Review: Doctor Who Humble Bundle Collection

This is one impressive bundle.

Over 80 digital Doctor Who comics are available via Humble Bundle; that’s from the beginning of IDW’s 2008- 13 run, right up until the end, concluding with their 50th anniversary celebration, The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who. And you can access them via your PC, tablet or mobile. Furthermore, you pay what you want, and that money goes to charity.

Six years of storytelling, right at your fingertips.

Frankly, I’m a bit blown away.

You get a URL, save it to your email for forever and a day, and that takes you to your own page. Once there, you can access each volume as a PDF, High-Def PDF, e-Pub, or Mobile version. But with so many (assuming you’ve paid at least $15 and unlocked the whole package), where do you start?  With your favourite Doctor, or your favourite companion; with the 50th anniversary celebrations or with the one-shots? You could always read them in the order in which they were released:

Agent Provoateur;
The Forgotten;
Through Time and Space;
Vol. 1: Fugitive;
Vol. 2: Tesseract;
Vol. 3: Final Sacrifice;
Series 2, Vol. 1, 2, 3 & 4;
A Fairytale Life;
Series 3, Vol. 1, 2, 3 & 4;
Prisoners of Time Vol. 1, 2 & 3;
The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who

Of course, downloading speeds depend on… a lot. You can get it all through the internet, whether you’re on Kindle Fire, iDevice or simple computer. Viewing the normal PDF editions on an iPad took a long time; viewing the HD PDFs on my PC was, naturally, simple and a bit quicker – presuming you’re not going to suddenly skip 50 pages or something. (If you want to get them on a tablet or iDevice, it can be a bit of a kerfuffle: you need to load in an app – Comic Flow, for example – and transfer the files when you connect your device to your computer. It’s worth it in the end though.)

Humble Bundle

The HD really is cool, especially if you’re a fan of beautiful art. Take Mark Buckingham or Tommy Lee Edwards’ covers: they’re stunning things. If people weren’t oddly conceited, comic art would be widely recognised as masterpieces.

Elsewhere, the artwork varies. I won’t highlight particular artists whose work I don’t regard that highly, but Matthew Dow Smith and Kelly Yates’ art is wonderful; very stylised, admittedly, but it just works. And that’s what you want from a comic.

The stories come from a great range of writers too – Tony Lee most notably, but also Paul Cornell (Father’s Day; Human Nature/ The Family of Blood) and Andy Diggle (The Losers; Daredevil) – but the tone is consistent with both the comic run and the TV series, a great achievement considering the differences between Who in, say, 2009 and 2010.

Prisoners of Time #6

The highlight, perhaps, is Prisoners of Time, IDW’s full-on celebratory series featuring Eleven Doctors. I previously reviewed #1 and the series continues in the same manner; reading brand new comics for all the Doctors is a joy. Some surprising enemies rear their heads and, just like the rest of the comic company’s run, references to TV adventures and in-jokes abound. In that way, it risks going into fanfic territory – exploring threads that arguably didn’t need further exploration – but that depends on the reader.

Humble Bundle presents all issues in graphic novel form, meaning you also get all the lovely layouts as well as bonus content like artists galleries. That’s extra bang for your buck, but on the negative side, the digital comics struggle to compensate for double-page spreads: at best, you have to figure out which page the story continues on; at worst, it cuts up glorious pieces of art.

Still, that’s a minor fault considering the wealth of content on offer. It really is an impressive sight and should entertain any Whovian until Series 8 airs.

Humble Bundle’s Doctor Who pay-what-you-like offer runs until May 28, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. PDT.


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates (Kasterborous' former Editor) pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. He is the co-founder of The Doctor Who Companion:

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