Will Brooks is something of a legend! For several years he was the artist on ‘Cover B’ for all the Titan Doctor Who comic releases.  For those not in the know, Titan released all their Doctor Who comics with multiple covers from different artists – basically making it impossible to collect them all. Indeed, the first issue of their first Tenth Doctor comic had 40 or so different covers, many exclusives to one store or retailer or another … so utterly impossible to get them all!  ‘Cover B’ was the photo cover, and the one that Brooks did each time.

Brooks has collected all these covers into a lovely hardback and paperback book which was kickstarted last year and which arrived a couple of weeks ago – the book is still available via the kickstarter as ‘late pledges’ here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1666382001/cover-b

What is so great about Brooks’ work is that in most cases there’s a dynamic about the art which is often missing in other ‘cut it out and slap it together’ pieces of photoshop. He crafts stories into the pieces, and, even though relying on photographs, they are stitched together, Frankenstein-like, to create new pieces. A hand from there, a body from here, a watch from somewhere else, a background taken on holiday, a photo of an eye from over there … all to create a magnificent coherent ensemble image which looks as real as if it was photographed as it actually appeared!

Along the way Brooks details the story of how he came to be involved, and the trials and tribulations of trying to create this art against a backdrop of BBC Licensing, who seemed to not understand what he needed. They starved him of key photographs, and came back with late requests to remove items, monsters and so on … all of which added to the general adversity of creating effective cover art for a licensed magazine. One strange request was that the 13th Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, should never be seen as threatened … so she had to appear on her own or with her ‘fam’ – no monsters allowed to be there … which lead to a fairly boring set of images, all of which seem to be straight out of the PR folder.

But Brooks tried. No Daleks to be used in the early years … no Zygons permitted … ideas scuppered … whole covers created and then scrapped … it’s quite the horror story. And Brooks also mentions how the pay decreased over time as well … less and less being spent, until Titan changed editors and the ‘new guard’ decided that they didn’t want to pay anyone external for doing a photo cover and brought it all in house. End of an era.

Luckily, said era is documented, described and beautifully illustrated in this book. We have rough covers: cut and pastes of pictures to show alignments and basic ideas. Unused covers, covers which form sequences and conceptual work showing scenes you’d never quite imagine. It’s quite the tour de force.

A remarkable art book of Doctor Who imagery all created by one man!  It’s a triumph!