Thursday, 31 May 2007


Issue 24 features the very welcome return of Peter Adamson's Ice Warrior epic Cydonia, clocking in with Book IV—The Book of the Titans. Like all of the previous 'Books' as published in RTP!, again the comic takes another step up in storytelling and artwork, which is pretty amazing given those standards were set pretty high in the first place! This time around we finally reach the beginning of Haaga's journey that led him to where we found him at the beginning (some three years ago in RTP!, or even longer if you've been reading since Telos). It is a sad tale that deftly blends violence, loneliness, desperation, and fear in what seems to be Haaga's descent into the darkness.

My first encounter with Peter's Ice Warrior comic came in the form of Matt Kamstra's copy of Telos #12 some time after said zine had folded. That was part of the original single page installment version that had been gracing the fanzine for some time. It was something of a revelation for a playing-at-being-an-artist like myself. I had been envious of Peter's ability with a pencil and pen for some time by that point, jealousy striking from the moment I saw his first TSV work in issue 38. But his Cydonia art just elevated that to burning jealousy! It was in a style very different to his regular art in TSV and seemed so clear and simple, yet detailed at the same time. It has served the comic well.

Cydonia had been mentioned as a potential for the zine by Matt on occasion when the pair of us were editing together (Matt and Wade Campbell as readers of Telos being more familiar with the comic than myself), but back then Peter had never sounded too keen about completing the comic in the fanzine from the e-mails we got from him. At that point in time he seemed to be lining the comic up to appear in the pages of TSV. That seemed to change around the time I was living in Japan, and roughly a year later the first 'Book' appeared in issue 17 (March 2004). Whether that was a change in plans on Peter's part, or a reaction to changes with TSV I am uncertain, but it was certainly to RTP!'s benefit.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Fanzines Reviewing Fanzines - Telos #15

In a continued celebration of RTP! #1 this week, this blog brings you a review of the fanzine that in many ways helped spawn RTP! in the first place. Jonathan Park's Telos as reviewed in RTP! #1:
Telos #15 — The Last Laugh!!!

Farewell to a slice of Doctor Who fandom in New Zealand.

There aren't that many adjectives around that would sum this one up. Quirky comes to mind as the most appropriate however. What should have been 'the last laugh' was more of a cough, a splutter that was the last regular issue of Telos. Reprinted in the middle of it all was Telos #1. Telos had come a long way since that issue, so it was interesting to see it and such initiatives as 'The Telos Prediction Line'.
Back to the main body, and Telos^2* looked to be interesting with a well written article by David Ronayne about the dark path taken by recent TV sci-fi shows, and an often indepth review of Doctor Who Season Nine.
Unfortunately, this issue was all too neglected, and a sad farewell to a fine piece of New Zealand fandom history.

- Wade Campbell
* Telos^2 was an aborted attempt to transition Telos from a purely Doctor Who fanzine to a multi-show one. What was completed of it appeared as part of issue 15.

A tad on the short side, so help pad out this post is a brand new review of the same issue a little over ten years later:

Telos #15 — The Last Laugh!!! (April 1997)

Telos came to an end in April 1997 with its fifteenth and final issue, identified on the cover as 'The Last Laugh!!!'. Telos was something that I'd been aware of ever since Paul Scoones had begun reviewing it in the pages of TSV, but it was not something that I'd ever read. I eventually stumbled over a copy of a previous issue (#12) while working on RTP! some time after it had folded.

Issue 15 is something of an unfortunate issue to bow out on as it is incredibly half-hearted in execution, the fanzine finally getting a decent send off with Telos Unearthed, which was edited by Peter Adamson and published in 1998.

A hefty chunk of the issue (twenty of the fifty-two pages) is given over to a complete reprint of Issue 1, which does at least allow the reader to appreciate just how much the fanzine had improved in every area since its first issue. Four pages are lost to large type face announcements and another two to reprinted material, one of which is Graham Muir's "Saucer" comic.

The new material that does make it into the issue all comes from the aborted Telos^2 fanzine that Jonathan Park had dabbled with the idea of. Thus the purely Doctor Who material is limited to reviews of merchandise (trading cards and a video release), an interview with Evan Hercules (who worked on The Mind Robber), a report on the then recently restarted Christchurch Chapter of the NZDWFC, and an overview of Season Nine.

Not as bad as it potentially might have been given that Jonathan had lost interest in continuing the fanzine, but as a way to either remember those heady days or sample what Telos was like you are better off tracking down a copy of Telos Unearthed.

- Alexander Ballingall

Jonathan Park's latest fanzine, Zeus Plug, can now be viewed in its blog incarnation. Click on the link in the 'more interesting blogs' spot to enjoy.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Fanzines Reviewing Fanzines - TSV #74

From the latest issue, a review of the recent issue of TSV ...
TSV #74 (April 2007)

A new issue of TSV, hooray! The last issue clocked in almost a year ago and much has changed since then. The issue marks the first time that the fanzine has gone without a news section, meaning that it jumps straight in with the main stuff. In the process though the letters page seems to have gone missing and I have to ponder if that is another sign of the apathy that is creeping into fandom.

If you ignore the Series 2 review section then the reviews part of the fanzine seems much more restrained which is great (although rather hypocritically the latest issue of RTP! (#24) has probably the biggest review section ever to date!) This should leave space for other things, but for whatever reason the issue feels a tad on the empty side. I’ve no idea what gives me that feeling, nor how it could be remedied but it is there.

Of the material that does fill out the issue, David Lawrence’s herculean effort with the EDAs stands out as a very readable slog through books I’ve never read (except for Father Time). The article works and remains interesting and informative despite no real knowledge of the books and that is a testament to David’s writing.

Jamas Enright’s ‘Drabble Challenge’ is hugely amusing and he easily sums up each era, hitting the right quirks in order to sell each piece effectively. A very amusing romp through a series of never-quite-happened adventures. New regular artist Amy Mebberson livens up the issue with her chumblie pic and the interview with Jon Older (a slightly more obscure member of the Doctor Who production team) proves to have some interesting nuggets in it.

All in all it does feel like Adam has really begun to get a grip on the fanzine and make it his own. Issue 74 feels far smoother and refined as the previous couple of issues have done, and bodes well for the future of the fanzine. With the new series in a third season already and TSV back in its stride once more, we can look forward to great things from future issues under Adam’s tenure as editor.

Now all it needs is to deal with that perennial bugbear of all fanzines—more contributors to help give each issue a little more variety. Still, let’s hope that TSV continues to hang around to serve NZ fandom as well as it has always done.

- Alexander Ballingall

Read another review of the same issue here.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Pulp Who - A Decade of Mindless Violence

Not only does RTP! turn ten this year, but so does the first comic published in the pages of the fanzine. Pulp Who arrived in December 1997, a huge 14 pages crashing into the second issue with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. In many ways it set some of the early boundaries on what would be acceptable in the fanzine, featuring swearing, extreme violence, and references to sex. It also set the other standard: that of 'borrowing' heavily from other sources—in this case the Tarantino film Pulp Fiction.

Still, some people liked it despite the crude drawings and very unoriginal script.

To help celebrate ten years of RTP! and a decade of Pulp Who, a new three-part re-issue of the comic is planned to begin in December 2007 with the first volume (volumes 2 and 3 to follow in 2008).

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Ten Years

RTP! turns ten years old this year in October. By far the shortest of the issues published to date (clocking in at only 32 pages), issue 1 in many ways set the template for the future. It featured strange reviews, odd pieces of art from "Saucer" creator Graham Muir (including the cover, which features a Christchurch Tram to help sell the idea that RTP! was being produced in Christchurch), and fiction. It also had a logo that was pretty hard to read and an attempt at Magic Eye that I've still not managed to get to work! Still, there must have been something to the issue as it didn't follow 99% of other fanzines and die after one issue. Issue 2 would surface only two months later. But to help celebrate ten years, here is the Editorial:
Christchurch fandom has risen from the ashes like a phoenix, and we must say it has been a good feeling to be part of the revival. The seed has been planted, and a sound future is in sight for the rest of 1997 and beyond. The strength of fandom is such that we decided to write this small zine.
After the demise of Telos, we decided that there was still the need for a second regular Doctor Who zine, so we came up with Reverse the Polarity!. Tabloid Who as its best perhaps? Totally outrageous, sometimes insulting and mostly in jest, this zine will change with the ever changing needs of the readership, to ensure that you're all happy you mingy sods! ;-) So reader correspondence is important.
This zine is the brainchild of the Christchurch Chapter, only a year old, but now well established in Canterbury. But that doesn't mean an exclusion of Aucklanders or any of you other regional fanboys or fangirls as the case may be.
Now is the time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the experience that is Reverse the Polarity!. All we ask is some reader direction, response, and a cold tinny of Canterbury Draught!

- Matt Kamstra & Wade Campbell
And finally, the basic guff:

Published: October 1997
The Fanzine of the Christchurch Chapter of the NZDWFC
Editor: Wade Campbell, Matt Kamstra
RTP! Logo Design: Jamie Campbell
Front Cover: Graham Muir
Back Cover: Garry Jackson
Internal Artwork: Wade Campbell, Garry Jackson, Matt Kamstra, Graham Muir
Page Count: 32
Print Run: 45
Price: NZ$2

~ Contents ~
  • [01] COVER
  • [02] CONTENTS
  • [03] EDITORIAL
  • [04] UPDATE
  • [05] 76 Totter's Lane
  • [05] WHO?! on the Internet
  • [06] /full page advert/
  • [07] ARTICLE: Kaled Nazism
  • [10] OPINION: Wade's Womble Talk
  • [11] Doctor Who Bullsh*t: Hartnell Speaks Out
  • [13] REVIEW [Review of Genesis Of The Daleks]
  • [14] OPINION: Genesis Spawned a Monster
  • [15] Magic Eye Dr Who!
  • [16] REVIEWS: The Scope [Reviews of Telos, TSV and NAs]
  • [19] REVIEWS: Cracked Through the Covers [Reviews of NA and MA cover artwork]
  • [20] Doctor Who on The Lenny Henry Show [Transcript]
  • [22] Watch Out!
  • [23] FICTION: Fetch
  • [24] REVIEW: An Anniversary Remastered [Review of The Five Doctors Special Edition]
  • [26] The Beginning of an Addiction
  • [27] FICTION: At Dusk
  • [28] /full page advert/
  • [29] Fan Who - Past and Present: Wade Campbell
  • [30] OPINION: Julian Vance Says ...
  • [31] REVIEW: Muzza's Chocolate Fish Report [Review of The Sontaran Experiment]
  • [32] COVER

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Demons and Angels

A little something from the latest issue ...

Has anyone else noticed the odd biblical fascination that has crept into the Doctor Who and Torchwood production offices? During Series One of Who there were observations raised on the message boards about the used of the word “hell” as a socially acceptable expletive to be used in the family friendly series, however in Series Two the term seems to be used less figuratively and in more definite sense. When the Doctor is talking about Hell between dimensions we get the distinct impression he is talking about a definite place, and in Torchwood we find that it is a space inhabited by lost souls (They Keep Killing Suzie) and big bad demons straight out of the book of Revelation. And not just “like” a biblical monster (as one would see in Buffy) but actually Abbadon, with Ianto reading chapter and verse from Book of Daniel. In The Satan Pit the Doctor meets the Devil (in both cases the definite article) with none of the trappings of psydeo science ala The Dæmons. Even in the new Sarah Jane Adventures we are presented with a villain called Wormwood and reminded that the name comes from Biblical prophecy.

Apart from that, and the very evocative episode titles (Doomsday, End Of Days, The Satan Pit), also consider that both Jack and the Doctor seem to have picked up thematically characteristics of the “Wandering Jew”, or Longinus (a Roman legionary if you want to push the foreign solider analogy for Jack) apocryphal tales popular in the early Christian church, about a sinner, cursed with immortality, left homeless to wander the earth, seeking redemption before the Day of Judgement.

Nicking stuff from religion for science fiction/fantasy is nothing new. Both Buffy and The X Files (two of the most influential shows to Torchwood) did it on a regular basis, but neither of these shows have taken biblical prophecy like this and incorporated it into a physical being to be a villain in the show. Similarly both Buffy and The X Files have also mentioned the positive sides of belief (Scully’s Catholic faith (All Souls), Buffy’s belief she went to heaven (Once More with Feeling)). But Torchwood seems to be trying to have both ways, denying an afterlife on one hand (“There is nothing there!”), but on the other pillaging the Bible for monster material - material it doesn’t essentially need. Doctor Who survived for years with the outré and strange being simply alien, the few times in the old series where religion entered into plots it was explained away with science and Clarke’s Law.

So why change now? There is obviously a thematic plan to this even if it is only window dressing. Do the production teams think their science fiction “looks better” with a thin veil of Judaeu-Christian mythology? Does it add impact, depth or drama? Or is it simply because demons are “cooler” than angels, and satanic monsters are easier to push through the watershed than overt religion in these PC times?

- David Ronayne

Friday, 25 May 2007

The Beginning of the End

Welcome to the blog to end all blogs.

That's right. This is the blog that will finally cause the internet to crash under the weight of all those blogs out there in cyberspace.

The 'straw' that finally broke the camel's back!

Meanwhile, should the internet remain standing, this will become the blog for the Doctor Who fanzine Reverse the Polarity! which turns ten years old this year.

Expect posts covering both old and new material, exclusive ramblings from yours truly and anything else I can throw at the blog and actually sticks.