Writer Tony Lee on the comics that made him.
Writer of countless Doctor Who comics and things
FIRST COMIC I EVER READ
It was a 1960s Iron Man. I can’t honestly tell you what it was, but I remember he was guesting with the Fantastic Four. It looked like Kirby. The second one was a British ’70s reprint of Nick Fury. It was so mental. One page of a Steranko Nick Fury story is a four-part miniseries now. This guy compressed everything. I think that was a big influence.
FIRST INFLUENCE ON MY WORK
Alan Moore, by far. Everybody says that, but that’s because we all grew up reading his Time Twisters. I still remember one vividly, a mickey-take of
Dragnet. It was basically Joe Friday and his partner. They were the time detectives. Everybody I speak to always goes, “Oh yeah, that one.” That one really got me. It made me think, “Wow, you can do that.” Warren Ellis and Neil Gaiman, when they started doing the darker stuff and Vertigo turned up, that fascinated me. Delano doing Hellblazer, too.
FIRST PRO COMICS WORK
February 2004, X-Men Unlimited #1. I wrote an 11page story starring Sage. I was one of dozens of new writers they contacted, so I had to earn every step I made. I chose Sage partly because she was a favourite and unused character, but also because I knew that at least 50 percent of the other pitches would be Wolverine or main team. I sent in four pitches in total; the other three were exactly that.
MY FAVOURITE COMIC EVER
Tough call. I think it’s Laika by Nick Abadzis. It’s the story of the first dog into space, and I’ve told Nick many times that it’s my favourite book ever. I don’t know what it was that touched me so about it, but it’s always stuck with me.
THE BEST COMIC I’VE WORKED ON
Hope Falls, I think, is one of my best creator-owned books, but I think one of my best works is Doctor
Who: The Forgotten. That’s the one people come up to me and tell me, “You made me cry.” It was probably one of my favourites to write as well, because at the time, I never thought I’d get another chance. I threw everything in there, including the kitchen sink. And I’m a massive fanboy. At the time, America had a year gap between seasons. When we were showing Donna Noble, America was still showing the beginnings of Martha Jones. And then halfway through
Forgotten’s run, that changed. Suddenly, BBC America had it, and it jumped a year. We had Martha as the companion, now Martha’s not a companion. So how do we put that into the story? We were doing massive rewrites. It was the most Whovian story – we were starting at the beginning, getting to the end, and then starting back at the beginning while changing the end.
THE CHARACTER I’D MOST LIKE TO WRITE
Captain Britain, without a measure of a doubt. Me and Mark Buckingham often have conversations about how we’d do it, because he’s also a massive fan. He’s a very understated character. And I would really kill to do Booster Gold. I’ve gotten close a couple of times. One day, maybe.
THE COMICS I’M CURRENTLY READING
A lot of DC and Marvel. I’d walked away a little after New 52 but Rebirth is bringing back old favourites. Loving Doctor Aphra, Wicked + Divine, Saga. I’m doing a Titan Whoniverse book soon, so I’ve been reading up on everything they’ve been doing and loving it. Sheriff of Babylon is a must pull. So much stuff...
Top: Lee pitched a Sage story partly because he knew everyone else would be focusing on Wolverine. Above: The Forgotten was IDW’s second Doctor Who story arc, and the first officially sanctioned spin-off to feature all ten incarnations of the Doctor to date. It was an anniversary celebration deliberately recalling all ten.