The Doctor Who Ratings Guide: By Fans, For Fans

TV Comic's
The Therovian Quest

Credits: Art: Neville Main

From TV Comic #684-689

Published: 1965


A Review by Finn Clark 21/1/05

I'm becoming a Neville Main fan. TV Comic's second Doctor Who strip was shorter than the first one, but it's better plotted and funnier! The humour may be unintentional, but you can't deny its presence.

I'll start with the plot, which is bloody good! Seriously, I wouldn't expect better from a twelve-page comic strip published today. The science isn't always convincing, but these six episodes are crammed with twists while never feeling rushed. The TARDIS crew land on an asteroid, have a run-in with giant lizards and Grig the Therovian, learn about the energy-draining disease of Theros and head for the ice planet Ixos for a sample of their legendary healing moss. Naturally the Ixonians have their own agenda...

Even the dialogue doesn't have to be read ironically, a claim which certainly can't be made for all TV Comic stories! Dr Who is recognisably Doctorish again, as for instance when talking Grig into putting down his gun. "Now take it easy, my friend. We are not your enemies. We have crashed on this wild planet, like you. The only way to escape from the monster outside is to work together, not fight!" Meanwhile John and Gillian are still getting used to TARDIS-travel...

"Look at the stars whirling and flashing round us, John!"

"It's because of the fantastic speed we're moving at! I wonder where we'll land next?"

Yes, it's Neville Main's spinning TARDIS again! Further oddities include a barren asteroid without vegetation or any other signs of life... except for a bloody great lizard-monster that's big enough to attack spacecraft! How did it evolve? What does it eat? (Spacecraft, maybe?) This asteroid also has almost no gravity but a breathable atmosphere.
"Hey I can jump miles into the air!"

"The planet has hardly any gravity - like Earth's moon!"

In that case, guys, why aren't you wearing spacesuits? It's time to mention the unintentional humour, which for once comes from the art instead of the writing. I admire Neville Main, but the guy can't draw aliens and monsters. Theoretically I guess I should be cutting him some slack, this being a 1965 TV Comic kiddie strip being published alongside Beetle Bailey, the Telegoons, Popeye and Mighty Moth, but what the hell. This is just funny. The lizard-monster resembles a rubber toy I got from the Natural History Museum when I was six. Ixon mammoths look like something you'd stick on your car window. Grig the Therovian is a vaguely Oriental dwarf with the proportions of a Tweenie. And the Ixons... okay, the Ixons look pretty good. You wouldn't want to piss off an Ixon.

(Mind you, pissing off a Therovian wouldn't be wise either. Grig may be three feet tall and bald as an egg, but he can wrestle mammoths.)

I've noticed a small trend. The chief bad guys both of this story (Ixons) and the last (Kleptons) have a vertical column of ideograms written in front of their seat of power. This one looks approximately like... "1: skull, 2: stairway made from testicles, 3: burning crocodile, 4: the Chinese character for 'dry' or 'defence', 5: alien face with one huge grinning eyeball and a double chin." Cool!

Overall, thoroughly enjoyable! A strong plot with entertaining art and a Doctorish Dr Who... personally I couldn't ask for more. Everyone can empathise with the Therovian wasting disease, a mysterious weakness that makes you incredibly lazy and incapable of getting any work done. (It's a planet of me!) Meanwhile the Ixons are backstabbing bastards. In case you've mislaid your collection of 1965 British kiddie comics, this story was reprinted in Doctor Who Classic Comics 12 and it's well worth a read. Great stuff!