Three Ways to Enjoy Alan Rickman in Under Ten Minutes

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Dust, a short film starring Alan Rickman, made its way though the independent and short film festival circuits with enthusiastic response. Last month, this twisted little tale was made available to watch online through sites like Vimeo and YouTube.

Created with the help of the online crowdfunding platform Sponsume, Dust is the directorial debut of lifelong friends Jake Russell and Ben Ockrent. It not only made the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Long List for 2014, the result of Round One voting by Academy members, it was an “Official Selection” at film festivals worldwide.

Rickman plays a silent, creepy trench coat-wearing man who follows a young girl and her mother (Broadchurch‘s Jodie Whittaker) home. After lurking in the shadows until nightfall, the man sneaks into their home, where something unexpected happens.

Any more information will give things away, but the ending will not disappoint Rickman fans.

Alan Rickman: Portraits in Dramatic Time. Image courtesy of David Michalek.

Alan Rickman: Portraits in Dramatic Time. Image courtesy of David Michalek.

For those who can’t get enough of this multiple award-winning actor’s work, here are two other short doses of Rickman to enjoy

First, Alan Rickman: Portraits in Dramatic Time. This mesmerizing piece of Rickman dunking tea, then having a table-tossing fit in hyper slow-motion, was part of David Michalek’s “Portraits in Dramatic Time” project. The project features performers from all genres creating a 10- to 15-second scene in a small space. Michalek filmed the scene with ultra-high-speed cameras, fixed on one angle. The result was what Michalek called in his project description “glacially paced” dramatic narratives condensed down to an essence.

There were other wonderful performances in this series, but Rickman’s “Epic Tea Time,” as it came to be called, was the one that got the most attention with social media viewers.

Stretching this simple, burst of frustration into a 7-minute performance demonstrates how Rickman has more emotional range in a few simple gestures than some actors can achieve in a full-length film.

Screen-Shot-2014-08-29-at-10.27.18-AMSecondThe Boy In The Bubble. Rickman narrates this animated story about a classic horror-loving boy who foolishly tries to avoid dealing with a broken heart via a magic spell.

Stylistically, it will appeal to fans of Tim Burton’s macabre and heartwarming stop-motion films like Frankenweenie and Corpse Bride, although Burton isn’t involved in the project. Rickman’s smooth, dark chocolate voice is what brings this charming little tale its enchantment. Despite its monster-laden overtones, this film is also a redemptive tale of how those who endure bullying or heartbreak may be tempted to isolate themselves away from their problems.

Irish director Kealan O’Rourke has won several film festival awards for his live-action and animated films, including The Boy in the Bubble. As the first Irish-made film to use the 3D stereoscopic process, the short won two awards when it premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2011, and won the 2012 IFTA (Irish Film & Television Award) for Best Animation.

According to O’Rourke’s official site, The Boy in the Bubble is currently being developed into a feature-length film. There’s no specific talk on whether or not Rickman will still play a prominent part in the feature film, but it would be a shame if he didn’t.

Cars Land Via Historic Route 66

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All photos by Rick Tate

We discovered one of the best ways to enjoy Disney’s California Adventure Cars Land is by getting a look at the historic route from which it was inspired. All photos by Rick Tate

My husband, Rick, and I had talked about taking a trip down the Historic Route 66 for several years. When the Walt Disney Company and Pixar announced two years ago the addition of Cars Land, a recreation of Cars Downtown Radiator Springs, to their California Adventure Park in Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort, we decided to take action.

After several months of planning, and precisely scheduling the trip to coincide with our 20th wedding anniversary and our youngest daughter’s birthday, we set off to “get our kicks.” Time wouldn’t allow us to make the entire Route 66 drive, so we started just outside of Oklahoma City, to “motor west” the end of the road at Santa Monica Beach in California.

We knew we wanted to take in as much of the historic quirky, kitschy weirdness that was once America’s most prominent byway, but what about our daughters? Our route would be roughly 1,300 miles (a good four days of car travel), with several “back road” stops along the way. How could we make a long stretch of American concrete and often deserted buildings interesting for a 12-year-old ‘tween and a very, very active four year old anticipating her upcoming fifth birthday?

Thankfully, Disney had already done the job for us, as Disneyland Park was located in the Los Angeles area, near the end of the Route 66 line. We gave our girls the task of seeing how much of Route 66’s features they would recognize during their Cars Land visit. After all, four days at Disneyland was a good incentive to put up with what they probably felt was a traveling history lesson.

Once we reached our Disney destination, it was evening when Cars Land’s neon was in full glory. Our girls immediately begin recognizing all the details, shops, attractions, and features inspired by Route 66. Having just seen the “real deal” made the adventure that much more exciting.

Here are a few of the most obvious Cars Land/Route 66 comparisons we made:

Route 66 Road Stamps.

shield-signs-660x289These stenciled Route 66 shield stamps are periodically placed along the highway to mark areas of some of the original stretches of road or historic districts. Some of the signs we saw were marked with the state’s designation, and some had an extra bit of detail added, but they were all pretty much the same, classic shield design.

The over-sized Route 66 shield stamp in Cars Land was set in a centralized location, but much bigger than many of the ones on the actual highway. It was a perfect “welcome” the evening we arrived.

The “Here It Is” Sign.here-it-is-660x352

This sign was the tail end of an over-the-top “anticipation” method of advertising, where signs featuring the same bunny image were placed along the highway nearly every mile for around 100 miles. The idea was to wear down the driver with such a sense of curiosity, they just had to stop to see what “IT” actually was. The answer: a big fiberglass saddled bunny outside of the Jackrabbit Trading Post, between Holbrook and Winslow, Arizona. Today, only the final sign is left along the roadside, but the trading post is still open for business. The big bunny is still well cared for ready for photo ops.

The Cars Land “Here It Is” Sign is an adorable tribute to this sign, including the little “Stanley” bunnies aligning the top of the billboard. There was no giant bunny, but Mater’s “petting zoo” is near the sign, with a single tractor to pose with and pet. Unlike the jackrabbit, Disney discourages guests from sitting on the tractor.

The U-Drop Inn.

ramones-660x312Disney Pixar’s most faithful recreation of one of Route 66’s historic roadside buildings takes after Shamrock, Texas’s U-Drop Inn, and its distinct Conoco Tower. The Art Deco style building was completed in 1936, and is currently the site of the town’s Chamber of Commerce and visitor center.

The building was the inspiration for Ramone’s House of Body Art gift shop, which also boasts a unique tower and shape. Ramone’s, by the way, is the only place in Cars Land where people will find a hidden Mickey Mouse in the design. The Mickey heads aren’t easy to spot, but cast members will be glad to point out where they are found.

Also easily comparable, were the Cool Springs Camp along the windy road to Oatman, Arizona, and Lizzie’s Curio Shop.

Cadillac Ranch.

cadillac-ranch-660x204Even those who aren’t interested in the Route 66 history would find the Cadillac Ranch public art installment outside of Amarillo, Texas, interesting. The installment is not right on the route, but is a popular side trip for travelers. This line of upturned Cadillacs was commissioned by eccentric art lover Stanley Marsh 3, and built by the artist group “Ant Farm.” It seems isolated in pictures, but it is nearly always swarmed by people armed with colorful spray-paint cans, wishing to contribute to the ever-changing designs. Our family was no exception, and when we left, the words “Bad Wolf” adorned on a couple of the Caddys.

Cadillac Ranch is so popular, it inspired a similar lesser-known installation, “Bug Ranch,” created with Volkswagen Beetles, in nearby Conway, Texas. Someone else had already beaten us to marking it with, “Bad Wolf,” in the exact color of paint as ours, no less.

Cars Land’s tribute to this world-famous piece of pop art is a prominent part of Radiator Spring’s “natural” landscape in Ornament Valley. Cadillac Ranch’s famed tail fins can be seen in this landscape that makes up the back drop for Cars Land’s main attraction, Radiator Springs Racers.

The Wigwam Motel.

wigwam-660x382We saw all types of “giant concrete items” and shaped buildings along the route, including the big Twin Arrows in Arizona, and the Milk Bottle Building in Oklahoma. The Wigwam Motels in Holbrook, Arizona, and Rialto, California, were the most charming. Both of these sister motel sites still take guests, too, but they do tend to fill up fast.

The Cars Land answer to these is the Cozy Cone Motel, which serves are a set of five little snack booths surrounding a small food court and the motel’s lobby. In addition to being able to hang out in Radiator Springs’ most popular motel, this is also the site where Lightning McQueen and Mater take turns posing—as well as cars can—with guests.

Hackberry Gen Store and Bottle Tree Ranch.

fillmores-660x319There have been several stories about the people who inspired the characters in the movie Cars. One of the possible inspirations for free-spirited Volkswagen Microbus, Fillmore, was the late artist Bob Waldmire. Waldmire supposedly wasn’t that thrilled with being associated with the fictional talking van, but his Hackberry Gen Store in Hackberry, Arizona, was certainly as creative as Fillmore’s hippy haven. The Hackberry site contains a large display of found item art, a somewhat eerie soda fountain recreation with costumed mannequins, and even a little koi pond “oasis” in the desert. Fillmore could also feel easily at home in Elmer Long’s “Bottle Tree Ranch” near Helendale, California, a front yard forest of bottle trees topped with everything from toilet seats to road signs.

The “geodesic dome” shape of Fillmore’s psychedelic-colored building was also typical of the design of a few of the remaining buildings we passed.

Another common building shape we saw again and again along the route was the cylindrical military buildings known as Quonset Huts. After World War II, private citizens and business owners, for extra garage space, surplus stores, barns, and other purposes, repurposed these huts. Sarge’s Surplus Hut gift store next to Fillmore’s was no exception, including its slightly rusted exterior.

“Burma-Shave” Signs. burmashave-429x470

The Burma-Shave liniment and shaving cream first created their unique brand of roadside advertising in 1925, and was one of their major advertising means in most contiguous states through 1963.

Travelers likely won’t see many original Burma-Shave signs intact, but the well-preserved stretch of road west of Seligman, Arizona, has placed several reproductions along the route for nostalgia buffs to enjoy. This made the long stretch of empty desert highway more entertaining.

Some of these “episodic” road sign messages were straightforward ads for the product, but many were safe driving messages in verse form. Our family favorite: “Got insurance?…Remember, kiddo…They don’t pay you…They pay your widow….Burma-Shave.”

Since cars themselves don’t shave, the Burma-Shave style signage outside the entrance to the Radiator Springs Racers advertise, of course, Rust-eze: “Mind your speed…As you go…Sheriff’s old…But he’s not slow…Rust-eze.”

Neon!

neonBoth Route 66 and Disney parks shine best at night.

Two locations where Route 66’s neon seemed stand out the most were Albuquerque and Tucumcari, New Mexico. This was no surprise in Albuquerque, since it was a main urban college-area street, but in the smaller community of Tucumcari, the restored neon signs were beautiful, most notably the Tepee Curios and the Blue Swallow Motel. We had the good fortune to spend the night at The Blue Swallow, one of the more photographed signs along the route. Its neon accents also continue the entire way around the motel’s comfy courtyard.

I try not to fall into that “Disney does it better” trap, but I have to admit Cars Land—and all of California Adventure, actually—has some of the most beautiful neon displays I have ever seen. The neon-lit streets of Cars Land are so dazzling, there is even an official “neon lighting” ceremony around dusk each evening. This was a spectacular way to end the day….or kick off the evening.

Knowing where all of these “Disney details” came from made the adventure that much more fun for the girls, as if they were privy to insider secrets they couldn’t wait to share with others.

As for how the rest of Route 66 feels about Disney’s take on America’s Mother Road, there were plenty of tributes to Cars found along the historic sites, from murals to re-imagined vehicles bearing a strange resemblance to some favorite Pixar characters. There may have been a few places along the road that might have internally grumbled about the Disney-style sanitized treatment of their historic route, but most seemed to embrace this new unofficial partnership as a way to get new generations excited about this piece of American heritage.

For our family, the journey was a long and sometimes tiring, sometimes thrilling drive down history, and into another world none of us will ever forget.

Summer Artist Inspired Projects: Alexander Calder

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My Roswell Calder mobile using plastic folder sheets and jewelry wire.

My Roswell Calder mobile using plastic folder sheets and jewelry wire.

The Artist: Alexander Calder

American 20th century artist Alexander Calder did a little of everything in the world of visual arts, from abstract paintings to large-scale monuments, theater set pieces, and jewelry. And, yet, it is as the originator of the mobile where his style really stands alone.

Calder created the mobile as a type of kinetic (movement-based) sculpture, where the components are perfectly balanced. When balanced, these suspended components can move to natural air currents (wind), or in some cases, a motor.

In 1926, he created a miniature kinetic circus model he called Cirque Calder, using string, wire, rubber, and assorted found objects.

He displayed this portable model in both Europe and the United States, and even gave some improvised “performances” from the little circus performers, who moved while suspended by thread. The sculpture can be seen today at Washington, D.C.’s Whitney Museum of American Art.

Cirque Calder is seen as a start of Calder’s love of kinetic art, although it was fellow artist Marcel Duchamp, who first dubbed

Calder's work demonstrated his meticulous attention to balance. Images from Public Domain and Wikicommons.

Calder’s work demonstrated his meticulous attention to balance. Images from Public Domain and Wikicommons.

Calder’s pieces, “mobiles.” Calder’s non-movable sculptures, by the way, were called, “stabiles.”

Some of Calder’s mobiles were quite large. One of his mobiles, White Cascade, was installed in 1976 in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the city in which Calder was born. This mobile of stainless steel rods and 14 white aluminum discs measures 100 feet tall and 60 feet across at its widest point. It weighs around 10 tons.

Calder died in November of 1976, not long after his epic mobile was installed, but White Cascade is still considered the largest mobile in the world.

The Project: Space Mobiles

Calder’s mobiles are all about balance and movement, so this project is easy to construct, yet a bit tricky to hang properly.

For first-time mobile-makers, this project works best using a light plastic material, such as the poly plastic some school folders are made from. These can be found with most school or office supply areas, and often come in packs of three or more folders in bright, solid colors.

These can be hung with plain (not cloth-wrapped) floral stem, and shaped by hand or with with a pair needle-nose pliers. The pieces can be attached to the wire using large jewelry chain links, or placed directly on the wire by centering a hole at the top of the mobile piece. Two identical pieces can also be glued together at the end of the wire for some designs.

Fishing “pin connectors” can also work to attach pieces, and are fairly inexpensive from any sporting goods store.

Many types of lightweight materials can be used to create a good mobile.

Many types of lightweight materials can be used to create a good mobile.

When possible, avoid using any string or thread in building mobile pieces, with the exception of the very top hanging thread. Calder’s wire-based mobile designs are great for all ages, because the lack of string means no risk of tangled pieces.

Younger, beginning artists can also use chenille craft stems and colored card stock or craft foam, and more experienced crafters can experiment with other materials like aluminum sheets, clay, balsa wood, or even found objects.

Once the materials are gathered, cut the plastic or paper into simple shapes (circles, squares) or long swirls. These can be random shapes to look like a galaxy, or even shapes inspired by simple spacecraft.

Keep the shapes simple, similar in size, and, most importantly, weight. They don’t have to be completely identical in shape, but they should balance.

Now for the tricky part: the final balance. Think about how these pieces will hang. Will they be balanced on both ends of a wire? Will the pieces be hanging at one end of a wire, all originating from a heavier piece? Will they resemble a hanging bouquet of flowers or a large fireworks display? The Calder Foundation site features plenty of his mobiles for idea inspiration. This will also give an idea of how he created balance with various shapes and materials.

Once the idea is determined, hang the top piece of the mobile from a counter or table edge, and hang pieces one by one, checking the balance each time. Te be extra certain, try hanging these pieces together with paper clips before placing any permanent holes or links in them.

Be prepared to do a little “trimming” here and there to get the pieces to hang properly. Also, be ready to adjust the shape of the wire—a lot. For example, maybe the loop in the wire shouldn’t always be in the very center. Calder, who had studied mechanical engineering, was very meticulous about his designs, and made drawings or blueprints of his work. For crafts and beginners trial-and-error is fine, too.

Once the design is finished, hang it from an area with plenty of surrounding space and a good, gentle breeze. Make sure it is in a space where others can enjoy it as well. Calder didn’t care if people interpreted his works the same way he did, but he did want others to get a chance to use their own imagination.

He said as much in his 1951 essay, “What Modern Art Means to Me”:

“That others grasp what I have in mind seems unessential,” he wrote, “at least as long as they have something else in theirs.”

TARDIS in balance, Calder-style.

TARDIS in balance, Calder-style.

Summer Artist Inspired Projects: Joan Miró

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 “Octopus-powered Planet-Organizer,” a Miró-meets-machine project idea. Art by Lisa Kay Tate.

“Octopus-powered Planet-Organizer,” a Miró-meets-machine project idea. Art by Lisa Kay Tate.

The Artist: Joan Miró

Joan Miró was a Spanish sculptor, ceramist, and painter, who created his style of Surrealism partly out of his dislike for what he called “bourgeois” conventional painting. He experimented with complex, busy arrangements of objects and figures. His influence came from many places and styles, including surrealistic methods from Fauvism to Cubism to Dadaism. He was also one of the first artists to work with automatic drawing, a surrealist technique where the hand works freely, leading the subconscious mind in creating the painting. This led to the evolution of his signature style, in which he created a type of “pictorial language.” In this style, he used intricate lines and isolated simple figures to tell the story.

His style was so distinct, it was evident in everything he did from the 1920s well into the 1970s. This included monographs, lithographs, tapestries, murals, and mixed media sculpture. He even wrote essays on exploring more radical ways of creating

Miró and some  examples of his signature style. Images from Public Domain and WikiCommons.

Miró and some examples of his signature style. Images from Public Domain and WikiCommons.

art, such as “four-dimensional paintings” or “gas sculpture,” the art of making sculpture out of gaseous materials like cold-water steam or fog. He influenced several painters in the twentieth century, including Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko. Retrospective exhibits of his work have been seen in such prestigious locations as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Tate Modern in London, and in his home country of Spain at Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo in Madrid. He was honored with such awards as a Guggenheim International Award in 1958 and the Gold Medal of Fine Arts from King Juan Carlos of Spain in 1980, which was given three years before he died. His works have sold for thousands to millions of dollars, including one record-setting piece, his 1927 painting “Blue Star,”  which went for $37 million during a 2012 art auction in London. To Miró, his work was more than just pictures; they were his literature and music, and he has described his use of color as “words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.”

The Project: Miró Mother Boards

Miró wanted art to be poetic, alive, and not what people would expect. He also wanted it to be spontaneous. For this project, try combining Miró’s poetic free-flowing style with the rigid, immovable world of machines, to create a type of living machine. To a casual viewer, Miró’s work may look like just a collection of abstract lines and colorful shapes, but look closely and there are faces, figures, artifacts, and natural elements throughout.Computer programmers and machinists feel the same way about their creations. The inside of a laptop or watch isn’t just a random collection of wires and chips or gears and cogs, it’s an intricate language all its own.

The process is easy, but telling the story is where this gets tricky. First decide what the machine will do. Does it help people with everyday tasks? It is a time machine? Does it help keep track of information? Is it a mad scientist’s secret weapon? Now, use Miró’s style to tell this machine’s story. Draw different types of lines: curvy, jagged, straight. Then mix in two types of shapes: geometric, which are shapes with a precise edge like squares and triangles; and organic, which are free-form and curvy shapes. The shapes can even represent a specific object, such as a sun, star, or alien. It’s okay if they overlap. Miró took advantage of it when objects in his works did. Fill in the solid shapes with bright colors, and use a different color where two or more shapes may overlap.

When done, leave the background white or use a very light coat of watercolor sponged on or colored pencils for the background. As an extra challenge, try out Miró’s automatic style, and let the feel of the drawing and painting process guide the hand. Miró felt even the simplest things could give him ideas, so just start drawing.

Who knows what story will appear?

“The painting rises from the brushstrokes as a poem rises from the words,” Miró said of his work in the early twentieth century. “The meaning comes later.”

 “Adventures of a Computer Bug Zapper"  by Lisa Kay Tate.

“Adventures of a Computer Bug Zapper” by Lisa Kay Tate.

 

A Talk with New Tenth Doctor Comic Series Scribe Nick Abadzis

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Doctor Who Adventures with The Tenth Doctor Issue, cover art by Alice X. Zhang.  © Titan Comics.

My GeekMom interview with Nick Abadzis, originally published July 22, just prior to the release of the new Titan Doctor Who comic series.
 

Since the first announcement of Titan Comics’ new ongoing Doctor Who series, the anticipation for the July 23 release of the series’ first issue has been heavy among Whovians and comic fans alike, especially since the comic will introduce a brand new companion for the Tenth Doctor.

Eisner Award-winning Nick Abadzis penned the first 5-issue story arc for the Tenth Doctor’s adventures, with art by fan-favorite Elena Casagrande. Abadzis’ accomplishments include the celebrated comic Laika, a fictionalized account of the dog who would be the first living creature in space. As a lifelong Doctor Who fan, he jumped at the chance when Titan Comics Senior Editor Steve White offered him the book.

“I’d written the Tenth Doctor once before, a long time ago for Doctor Who Magazine, before I’d even seen David Tennant in the role on TV (it was his debut comic strip),” Abadzis said. “But now I know the character much better, so this is an opportunity to really add to the mythology, expand on what we know about him.”

Abadzis said his favorite aspect of The Doctor was when he found himself in unfamiliar territory. He recalled watching the show as a kid and how he loved it when The Doctor went places and figured out how things work, be it an alien planet or ancient Rome.

“Sometimes he’d land somewhere and just ‘know’ things, and could be a bit insufferable for it, and sometimes that’s necessary to get a story started quickly. But I liked it when he got caught out or was shown something he didn’t know, and he was delighted by that,” he said. “That’s the core of the character for me, a traveler who is curious about the universe and wants to see amazing things.”

He said The Doctor does battle evil when he finds it, but he is also on a mission of discovery, sometimes taking his friends along for the ride.

“He’d bring the best out in people that way. I like The Doctor as a character when he’s an empowering force, someone who helps a local population deal with an invasion maybe, but someone who gives them confidence in themselves, too, which is something he also does for many of his companions,” he said.

Abadzis is already several issues in the current series, and is planning further adventures. He said writing Doctor Who is a natural fit. He said he never thought too hard about how he would take on the Tenth Doctor, and feels to a certain extent he is “recreating” a character that Tennant, writer Russell T. Davies, and other Doctor Who writers evolved over the course of the show. He hopes to remain true to that character, as well as add his own something special. That includes the new companion.

“I really liked the Tenth Doctor on TV, so you have a head start with the mannerisms and cadences of speech and so on, but you want to add to that, expand it further, cast some new light on his behavioral tics and traits,” he said.

“The Doctor is the ultimate cosmopolitan, a traveler and cultural observer as well as a hero who fights evil and injustice, so I knew I wanted to have him traveling with someone who would enable me and other writers of this series to show new aspects of his character; things we haven’t witnessed before, and that’s how we came to create a new companion for him, Gabriella Gonzalez,” Abadzis said.

Abadzis is breaking new ground with Gonzalez, a Mexican-American, as the first Latina companion of The Doctor’s. Abadzis said his editor, Andrew James and series co-writer, Robbie Morrison, were very receptive to the idea.

“She is an individual who, although she’s proud of her background and loves her culture and traditions, refuses to be completely defined by it, either by her own family or the country she’s grown up in,” he explained. “She’s American, she’s of Mexican origin, she’s modern, but she’s very much her own person and is ready to explore that and is chafing a little against family expectations.”

Gonzalez resides in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn, which has the largest Mexican population in New York City. In the story, Sunset Park is about to celebrate la Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) when an alien invader uses the celebration as cover for its own nefarious ends.

“When he lands in Sunset Park and meets Gabby, The Doctor thinks at first he’s rescuing her—and he is—but he’s not quite prepared for how useful she makes herself, by being brave and smart and thinking of possibilities he overlooks.”

At this point in the Tenth Doctor’s timeline, he has already lost companion Donna Noble, and didn’t think he’d find a companion to match her stature.

Admittedly, it takes a period of adjustment for both Gonzalez and The Doctor.

“Gabby responds to the best in The Doctor, and, uncomfortably at first, he does likewise. He’s the best character in the world to write, and hopefully Gabby is a great foil,” Abadzis said.

“She’s smart, a little bit tough in a self-protective way but she’s emotionally intelligent, she’s got good empathy. She draws, too–I don’t think there’s been an artist on board the TARDIS since (Fifth Doctor companion) Vislor Turlough.”

Abadzis said Gonzales should be the Tenth Doctor series’ companion for at least a year, but with The Doctor there is always a possibility to explore new, interesting companions in the future.

“There’s nothing to say that there might not be other companions who come along later, who might indeed be from other regions on Earth, or maybe they’ll hail from an alien world,” he said. “It’s Doctor Who–anything can happen.”

For those worried about the comic stories interfering with the television or other continuities or wishing to see some more familiar faces, Abadzis said he is aware of the pitfalls of writing in the gaps.

“I think little continuity references can be fun most of the time–they needn’t affect a story but it’s easy to drop them in and it’s a laugh for longtime fans,” he said.

“On a larger scale, you have to come to it with the right sensibility–it’s when you do it for gratuitous reasons that it can become something you can trip up over. Bringing back a companion for the sake of it rather than because you’ve come up with a great story and they’re the ideal character to help some aspect of it smacks of gimmickry.”

He also feels filling in continuity gaps is “a great pastime, but doesn’t necessarily make for original storytelling,” and creating a new and original story is something writers should always be pushing themselves to do.

“That said, I’m as big a fan as the next person, and if I come up with a brilliant idea for a story featuring Nyssa or Ian or Sarah-Jane, I’m gonna have a go at making it work,” he said.

He promised there would be plenty of surprises, including one returning foe in the first year as part of a story written by Robbie Morrison. There will also be many all-new threats.

“While we’re trying to recreate the general feel of the Tenth Doctor’s era, we want to make the comics must-reads, their own thing, a book you’ll really want to pick up and enjoy every month,” Abadzis said, “You can certainly expect some crazy happenings, some fun character dynamics, some unexpected twists and turns of events. I like to keep myself amused, so you can be sure I will be surprising myself whenever I have the opportunity–and hopefully the reader too.”

As for other incarnations of The Doctor, the first Eleventh Doctor Adventures issue by writers Al Ewing and Rob Williams, with art by Simon Fraser, will be released alongside the Tenth Doctor’s series, and the Twelfth Doctor’s series will follow later this year.

Titan Comics’ Doctor Who Issues #1 for both the Tenth Doctor and Eleventh Doctor Adventures come out Wednesday, July 23.

Abadzis doesn’t know what his editors at Titan Comics have planned for the other Doctors but he said is petitioning to write stories for the other incarnations. Hopefully, he said, this will be only a matter of time.