Sometime during 2011, possibly in an underground lair, plans were laid to produce a traditional paper Doctor Who fanzine. It sounds crazy retro but like all the best evil geniuses we thought that it just might work and now numerous months later the copiers are whirring and an initial run of issues is being produced.
Most people’s reaction to the idea was a sort of puzzled “Why?” and that’s not an easy one to answer especially as both Richard Farrell and I are editors of other things anyway. In his case it is the acclaimed zine `Andersonic`, in mine it is, of course, this very blog you are reading. Anyway the answer to that question is very much “Why not?”
Many of the predictions that people make when something new emerges do not happen. Cinemas did not finish off theatres, the Internet did not kill books and if you read an interview with teenage musicians they still talk about `albums`. The medium through which art is delivered may change but the art itself remains.
It is true that the printed fanzine market has changed though it has not actually diminished as much as you think because it was never that big in the first place. Fanzines have always been specialist concerns; the idea that in pre online fandom they sold thousands of copies is just not the case. Many fans just did not buy them; you only had to go a convention in the 1980s to see how despondent editors looked sat behind piles of unsold issues while attendees snapped up glossy poster booklets of the Rill.
People who did buy fanzines became part of a smaller community and that has not changed. There are still fans of all ages who like the idea of paper zines. What went wrong for the medium earlier last decade was that it became too awkward to order them; sending cheques for small amounts of money annoyed and inconvenienced the reader and, as I know from personal experience, the bank you paid them into.
Nowadays PayPal has eliminated that inconvenience making a transaction simple enough from the consumer’s point of view, just like buying anything else online something with which people are now far more used to doing. Hence a number of printed zines advertised online have enjoyed acclaim and a healthy readership.
These days though the market is more select. Fanzines have always had to compete for readers; a few thrown together reviews never cut it then and will not today. The printed format does allow for longer, more nuanced material and presents it a way that is far more pleasing than most online formats.
So, our new fanzine `Plaything of Sutekh` will be available to buy very shortly but in the meantime, here’s a look at what you can expect:.
What Did the Sixties Do For Who? – a look at how the Patrick Troughton era of the show reflected the changes facing Britain in the late 1960s
Franks’s Who – the lasting influence of Frank Bellamy’s `Radio Times` art on Doctor Who illustration.
Accidental Art – While Terry Nation and Douglas Adams were pulling in opposite directions, how Ken Grieve’s innovative approach raised `Destiny of the Daleks` above the norm.
A New Direction? – a look at the evolution of the series under Steven Moffat
Secret Who – we re-evaluate a clutch of less celebrated stories and find there’s more to them than meets the eye: We’re talking `Underworld`, `The Krotons` and `The Android Invasion`. Do not be afraid- they are better than you think.
Plus a look at (or a listen to) Tom Baker’s return as the Doctor in Big Finish audios, recent DVD releases reviewed and we tell you who the next Doctor will be.
Oh, and the inevitable lots more.
Wrapped in a gorgeous colour cover and nestling amidst some stunning new artwork, `Plaything of Sutekh` is something special. You will, inevitably, find it good.
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