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Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

This article is written from the Real World point of view. TARDIS
DWM Issue 417 - 7th January 2010, launching a new look for the magazine

Doctor Who Magazine (formerly Doctor Who Weekly) is currently a four-weekly periodical that publishes Doctor Who news, reviews, articles and comic stories. The abbreviation DWM is widely used in fandom to refer to the magazine.

The magazine began life as Doctor Who Weekly, published by the UK branch of Marvel Comics beginning in October 1979. At this point in time, the weekly magazine was still a popular format in the UK, with Marvel in particular republishing a number of its US comic book titles (such as Star Wars) in the black and white weekly format. Its initial cover price was 12p, which at the time was roughly equivalent to 25 cents American.

With its 44th issue in September 1980, Marvel switched the magazine to monthly publication, and its title was changed to Doctor Who - A Marvel Monthly and, in 1982, Doctor Who Monthly. In 1984, the title was changed to The Official Doctor Who Magazine, and in 1985 to The Doctor Who Magazine. Since issue 107, published in December 1985, the title has been, simply, Doctor Who Magazine.

The title changes, very broadly speaking, reflect a change of editor and direction for the title. Continuity however remains intact throughout. Since its first issue, a major feature of each issue has been an ongoing comic strip based upon the series, which has featured adventures with every incarnation of the Doctor and many (but not all) of his TV companions. There have also been, from time to time, back-up comic strips featuring different characters, and during the 1990s DWM affiliated with the Virgin New Adventures book line by publishing short stories (dubbed "Brief Encounters") related to the books.

DWM's very first issue, dated 17th October 1979

The magazine's logo generally reflects the current on-screen series logo (or a slight variation thereof). Notable exceptions include the period from 1991 to 1999 when the magazine reverted to using the "diamond logo" associated with the late-Jon Pertwee and most of the Tom Baker era; DWM belatedly switched to the logo introduced in the Paul McGann TV movie in 1999, and it remained in use until it adopted a variation of the logo used for the revived TV series in 2005.

Marvel continued to publish the magazine until the late 1990s when it was sold to Panini Publishing Ltd. which continues to publish it as of 2009.

Over the years, many writer connected with the series have written articles for the magazine, while others who have written for DWM have gone on to contribute to Doctor Who or its various spin-offs. Correspondence collected over the course of several years between Doctor Who producer and lead writer Russell T Davies and DWM writer Benjamin Cook were collected in the book REF: Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale in 2008; an expanded second edition is scheduled for publication in early 2010.

In October 2008, DWM published its 400th issue and celebrated it 30th anniversary in October 2009. It is currently the longest-running professionally published and licensed magazine based upon an English-language television series; its associated comic strip is also the longest-running comic based upon an English-language television series to be published without interruption.

In October 2006, during an appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Billie Piper revealed that she was a regular subscriber to DWM and that she loved the magazine, defending it when Ross attempted to make the usual "isn't it for geeks" type of remark. (This can be heard on the CD Doctor Who at the BBC: The Tenth Doctor)

In addition to these superlatives, Doctor Who Magazine is also considered a survivor of the print medium, having now outlasted many other long-running science-fiction-based publications such as Starlog and Starburst which have in recent years abandoned print for website-only productions or closed down completely. In January 2010 the magazine launched a new look as it began to chronicle the newest era of the Doctor Who series under Matt Smith.


Doctor Who Magazine (regular issues) (Links by issue)

(17th October 1979 - 6th August 1980) Every Thursday priced 12p
(September 1980 - January 1982)published by Marvel Comics Ltd.
(February 1982 - January 1984) published monthly by Marvel Comics Ltd.
(May 1984 - March 1985) published monthly by Marvel Comics Ltd.
(April 1985 - November 1985) published monthly by Marvel Comics Ltd.
(December 1985 - October 1987) published monthly by Marvel Comics Ltd.
(November 1987 - August 1996) published every fourth Thursday by Marvel Comics Ltd.
(September 1996 - to date) published every fourth Thursday by Panini UK Ltd.

Doctor Who Magazine has been in continuous publication since its launch offering special editions each year in addition to its regular issues.

A number of sister publications at various times have been published, with some ongoing features alternating between titles.

The TARDIS Index File uses the prefix DWM to refer to fiction (in comic or prose form) printed in this publication.

Comic strip reprints

Over the years, the Doctor Who comic strip has been reprinted -- often with colour added (it was published in black and white until the early 2000s) -- in a number of different publications. In the United States, both Marvel Comics and, more recently, IDW Publishing have issued reprint titles in comic book and graphic novel format, while Panini itself has reissued the comic strips in deluxe omnibus form and in magazine-sized publications.

Distribution outside the UK

Distribution of DWM and its forebears outside the UK has been sporadic, however in areas where Doctor Who has been popular it found limited distribution through speciality stores such as comic book shops and cult/fantasy shops.

Due to distance considerations for areas such as North America and Australia (two of the larger markets for the magazine) the magazine is often availible on or after its cover date, rather than the few weeks prior when the magazine is distributed locally in the United Kingdom.

Whilst this lag time often means articles intended to promote upcoming episodes in the United Kingdom arrive overseas out of sync with their UK broadcasts they (sometimes) fall into sync with their local broadcasts. However the lag time does impact on a reader's ability to participate in deadline specific activites such as contests, polls and surveys. Aside from this, the magazines generally arrive intact, including giveaways and premiums such as free CDs and cards included with the original UK release.


North America

In North America the original Doctor Who Weekly incarnation was not circulated, but regular distribution through Marvel US occurred in the 1980s after it had moved to monthly distribution, and continued to the late 1990s. After ownership of the magazine switched to Panini, distribution in North America became less widespread, with many magazine shops and comic book retailers not carrying it anymore, or only carrying occasional issues.

Widespread release of DWM through standard newsstands began anew with issue 394, which was widely distributed in North America in May 2008 (distribution in that region is currently running several weeks behind the UK; issue 395, which carries a cover date of 28 May 2008, was not distributed in North America until the week of 16th June).

However, issue 409, dated 24th June 2009, was available in Canadian comic book shops on its cover date. By the end of 2009, however, distribution of DWM in North America had settled into a pattern of occurring several weeks to a month after UK publication, and as a result copies in North America carry cover dates reflecting this. For example, issue #416 was published on 12 December 2009, and carried this publishing date on the cover; when released in North America the magazine carried a printed cover date of 6th January 2010.

Inserts and special features

From the very beginning, occasional DWM (or ...Weekly, ...Monthly, etc) issues have featured special bonus items and inserts. The first few issues in 1979 came with free transfers, for example, and many issues have come packaged with posters and other paraphernalia. These premiums have become less frequent in recent years, but still occur at least a couple times a year.

Other notable items included with DWM releases over the years have included flexi-discs of soundtrack music, CDs of specially commissioned audio dramas by Big Finish, and in the summer of 2008, issue 397 came packaged with one of 27 vintage Target novelisations (or related books). Issue 411 in August 2009 included a code that allowed readers of the magazine to download an exclusive Big Finish audio drama, The Mists of Time for a limited time. The most recent (as of January 2010) example of an insert came with Issue 414 published in the fall of 2009, which came packaged with several sets of cards related to a Doctor Who trading card-based game.

Unusually, as many magazines strip inserts before shipping overseas due to licensing issues, DWM's international distribution includes most inserts, including the Big Finish CDs/downloads and recent Target Books bonus.


In January 2010, Doctor Who Magazine became one of - possibly the only - fan magazine to itself become the subject of a fanzine, with the launch of Vworp Vworp!, a fanzine dedicated to the Doctor Who comic strips and the history of DWM.[1]

External link

See also

This article uses material from the "Doctor Who Magazine" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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