Published on February 26th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
Ten Questions With…Cavan Scott
On March 11th Titan Comics will release the first of a 5 part miniseries starring the Ninth Doctor entitled ‘Weapons of Past Destruction’ and Titan have brought in Cavan Scott to steer the Time Lord through the adventure. Scott is not new to Doctor Who, he’s been writing for the Big Finish audio range for a number of years and was co-author of the immensely popular Who-ology from BBC Books. He’s also not new to comics and in recent years he has written Power Rangers stories, strips for The Beano and Penguins of Madagascar, another upcoming release from Titan Comics.
Luckily for us, Cavan was able to spare some time to answer a few of our questions so without further ado…
NTC: You have written for a number of different mediums and publications, factual as well as fictional, and you’re written adult and children stories. Do you have a favourite format or audience? Is there one thing that you really look forward to working on?
CS: I just love telling stories, it’s as simple as that I think, whether that’s through fiction or fact. A factual magazine article follows a narrative just as much as a short story or a comic.
When it comes to formats, they’re all so different. I love writing for children, because when children get excited about a story, they really get excited, and of course audio is fantastic because it’s a real collaboration, working with script editors and directors and actors.
My first love is comics. Always has been. From newspaper strips to humour comics like the Beano through to superheroes and 2000AD and so much more. It’s always a good day when I sit down to write a comic script, but the great thing about my job is that I get to shift from one medium to another, which keeps them all fresh. After a few days on a comic script, I get to shift to prose, or an audio script – and then back to a comic strip. I always count my blessings about that.
NTC: I first came across your work on the Big Finish Doctor Who range, both the audio recordings and the short story collections. Have you always been a big Doctor Who fan and was it always a goal of yours to write Doctor Who fiction?
CS: Yeah, I’ve been a Doctor Who fan as long as I remember. It was my grandma’s fault. I used to go to her flat on a Saturday and watch it with her. She’d watched the show from the beginning. I started by being more terrified of the Doctor than the monsters, but was soon hooked. Then, over time, I started to discover the books and the magazines and the comics. I was doomed!
Writing Doctor Who was definitely high on my list from the day I scribbled out my first bit of fan fiction – before I even knew what fan fiction was! If I remember rightly, my first Doctor Who story featured Cybermen in the Wild West and was written in the back of a red exercise book that I smothered in stickers. There’s every chance that it’s still in the loft somewhere – where it should probably stay!
NTC: Now you’ve moved into Who comics for Titan. Was the transition from audio to comic an easy one or did you have to change the way you worked?
CS: Well, I’ve written comics longer than I’ve written audio I think – even if they were just for me. I’ve got boxes and boxes of comics I made when I was a kid, neatly packed away with that Cyberman story! And over the last few years I’ve written more and more, from small-press stuff to kids comics such as the Beano, Adventure Time and Doctor Who Adventures.
The big shift for this project – and Penguins of Madagascar, which I’ve just written for Titan as well – has been writing for longer form American-style comics. Most of my strips up to now have ranged from one to eight pages. I’ve loved the freedom to build a story over 22-pages and more.
And of course, audio and comics are very similar in that they’re both highly collaborative. You’re working with talented people to build a world for the listener or the reader – and I couldn’t ask for a better collaborator than Blair Shedd for the Ninth Doctor miniseries. I love his eye for detail and, man, the colours he uses are simple beautiful.
NTC: I spoke to Al Ewing last year about his 11th Doctor title and mentioned that he has the characterisation of Matt Smith down perfectly. He said this was because he’s a big fan of Smith’s work on the show. In that respect are you a big fan of Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor and how easy /hard did you find it to write the 9th Doctor?
CS: I think Christopher Eccleston was a wonderful Doctor. When I co-wrote Night of The Whisper, the 50th Anniversary Ninth Doctor audio, Mark Wright and I went back and watched the 2005 season again. It’s such a solid run of stories and Eccleston hits the mark right from his first appearance. And he runs through the whole gamut of emotions in those 13 stories, doesn’t he?
When it comes to writing the Ninth, he can be quite staccato in some of his speech, and very rude at points. But you have to remember his daft sense of humour – with awful jokes and puns – and a boundless enthusiasm which is tempered by the losses he’s obviously recently suffered. There are points where he tries a little too hard to be the Doctor, you know? And that’s fun to play with.
NTC: What can we expect from the upcoming adventures of the 9th Doctor?
CS: New aliens. Spaceships. Explosions. A floating octopus. Battles. Time weapons. Flirting. And maybe even a dinosaur or two.
NTC: This first run only has a limited number of issues but have you any further plans for Doctor Who comics?
CS: There might be a few bubbling away under the surface, yes. But, you know what they say… spoilers!
NTC: Is there a Doctor Who character that you really want to use in a story but haven’t had the opportunity yet?
CS: Not one, but three. I’d love to write for the Paternoster Gang. That’s a comic spin-off just waiting to be made, isn’t it?
NTC: After your work on the Who-ology with Mark Wright you probably understand more than most about the minefield that is continuity. How does this knowledge affect your writing? Do you spend a lot of time researching to make sure you haven’t contradicted anything?
CS: Yes, I try to make sure I haven’t contradicted anything too major, or, if I have, there’s at least an explanation of how it works!
NTC: I can’t possibly pass up this opportunity to ask about Blakes 7. You and Mark Wright wrote the first Big Finish Blakes 7 novel and now you’re the producer for the audio series. Were you a big fan of Blakes 7 before this and did you suggest the franchise to Big Finish or did they come to you with the idea?
CS: They came to us. We received an email from Xanna Eve Chown, the editor of the books asking ‘do you know Blake’s 7 at all?’ We both bit her arm off and the result was The Forgotten, which in turn led to the audios and ultimately being asked to take over producing from David Richardson. We’re just finishing off our second series of full-cast audio dramas with Avon, Vila, Cally and Tarrant and having a blast!
NTC: And finally, our house question. Who is your favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and why?
CS: Raph, because he’s the most sarcastic. And I like red.
I would like to thank Cavan Scott for taking the time to answer our questions and for further information about what he’s up to, check out his web site here.
Also, a note to Titan Comics, I know at least one person who’d read ‘The Paternoster Gang’ spin-off title and it would appear you already have a writer ready and waiting…
Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #1 is released on March 11 from Titan Comics.