Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Infinite Artist

I'm jumping on the bandwagon a little here, seeing as a lot of people have been blogging about a particular piece of artwork, but I've been following Paul Hanley on DeviantArt for a while now, so it's not before time. Paul draws highly detailed, intricate scenes for his favourite pop culture characters and his own creations, and it'll come as no surprise to anyone that it is his Doctor Who art that has caught my eye. He's also one of Obverse Books' preferred artists, having previously provided the cover art for Iris: Abroad and Lady Stardust. He's now created the truly wonderful cover for the upcoming Iris Wildthyme of Mars. This is, of course, especially exciting for me, since this is the cover to the book that will contain my first professional fiction commission. 

Isn't it gorgeous? Paul often creates crowded vistas which act as geeky Where's Wally? style puzzles (or Where's Waldo if you're a Yank). So, as well as Iris (in her Barbarella incarnation) and Panda, he's provided all manner of Martians to try to identify. This should not be taken to mean that any of these creatures will be appearing in the stories, however. There are many more Marses than are depicted on here.

What's really been hitting the blogosphere is this. Paul has drawn numerous Doctors in the past, not only depicting an ever-increasing rolecall of the 'proper' Doctors, but having fun with apocryphal, unofficial, and fan-requested Doctors. Now, he's gone the whole hog, and produced something that I'd love to do, if my drawing skills were up to the task: 'The Infinite Doctor.'

Isn't that something? I particularly like how less well-known versions of the character are up front, with the often overlooked eighth Doctor (in his Night of the Doctor garb) sharing the limelight with the first Doctor, the Richard E. Grant animated Doctor, the War Doctor, and two of the Doctors from the wonderful Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death. The latest addition to the roster, Peter Capaldi, gets pride of place, but there are all manner of extra incarnations on there, from the faces seen in the battle in The Brain of Morbius to Big Finish's 'Unbound' Doctors. There are even some that I could not identify, which, given my level of Who geekery, isn't to be sniffed at.

Two inclusions really leap out at me from this:

The 'Egon' Doctor, from the proposed Nelvana cartoon, as mentioned in my Harold Ramis piece last night. I considered including him in the 'Past, Potentials and Parallels' piece from my 'Other Doctors' series, but it was getting a little busy. It's quite heartwarming to see this version of the Doctor appear just as Egon was taken from us.

The second Doctor from the left, the rather cool, asiatic looking one with white hair and a black hat and cloak. This is a new one on me; although I was familiar with the Japanese Daleks novelisation, I hadn't seen all the illustrations before (you can view them all here). That's what's wonderful about Doctor Who, there's always more to discover. Add to the handful here who I didn't recognise a few more stage Doctors that I've just read about in Who-ology, and my Doctor catalogue is growing by the day.

There are some others I would have included here, had I the talent to do so. I'd have included some parallel versions of Doctors with distinctive looks, a couple of well-regarded fan Doctors, maybe some more spoof Doctors. But the wonderful thing about this image, in its conception and title, is that there need be no end to all the versions of the Doctor. The Doctors hang off the page, hinting at many, many more we can't see. If you can think of a Doctor, but can't spot him, don't worry. He's there somewhere, a few too many steps to the left.

For those who may need some more assistance in identifying the Doctors portrayed (or just like lists, like me) Paul has helpfully included a version with a key here. To view the above images at full size, just click on them to be taken to the original page, and to view his entire DeviantArt gallery, click here. To learn more about some of the mysterious faces pictured, try my 'Other Doctors' articles, which are already hopelessly out-of-date and lacking certain incarnations (John Guilor as the first Doctor in The Day of the Doctor? David McGrouther as the sixth Doctor on ice? Declain Brennan from 'Doctor Who Meets Einstein?')

Infinite Doctors in Infinite Combinations...

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