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The Tides of Time

The Tides Of Time o1

First Published
Steve Parkhouse
Original Publisher
Reprint Publishers
Marvel US, Marvel Comics, Panini, IDW
Dave Gibbons

The Tides of Time is a Doctor Who comic strip. It has been printed through various publications.


When the Great Demon known as Melanicus is accidentally released from the Event Synthesizer, which ‘produces the ordered vibrations of the universe’, the Doctor and a knight named Sir Justin are soon caught up in the time anomalies this event causes.

The Doctor pilots the TARDIS to Gallifrey where he hooks into the Matrix and contacts the Celestial Intervention Agency led by Rassilon. Also in the agency are other higher Evolutionaries including Merlin, who once banished Melanicus for one thousand years. Rassilon promises to help the Doctor locate Melanicus and restore the Event Sythesizer.

Returning to the TARDIS, the Doctor and Justin are attacked by one of Melanicus’ event spells, but the assassin he sends to kill the Doctor is destroyed by Shayde (see below), and the TARDIS projected into the heart of Melanicus’ domain, a place of strange perception and dangerous dream-like unreality where the Doctor, Justin and Shayde are forced to fight for their lives.

However, even as they manage to escape, the universe begins to suffer the effects of the demon’s interference as a Time War erupts on Earth and millennium fights millennium.

The Doctor, Justin and Shayde are helped by Higher Evolutionaries from Althrace who direct the TARDIS to a white hole where they live. Here the Doctor learns that Melanicus was from the race of Kalichura in the Althrace system, and Earth was the first planet he set foot on upon his escape, helped to gain power there by a third century king named Catavolcus... until Merlin put an end to his reign.

The Althrace built the Event Synthesizer and now use the power of their thoughts to reverse time and pinpoint its position, which allows the Doctor and Justin to pilot the TARDIS directly to it. A final battle ensues, with Shayde and Justin killing Melanicus. Unfortunately, Justin plunges to his doom whilst administering the killing blow.

Time returns to normal and Shayde returns to Gallifrey

Imaginary Friends - Shayde: Part One[]

A spectral figure and ‘secondary agent of the Time Lords’ created by the Celestial Intervention Agency and the Higher Evolutionaries and taking his thoughts from them. He is in constant contact with the Matrix and knows the workings of the TARDIS as well as (if not better than) the Doctor. He can move between dimensions and does not need to breathe air. Removing his head and plugging it into the bio-mechanical systems of the Althrace gives the Higher Evolutionaries direct communion with the Matrix Lords of Gallifrey. Shayde's Story Continues Here: The Stockbridge Horror

Imaginary Friends - Sir Justin[]

Sir Justin was a wandering, God-fearing and philosophical righter of wrongs from the Middle Ages. He was about to cross swords with Sir Hector of Richmond when a time anomaly scooped him up and deposited him close to Stockbridge in Gloucestershire in (presumably) 1982. Concussed and taken aboard the TARDIS by the Doctor, Justin quickly befriended the Time Lord. Apparently even on his narrow path he had encountered devilry, magic and demons. He sacrificed his life to destroy the demon Melanicus. Merlin built a statue of him in the Stockbridge village church to commemorate his bravery. We later learn in Endgame that the church has been named after Justin as Saint Justinians.


  • The Doctor Who Comics website, Altered Vistas had this to say about the strip:

Despite a great deal of what could really be considered padding in its third, fourth and fifth instalments, The Tides of Time is one of the truly great Doctor Who comic strips, filled with humour, surrealism, mind-bending concepts and strong characters, not to mention fantastic artwork. Peter Davison’s difficult likeness has never been captured better than here in his first comic strip appearance, and many of the panels are truly stunning, especially the scenes of the Time War (surely part of Russell T. Davis’ inspiration for the new series’ backstory), Melanicus’ eruption from the Event Synthesizer, the evocation of an English village in summertime, and many sequences of panels set in Melanicus’ twisted domain. A breathtaking debut for the Fifth Doctor and an incredible new high for the comic strip.

  • Dave Gibbons had this to say about the strip:

When I drew the first episode, I had the most tremendous difficulty getting the likeness of Peter Davison. He was like a blancmange - blond hair, light skin and no eyebrows! The trouble was that there was very little reference available - all there had been were publicity shots of him in tabloid newspapers and the Radio Times.’

“[Peter Davison’s] agent wanted to stop the first episode being printed because he felt it made his client look ugly! The upshot of that was that Peter Davison very obligingly let me and then DWM editor Alan McKenzie take reference photos on the set. After that the likenesses improved greatly, and in a true sense I actually ended up getting a better likeness of him than I had done of Tom Baker, which was more of a caricature.’


Other Images[]