Monday, 29 September 2014

Mooretoons - "Doctor Who" - The Meddling Monk - Part One

I’m rather confused as to where my inspiration to use ‘The Meddling Monk’ in my “Doctor Who” cartoon strips came from. It could have been some chance glimpse of a short clip from the British science fiction television series, but I doubt it. For although the character of the Monk, superbly portrayed by actor Peter Butterworth, appeared in two stories during William Hartnell’s tenure as the (First) Doctor, neither would have made it to VHS Video at the time I first started drawing my interpretation of the villainous Timelord. Indeed it wasn’t until 1992, some six-seven years after Mooretoons were born, that the surviving episodes of “The Dalek Masterplan” were released on PAL video as part of the “Daleks: The Early Years”, and the 1965 story “The Time Meddler” was not available on tape for a further eight years until June 2000.
As a result I’m far more inclined to believe that I took such a deep interest in the character from his 1983 appearance in "Doctor Who Monthly", when the Monk teamed up with the Ice Warriors against the Fifth Doctor. Whatever the reason, my Monk was a decidedly different creature from that of proper Doctor Who lore, for although he still retained some of the quirky humour Peter Butterworth invested into the television character, my Meddling Monk most assuredly wanted the Doctor dead.
Initially appearing towards the end of my first run of comic adventures in “The Fall of the Daleks”, the Meddling Monk was a skulking manipulative villain, who watched from the shadows as the TARDIS crew inadvertently stumbled upon (yet) another Dalek city on the planet Skaro. I clearly wanted the Monk to stand out from my usual drawing style, and as I wanted him to be simple to sketch (as I needed to draw him a lot) I went with a monk’s robe complete with blacked out hood and penetrating eyes. In many ways not dissimilar to the appearance of Jawas from the “Star Wars” motion pictures. Indeed with hindsight I distinctly recall previously drawing the adventures of a Jawa Bounty Hunter named Volcano as a child, so it could be George Lucas’ influence over the look of my Meddling Monk could have been stronger than I initially thought. Suffice to say the evil cloaked figure fails miserably to cause the Doctor’s death in “The Fall of the Daleks” and instead is blasted himself blasted to death by the Masters of Skaro.
It was quite a considerable time later, well within my third phase of drawing Mooretoons, that I finally brought the Meddling Monk back and in doing so I set the ground work for a series of stories that would take me the best part of two - three years to draw. “Id?” was a single page, eleven panel teaser story, designed to lay the foundation for a much longer twelve-page adventure I planned to draw a short while later.
Sketched in (trendy) red ink with yellow pencil panelling, the tale simply established that the Monk had survived being shot by the Daleks, and had remained on the planet Skaro building a Commodore VIC-20 home computer. Somehow this 8-bit machine was capable of sending a mind-beam into the TARDIS and momentarily disorientate the Doctor..?
Having briefly appeared at the conclusion of the following story “Stronties Rage”, a re-imagining of a 1986 “Strontium Dog” serial from the British science fiction comic “2000 AD”, The Meddling Monk would feature throughout “Game-Ball”; the longest “Doctor Who” adventure I ever wrote and drew…

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