societies like earth, protect them from alien threats, and help them achieve their true potential.

None of this was motivated by genuine altruism, just simply his own ego.

Lex Luthor and Doctor Doom similarly are great geniuses who believe that when they rule the earth it will be a better place. In Doctor Dooms case he is actually right in some ways. A few alternate, what if scenario’s that do show Doom successfully conquer the world, depict him as being capable of solving many of its problems such as hunger, disease, crime, and poverty, albeit at the expense of its people’s freedom.

Take a look at these quotes from The Master and Doctor Doom that both show the villains have essentially the same goal (with the Masters usually merely being on a grander scale.)

MASTER: Doctor, why don’t you come in with me? We’re both Time Lords, we’re both renegades. We could be masters of the galaxy! Think of it, Doctor, absolute power! Power for good. Why, you could reign benevolently, you could end wars, suffering, disease. We could save the universe. 

Doctor Doom: I now possess the power to end hunger, to abolish disease, to eliminate crime, to establish a perfectly content, perfectly ordered world. All under the benevolence of MY IRON WILL!

Much like Lex Luthor and Doom the Master is also a charming, affable, gentlemanly, cultured villain on the surface, but will erupt into fits of psychotic rage when his plans are foiled.

The Master also much like Lex Luthor, often makes dodgy alliances with villains and aliens much more powerful than he is, which will almost always end with one of them double crossing the other.

This can be both a strength and a drawback to the two villains however. Sometimes it can make them look a bit stupid the way they team up with villains who are obviously going to stab them in the back. At other times however, the reverse is true and we can see just how devious and cunning the two villains are the way they are able to manipulate and turn the tables on villains so much more powerful than they are.

The Master is also established as having been the Doctors friend when the two were growing up. The idea of the villain having once been the heroes friend is a very popular trope in comic books.

Lex Luthor and Superman were established as having been friends when they were younger very early in their development. This would later resurface most famously in Smallville, which revolved almost entirely around Lex and Clark’s friendship slowly breaking down as they two went down different paths.

Doctor Doom and Reed Richards were also shown to be close friends during their days at University before they became the bitterest of enemies.

Batman and Two Face are another classic example of this. Harvey Dent was once Bruce’s best friend for many years, but sadly after Harvey’s accident drove him insane, he became one of Batman’s deadliest enemies, Two Face.

Harry Osborne who later becomes the second Green Goblin also is initially Peter Parkers best friend too.

Even Sabretooth and Wolverine were once friends before their bitter rivalry, and then of there is Magneto and Professor X, probably the most famous example of the villain and the hero having once been friends.

The Master and the Doctors relationship I’d say is the most comparable to Doctor Doom and Reed Richards during Delgado’s time.

The two were friends because they viewed the other as their intellectual equal and enjoyed exchanging ideas with one another. Both also in their own way want to help other people, but its ultimately their approach that turns them into the bitterest of enemies.

Doom and the Master believe that in order to make a difference they need to rule. The Doctor and Richards meanwhile believe in simply offering their help to people, but do not wish to force their way of life on anyone.

The Master and Doom are happy to sacrifice any number of innocent lives meanwhile for the sake of their greater good, and as time goes on this just leads to them becoming more corrupt and ironically viewing all life as expendable.

The Doctor and Richards in contrast come to view all life as being precious (though to be fair the Doctor is more willing to kill his enemies.)

The Master and Doom also grow to develop a petty obsession with proving their superiority to the Doctor and Reed Richards, the only person that ever truly challenged their intellect. Naturally the more times they are foiled, the more their hatred grows until eventually they lose all traces of their former friendship with the Doctor and Reed Richards.

Whilst Reed and the Doctor always manage to prevent the Master and Doom from taking over the world, they are never able to truly defeat them either. Doom and the Master are among the very few villains who never receive any kind of punishment for their crimes. At least the likes of the Joker and Doc Ock go to prison (for all the good it does.)

The Master apart from one instance is always free to roam the universe causing more havoc, whilst Doom still remains the head of Latveria.

Doom and Richards, and the Doctor and the Master are locked in a horrible never ending cycle, ironically for the same reason that they were initially friends. They are each others intellectual equals, and so initially they bonded as they believed the other was the only other person on their wavelength, but now that they have become enemies they will never be able to overcome the other.

Later versions of the Master would expand on he and the Doctors friendship to the point where it would bare more similarities to other characters. For instance later episodes established that they were actually childhood friends like Superman and Lex Luthor. Also in the Tenth Doctors era, his relationship with the Master actually resembles Batman and Two Face and Peter Parker and Harry Osborne more.

Here the Master is re-imagined as a total psychopath who was driven mad by a constant drumming in his head, and the Doctor just like Batman and Spider-Man in their dealings with Two Face and Harry wants to try and cure his former friend. Believing that deep down he isn’t really evil, just damaged.

Still during the Delgado era, then the Master and the Doctor definitely have more of a Reed Richards and Doctor Doom dynamic than anything else and this would continue to throughout pretty much all of the Classic era.

Doctor Doom can also be seen as a possible influence on the next incarnation of the Master after Roger Delgado as well. Visually both are hideously disfigured, hooded villains.

The Master is really just every great comic book villain, the Joker, Lex Luthor, Harry Osborne and Doctor Doom all rolled into one, which is what undoubtedly helped to make him such as instant fan favourite along with of course Roger Delgado’s stellar performance.

(Its also worth noting that the Masters weapon, the Keller Machine in The Mind of Evil is exactly like the Scarecrow from Batman’s fear gas in that it kills its victims by making them experience hallucinations of their worst fears.)

Another major character from 70’s era Doctor Who that has their roots in American comic books is arguably the most popular of all the Doctors companions. Sarah Jane Smith.

The biggest inspiration on Sarah (by her creators Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts own admission) was Superman’s love interest Lois Lane. Sarah was a feisty investigative journalist just like Lois who often got herself into trouble.

Physically Sarah resembled Lois too. She dressed in a similar fashion, and her hair was also in a bob cut, which Lois was famous for having too at that time.

Throughout the Fourth Doctor, Tom Bakers era, Sarah Jane’s Lois Lane characteristics were slowly phased out, but they would make a return in her own spin off, the Sarah Jane adventures in the late 00’s, early 10’s.

Overall I think the comic book influence began to fade during Tom’s time. Though there were still a few notable examples.

As I have already mentioned Davros was inspired by the Mekon, and in the classic story The Seeds of Doom the main antagonist Harrison Chase was completely inspired by the Batman villain Poison Ivy.

Poison Ivy is one of Batman’s most iconic enemies. She loves plants and is happy to sacrifice any number of innocent people to protect them. In some stories she even attempts to wipe humanity out to protect all plant life, or convert humanity into plant creatures. She also later becomes a plant human hybrid too.

Harrison Chase meanwhile similarly prefers plants to people (at one point he is shown to grind up a helpless UNIT soldier and then feeds his remains to his plants. )

He also plans to aid a group of alien plant monsters called the Krynoids take over the earth, and later becomes converted by them too just like Poison Ivy.

The Krynoids visually are not too dissimilar from the giant plant monsters that Poison Ivy regularly keeps as pets as well.

Its just such a shame that Harrison Chase and Poison Ivy were never able to meet. He’d have been her perfect man!

Whilst there were a few comic book influences throughout the Hinchcliff/Holmes era, ultimately throughout the later part of the 70’s I think horror movies, old myths and legends, and Sherlock Holmes stories began to play a greater role in helping to shape the Fourth Doctors era and character.

Russell T Davies Era/ Doctor Who Does Marvel

When Doctor Who was revived in 2005 by Russell T Davies, the show began to draw more from American sci fi and fantasy than ever before.

Whilst there had always been examples of the original Star Trek series and as we have seen Marvel and DC comics influence on 70s Doctor Who, ultimately most of the influences on Doctor Who were British forms of entertainment, from Dan Dare to James Bond, to British Horror Films, to Sherlock Holmes, to Quatermass.

When RTD took over the show however, he tended to draw more from American series like Buffy, Xena, Smallville and Charmed. As a result of this Doctor Who in some ways came to resemble an American sci fi or fantasy series more in Christopher Eccelston and David Tennant’s time with its story arcs, focus on the characters relationships, flashy effects and season long antagonists.

Once again comic books as well as some of their most famous adaptations would be among the influences Davies and other writers of the 21st century Doctor Who would draw from. Arguably to an even greater extent than Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks.

I think that Russell T Davies was definitely more of a Marvel guy than a DC guy. There are some examples of DC comics influence in his time sure, but overall I find that it owes more to Marvel.

Russell T Davies had actually set out to be a cartoonist first, but sadly the fact that he was colour blind meant that he was forced to abandon these ambitions.

The character of Captain Jack Harkness was named after Marvel character Agatha Harkness, by Davies own admission, but the parallels run deeper than that.

The main story line throughout the Tenth Doctors era is really the Cult of Skaro arc. Not only does it span seasons 2 to 4, but it also is responsible for most of the big developments in 10’s character such as the loss of Rose, meeting Donna, losing Donna etc.

Now the Cult of Skaro story arc bares some strong similarities to the Madame Web arc which runs throughout most of John Sempers excellent 90’s Spider-Man animated series.

Both revolve initially around the misuse of technology that can allow travel between universes.

In both instances the heroes deadliest enemies, Venom, Carnage, the Green Goblin and the Daleks and the Cybermen, are all lost through portals leading to another universe, but unfortunately so is the heroes one true love, Mary Jane and Rose Tyler.

Two seasons later meanwhile one of the villains lost through a portal to another universe returns (the Daleks and the Carnage symbiote which bonds to an alternate version of Peter Parker who becomes Spider-Carnage) and creates a super weapon that can destroy every single universe.

The weapon is activated and all universes are destroyed, but a few people are able to travel backwards in time just before the blast hits their universe, Rose Tyler, Mickey Smith, and Jackie Tyler in Doctor Who’s case, Madame Web and the Beyonder in Spidey’s.

These people try and warn the main hero, Spider-Man and the Doctor about the impending destruction of all universes. In both cases this is a story arc that runs through multiple episodes.

We see Rose Tyler pop up throughout series 4 trying to find and warn the Doctor of the death of every universe, whilst Madame Web starts appearing to Spider-Man warning him of a great battle for every universe.

Multiple versions of the hero are also needed to stop this crisis, the Doctor, his clone, Donna who gains his powers, and the alternate versions of Spider-Man.

Both stories also see an ordinary, seemingly unimportant person ironically play the key role in stopping the great danger to all universes more so than the hero. Uncle Ben who gets through to Spider-Carnage in Spider-Man’s case and obviously Donna Noble in the Doctors.

Also finally in both cases the next story (or planned story) sees the hero travel backwards to Victorian England to battle an old enemy who travelled backwards in time after being lost through a portal to another universe.

In Doctor Who’s case this is the Cybermen who were sucked through the portal to another universe two years earlier in the story Doomsday. In Spider-Man’s case meanwhile, John Semper Jr revealed that he intended to have the 6th season of Spider-Man open with Madame Web taking Spider-Man to Victorian England, where he would discover that Mary Jane and the real Carnage had both ended up there after falling through the portal to another universe two years ago, with Carnage being revealed to be Jack the Ripper. (It can be assumed with this in mind that the Carnage symbiote who bonded to Peter Parker was therefore an alternate universe version.)

Sadly Semper’s story line was never realised, but in a way it was through the Next Doctor, as both ultimately revolve around a hero who has just saved every universe travelling to Victorian England to fight another old enemy that they had previously sent hurling into another universe two series earlier, who is now creeping about in the dark picking people off.

This is not to say that Davies ripped off Spider-Man tas. Ultimately the Reality Bomb story arc does stand up as its own story, (and its one of my absolute favourite story arcs in anything. I love the way RTD is able to weave so many different strands together for the finale, from Tennant losing his hand, to Mr Copper being left on earth, to Jack being made an immortal.)

Still you can see how RTD a noted Marvel fan had Semper’s classic adaptation of Spider-Man in mind when writing Doctor Who.

Whilst Marvel might have been the main influence on Davies era Who, his version of the Master I do think did draw inspiration primarily from the DC villain the Joker.

The Simm version of the Master was rewritten to be a complete cackling psychopath like the Joker. Take a look at this moment where he gasses a group of people for no reason other than kicks, and tell me you couldn’t imagine the Joker here?

Whilst there were similarities between the Master and the Joker from day one, as you can see Davies went one step further and made the character almost completely the same.

The Simm Master also much like the Joker is someone who went mad because of one bad day.

In the Jokers case he went insane (allegedly) when his pregnant wife Jeannie was killed in an accident, and he then fell into a vat of chemicals during a botched robbery of a chemical plant, with the chemicals bleaching his skin white and deforming him into having a clown like appearance.

The Master meanwhile was driven mad when he was forced to stare into the vortex as a young boy. From that day on he heard a constant drumming in his head. (It was later revealed that the Time Lord President Rassilon implanted a signal into his head to help him escape, which took the form of the drumming in the Master’s head.)

Both of the Davies era Master stories also take inspiration from two major Joker story lines.

In Emperor Joker, the villain gains cosmic powers which he uses to rule the universe. He naturally tortures Batman over and over again, but the end of the story sees Batman reinvigorated and loom over a weakened, cowering Joker who is ultimately overthrown.

In The Last of the Time Lords, the Master finally takes over the earth and tortures the Doctor for a year, until eventually the Doctor is reinvigorated after which a giant, God like Doctor looms over the Master who is subsequently overthrown.

In both cases the Master and the Joker are not only overthrown, but their reigns over the earth are completely erased too, with only the main heroes having any memory of it. Sadly in both cases though it never happened, some of the people who lived through it are still broken, namely Francine Jones and Batman.

In The End of Time meanwhile the Master turns everyone on earth into copies of himself, which is exactly the same as the Jokers plan in the crossover comic event. The Last Laugh where he turns people into clones of himself.

Doctor, Batman admit it. You’ve both had this exact nightmare!

When Steven Moffat took over I think the comic book influence began to fade somewhat.

Steven Moffat tended to see Doctor Who as more of a fairy tale, but that’s not to say that he didn’t draw some inspiration from comics.

The 11th Doctors era often explores the effect the Doctor has on his enemies such as the Daleks. As a result of the Doctors influence, the Daleks discover time travel, and become far more powerful and dangerous than they ever would have otherwise.

This same theme is explored in many adaptations of Batman, including the Nolan trilogy, that in response to Batman, a more elaborate crime fighter, the criminals start to become more insane and over the top too.

The Heath Ledger version of the Joker in particular sees himself as a response to Batman, and Commissioner Gordon’s apparent widow at one point even blames Batman for the rise of the Joker, declaring that he brought this madness down upon Gotham.

In the season 9 two parter, The Magicians Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar, there is also ascene where Davros and the Doctor, two bitter archenemies, share a joke with each other and laugh, which Steven Moffat openly admitted was inspired by the famous ending of The Killing Joke.

See here.

Finally Steven Moffat also actually had a full blown superhero in the most recent Doctor Who Christmas Special. The episode was seen by many as a love letter to superhero movies (and by others as a cynical attempt to cash in on the superhero craze.)

As you can see whilst they haven’t been its only influence, Doctor Who has taken quite a bit from comic books over the years.

Of course its not been all the one way. There have been many examples of comic books, and their adaptations taking inspiration from Doctor Who as well.

Doctor Who’s Influence on Comic Books

Day of the Daleks vs Days of Future Past

Days of Future Past is arguably one of the most influential comic books of all time.

Its premise sees the mutant Kitty Pryde travel backwards in time to prevent the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly by Mystique’s brotherhood of mutants.

The murder of Kelly will kick off widespread anti mutant feeling that will lead to the creation of Sentinels, who in the future will virtually exterminate most of mutant kind, and eventually overrun humanity too.

In the future Kitty Pryde comes from what’s left of humanity is rounded up into internment camps by Sentinels.

Though Kitty is successful in stopping the assassination, it is left open as to whether or not she has truly erased the future she came from.

Days of Future Past has been adapted by various X-Men animated series over the years and was later adapted as the 2014 film X-Men Days of Future Past, where Wolverine took the place of Kitty Pryde (though it was still Kitty who sent Wolverine back in time.)

Day of the Daleks meanwhile sees a group of rebels travel into the past to assassinate Sir Reginald Styles.

Styles is an influential politician who will soon be gathering all of the worlds leaders together to try and negotiate peace (with the earth being on the brink of a Third World War.)

According to the future soldiers however, Styles is really a psychopath who will blow all of the world leaders, and himself up in a kamikaze attack.

This will kick off a Third World War which lead to the near extinction of mankind. The Daleks will then invade the earth and take over what little is left of humanity.

Just like the Sentinels, the Daleks round the unfortunate humans up into concentration camps, though a few humans are able to resist and even steal Dalek time travel technology, which they use to travel backwards in time and try and kill Styles before he can cause the war.

It turns out however in a twist that it wasn’t Styles who killed the other delegates. It was in fact one of the rebels from the future who blew up the house in an effort to kill Styles (whilst being unaware that the peace conference was going ahead.)

The Doctor is able to stop Styles and the other Delegates from being killed, despite the Daleks efforts to make sure their version of history isn’t changed.

The ending however still leaves it open that this terrifying version of the future may still happen.

As you can see there are a lot of very strong similarities between the two stories. Both revolve around a political assassination creating a war that wipes out most of humanity. In both cases the people carrying out the assassination ironically believe that they are doing the right thing. Mystique believes she is standing up for mutants rights, whilst the rebels from Day of the Daleks think they are changing history for the better.

After both world wars, horrifying machine creatures take over and round up the few unlucky survivors into concentration camps and turn them into a slave labour force.

Whilst the main heroes are able to change history so that this never happens, in both cases there is still a question mark hanging over the story’s conclusion about whether or not they have actually averted, or perhaps just postponed this nightmarish vision of the future.

John Byrne was a massive Doctor Who fan and even admitted that he took inspiration from Day of the Daleks. In fact he joked that he was lucky not to get sued.

In all fairness to Byrne though I wouldn’t call Days of Future Past a rip off. It covers the same beats as Day of the Daleks but ultimately it does establish its own identity.

Interestingly enough, both Day of the Daleks and the film version of Days of Future Past both show the horrible future being averted at first, but ultimately a different horrible future take its place.

Now this similarity I think was completely unintentional, but still according to Doctor Who lore, the Daleks will still invade and conquer the earth in the 22nd Century (as seen in the earlier story The Dalek Invasion of Earth.) Ultimately however it will be repelled eventually and humanity will rebuild, and survive to the end of time!

Still billions will be slaughtered in the 22nd century invasion and many thousands more will have to spend decades under the rule of the Daleks and there is nothing the Doctor can do about it. All he could do was make sure the version in Day of the Daleks where the monsters never lost was erased.

Similarly in the X-Men film series, whilst Wolverine is successful in erasing the time line where sentinels wiped out mutantkind, sadly in the new timeline, the humans are still able to create a drug which nearly exterminates all mutants anyway.

Its sad that in both cases the happy ending didn’t work out, nevertheless this does still tie into a big theme with both Doctor Who and the X-Men film series that certain events have to happen. Beast explains that time is like a river, and that you can throw a pepple into it and disrupt it, but it will always correct itself.

Similarly Doctor Who explores the idea of fixed points in time and space too.

With this in mind, all the Doctor and the X-Men could ever do was just lessen the horrors of the Dalek Invasion and the war between mutants and humanity.

Still at least in the version where they invade in the 22nd century, the Daleks lose, whilst in the Logan version of events whilst most mutants may have been killed, some do survive, and the public’s reaction to mutants is still positive, as demonstrated by the fact that the government had to create the drug in secret, and the fact that the X-Men comic is still popular. So perhaps one day when the mutants have recovered there will be a positive reconciliation.

The 5 Doctors vs The Secret Wars

The Secret Wars and the 5 Doctors are fairly similar stories. Both are not only big crossover events that bring together almost everybody important in either universe, but both also follow the same basic premise.

In the Secret Wars an all powerful being called the Beyonder whisks all of Marvels greatest heroes and villains away to a planet that he creates called Battleworld. He promises whichever side wins ultimate power over the galaxy forever, though Doctor Doom later steals his power and uses it to destroy the heroes before everything is undone and restored to how it once was.

The 5 Doctors meanwhile sees Borusa, the president of the Time Lords abduct all then incarnations of the Doctor, as well as many of his companions and place them in the Death Zone.

The Death Zone is an area of Gallifrey where the Time Lords would send monsters and aliens that they had abducted from all over time and space to fight to the death for their own amusement.

The Doctors are placed there in order to play the game of Rassilon for Borusa, so that he can win immortal life. In the end Borusa gets it, but it turns out to be a trap, set by Rassilon to catch power hungry dictators, and Borusa gains immortal life as a statue.

As you can see both stories follow a similar premise. Basically a big all powerful being abducts all of the main heroes and forces them to fight their worst enemies as part of a twisted game. In both cases one of the villains involved in the game, the Master and Doctor Doom (two already comparable characters.) Plan to steal the person who has brought them there’s power, though it doesn’t work out quite as well for the Master. I suppose though that’s just as well considering that whilst Doom became a god after stealing the Beyonder’s powers, the Master would have been turned into a statue.

Weird Happenings Organisation vs UNIT

In the Excalibur comic series there was a brilliant tribute to UNIT and the popular recurring character of Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart.

UNIT were an organisation set up to combat alien threats. They first appeared in the 1968 story The Invasion. The Doctor would primarily work with them when he was exiled to earth, but has continued to be associated with UNIT in the ensuing decades.

Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart was the head of UNIT and would continue to work with the Doctor long after he had left it, becoming the Doctors best friend.

Now in Exacalibur the Weird Happenings Organisation much like UNIT is a military, government organisation designed to track down paranormal threats.

Now not only does this organisation’s initial’s spell out W.H.O. but it was founded and headed by a woman named Aylsande Stuart and her twin brother Doctor Alistair Stuart!

Furthermore, Alistair is a mutant who regularly changes his appearance. His current form looks remarkably similar to Scottish actor David Tennant who played the Tenth Doctor, (the character of Alistair is also said to come from Scotland.)

Dr Who In Excalibur

Is that David Tennant or is that David Tennant?

This wasn’t the first time that Marvel has referenced the Brigadier to be fair. In an issue of Uncanny X-Men a character called Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart shows up to help battle the Juggernaut in Edinburgh.

Other Media Adaptations 

There have been various bits and pieces of Doctor Who’s influence across adaptations of Marvel and DC characters.

The Elf army in Thor: The Dark World resembled the Cybus Cybermen from Doctor Who (its worth noting that the main villain was played by Christopher Eccelston a former Doctor Who, though ironically his Doctor never met the Cybermen.)

The makers of the Arrowverse are big Doctor Who fans too and have included quite a few references to it and cast various actors from the new Doctor Who in prominent roles. Alex Kingston best known as River Song plays Dinah Lance on Arrow, whilst John Barrowman aka Captain Jack famously plays arch villain Malcolm Merlyn.

Finally Arthur Darvill who played former Doctor Who companion Rory Williams plays Rip Hunter in the series Legends of Tomorrow.

Rip Hunter is also re-imagined as a more Doctor like character for Legends of Tomorrow as well. Here he is a renegade from a group of people called Time Masters, whose mission is to preserve the time line and not interfere, but are later revealed to have more shady motives.

In the original comics Rip was just a scientist who had invented a time machine, and though a similar organisation called the Linear Men were introduced in the 90’s, the original Rip did not originate from them (though he did join them briefly before leaving them.) They were also less significant and more colourful in appearance.

You can tell the writers intended to create a Doctor/Time Lord dynamic between Rip and the Time Masters.

Rip was re-imagined as being a renegade who stole a time ship from them just like the Doctor did with the Time Lords and the TARDIS. Also the Time Masters are portrayed as being more uptight custodians who claim to be working for a greater good, but are actually responsible for a catastrophe in earth’s future, just like the Time Lords in Trial of a Time Lord when they sent the earth through space.

The original Linear Men.

The version from Legends of Tomorrow who as you can see have more of a Time Lord look to them. IE dusty, pompous robed old conservatives whose hands aren’t nearly as clean as they’d like you to believe.

Finally Rip’s costume was also based somewhat on the Tenth Doctors look as well.

doctor who rip hunter coats Doctor Who vs. Rip Hunter: Theyre not the same!


As you can see there is quite a bit of overlap between Doctor Who and Comic Books in terms of ideas and fans.

Whilst Doctor Who may be a television series, he is a comic book character in terms of having an incredibly long life, a colourful rogues gallery, and fantastic powers.

With this in mind its not so surprising that he has enjoyed such incredible success as a comic book character too.

Thanks for reading.



Why Wolverine is The Most Popular X-Man

Wolverine is without question the most popular and iconic member of the Marvel superhero team the X-Men.

He has appeared in every single form of other media that the team has, from films, to animated series, to video games and has carried both his own spin off comic and film series.

In this article I am going to explore why this one particular X-Man stands out from the rest in a more objective way.

He’s Not Too Powerful

Who would have thought that was his weakness.

I think that sometimes a problem with the X-Men is that their powers tend to be too great.

Storm can summon up the lightening, Professor Xavier can take control of people’s minds, Nightcrawler can teleport in at will, and Cyclops can blast people from several feet away. It can be hard to have characters like that ever be in any danger.

Wolverine meanwhile I feel has the right balance. He is not so weak that he can’t fight, but at the same time he can’t just zap his opponents from a distance or teleport away any time someone tries to hurt him. .

Writers will therefore tend to focus on Wolverine more than other characters as its easier to have him be involved in exciting fight scenes. With Storm for instance against an enemy like Sabretooth, either he will get the drop on her and corner her and then she has no chance, or she will see him coming and just zap him.

Also the fact that Wolverine can heal means the writers can have a lot more fun in giving him all kinds of gruesome injuries and he can recover from them, which in one case included having his skeleton ripped out!

At least he wasn’t covered in scorpions this time.

Another advantage of Wolverine’s healing factor is that for people who don’t like Wolverine they can enjoy watching him get shredded, beaten, crushed, his bones broken, over and over again. However for those of us who like Wolverine, we also enjoy watching him get shredded, beaten, crushed, his bones broken over and over again, as he always comes back.

He Has A More Mysterious Backstory

Due to being 150 years old, Wolverine naturally has a much longer backstory to explore than the rest of the team.

The fact that when we first meet him very little of his past is known has also I think made him an attractive characters to both fans and writers alike.

There were so many interesting things to explore when we first get to know Wolverine. How old is he? How did the adamantium get coated to his bones? Why doesn’t he remember his past? Why do he and Sabretooth hate each other so much?

That’s not to say that other members of the team don’t have interesting backstories either. Indeed I think the X-Men as a whole are very well fleshed out characters.

However in Wolverine’s case aspects of his origin can serve as the basis for entire films in their own right, such as the weapon X program which served as the basis for much of X2 and the first Wolverine film.

Its hard to imagine Scott Summers origin being strong enough to carry a film. In X-Men Apocalypse for instance his origin is really only a minor part at the start and then that’s that. He’s joined the team and really is no different to how he is later.

His Feud with Sabretooth

Wolverine is one of the few X-Men alongside Charles Xavier himself who has his own personal archenemy, Sabretooth.

The Wolverine/Sabretooth feud is one of the most brutal in all of comic books, and its also one of the most mysterious. For many years we didn’t even know why these two always hated each other so much, with Sabretooth being suspected of being everything from Wolverine’s brother to his father (though both of these theories were recently debunked).

The fact that their past together is so mysterious is a large part of why it has been so fascinating. What could have provoked such hatred between the two men? Why is Sabretooth so desperate to prove he is superior to Logan.

This along with the unanswered questions about Logan’s long, 100 year past really I think made him more of a natural to star in his own solo series.

Taken out of context, this sounds like a rather odd thing to want do to Sabretooth bub!

Visually He Is Stunning

Wolverine’s design is brilliant in my opinion. On the one hand its not just a monster or a weird animal man like say Nightcrawler, but on the other he is not just an ordinary human with a funny costume. Well okay he does have a funny costume but still his civilian look is part man, part animal and even part machine. There are certain animal characteristics about his looks. Some big like having claws, some subtle like his excess hair, elongated upper canines. At the same time however the fact that the claws are metal add a whole new aspect to his appearance.

The first time you see the character you wonder if he is part machine underneath? The way the Claws can retract back into his body makes it seem like he isn’t completely flesh and blood. It draws you in more than say Storms look and makes you want to know the story behind it.

There is also an element of body horror in his look too the way the knives come bursting from under his skin.

On the one hand it can be a bit uncomfortable to watch, but at the same time, the claws are so striking they draw you in.

He Has A More Complicated Relationship With The Rest Of The Team

I can’t believe they gave up on him so quickly? Then again Magneto does seem to be quite sensitive to criticism.

I think audiences are always drawn to the outsider in any group. You naturally want to know why it is they don’t fit in. Also I think that they often help to stop the other characters from getting on too well with each other.

However somewhat paradoxically whilst Wolverine provides the necessary conflict within the group, at the same time I sometimes feel that being a member of the X-Men means more to Wolverine than the others. He is a loner by nature who has never really fitted in anywhere, but among the X-Men he ironically does find a similar group of outcasts and outsiders that he can belong with. Even though he’ll rarely admit it; the gang mean everything to him which makes his dynamic with them a little bit more interesting to me than just the usual loner who looks down on the rest. Wolverine is at odds with yet dependent on them at the same time.

I think the films did a good job in capturing Logan’s dynamic with the group.

In the first entry of the series, he scoffs at the idea of joining the team and seems to go out of his way to antagonise them. Threatening Cyclops, calling Charles “wheels” etc.

However he stays with them more out of practicality than anything else and soon finds himself developing close relationships with many of the other X-Men. He falls in love with Jean, he comes to see Professor X as a mentor figure, he develops a father/daughter relationship with Rogue, a friendship with Storm. Even with Scott his rival, he develops something of a grudging respect for him. I always quite liked the scene in Days of Future Past where he tells Scott sincerely that he is pleased to see him again.

I think my favourite moment however is in Days of Future Past when he asks a young Xavier to make sure he brings the future X-Men together. Even though the team would endure great loss and heartache (Wolverine arguably most of all as he ends up having to murder the woman he loves!) Wolverine still regards his time with them as being the best and most worthwhile years in his entire life. They were the only people he ever really felt accepted among completely and so despite the problems he may have had with some members like Scott (who he still asks Xavier to recruit.) He honestly wouldn’t want to lose his time with the X-Men for anything, as they were the ones who helped him to rediscover his past, give his life a purpose, and in some ways redeem him.

Thus Wolverine’s dynamic with the others is somewhat more complex.

Hugh Jackman’s Performance

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is in my and many other people’s opinions one of the all time greatest performances from any actor as a comic book character.

I’d say that Jackman is as good as Wolverine as Sean Connery or Roger Moore were as James Bond. Like those actors he made the role his own. He captured all aspects of Wolverine’s persona. He was badass, he was cocky, he was sarcastic, all the right superficial things we love Wolverine for. But Jackman also managed to capture the characters more vulnerable and caring side in his relationships with Rogue, Jean and Charles.

His Wolverine was the cool guy that we all wanted to be, but he also seemed like a real person rather than just a badass, quip spouting, one note character.

Jackman also I think really threw himself into the role. His enthusiasm for playing the character has remained just as strong for close to 20 years.

Whilst Wolverine was always a fan favourite the fact that the actor they cast for him was the real stand out among the original X-Men cast. (Which was already a stellar cast.) Obviously made him the most popular among general audiences too which in turn to led him taking over the series.


In conclusion you can see why even if he isn’t your personal favourite Wolverine does have a certain appeal that other characters don’t.

His dark mysterious past, his feud with Sabretooth, his complicated relationship with his team mates and the fact that he has been brought to life so successfully on screen have all made him the most popular character.

Of course being a badass with cool metal claws doesn’t hurt either.

Why I Prefer DC to Marvel

DC and Marvel comics have between them produced not only among the most iconic comic book characters of all time but among the most recognisable fictional characters.

The impact characters like Batman, Superman and Spider-Man have had on popular culture could almost be considered a superhuman feat itself!

However which is superior Marvel or DC? Well I obviously can’t answer that objectively as no one can so instead I am going to offer up my reasons as to why I feel that DC is superior to Marvel.

Please feel free to tell me who you prefer in the comments below and also what you think of my points in favour of DC. All opinions are welcome.

1/ DC has more varied heroes

As much as I like the Marvel characters I think its true that Marvel does tend to often make its most recognisable heroes at least, mutants.

Take a look at Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Daredevil, the Incredible Hulk, Ant Man, even Captain America. They are all mutants in some way.

Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Daredevil are all the result of an accident involving radiation of some kind. The X-Men meanwhile are created from a natural mutation whilst Captain America and Ant Man are created from an experiment.

Obviously not all of Marvel’s heroes follow this formula. Characters like Thor, the Silver Surfer and Iron Man don’t fit the mutant pattern. It would also be wrong to say that Marvels characters are all similar in terms of their characterisation.

Still as so many of them are the result of a scientific accident then a lot of them do tend to explore the same basic idea of science gone wrong. Many of their heroes are scientific geniuses too like Reed Richards, Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Professor X etc.

DC comics characters meanwhile I feel have a greater variety to them in terms of their origins and genre’s.

Look at the main DC rooster and you will see that they are all vastly different.

Batman is like a weird cross between Sherlock Holmes and Dracula. He is an ordinary human with no powers. His series also explores themes such as revenge and incorporates elements of Gothic and horror fiction, detective stories, and even at certain points gritty crime dramas.

Batman as a hero is a very quiet, reserved, mysterious and dark character. He is motivated by a tragic event in his past. Later stories even hint that he himself is mentally unbalanced!

Superman meanwhile in terms of powers and abilities is virtually a god. He is also an alien from outer space who battles gigantic robots, mutant dinosaurs, alien tyrants, and geniuses who can invent time machines!

His stories naturally draw on science fiction stories for inspiration instead. Superman as a character is also a well adjusted, happy, positive character who fights because he thinks it is the right thing to do.

Wonder Woman is a fantastical character. She is created by the Greek Gods and naturally her stories draw on old Greco/Roman myths for inspiration instead. Wonder Woman also having spent her entire life on an island separated from the rest of the world, is very much a stranger in a strange land type of a character.

The Flash is much like the majority of Marvel heroes a mutant and thus can deal with the science gone wrong like they do.

The various Green Lantern’s are like an odd mix of fantasy and sci fi. He is someone who has been gifted with a power ring by the Green Lantern Corp. A kind of interplanetary police force made up of aliens from across the entire universe.

Aquaman is a hero from under the ocean and thus completely divorced from the outside world like Batman, Superman and the Flash who still live in cities.

As you can see its not easy to lump all of DC’s main heroes together into a category of just being mutants. Some are mutants, some are ordinary people, some are greek gods, some are men from beneath the sea, some are aliens from outer space!

I feel this makes it more interesting when DC’s heroes meet. When the Hulk and Spider-Men meet its exciting yes, but when Batman and Superman meet it really does feel like two whole worlds clashing.

You have one hero who deals with purely evil humans, relies solely on gadgets, deductive skills, who is motivated by personal vengeance, operates in the dark of night and uses fear, and then we have one hero who is an alien from outer space with limitless power, who is used to fighting gods and monsters and who is motivated purely by the desire to do the right thing.

How would these two characters work together? One is an alien and might challenge everything the other one ever thought? One might see the other one as less of a hero because of his lack of powers? Superman might also clash with Batman’s more violent methods and see him as bitter and twisted whilst Batman might see Superman as too soft?

Its not just simply a case of two heroes with different powers meeting. It runs much deeper than that.

Thus for all of these reasons I feel that DC has a more varied rooster of heroes.

DC has more varied settings

A problem I have with Marvel is that most of its heroes live in New York. Now not only do I find this somewhat repetitive but it also does lead to a bit of a problem in that technically you shouldn’t be able to walk 5 feet in New York without bumping into a superhero. Even just robbing a bank should bring in Spider-Man, Daredevil, X-Men, and the Fantastic Four!

DC meanwhile tends to give each super hero their own city to operate in. With Batman we have Gotham, a dark, gloomy, atmospheric city filled with big Gothic cathedrals, areas that are just complete slums, dark, horrible, little alleyways etc.

Metropolis on the other hand is the complete opposite of Gotham. Its bright, its buildings look futuristic, it looks like a happy, nice place to live.

Both cities almost reflect the heroes who live in them’s personality’s. Gotham is broken and damaged like Batman, whilst Metroplis, is bright, advanced and sunny like Supes himself.

Personally I find it more interesting to actually create almost a whole world for a hero to inhabit rather than simply dumping them in a real city.

Its heroes origins often make more sense

Now a problem I think that arises from so many Marvel heroes being accidents caused by radiation is that technically there should be more than one version of them.

For instance Doctor Doom knows that flying through those cosmic rays created the Fantastic Four right? So why doesn’t he just send his own spaceship up there and gain the Fantastic Furs powers or similar super powers?

Similarly what happened to the Spider that bit Peter Parker? Did it bite anyone else, in which case there should be another Spider-Man? Also even if that Spider died then couldn’t the radiation that created it have created another one? Its not so unreasonable to assume another Spider would fall into its light and mutate it the way the previous one was mutated.

The Hulk’s origin meanwhile is completely nonsensical. Leaving aside the fact that being hit by an Gamma bomb should have killed him, what kind of a bomb not only can’t kill one human, but actually transforms them into an unstoppable killing machine! Imagine if the USA had dropped this bomb on one of their enemies cities. They’d give their enemy an army of the most unstoppable monsters to use against them. Worse still is when you consider that this bomb was designed by one of the greatest minds on earth. Seems to me Doctor Banner’s intelligence is overrated if he designed a weapon that would have made his enemies unbeatable!

Batman’s origins make sense. He is traumatized by what happened to his parents and vows to make sure that that will never happen again. Its a specific event that happened to him and it all depends on how he himself reacts to it.

Superman meanwhile is the last of his kind (until Supergirl and Zod show up at least) so that explains why there aren’t more supermen out there. Supes is the only Kryptonian on earth for the most part so therefore no one will ever have the power he does.

Wonder Woman meanwhile depending on her origins is either the only Amazon to leave her island or a special warrior created by the gods, so again there is no one like her.

The Green Lanterns meanwhile are not unique hence why there have been more than one version of them, Jon Stewart, Hal Jordan, Kyle Raynor etc.

With many of the DC comics characters I feel there are less holes in their origins.


I prefer DC’s Multiverse formula to the floating timeline utilized by Marvel

DC and Marvel have run for many decades and naturally their characters have not aged Nobody wants to see a 70 year old overweight Batman try and squeeze into his tights or an OAP Spider-Man battle arthritis.

Thus all of our heroes are kept reasonably young and DC and Marvel have come up with two different ways of doing this.

Marvel simply ignores the fact that many decades have gone by. Much like the characters in the Simpsons, Marvels heroes haven’t aged at all or at least aged very slowly as the decades have gone by. This process is referred to as a floating timeline and I don’t think it works quite as well in a serious storyline. Its fine for comedy, hell if anything it can add to the comedy, but in Marvel’s case it sadly makes it seem somewhat silly.

Peter Parker has been 28 now since about 1975. Things like the death of John Lennon, the fall of the Berlin wall, 9/11, the war in Iraq, have all happened in about one year in the Marvel universe. Its even worse for Marvel as a large part of Marvel’s appeal is that it’s heroes for all the fantastical, science fiction elements live in a world that is like our own and deal with everyday problems.

Its odd thinking that stories in the 70’s only happened at most a few years if even that away from stories in 2016 when obviously the world around them has changed so much. Why didn’t Peter Parker have a mobile phone in stories set in 1969 for example? Also how come the Punisher and Tony Stark are still young men in 2016 despite being Vietnam war veterans? Magneto who was a holocaust survivor should be a lot older than he is now.

DC got round this by revealing that all of their stories from the 30’s-mid 50’s took place in an alternate universe to the stories from the 60’s-mid 80’s.

This wasn’t simply a reboot however. We actually had the Flash from the 60’s-80’s travel to the universe of the Flash from the 30’s-50’s and the two of them work together.

Part of the reason DC introduced this multiverse concept was also to explain why there were different versions of heroes such as the Flash. In the 1950’s the company hit financial troubles and most of their series including those starring heroes such as the Flash and Hawkman were cancelled. The big three, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman continued to run throughout the decade of course. During the 1960’s DC revived many of their heroes such as the Flash and Hawkman.

These versions of those characters however were completely different. They had different, origins, in some cases different powers, and different identities. The original Flash was Jay Garrick, the then modern Flash was Barry Allen.

The only problem with this was Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman who had run right the way through had had crossovers with both the old and the new versions of heroes like the Flash and Hawkman.

Thus the alternate universe idea was dreamed up to explain this continuity blip more than anything else. All of the stories with the Jay Garrick Flash took place on Earth 2 which had its own version of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman who were the versions we saw from the 30’s to the 50’s, whilst the stories with Barry Allen took place on Earth 1. Its kind of confusing the way the modern earth was called Earth 1, but that’s only because Barry Allen discovered Jay Garrick’s earth first.

The comic that establishes the DC comics from the 30’s-50’s take place in an alternate universe to those from the 60’s-80s, Flash of Two Earth’s.

It was really a bonus that the alternate universe also explained why the characters hadn’t aged. When we saw the Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman of Earth 2 they had all aged accordingly. The Superman and Batman who had been around during World War 2 were now old men on earth 2. Other continuity errors were explained away this way too.

The alternate universe explanation I felt was a genius idea that not only got round the heroes not ageing problem as well as some big continuity issues, but it also opened up new and exciting story possibilities that weren’t available to Marvel.

For instance DC were actually able to finish their characters from the 30’s-50’s stories. That’s another thing about the floating timeline is that it does feel like nothing can ever change. They can’t for instance bring Spider-Man’s story to a close and kill him off. Okay he has been killed off in the past, same with Captain America, but the point is they aren’t going to stay dead are they? They aren’t going to age, retire, settle down with children because if they do then that’s that no more series.

In DC meanwhile the Batman from Earth 2 eventually married a reformed Catwoman and the two had a daughter named Helena who after her mother was killed by criminals became a costumed hero called The Huntress.

The earth 2 Batman would later die in battle with a powerful wizard. Remember this wasn’t any old Batman, this was the Batman who had been in every Batman comic from the 30’s-50’s. This was my grandfather’s Batman! Thus his death within the context of the story was quite a big deal.

His daughter the Huntress would later travel to Earth one where she would meet its version of her father whom she came to call Uncle Bruce.

We also got to see the earth one and two versions of Superman and Wonder Woman meet too, with the two versions of Wonder Woman developing the closest relationship with one another.

There were regular crossovers between the Justice Society of America the original superhero team from the Second World War and the Justice League of America the more modern superhero team.

Different versions of villains would even meet. The Lex Luthor of Earth 2 who had hair and was a more openly vicious, savage and sadistic character would work along side his bald, more cerebral earth 1 counterpart and an evil version of Superman from earth 3 to try and conquer earth 3..

The multiverse concept was sadly written out of DC in 1985 in the story Crisis on Infinite Earth’s which saw nearly every universe be destroyed by a powerful being called the Anti monitor. The few surviving universes were then merged into one universe called New Earth. All stories post 1985 took place on New Earth and DC thus sadly adopted the floating time line idea too. Fortunately the multiverse was recently restored in all its glory.

I’ve always found it lots of fun seeing the Superman from the 30’s, my grandad’s Superman with white hair fighting the Superman of the 21st century in Final Crisis. To me it was just simply a better idea than pretending the characters don’t age.


For all of these reasons I prefer DC to Marvel. I certainly don’t hate Marvel and I will admit I do think Marvel did some things better than DC.

I think that Marvel were better at making their heroes more relatable than DC. Also I think Marvel generally do teams of heroes better than DC. I do love the Justice League but ultimately I think that the X-Men, Fantastic Four and the Avengers are more interesting than the Teen Titans or the Justice Society.

Also I think Marvel has a better track record at making films. In all fairness I think the Batman movies are better than any Marvel film (except for the X-Men), but Marvel still has the better track record simply because they haven’t put all the focus on just two characters. Hell Marvel have been able to bring completely obscure series like Guardians of the Galaxy to the big screen.

DC haven’t to date made a solo film about their third most famous character Wonder Woman and so for me Marvel deserves more credit for not just focusing on two bloody characters all the time!

Overall DC and Marvel have produced some of the finest characters in the history of sci fi and fantasy and the genre’s would surely be a poorer place without them. But in my opinion DC is just that little bit better than Marvel. For the record though my second favourite hero is Spider-Man, but Batman is still my all time favourite.


Marvel Animated Universe Review

Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was thrilling millions of movie goers around the world and breaking box office records the Marvel Animated Universe was the only place comic book fans could see their favourite Marvel characters interact with each other outside of the comic books.

The Marvel Animated Universe was not the same as the DC Animated Universe in the sense that the numerous series that made it up were not produced by one creative team. Instead they were all made by different producers and writers and therefore don’t really follow a strict linear continuity or timeline like the DCAU or indeed the MCU.

They were simply a series of stand alone Marvel cartoons that were linked by a couple of crossovers. Still as these crossovers did establish the series as taking place within the same canon then the MAU is ultimately as legitimate a shared continuity as the DCAU or the MCU for that matter.

Its worth noting that the MAU is not the only attempt to create an animated shared universe based on Marvel comics. There have been other more recent Marvel animated universes, but this version is currently the longest and certainly the most famous.

Many of the MAU series had a significant influence on subsequent live action versions of Marvel characters and even the comic books themselves.

X-Men The Animated Series 

One of the most iconic openings to any animated series of the 90’s.

Premiering in 1992 this series was arguably the most faithful adaptation of X-Men in any form of media. It managed to incorporate many major storylines from the comic books such as the Phoenix saga, Days of Future Past and the Phalanax Covenant.

X-Men was also the first successful attempt at producing an animated series based on the characters. Previously there been an attempt to produce a series based on the X-Men in 1989, but the pilot called Pryde of the X-Men was not picked up. The pilot is not considered canon to X-Men tas or the Marvel animated universe

What could have been. Though this never lead to a series this version of the X-Men would appear in Konami’s X-Men Arcade game.

Much like Batman the animated series, X-Men treated its subject matter seriously and benefited from a strong cast and animation.

Indeed in many ways I think this series was actually the best animated of all the MAU series as it didn’t constantly reuse the same shots like Spider-Man did. I also preferred the designs of the characters to those in series like Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man.

Of all the voices for the show I think Cathal J Dodd who voiced Wolverine was the best. Its like Mark Hamill as the Joker, I just hear his voice whenever I read a Wolverine comic. There’s just something about his voice that fits that character better than anyone else which is no mean feat considering how much I love Hugh Jackman’s portrayal.

X-Men along with Batman are really the two series that kicked off the craze of animated superhero series in the 90’s. X-Men was also the longest running Marvel animated universe series too running for 5 seasons.

Whilst X-Men holds up as an enjoyable well made cartoon in its own right, I think it could get a bit too repetitive. The Gambit/Rogue romance though popular among fans left me cold because it was basically just the same scene of Gambit telling Rogue he wanted to kiss her and her saying he would die if he did for about 5 years!

Still overall after the films this is definitely the best version of the X-Men and it still holds up today over twenty years on as a classic of the genre.


The theme song for this series was composed and sung by Joe Perry of Aerosmith fame. The Symbiote episode would feature Spider-Man briefly taking the form of “that guy” from Aerosmith as a tribute.

The second longest running MAU show and until the Ultimate Spider-Man surpassed it in 2015 over 20 years later the longest running animated series based on Spider-Man.

According to recent interviews with the shows producer John Semper the series contrary to popular belief was not more heavily censored than any other cartoon from that time.

Still I would argue that Spider-Man suffered to a greater extent than many of its contemporaries simply due to the fact that the source material it was adapting was much more adult.

The original Spider-Man comic books featured things like people being tortured and killed by psychotic villains like Carnage, Gwen Stacy being hurled off of a bridge to her death by the Green Goblin, Venom torturing Black Cat by smashing her face into a wall and breaking her nose, and Spider-Man beating his enemies like the Green Goblin, Doc Ock and the Kingpin almost to death. One story even dealt with the death of Peter Parker’s infant child!

Thus whilst Spider-Man may not have been more censored than any other cartoon from that time, the standard restrictions that were placed upon it would still have made it more difficult for the makers of the series to adapt its stories properly.

In Spider-Man the animated series the main character wasn’t allowed to punch anyone. Its fight scenes were often just Spider-Man dodging people’s attacks or getting grabbed in a bear hug by his enemies for a few seconds before getting free.

Similarly not only was no one allowed to die, but the show wasn’t even allowed to mention the word death or kill. This led to some humorous lines of dialogue such as Mary Jane worrying about her bad dream being a premonition of her destruction!

The fact that no one could die meant that Gwen Stacy could not appear as a regular as the character in the comic books was killed off. Though despite this the character did still make a cameo in the final episode as the girlfriend of an alternate version of Peter Parker which actually marked the characters debut outside of the comic books.

Mary Jane ended up taking Gwen’s place in the Death of Gwen storyline and rather than die she was simply lost in another universe.

Carnage meanwhile whilst a vicious serial killer in the comic books was simply depicted as a madman (though his past as a serial killer is alluded to “Kasady’s not a man, he’s a monster he’s done stuff even the post wouldn’t print”) Also rather than kill his victims Carnage simply drains people’s souls from their bodies which puts them in a comatose state. After Carnage is defeated all of the souls are returned to their own bodies and they are perfectly fine.

In addition to the censorship problems the show’s budget was also somewhat more limited and as a result its animation could be sloppy at certain times.

It tended to reuse many of the same shots and scenes from episode to episode even if the background’s or continuity didn’t match.

Despite these problems however Spider-Man TAS is still a classic and a very important series overall.

It had a very strong cast. Christopher Daniel Barnes is probably my favourite Spider-Man. I think he really captured the characters humour more than many other actors which is one of the most important parts of the character.

Added to that the series also benefited from having Roscoe Lee Brown as the Kingpin of crime. His rich, velvety voice was just perfect for the suave, debonair villain, whilst acclaimed voice actors Neil Ross, Hank Azaria, Mark Hamill and David Warner also made up the show’s cast as the Green Goblin, Venom, the Hobgoblin and Doctor Landon respectively.

The show was also able to condense many of the greatest Spider-Man storylines quite effectively despite the limitations of the censors such as the Alien costume saga, the death of Gwen Stacy and the mutation disease arc.

Indeed many subsequent adaptations of Spider-Man including the Sam Raimi film series borrowed elements, lines of dialogue and even entire scenes from this series.

The series also had an influence on the comic books themselves.

In fact I’d go as far as to say that this was probably the most influential Marvel based animated series of all time and as we will explore later in the article most of the MAU’s influence comes solely from this show.

Spider-Man TAS finished in 1998 after five seasons. Its end came about not due to low ratings as it was consistently popular throughout its run, but due to a dispute between the producer Avi Arad and the head of Fox kids, Margaret Loesch.

It was followed by a loose sequel Spider Man Unlimited which finished after one series and two video games Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 both for the Sony Playstation in 2000 and 2001 respectively.

Fantastic Four

The Fantastic Four summed up in a cheesy little song

One of the more overlooked Marvel cartoons, this series which only lasted for 2 years suffered from having a terrible first season that it was never really able to recover from.

Its a shame as the second series was excellent and I feel had it been allowed to continue then it could have been every bit as good as Spider-Man or X-Men as like them it treated its subject matter seriously, and was faithful to the source material whilst at the same time adding new twists to the lore. It also had a brilliant cast too.

Definitely the biggest improvement from series one to two was the casting of Simon Templeman as the Fantastic Four’s archenemy Doctor Doom!

Doom in the first series was handled very badly. He was portrayed as a one note, bland, even somewhat incompetent villain whose design made him look like the stay puff Marshmallow man or the Michellin man.

Doom’s season 1 design

Also his voice just didn’t seem to fit. To be fair they actually did get good voice actors for Doom in season 1, John Vernon and Neil Ross, but their performances whilst not bad didn’t really make much of an impact. I actually have a hard time telling them apart. Unless I look online I can’t tell which actor did which episode.

In season 2 everything about Doom was improved. His design was much better, his characterisation was spot on, and Simon Templeman was just perfect. He captured the characters sneering arrogance and petty nature just superbly. Though some felt that his accent was off. Templeman simply used his natural English accent for the role I still feel that his performance as Doom was the definitive one.

Templeman’s Doom is arguably the only reason this show is even remembered at all. Whilst the series may not be held in that high regard Templeman’s Doom is still very popular among fans and is at the very least often regarded as one of the best adaptations of the character.

An example of Templeman’s enduring popularity as Doom.

Sadly due to its short run and the fact that its first series is completely naff I am afraid I can’t quite rank this series as a classic like Spider-Man or X-Men. Its second series is definitely above average and had it been given a third series then I think it would have been a classic, but as it stands now its sadly more a case of wasted potential.


I would definitely recommend this series in spite of its faults. The ropey first season is still good for a few laughs at least. Where else are you going to see the Human Torch rap for instance?

I remember once seeing a critic comment that this scene was more horrifying than watching Robin shoot the Joker in Return of the Joker.

The Incredible Hulk

Quite an intro. Shame its so overlooked.

Much like the Fantastic Four series this only lasted for just two years. Unlike the FF cartoon however this series was actually better in its first series than its second.

Its first series was a fairly faithful adaptation of the Hulk, but sadly by season 2 the character of the She Hulk came to completely dominate the series.

Now I am a massive fan of She Hulk. Dan Slott’s run on She Hulk in particular is fabulous.

I actually prefer She Hulk to regular Hulk. I find that regular Hulk stories tend to be a bit more samey than She Hulk.

Sadly however in this series She Hulk to start with is portrayed as an unbearably smug character who never stops going on about how fabulous she is and she steals the limelight too much from the regular Hulk. Whilst I prefer her as a character at the end of the day its his show. Really She Hulk should have been given her own series as she is too big a character to just be a side character in another heroes show. Either she will sideline him or she will get sidelined.

Its still a fun series overall though and is worth it alone for Mark Hamill’s performance as Gargoyle.

Iron Man

Possibly the blandest opening to any of the MAU series.

Another short lived MAU series. I must confess this is probably my least favourite of all the main MAU series. I will say though that I have never been an Iron Man fan at all so naturally my enthusiasm for this character was never that big to begin with. Its not that I dislike Iron Man or anything I have just never really had an interest in it and I haven’t ever read even a single Iron Man comic book in my life.

Still this was a fun show and I must admit even though I’m not an Iron Man fan even I thought this was a much better version of Iron Man’s archenemy the Mandarin than the version the MCU gave us in Iron Man 3.

Although one problem with this version of the Mandarin is that he is green. Apparently this was because the studio was scared that having an Asian villain would appear racist so they coloured him green to make him appear inhuman.

Unfortunately turning him green just led to other unfortunate implications.

Much like the Fantastic Four it was generally agreed by fans and critics alike that the first season was much poorer than the second and considerably less faithful to the comic books.

Crossover Episodes

In many ways these are the episodes that created the Marvel Animated Universe as these are the episodes that linked them all together in the one canon.

Spider-Man/ The Mutant Agenda/ The Mutant’s Revenge

One of the best crossover episodes this was also the first one that firmly linked Spider-Man and X-Men together. It featured the entire cast from the X-Men animated series, though their designs were somewhat changed in order to mesh with Spider-Man’s animated style, which in some cases was actually an improvement ironically such as with Gambit’s.

The premise for this story see’s Spider-Man go to Professor Xavier the worlds leading expert on mutations hoping that he can cure his mutation disease. Spider-Man had been warned by Doctor Curt Connors that the radioactive spider bite that gave him his powers in the first place was now mutating his body further to the point where he would turn into something that wasn’t even human.

Spider-Man is told by Professor X that he can’t cure him of his mutation as its his job to help Mutants accept who they are. Spider-Man angrily leaves and Beast chases him down hoping that he can help him. Spider-Man refuses Beasts offer of help and Beast is later captured by Doctor Herbert Landon.

Landon is one of the worlds leading experts on mutations and has apparently found a cure, but little does anyone know that Landon is in fact working for the Kingpin who is funding all of his research to create an army of loyal Mutant slaves for him.

It is revealed however that even the Kingpin is unaware of Landon’s true motives. Landon is actually planning to create a plague that will exterminate all mutants around the world and thus purify humanity in his mind once again. He plans to use Beast who was an old friend of Landon’s as a test subject. Landon however is actually being blackmailed by the Hobgoblin who knows what he is planning and threatens to reveal it to everyone unless he pays him.

The Hobgoblin has absolutely no problem with Landon planning to murder every mutant just so long as he pays him to keep quiet. Spider-Man soon runs into Wolverine who having traced Beasts scent to where he last was before he was captured, thinks Spider-Man who was talking to him shortly before he was snatched is in on it. Spider-Man manages to convince him that he had nothing to do with it and the two team up to investigate Landon’s facility, with Spider-Man having suspected there is more to him than meets the eye after Hobgoblin attacked Landon in public.

The two are able to free Beast and battle both the Hobgoblin and Landon. Over the course of the fight Landon falls into his own experiment and mutates into a gigantic creature, but fortunately the X-Men and Spider-Man working together are able to stop him.

Its really hard to fault this episode as just about everything in it works. The X-Men they choose to have the most screen time, Beast and Wolverine work the best for this story. Beast who has taken on a less human appearance can empathise with what Spider-Man whose mutation will make him something other than human is going through. Wolverine meanwhile though it is true he is overused, he is nevertheless still the perfect foil for Spider-Man.

There are many reasons that those two have always worked well together. They are both loners in many ways yet have very different methods of doing things. Spider-Man on the surface seems somewhat more jokey and light hearted, whilst Wolverine is somewhat dour and humourless and very gruff. Wolverine is also willing to kill whilst Spider-Man obviously possess a very strong moral code and finally Wolverine is a much older character too.

He is over 100 years old, has travelled the world and is a somewhat weary and cynical character whilst Spider-Man in contrast is a teenager or in his early twenties, so they’re two very different yet two very strong characters who can play off of one another and clash in many different and exciting ways . Also its always funny watching the sarcastic Spider-Man wind up the short fused Wolverine too.

I also like the way this crossover actually has a proper reason for Spider-Man and the X-Men to meet. They don’t just happen to randomly bump into one another. Spider-Man seeks Xavier out to help him with his mutation problem and though Xavier ultimately is unable to help him, its rather touching at the end when Wolverine tells Spider-Man that no matter what problems he has, he and the X-Men will always be his friends who’ll make sure he doesn’t have to go through them alone.

Finally this story also benefits from having excellent villains too. The Hobgoblin is voiced by Mark Hamill whilst Doctor Landon is voiced by David Warner.

Hamill and Warner have a special place in the hearts of those of us who grew up in the 90’s as they were responsible for the voices of so many villains in our favourite cartoons. By far and away Hamill’s most famous villainous role was as the Joker in Batman TAS whilst Warners was as Ra’s Al Ghul from Batman TAS.

So this episode not only has Spider-Man and the X-Men but the Joker and Ra’s Al Ghul too!

I suppose you could also look at Hamill and Warner being in this together as yet another crossover. Doctor Who and Star Wars. Mark Hamill obviously played Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy and is set to reprise the role in the upcoming sequel series. David Warner meanwhile played the Doctor in two Doctor Who Unbound Audio stories. Doctor Who Unbound for those of you unfamiliar with it is an audio series that revolves around alternate versions of the Doctor, similar to Marvel’s What If series. Warner played an alternate third Doctor.

Thus Landon vs Hobgoblin is technically The Doctor vs Luke.

Time Lord vs Jedi who wins?

Both Hamill and Warner are in their elements as these villains with the Hobgoblin being the perfect crazy maniacal villain like the Joker and Landon being the perfect charming, cold, ruthless villain like Ghul. Its sad and surprising that this is one of the few times Warner and Hamill have been able to play off of one another.

Overall this is possibly the best crossover episode and a classic all around.


Spider-Man/Venom Returns/Carnage

This was not the second time Spider-Man met another Marvel hero. In between this and the X-Men two parter Spidey had run ins with the Punisher, Blade, Daredevil and Doctor Strange, but since none of them had their own series within the MAU then I only going to look at this one.

This story sees Baron Mordo bring the Venom symbiote back to earth. In his last encounter with Venom, Spider-Man managed to defeat him by luring him to a rocket where the noise of the rocket taking off separated Brock and the Symbiote.

Spider-Man then webbed the alien to the side of the John Jameson probe where it was blasted off into space. Mordo brings the probe back to earth and offers Brock a chance to rebond with it provided he swear allegiance to Dormammu his Demonic master. Brock agrees and he is soon sent to retrieve an interdimensional machine developed by Stark industries. Mordo naturally hopes to use this machine to free his Master from his hell dimension and allow him to conquer this reality and bring ever lasting torment to it.

Venom confronts both Spider-Man and War Machine who do all they can to defend the machine and though Venom puts up a good fight he proves to be no match for the two heroes. Dormammu then reveals to Mordo that he asked him to bring the Symbiote to earth not just because of its power, but because it was about to reproduce. Dormammu sends Mordo to find a host for the second symbiote.

Realizing that he will need someone as unstable as Brock in order for it to be effective Mordo chooses Cletus Kasady a demented serial killer who at the start of the episode Spider-Man apprehended when he tried to blow up an orphanage. Kasady and the second symbiote merge into one being, a hideous, psychotic monster that calls itself Carnage. Carnage is perfectly happy to serve Dormammu just so that he can simply witness the pain and death he will inflict on all of humanity when he is freed.

Carnage easily defeats War Machine and Spider-Man very nearly killing both of them, but he and his father don’t get along as Carnage views Venom as “a sentimental old fool”.

After bringing the machine to Mordo Venom leaves to pursue Spider-Man and soon faces both the wallcrawler and Iron Man who is called in after War Machine is forced to go to hospital to recover from his injuries at Carnage’s hands.

Carnage meanwhile continues to help Dormammu. In order to leave his dimension Dormammu will need an equal amount of psychic energy to take his place. Thus he creates a link between himself and Carnage which allows the monster to drain people’s souls literally from their bodies and deposit them in Dormammu’s hell dimension. Once enough souls have been drained Dormammu will finally be able to leave using Stark’s machine.

Carnage goes on a massive rampage and drains hundreds of souls. Among his victims include Dr Ashley Kafka, Eddie Brocks psychiatrist with whom he had fallen in love with and even separated from the symbiote to be with. Brock rebonds with the symbiote and teams up with Venom and Iron Man to take on Carnage and Mordo. The two villains are able to free Dormammu, but before he can unleash hell on this earth, Spider-Man is able to reverse the polarity of the interdimensional machine whilst Venom and Iron Man hold off Mordo and Carnage which sends Dormammu hurling back into his hell dimension and all of the souls Carnage drained back into their bodies. Unfortunately Venom is forced to sacrifice himself in order to send Carnage into Dormammu’s dimension.

I am not sure whether this is better than the X-Men two parter. Spider-Man and Iron Man go well together. Maybe not quite as well as he and Wolverine but they are quite a good team. Its refreshing the way for once we don’t have to have the two heroes clash before working together. I often find that people do that in superhero team ups in order to avoid it just being like super friends. Sometimes it works, but other times it can seem tedious, as there is no real reason for certain heroes to clash. Wolverine and Spider-Man fair enough as they are so different, but Iron Man and Spider-Man really wouldn’t have a reason to and so its good that from the start Spidey and Iron Man have a positive relationship.

Its  also really cool watching both War Machine and Iron Man stick up for Spider-Man against J Jonah Jameson.

The villains in this story are brilliant as well. Venom and Carnage are both among Spider-Man’s strongest and most popular enemies so their inclusion was always going to raise the profile of this story somewhat even without Iron Man.  Hank Azaria who plays Venom (best known for his work with the Simpsons, where he voices the likes of Moe, Apu, Snake, Comic Book Guy, Professor Frink, and Chief Wiggum. He is also known for playing Phoebe’s boyfriend David in Friends and his roles in films such as Run Fatboy Run.) And Scott Cleverdon who plays Carnage do brilliant jobs with the character and add a lot of personality and menace to their characters.

I still have a few problems with these versions of Venom and Carnage however.

With Venom I feel the biggest problem is the way they make him good by having him fall in love with someone nice. I hate that not only because its a huge cliche but also because it makes Venom a considerably blander character than he was in the comic books.

In the comic book continuity Venom helps Spider-Man defeat Carnage because he has a genuine desire to help innocents. He does not view Spider-Man as an innocent, but rather interestingly he does not wish to harm those nearest and dearest to Spider-Man like Mary Jane or Aunt May. When not trying to kill Spider-Man Venom actually goes out of his way to help people. Sadly however they couldn’t do that with this version of the character as in his first appearance he very nearly killed Aunt May. Thus in order to have him go good and turn on Carnage they had to go down the bad guy in love route which as really quite lame in my opinion.

Still I will give Semper credit for actually trying to flesh Venom out and show his more heroic side. Every single other adaptation of the character I have seen so far such as in the Spectacular Spider-Man and Spider-Man 3 all portray the character as a total monster which I don’t like.

To me a large part of Venom’s appeal is his moral ambiguity. It helps to set him apart from Spidey’s other two archenemies the Green Goblin and Doc Ock who are both completely evil.

Venom in Spectacular Spider-Man for instance is just a poor man’s Green Goblin. He’s another thoroughly evil enemy of the wall crawler who wants to hurt him by killing Gwen. I’m not dissing Spectacular Spider-Man by the way I think its a classic series and in some ways better than this series. All the Spider-Man cartoons have their strengths and weaknesses, but still in regards to Venom the version in Spectacular though an effective enemy is just another Green Goblin.

Semper with this episode at least shows us that Venom unlike many of Spider-Man’s other enemies is capable of self sacrifice when he gives his life to save the woman he loved. In fact it could be argued that he does much more than merely give his life as he willingly throws himself into a hell dimension forever where he will have to deal with a pissed off Dormammu and Carnage. He’ll probably be enduring an eternity of torture on the other side at their hands!

Its nice the way that even Spider-Man himself is shocked by Venom’s actions “Who would have expected Eddie Brock to make a sacrifice like that?”  That reminds me somewhat of the end of Maximum Carnage where Venom sacrifices himself to stop Carnage and Spider-Man is genuinely shocked at what his former enemy has done.

With Carnage meanwhile my problem was that they didn’t make this version of Carnage a miserable coward. I always loved the way Carnage who wanted to bring chaos and anarchy to the world was someone who could dish it out but not take it. It made him a somewhat more 3 dimensional and interesting character for me, but sadly this version is shown to be willing to blow himself up just to stop Spider-Man.

Still I think this episode did a good job of making Carnage seem dangerous even though they couldn’t actually have him kill anyone. The idea of him sucking their souls out of their bodies is a nice substitute for him hacking his victims to pieces.Its actually more horrific when you think about it. Whilst he might tear his victims to bits in the comics at least when he killed them he was done with them. Here he essentially does kill them, but he also sends their souls to a hell dimension where they would have, had it not been for Spider-Man at the end of the story, endured an eternity of torture. I also like the way that Carnage helps Dormammu not out of loyalty but simply to see what pain and misery he will inflict on the world when he arrives.

They are able to still make Carnage seem like the most twisted and perverse of all of Spider-Man’s enemies without having him kill a single person.

It is a bit of a shame the way that this story basically writes off any chance to see Venom and Carnage again.

A big criticism of Spider-Man the animated series that I have seen from some fans online is that it only featured Spider-Man’s most iconic and interesting villains like Venom, Carnage and The Green Goblin fleetingly whilst more minor villains like Alistair Smythe and Morbius were given far more exposure. Though at the same time some have seen this as a strength that it didn’t overuse Spider-Man’s most powerful and dangerous enemies and thus demean their effectiveness

I will say that I definitely don’t think that Carnage is a villain you can use lots of times because he is so powerful. In his first appearance it takes multiple heroes to beat him, so if you have him show up every other week to get his ass kicked by Spider-Man alone then naturally it seems like a come down.

Still having said that it would have been nice to see this version of the character, who actually had one of the better designs of the series and a terrific voice at least once more.

We do see the Carnage Symbiote once more in the season finale when it escapes from Dormammu’s dimension without Cletus Kasady through a portal into an alternate dimension where it bonds to that realities emotionally unstable Peter Parker creating Spider-Carnage. Spider-Carnage then attempts to destroy every universe by creating a superweapon using an interdimensional machine.

He actually succeeds in setting this weapon off but fortunately the Beyonder and Madame Web two vastly powerful beings manage to travel backwards in time just as the blast reaches their universe and gather Spider-Men from different realities led by our Spider-Man to stop Spider-Carnage before he detonates the bomb. I did like the Spider-Carnage arc, but it would have been nice to see the real Carnage show up again.

Apparently there were plans for the real Carnage to show up in the never made season 6 of Spider-Man the animated series. It would have revolved around Madame Web taking Spider-Man to Victorian England where the real Mary Jane would have ended up after she fell through a portal two seasons earlier. Unfortunately the real Carnage would also have been there too (which meant that the version that bonded to Spider-Carnage was an alternate version after all). Carnage it was revealed would have been Jack the Ripper.

Personally I always thought this storyline and aborted storyline was an influence on Reality Bomb story arc from Doctor Who. Its worth noting that Russell T Davies who wrote that story line is a massive Marvel comics fan. He even named his character Jack Harkness after Agatha Harkness.

When you look at the reality bomb story arc its very like the whole Spider Carnage arc that really begins with this two part story.

In both stories two of the heroes archenemies are lost in an alternate universe after they attempt to use interdimensional technology which someone develops because of them in both cases.

Mordo manipulates Tony Stark into developing the interdimensional machine whilst the Daleks create the rip between the universes that Torchwood later exploits.

At the same time the interdimensional technology leads to the hero’s one true love being lost in another universe too, though this happens in a later episode with Spider-Man its a similar idea.

Two seasons later in both series one of the villains lost in another universe returns and creates a superweapon that can destroy every universe and sets it off and in both cases someone from another universe in the future travels back and warns the hero of the impending disaster and in both cases it takes multiple versions of the hero to stop them, three Doctors and an army of Spider-Men.

Finally the story that comes after sees/would have seen in Spider-Man’s case the hero travel to Victorian England where they would encounter one of the enemies two seasons earlier who had fallen through a portal into another universe, but had instead somehow fallen through time and was now stalking the gothic streets of Victorian England as an otherworldly killer.

Personally I think this story arc influenced Doctor Who. To me this two parter, Venom Returns/Carnage as well as Turning Point together are Army of Ghosts/Doomsday and Spider-Wars is The Stolen Earth/Journeys End and the would be season 6 is The Next Doctor.

Ironically in a way Iron Man created the very technology that would lead to Mary Jane being lost.

Overall like I said I am not sure as to whether or not this is the best crossover episode or the X-Men two parter, but its lots of fun nonetheless.

Spider-Man/ Secret Wars

This three parter is the largest Marvel Animated Universe crossover. It features cast members from 4 different Animated series.

The premise for this series sees The Beyonder and Madame Web whisk Spider-Man away into space and show him a planet that has long since eliminated war and suffering. The Beyonder decides to introduce evil to the planet and thus brings 5 of the worlds worst supervillains there. Doctor Doom, The Lizard, Doctor Octopus, Alistair Smythe and the Red Skull.

The Beyonder allows them to overrun the planet and then sends Spider-Man there telling him that his job is to banish the evil. Spider-Man is allowed to recruit several other heroes to help him in this task and he chooses the Fantastic Four due to their previous battles against Doctor Doom, Captain America the Red Skull’s archenemy, Iron Man whom he trusts after their previous battle with Venom and Carnage and finally Storm from the X-Men as he believes her power might be a match for the Beyonders.

The team of heroes are able to foil the villains though not before Doom briefly manages to steal the Beyonders powers. Ultimately after Doom is defeated all of the heroes are returned home whilst Spider-Man is whisked away for the real battle. It is later revealed that the Secret Wars was just a test to see if this Spider-Man was right to lead the others against Spider-Carnage.

Overall this three part story is a great adventure. Its fun seeing so many different Marvel heroes interact with each other, and again I like seeing Iron Man stick up for Spider-Man when the Thing attacks him.

My only major beef with this story is the way the Fantastic Four are handled. Only Quentin Flynn  reprises his role from the Fantastic Four animated series. John Semper the producer of this series apparently hated all of the voices from the 90’s animated series and decided to recast them.

I was disappointed at this. First of all the voices in the Fantastic Four animated series were all brilliant. Particularly Simon Templeman as Doctor Doom. Semper’s replacements quite frankly are very flat and dull in comparison. The guy Semper chose to play Doom, Tom Kane though a good voice actor normally is not really that effective as Doom. He sounds like Count Von Count from Sesame Street!

Though having said that Sempers characterisation of Doom is excellent.

Semper clearly understands the character of Doom as here he is portrayed as someone who seeks power because he believes that he can make a positive difference with it and actually is capable of genuinely benevolent acts, but ultimately its his own ego and greed that destroys him and eventually turns people who would have followed him to the ends of the earth like Ben Grimm against him.

To be honest I’d say this story and the second season of the Fantastic Four are the only two works outside of the comic books that get the character of Doctor Doom right. Most people just portray him as a psychopath that is evil because, he’s evil!

I feel that Doom is somewhat comparable to Venom here in that in the comic books both are much more interesting characters who at times despite being the heroes most relentless and unforgiving enemies almost walk a fine line between being evil and good and are capable of genuinely heroic acts, but sadly their flaws, in Doom’s case his vanity, in Venom’s his bitterness at how his life turned out drive them down dark path’s.

Its great that Semper tried to capture these more sympathetic qualities in both villains, though for reasons I have already explored I think he did a better job with Doom in this adventure than Venom.

Still in spite of how brilliantly Semper writes for Doom the fact that its not Simon Templeman voicing him and the rest of the 90’s Fantastic Four animated cast means it doesn’t feel quite like the big crossover of 90’s animated series it should as the cast of one of them has been replaced.

As it turns out regardless of Sempers feelings about the 90’s Fantastic Four series the versions of the Fantastic Four featured in this story are the same as the ones from the Fantastic Four animated series anyway simply by default due to the fact that both the 90’s Spider-Man and Fantastic Four series are connected through various other crossovers with other series such as X-Men, the Hulk and Iron Man.

Its also a shame that there weren’t more X-Men too. It would have been nice to have seen a Spidey/Wolverine reunion. This is not John Semper’s fault however as apparently all of the X-Men were originally slated to appear as was the X-Men villain Mr Sinister who would have been one of the villains transported to the planet.

There was even a whole extra episode of the Secret Wars written that had to be scrapped that would have revolved around the X-Men. This episode also would also have seen Spider-Man use the Venom symbiote at one point which also would have been transported to the planet by the Beyonder. Black Suit Spider-Man vs Mr Sinister would have been amazing. Sadly however it would have been too expensive to fly the entire X-Men cast out from Canada where it was recorded so instead only Storm appeared as her voice actress Iona Morris was a friend of Semper.

The Hulk and She Hulk would also have appeared, in a crossover with the Hulk animated series. Sadly however again they could not get the rights and so the Lizard took the place of the Hulk in this story.

If only Semper had used the cast from the Fantastic Four and had been able to get the cast from the X-Men and the Incredible Hulk series then it would have had the full cast members from 5 different series together. I can’t think of any other tv crossover that vast.

As it is it is still an enjoyable story though not quite as strong as the previous crossovers.

Fantastic Four/ Nightmare in Green

This episode of the Fantastic Four was actually made before the Hulk animated series. However it would later be referenced in the Hulk animated series itself. Thus in many ways you can consider the Hulk animated series a spin off of this series.

The story for this episode is fairly straight forward. Doctor Doom seeking revenge against the Thing for crushing his hands tricks the Hulk into thinking that the Fantastic Four stole his only friend Rick leading to him trying to kill them.

Though its a fairly straight forward story this episode is still loads of fun. Simon Templeman as Doctor Doom is really what makes this story so great. He has some of his best moments in this story such as his casually dismissing Ben Grimm’s grieving girlfriend “she’ll get over it” or his relishing in watching Ben get the shit kicked out of him by the Hulk.

Just like in the comic books The Thing has no chance against the Hulk. Its not even a fight the Thing gets smashed all the way up Manhattan and even when Sue turns him invisible he still gets the shit kicked out of him. At one point he is cowering under a shield created by Sue! Notice what a perfect gentleman the Hulk is that even when Sue is defending Ben he doesn’t attack her, just keeps banging away on the shield.

This episode is also notable for featuring a came from the X-Men in their civillian clothes and also the Scarlet Spider appears briefly as does the Juggernauts hand,emerging from the water placing this episode at around the time of series 3 of the X-Men and after season 5 of Spider-Man as Miles Warren attempted to create a clone of Spider-Man in that season.

Sadly the full episode is not on line.

Fantastic Four/ Doomsday

This isn’t a fully fledged crossover, but I am still including it as it does involve other heroes rather prominantly. In this episode Doctor Doom manages to steal the Silver Surfers powers a second time and uses them to conquer the earth. Fortunately the Fantastic Four and the Avengers by working together are able to foil Dooms plan.

The Avengers in the MAU are shown to include Captain America, She Hulk and Iron Man. Though they only make cameos they still play an important role in the plot. The X-Men also make a brief appearance.

This episode once again establishes Fantastic Four season 2  as taking place after the end of Spider-Man as in Spider-Man Captain America at the end of the war became trapped in another dimension with the Red Skull. He and the Skull were freed briefly twice in Spider-Man including during the Secret Wars but sadly in both cases they were sent back into the other dimension. Here however we see that obviously Captain America escaped once again and formed the Avengers.

I must confess I was always sad the way Captain America was trapped in an alternate dimension with only his psychotic Nazi archenemy at his throat for all eternity. It was a brilliant twist on the Cap being frozen in ice, don’t get me wrong and it was also great from a dramatic point of view. Cap’s sacrifice to stop the Red Skull is much like Eddie Brock’s in that it is even more poignant and heroic as he is not just simply giving up his life.

He is hurling himself into a tiny little cell where he will have to battle his archenemy for all eternity. Its a truly horrific fate. It just goes to show you how sometimes not having any characters be allowed to die can be a benefit as it can lead to things like Captain America and Venom’s fates in Spider-Man the animated series which are actually more disturbing when you think about it. Trapped with lunatics like the Red Skull and Carnage at your throats for all eternity!

Still having said that it is still nice that this episode indirectly gives the Cap a happy ending by having him escape and help save the earth. I’m not the biggest fan of Captain America, but he is one of Marvel’s most iconic heroes so its a bit of a downer to think of him being trapped with the Red Skull forever

Overall this episode is one of my favourite episodes of the entire MAU. Its definitely Templeman’s best performance as Doom. He’s able to inject so much humour into the character of Doom with wonderful little lines like telling Ben Grimm to keep an eye out for pigeons after he turns him to stone or when he casually tells the Siver Surfer that he might take over the entire universe itself. Its truly a classic episode. Check it out.

The Incredible Hulk/ Doomed

Another excellent episode. This is actually my favourite episode of the Hulk animated series. Again a large part of that is because of Simon Templeman as Doctor Doom.

He gets some of his best lines in this episode such as calling the president of the United States  “a posturing corn fed commoner”.

However the thing this episode is most famous for to this day is the over sexualized transformation of She Hulk

The story for this episode is fairly basic. Doom captures Jennifer and uses her to lure the Hulk into a trap after which he then takes control of the Hulk and plans to use him to murder the president of the USA. With Jennifer wounded Doctor Banner gives her a blood transfusion which causes her to become She Hulk. Together She Hulk and the Hulk thrash Doom and send him running for the hills.

This episode must logically take place before Dooms appearance in Doomsday which sees She Hulk as a member of the Avengers as this is her origin story, whilst it obviously takes place after Nightmare in Green as Doom is already familiar with the Hulk here and comments on their last meeting.

The Incredible Hulk/ Hollywood Rocks

Simon Templeman’s second performance as Doctor Doom in The Hulk animated series, sadly this is not the best episode.

Templeman is as good as always, but its just a fairly unspectacular episode. Its quite interesting the way that Doom has lost control of Latveria, but they don’t do much with it. This also means that this must take place before his appearance in Doomsday as in that story he is in control of Latveria whilst he loses it in Doomed. So therefore he must have managed to reclaim it at some point after this episode.

The plot for this story basically sees Doom try and get back at the Hulks and take over the world. As is typical of the second season of this show Hulk is basically useless in this and its She Hulk that brings Doom down.

Another drawback of this episode is the way it redesigns Doom and gives him a jaw that moves in sync with his mouth. It looks ridiculous.

The Incredible Hulk/ Helping Hand, Iron Fist

Easily one of the best episodes of the entire series. Iron Man it had been established was a friend of Banner on his own show and this episode serves as a sequel of sorts to that episode which helps to create a stronger continuity between the MAU shows.

This episode brings together many other cast members from the Iron Man animated series such as War Machine which helps to make it seem like a proper Iron Man episode as well as a Hulk episode.

This episode firmly links the Hulk with the MAU as through this episode Iron Man takes place in the same canon as the Hulk and therefore through Iron Man Hulk takes place in the same canon as Spider-Man and X-Men. This also means that Fantastic Four takes place in the same canon as Spider-Man and X-Men too meaning again the version of the FF that appear in Secret Wars is automatically the version from that series.

Though the Hulk had appeared in Iron Man he was voiced by a different actor and thus it was not clear that it was this Hulk until this episode which firmly linked all the marvel animated series together.

The Incredible Hulk/Fantastic Fortitude

Probably the weakest crossover. I must confess I’ve never been too big a fan of the Thing. I don’t hate him or anything, but his constant whining has always bugged me. Not that he doesn’t have a reason to whine mind you but still, he’s just a bit too whiney for me.

Still it was good that they actually mentioned the events of the previous episode of the Fantastic Four though the romance between She Hulk and Ben was a bit lame to be honest.

Iron Man/ Hulkbuster

The only crossover in Iron Man’s own series which is ironic  considering the amount of times he appeared in other series. This is a fairly enjoyable if somewhat straightforward crossover. It sees the Mandarin try and travel backwards in time to try and steal the Hulk’s power. The Hulk in this episode is voiced by Ron Perlman like he was in Fantastic Four. This predated his own series, but it would later be established in his own series that it was this Hulk that appeared in this episode.

Sadly this episode is not online.

In addition to these crossovers, the characters of Daredevil, Thor, Captain America, The Red Skull and Doctor Strange appeared on multiple Marvel Animated Universe series. Though there were some discrepancies involved in these appearances. For instance Daredevil’s personality in Spider-Man was completely different to his personality in Spider-Man. Meanwhile the Red Skull in Spider-Man was shown to be a formidable hand to hand combatant whilst in the X-Men he was shown to be comically inept.

Finally Spider-Man and War Machine also made tiny cameos in an episode of X-Men saving fleeing civillians.

Examples of MAU’s influence 

The Marvel Animated Universe had a significant influence on Marvel comics and other adaptations of Marvel comics characters.

The most notable example was in the MAU’s depiction of Venom. In the comic books the black costume did not make Peter Parker aggressive. It tried to control him but it did not bring out his aggressive side. That comes solely from the MAU. It also did not make him physically stronger either. Again that comes from the MAU version.

The idea of the symbiote making its hosts stronger and more violent would not only appear in the comics after this but they would also be featured in virtually all other adaptations of the character such as the film Spider-Man 3 and the animated series The Spectacular Spider-Man and The Ultimate Spider-Man.

The MAU’s version of the Green Goblin also influenced Raimi’s version of the character too. The MAU version unlike his comic counterpart is not only shown to have a split personality which the Raimi version but he is also shown to genuinely care about his son and try and epair his relationship with him too.

Finally the success of X-Men also helped along with Batman to pave the way for a whole wave of successful animated series based on superheroes.