Undervalued Spotlight #109

Doctor Who and the Daleks (Movie Classic #12-190-612), Dell Publishing, December 1966

Here’s another submission from Undervalued Spotlight stalwart Mike Huddleston. Mike sure knows how to pick winners and this week’s submission is no exception, it’s another keeper.

Mike was obviously late for the bus because his write up this time is short and sweet but he’s given me his blessing to add on and fan the flames of desire for this book even more.

Here’s a part of Mike’s email… “This book is based on the first Doctor Who movie from 1965-66 era starring Peter Cushing as the Doctor. The movie was based on the very first story (written by Terry Nation) about the Daleks from the TV series in 1963. Doctor Who and the Daleks was printed in the United States only and re-printed by Marvel UK in the 90’s.”

“The movie and this book were the first splash of color for the Doctor as the early TV series was in black and white.”

OK Mike I’ll take it from here.

Doctor Who and the Daleks is Doctor Who’s 1st appearance in the US. The adapted Terry Nation story boasts a cool Peter Cushing (aka the Governor Wilhuff Tarkin aka the Grand Moff aka the commander of the Death Star in Star Wars)  cover and some solid art by Dick Giordano and Sal Trapani.

It was released as a tie-in with the US release of the feature film released in the UK a year earlier.

The good Doctor would not appear in another US comic book for 14 years, resurfacing in Marvel Premiere #57 (Dec/80). Note the Marvel cover incorrectly claiming it the “1st American comic appearance!”

These Dell one-offs can be highly prized comic books and seriously collected by Dell completists, just look at the demand for Dell’s The Beatles (Sept/64). Also consider the high demand for the DC Comics James Bond one-off in Showcase #43 (Apr/63), it too is a very sought after collectible.

This comic book is very dear to Doctor Who collectors. I’d go so far as to say Doctor Who collectors want their 1960’s comic more so than Beatles fans want their 1960’s comic (I guess you can’t listen to a comic) and more so than James Bond fans want their 1960’s comic. There are some serious Doctor Who fans out there and this book is the one and only early connection to the American collectible comic scene!

Doctor Who famously made his first appearance on British TV on November 23rd 1963. Why doesn’t it surprise me that there is a Canadian connection? A Canadian BBC exec named Sydney Newman is credited with developing the program. Superman! Canadarm! Justin Bieber! Telephones! Basketball! Doctor Who! Canadians are awesome eh!

The very 1st episode had a bit of an ominous start as it aired on the BBC a day after the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. It would have been tough to coral the  Kingdom’s attention when the leader of the Free World is gunned down. A savvy BBC re-aired this first episode just before airing the second a week later. “I say, let’s run it again then!”

The show was an instant hit and has gone on to become a virtual industry onto itself in the UK.

This is a tough book, it’s not out there in any kind of numbers. The CGC Census shows only 12 graded and only 4 of these at 9.2 or better. I’ve come across a few of these over the years but all were in lower grade and none lasted very long in my bins at around Guide. So I know firsthand this is a sought after book on this side of the pond perhaps our intrepid reporter Danny Champion can comment on its desirability across the pond.

Back in May of last year one of the 2 CGC 9.4 copies fetched a seemingly piddly $263 at auction.

Today the Doctor Who franchise is stronger than ever, its winning converts daily, I’ve seen this first hand at the shop. I don’t want to tell you how many Phone Booth T-Shirts, IDW Doctor Who graphic novels and Nth Sonic Screwdrivers we’ve sold over the past 6 months. Who does this guy think he is Wolverine?

The current BBC series (the 11th Doctor Who I believe) is a runaway success boasting strong DVD sales internationally and the sky is the limit once the planned major motion picture hits in a couple of years.

The 41st edition of the Overstreet Price Guide shows $72/$131/$190 as the splits at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades.

Strengths that make this comic book a good long-term investment are:

  • 1st American appearance of Doctor Who
  • Massively popular property that seems to be getting stronger
  • Low Guide value and low market performance for what is a tough book to find
  • A must have (or soon will be) for legions of diehard Doctor Who fans


Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

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12 years ago

As a young fan in the UK of Doctor Who in the 70s and 80s, I remember most people held the Cushing film in disdain as not being ‘proper’ Doctor Who. Marvel UK’s Dr. Who Weekly, which began in October 1979 and has become one of the longest-running sci-fi publications, was the desirable comic, and today that is still a seriously cheap option for the collector. Not so long ago I picked up the first three issues near mint with free gifts all for about $25! Having said that, even more popular than the comics were Dr. Who novelizations, published by Target and W. H. Auden. The hardbacks of early ones had very low print runs, and these now cost $$$s for collectors. Still, if someone offered me a copy of the ’66 Dell, I wouldn’t turn them down.

12 years ago

What a great cover! I’d buy this book for the cover alone. Nice pick Mike.


Mike Huddleston
Mike Huddleston
12 years ago

Thanks Charlie. I traded for a copy of this book soley based on the great cover. My daughter and I are big Doctor Who fans. She tells this will look good in a picture frame in her apartment!

2013 will mark the 50th anniversery of Doctor Who. As Walter noted above there is a movie in the works, and the BBC is sure to have a special anniversery celebration in store for the good Doctor. Our spotlight pick should benefit from this as well. Highly reccommend picking up a copy of this book if you can find one, you won’t be dissappointed. It’s a hard to find treasure for any Doctor Who fan.

Keep up the great work on this column Walt, it is appreciated by many.



Anthony O'Neill
12 years ago

I just bought a G+ copy of this today. I paid 9.50 for it. I don’t care if it was overpriced or under. But based on the condition, I would say it’s a fair price. My wife is really happy, because she is a Doctor Who fanatic. I searched all over ebay for one, but couldn’t find any in any condition. Thanks for the article, and for bringing this to my attention. Now to find some of your other picks!!

11 years ago

I’ve been a comic reader and collector since the late ’80s, just slightly shorter than I’ve been watching Doctor Who (the early ’80s). I have to second what Srew said about this. Doctor Who fans don’t consider the Cushing movies to be proper Doctor Who, so I think it’s accurate to call the Marvel Premiere issue the first appearance (which might make that issue a proper issue to spotlight). Key differences are that the Cushing character is a human; is actually called “Doctor Who” (rather than simply “The Doctor,” making any long-time fan cringe); and only ever appeared in those two movies, which were rehashes of “proper” Doctor Who stories. It might be good as a novelty, and I might pick it up if I could find one cheap, but I don’t see it as a must-have. Another reason I don’t forsee huge demand is that what makes Doctor Who appealing (the more cerebral aspects of the series) doesn’t translate well into the comics medium (better for action-focused stories). While I’ve been a huge DW fan and comics fan/reader/collector, I never had much interest in Dcotoe Who comics.