It was December 1980, and I was 8 years old. My family was on our way for the Christmas visit to Ohio to visit's Mom's parents and that side of the family. We made that trek by car, and it usually took 2-3 days - remember, there were kids. We had stopped for the night at a local motel in a now-forgotten town. Dad was going to the local convenience store to get something, and since it was already dark, I wasn't allowed to accompany him. I asked him to pick up a comic book for me.
When Dad got back to the motel room, he had bought a copy of Marvel Premiere #57. I studied the cover with more than a little confusion. This sure wasn't a superhero! In fact, I didn't know what to make of this man in a strange outfit floating through space(?) with a telephone booth(?!?). I'll never know why Dad chose that comic book - if it was just a random grab or if something about it caught his attention. It surely wasn't because he had ever heard of "Doctor Who."
I reluctantly read that comic book, despite it not being something I would have gravitated toward myself, and found myself fascinated by it. The story was creative and clever and more than a bit dark, and the art by some guy named Dave Gibbons was very appealing. Further, as I studied the only comic book at my disposal that night, I learned that DOCTOR WHO was a science-fiction TV show with a long and colorful history. On the way home, I spotted a copy of Marvel Premiere #58 and snapped it up to see the conclusion of "The Iron Legion".
As luck would have it, 1981 would be the year my local PBS station began carrying DOCTOR WHO. It was a wonderful bit of serendipity that I was already familiar with the basics of it when I had the chance to see it. You can bet your bottom dollar I was there the first afternoon it aired, and made a point to watch it whenever possible (often on my black and white TV, which I still miss terribly).
I've never really been an active part of Whovian fandom. I gradually stopped following the show, though I still retain an affection for it and what it stands for. Ah, but nothing can take away the magic of reading those Marvel comic books on a long December car ride and discovering a whole new world of imagination.
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