Sunday, 24 November 2013

BBC Censors Dave Sim's 'Doctor Who' Covers

(by fax, 22 November 2013)

Changes To The 'Doctor Who' Covers:
...The BBC told [IDW to make the changes]. It's work-made-for-hire so the covers are the BBC's property. I told Ted Adams [IDW CEO] not to worry about it... A smooth working relationship with 'The Beeb' is more important in case they have another property IDW wants...

Creators Bill Of Rights:
...pretty much everyone has disowned the Bill Of Rights including its author, Scott McCloud, because it is a very different environment than it was. There was, I suspect, a subtext of "If worse comes to worst, we'll all just work for Kevin and Peter!" This was pre-Tundra, or course. And there should have been then -- and should be now -- a greater emphasis on Creator Responsibilities (See: 'With Great Power Comes...') starting with on-time delivery of "no excuses" work. And as per the Doctor Who covers, if it's work-made-for-hire you don't have any rights, so don't let it bother you.
Doctor Who: Prisoners Of Time #9 (IDW, 2013)
Original cover artwork (left) and final printed cover (right) 
Art by Dave Sim
Doctor Who: Prisoners Of Time #10 (IDW, 2013)
Original cover artwork (left) and final printed cover (right)
Art by Dave Sim
Doctor Who: Prisoners Of Time #11 (IDW, 2013)
Original cover artwork (left) and final printed cover (right)
Art by Dave Sim


Paul Slade said...

It's a bit silly describing this as censorship, isn't it? "Reject" or "amend" might be a more accurate verb (albeit a less sensationalist one) for your headline.

It's hard to be sure without seeing Dave's original images in colour, but I suspect simple clarity and a desire not to lose the Dr Who logo in surrounding detail was the BBC's core issue here.

The original Eccleston cover in particular is very cluttered to my eye, as are many of the IDW covers Dave's produced for Judge Dredd and The Colonized. Contrast their jangled, over-busy appearance with the simple elegance of so many Cerebus covers, and you'd hardly think the same artist had been involved.

It's also fair to say that one or two of the facial likenesses here aren't quite right. Poor old Rory seems to be morphing into Bernard Cribbens, which I think might explain his removal. Is "censorship" really the right word to describe changes like that?

Geoffrey D. Wessel said...

I had said at the time I'd thought Rory looked like David Cameron... (Also, for the #12 cover, it was bloody clear that Sim used Richard Hurndall As William Hartnell for reference rather than William Hartnell - it was a scene right out of "The Five Doctors.")

But yeah, I thought these were different than what was shown before. All that said? The Eccleston cover ended up GORGEOUS.

--- Geoffrey D. Wessel
DOCTOR WHO fan for 35 of his 40 years on Earth

Anonymous said...

"Edits" , "modifies", "curtails", or "revises" would have probably been a little more neutral and accurate.

Looking at a few dictionary definitions, I think "censor" is actually technically right, but the word usually carries a negative connotation that is a bit misleading.

Anyways, the final covers look excellent. The colour certainly helps so it's hard to compare to the originals, which look like they were drawn with the thought that colour would be added to unify everything later.

-Reginald P.

@Chris_DFS said...

Not sure if I ever found a version large enough, but I wanted to have a go at colouring these covers, being a Who and Sim fan. Guess I can do so now and not worry about comparing with the official version.

JLH said...

Seems to me like they couldn't get approval for likeness rights of Billie Piper and the guy who played Rory.

Jeff Seiler said...

So, from what I can tell, the BBC used elements ("zoomed in" head and shoulders shots) of the original art that Dave did, but it's still Dave's art, right? I noticed Dave's signature box on the revised covers of #9 and #11, but no signature on #10. So, yeah, I'd go with "edits" or "revises". "Censors" is rather inflammatory.

Anonymous said...

Although, if you were to insist on being inflammatory, I would have gone with "rapes" instead of "censors".

-Reginald P.

Jason Towers said...

There was no need to seek approval for Arthur Darvill's likeness.

M Southall said...

Gerhard tells me he had a whole lot to do with the Cerebus covers.

Stephen Shores said...

The first one is a great piece of artwork, but it's too busy for a cover. The second one might be fine for a cover with proper color applied (hard to tell). I think seeing Rose and the Doctor by itself, taking out the 'film reel', would have been perfect. Third cover, they did a terrible job of taking out that middle character. :/