Talkin’ Dalek With Jody Houser – Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious Interview by Justin Partridge

The Doctor has been called many things throughout their multiple lifetimes. The Lonely God. The Last of the Time Lords. The Oncoming Storm. 

But in the new multi-format event crossover, they return to one of their most chilling monikers; The Time Lord Victorious. And launching that crossover is Jody Houser with Titan Comics’ Time Lord Victorious, a two-part miniseries momentarily replacing Houser’s Thirteenth Doctor ongoing series and heralding the just released Doctor Who Comics #1.

Cheekily titled “Defender of the Daleks”, this rousing two-parter finds David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor being sought out by his oldest and deadliest enemies, the Daleks. Led by a brand new Golden Emperor Dalek and the scarred, but immensely wily Dalek Prime Strategist, this new Dalek empire and their home planet of Skaro is being threatened by an enemy from their ancient past. An enemy that threatens to consume this new Empire and then…the universe. But if they can convince the Doctor to help then, they might have a chance. If the Doctor doesn’t destroy them first…

I recently got a chance to talk to Houser about this massive crossover event. Thanks to Dave upstairs and the wonderful people at Titan and the BBC, Houser and I got to talk Daleks, David Tennant’s era, and what other incarnations of the Doctor she might want to tackle eventually. All that plus a fun tease as to what we can expect from the new Doctor Who Comics series from Titan.  I hope you all have as much fun reading this as I did writing it. 

Justin Partridge (CFC): Let’s start with how did your involvement with Time Lord Victorious start?

Jody Houser: I had been working on the Thirteenth Doctor comics for several years now and had written the Tenth Doctor several times as well, so my editor asked me if I was interested in writing the Titan portion of the event. I immediately said yes.

CFC: Building off that, how much context were you given about the event overall? Just broad strokes or did they have more solid material to give you at that point? 

JH: As the writer of the launch story for the event, I was really only given the broad strokes.

(NOTE: Houser’s “Defender of the Daleks” along side Doctor Who Magazine’s “Monstrous Beauty” were among the first TLV efforts released to the public, ahead of the event’s first prose novel “The Knight, The Fool, and the Dead” by Stephen Cole and first audio adventure starring Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, Big Finish Productions’ “He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not” by Carrie Thompson.)

CFC: Let’s talk DALEKS. So, obviously various Daleks are playing a big part in Time Lord Victorious as well as “Defender” being the first time they have been in licensed comics after a long, rights tangled absence, but how important was it to you to make the Dalek Prime Strategist stand out among the Dalek cast of the event? How did you even approach them as a character?

JH: My main thing for this story was realizing that the Prime Strategist really served as the companion for this piece as much as he was also the Doctor’s foil, and to write him while finding the balance between the two.

CFC: You also have the pleasure of introducing a brand-new monster to the Doctor Who universe, the Hond! Was it difficult trying to come up with a monster that could make even the Daleks scared?

JH: It was fun coming up with a threat that really one-upped the Daleks. The idea that came to me right away was a race that wanted to exterminate themselves along with all other living things

CFC: You deliver a really compelling dynamic between the Tenth Doctor and the Dalek Strategist. Both finding common ground as outcasts somewhat from their own people and carrying scars, both on the inside and outside from the Time War and various conflicts from their histories. How did you go about tackling this dynamic and getting under their skin? Or in the Strategist’s case, shell?

JH: For the Dalek Strategist, I really wanted to make him more interesting than the average Dalek, to the point where the Doctor would feel more of a kinship with him. I also wanted to make sure that he could stand up to the Doctor in conversation, since he was going to be the main character talking to the Doctor across the two issues.

CFC: Were there any Tenth Doctor or Dalek stories you found yourself drawing inspiration from in “Defender”? There is so much material there and now YOUR OWN story rightfully joins that canon, but were there any episodes or “expanded universe” stories from Big Finish or the BBC Books you might have found yourself drawn to, maybe even just as a fan, in the genesis of the series?

JH: Since it was really focused on the Tenth Doctor’s relationship with the Daleks, I took a look overall at how he had interacted with them over the whole span of his regeneration.

CFC: Now that you have handled both Jodie Whittaker and David Tennant’s Doctors (as well as a quick jaunt with Paul McGann, as readers will have seen by now), are there any other incarnations of the Doctor you find yourself wanting to write now? Personally, I think you could do wonders with Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor (and Ace!), but that’s just me.

JH: The Ninth Doctor was the incarnation that really made me fall in love with the series, so it would be fun to tackle him someday.

CFC: Is there ANYTHING you can tell us about the incoming series? Even just a LITTLE hint. We already know that both Rose Tyler and Classic Series monsters the SEA DEVILS (a personal favorite of mine) will be returning, but are there any other hints you can give us for in the incoming new series?

JH: The Sea Devils won’t be the only familiar aliens appearing in this story arc!

Time Lord Victorious Vol. 1 and Doctor Who Comics #1 are available now. Time Lord Victorious will continue into 2021.

After awaking in an alternate reality where the Time War never took place, the Tenth Doctor is recruited by his deadly nemeses, the Daleks, to defeat a terror that even they fear. Can the Doctor make peace with his enemies in order to stop this unknown monster from the Dark Times as it seeks to extinguish all life in the universe?!

 Titan Comics are thrilled to be part of TIME LORD VICTORIOUS,  an epic Doctor Who story which connects across all Doctor Who publishing media, including books, audio dramas, an escape room and more.

The Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious graphic novel collects #1 & #2 of the comics and features fan-favourite Tenth Doctor (portrayed by David Tennant) with stunning artwork from Roberta Ingranata and story from Doctor Who superstar writer Jody Houser.

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