Enter The Whispering Gallery

New Doctor Who comic book creators speak...

Hungry for a fresh fix of Doctor Who and too impatient to count down the days til the Easter special? Salvation is at hand. Released today, The Whispering Gallery is a new one-shot Who comic book from IDW, uniting the talents of Leah Moore and John Reppion (Albion) with Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night). SFX spoke to Leah and John about their trip into the space-time vortex...

What's the premise of The Whispering Gallery?

John: The story is set back when the Doctor is travelling with Martha Jones, just as she’s beginning to question some things and feel a bit home sick. The TARDIS lands on the planet Grått in a place called the Whispering Gallery which is filled with portraits of deceased Gråttites. Each portrait holds a tiny piece of that person’s consciousness and, when touched, they speak the Gråttites final words; their secrets and deepest feelings. Outward displays of emotion have been outlawed on Grått, so it’s only after death that people are able to express their true feelings. Naturally, this isn’t a situation the Doctor feels very comfortable with but soon he discovers just what the Gråttites are so afraid of.

Is it true that inspiration came to you in a dream?

Leah: It is true, yes. We had been trying really hard all day to come up with something, and we knew we only had a really short amount of time to get it done. It was very much a high pressure situation, wanting so much to work with Ben whose work we both really admired, and of course desperately wanting to write Doctor Who, which is still the bright shiny gold star first place dream writing job for any nerd worth their salt. We went to bed exhausted and all cranky from not managing to think of anything, and I had a dream. It was all just blackness except for a two page spread of comic floating there in front of me, with all the panels, the captions, the balloons, and the title was spoken out loud, and then I woke up. I opened my eyes and said “ I know what we are doing for Doctor Who!”. I really wish I could have more of these dreams. They would make my life a lot easier!

What does Ben Templesmith bring to the project?

John: Well, the whole thing was Ben’s idea. He approached Leah via Twitter, said he really wanted to draw a Doctor Who one-shot and asked if we would be interested in pitching for writing it. Naturally, we jumped at the chance and IDW really liked our pitch so it all came together really quickly. Ben’s art is perfect for Doctor Who; he’s able to do the bouncy, cartoony stuff, which really suits David Tennant’s Doctor, as well as really dark, grungy sci-fi. He’s done a really fantastic job on the Whispering Gallery, we really couldn’t be happier with the book.

Are you fans of Doctor Who?

Leah: Of course we are! I don’t know many people who aren’t Doctor Who fans really… it’d be unnatural! I was a kid when the Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred shows were on, but I love the really old Doctors too. Doctor Who is an institution that you grow up with, it isn’t really something you have a choice about liking.

Any favourite Who characters, places or icons you're itching to bring to the comics world?

John: We steered away from pre-existing Who stuff for this story but we’d love to do more Doctor Who work for IDW in the future so who knows. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Sea Devils…

What, for you, is the essential spirit of Doctor Who?

Leah: I think it’s adventure, that proper old fashioned kind of adventure where there aren’t any rules. At the start of each episode you don’t know where its going to take you, and because it could be another world, or another time, or something happening to the world the characters live in, the real world, its always going to keep you on your toes.