On “The Time of My Life”

About six months ago I started picking up Doctor Who Magazine on a regular basis. DWM used to be hard to come by on this side of the Pond, and within a year of the new series starting up the magazine began turning up in more and more bookstores.

So, why the long wait? It wasn’t lack of interest or a dislike of the product. Mainly, it was never on my mind, so when I had an opportunity to start buying the magazine through work (and at a discount, no less) I said, “Ah, sod it, why the frell not?” 🙂

I received the newest issue, number 399, today. It sat on my desk most of the day, all Catherine Tate goodness on the cover, and when it came time to call it a day, into my BPRD bag it went.

I was on the subway, heading home, and because I was bored (because the book I was reading turned out to be, well, shit), I pulled out DWM and started reading.

There’s always an 8 to 10 page comic strip. To be honest, the past six months, I’ve been ignoring those. No particular reason — I liked the eighth Doctor comics, and consider “The Land of Happy Endings,” a story of the eighth Doctor and his grandchildren, John and Gillian, perhaps the most perfect Doctor Who story ever. I read the sixth Doctor comics recently — Grant Morrison’s are over-rated fanwank, but “Voyager” is beyond brilliant, the kind of weird, druggy, mind-blowing stuff I like to write myself.

This month, on the train, I read the comic, “The Time of My Life.” Written by Jonathan Morris, with art by Rob Davis (who drew a number of Star Trek comics back in the ’90s, as I recall).

The TARDIS lands in a quarry, the Doctor and Donna start to explore, Donna bickers and whines, and then…

Each page is one or two events from a different adventure the Doctor and Donna have. They witness something cosmic, they watch the Beatles perform at the Cavern Club, they attend elementary school together, and then…

I don’t want to give away the final page.

As you’re reading, as you turn the pages, you wonder — what’s the point to all this. Each of these random events builds towards a conclusion. They really are random; they’re slices from the adventures the Doctor and Donna shared, and as they progress, you see how important the Doctor was to Donna, and how important Donna was to the Doctor.

Frankly, I choked up on the last page and the waterworks sprouted.

There. On the subway.

Because it was really that good.

Even now, I’m feeling a bit choked up just thinking about it.

The only thing I can quibble with? According to Mark Lewisohn, when the Beatles performed “My Bonnie” live, it was John that handled the lead vocal, not George.

I wonder if Donna, when all is said and done and her memories gone, still has that copy of the 1 CD, autographed by John Lennon, in her collection. I’d like to think so. 🙂

So, “The Time of My Life.” Anyone who liked and adored Donna should pick this up in DWM #399. It’s an amazingly wonderful story. It covers so much of what Doctor Who is, from space adventure to celebrity historical to pseudo-historical to alt-reality stories in the span of a few pages, and concludes with a moving and emotional revelation that was both unexpected and absolutely right.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

3 thoughts on “On “The Time of My Life”

  1. Just wait ’til you get it. Not just for the Doctor and Donna watching the Beatles at the Cavern Club, but because it’s a damned good story, one of the best Doctor Who stories I’ve read. Like “The Land of Happy Endings” the final page packs a lot of punch. It’s really great stuff.

  2. If you have the back issues, do go back and read everything else, the only other published story with Donna is a gas, with the return of an old(ish) enemy. Some of these are truer to the spirit of the series than many of the other spin-offs.

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