The Rise and Fall of Torchwood Magazine

12 Blogs of Christmas: #4

Torchwood’s curious history and continuing success makes for an interesting subject. Ever since Series Two of its parent show included the word “Torchwood” as its ongoing meme [actually fact fans, it first got a mention in Series One’s “Bad Wolf” as a quiz answer in one of the Anne-Droid’s Weakest Link questions], Torchwood has been discussed, dissected and developed in to what promises to be quite the hit in the US of A (Mekhi Pfifer and Bill Pullman are joining the cast for crying out loud). Interesting then that the official magazine of the series  has just come to the end of its run after 25 intriguing issues.

My first problem with the magazine was the publisher. Panini (and Marvel before it) have been happily producing Doctor Who Magazine for more years than they probably care to remember and they have been doing it with critical, commercial and fandom’s acclaim. Why then, give the publishing rights to someone like Titan? While they churn out TV Tie-in titles with regular abandon, they can hardly be thought of in terms of quality when held up in comparison to DWM. The paper feels cheap, the content is light, there are far too many adverts for other Titan products and they never appeared to strike up a relationship with the production team that would give them any kind of insight whatsoever. Panini would have been a much better choice with a bunch of journalists who already know the producers, writers and behind the scenes staff, who clearly love the show already and who would be able to release a lovingly crafted sister edition to the main magazine.

On the plus side of Titan’s output was fiction. Short stories and comic strips from some excellent writers and artists have littered the pages of Torchwood magazine over the years and for those alone, the collection is worthwhile but I still suspect that there is something other than purely commercial reasons (licencing possibly) as to why Torchwood magazine is now ending. I am hoping given that the new series is about to commence shooting, that a new publisher will pick up the rights and give Torchwood the high calibre official periodical that it deserves.

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