This is the story about how the main character in Anubis: Dog of Death started out as a minor villain in my unmade ‘Doctor Who’ comic books.
In the summer of 2016, I contacted the artist John Barry Ballaran, to order a painting for my girlfriend for Christmas.
It would portray David Bowie and Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor from ‘Doctor Who’, battling an army of cybernetic creatures by shocking them with their electric guitar riffs.
The finished work would have a very realistic style, but long before the painting was done, John sent me a sketch of how the layout of the painting would look.
To me, this looked like something straight out of a comic book!
At this point, I had wanted to make several ‘Doctor Who’ comics for a long time.
Ever since I discovered ‘Doctor Who’ at 15 years old in 2005, I have always had countless ideas for stories set in that universe.
When I was younger I used to dream about the possibility of running that show, and even after admitting to myself just how unlikely that is, I still had a need to get all those ideas out somehow.
And while I could simply write a fanfic, I had imagined these ideas as television episodes, so I felt many of them needed to be visual to truly express what I wanted those ideas to become.
So I asked John if he would be interested in attempting to make a ‘Doctor Who’ comic with me after the painting was done, and he said yes!
I ended up writing a script for a one-part story, and asked John to draw a test-page.
Since ‘Doctor Who’ is owned by the BBC, and Titan Comics owns the rights to distribute comics based on the property, our only chance for financial support to pay for John’s work would be to send in the script and art samples to Titan Comics, and hope they would be willing to pick us up for a few stories.
I was pretty naive to think that they would be interested, as I am sure countless well-established writers would give their left hand to be able to write for anything ‘Doctor Who’ related.
They never got back to us, but that did not come as a very big surprise to me, and even before I had sent in the script I had been thinking about other possible stories me and John could bring to life together.
When I first had the idea of a version of Anubis trapped inside the body of a purse dog, it had actually been as a villain for one of my ‘Doctor Who’ stories.
But even before I knew for sure that I would not be able to make those comics, I decided that character was too good to merely be an antagonist in another character’s story.
I knew Anubis The Dog deserved to have his story told, so it was to him I turned next.
Starting a series about original characters is much harder than relying on an established brand, but it also leaves me more freedom.
But who knows, maybe if ‘Anubis: Dog of Death’ gets really popular I’ll get a better chance to write about my favorite timelord.
I’ll save my drafts just in case..
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