Let’s take a moment to appreciate the Eighth Doctor comics!
Those two girls up there are Fey and Izzy, the Doctor’s companions during the “Tooth And Claw” arc (A++ awesome story by Alan Barnes). And let me tell you why they’re great.
Fey, on the left, is a hardcore British spy who
should totally join Torchwood is going undercover as a fancy posh art collector. Izzy, on the right, is a teenaged dork who’s just saved the Doctor’s ass from an entire Dalek invasion fleet.
Also, Fey’s bisexual and Izzy’s a lesbian. But that’s besides the point.
No, really. The Eighth Doctor travels around with two queer companions, and this is never seen as unusual. There’s no drama, no one pointing out that being queer would be somehow odd. That mild flirtation pictured up there isn’t a big moment, it’s just Fey being sweet and saying hello. (They then proceed to fight vampire butler monkeys, because Alan Barnes stories are great like that.) At that point in the comics, we have no idea yet that Izzy’s a lesbian, but here’s the thing — this scene isn’t meant to be a titillating mystery or a source of drama or a bit of fanservice or whatever. It’s just considered absolutely, perfectly normal.
In most comics, especially from that time, you’d expect at least one of them to go “well, I’m not a heterosexual!”, bold text and all. Followed by a socially conscious rant from someone, a tract on the values of tolerance and a Very Special Episode on the dangers of prejudice. But not here! Fey and Izzy are free to have lots of adventures throughout time and space without people pointing out that queer people are in any way unusual. And in the world of comics, or even fiction in general, that is incredibly rare.
Izzy does eventually turn out to be insecure about her sexuality, and this becomes a major theme near the end of her arc. But it’s not treated as a standalone problem: it’s respectfully done, and her insecurity is revealed to be caused by the fact that she was adopted above all else. (Why that arc is also great is another story altogether, but in short summary, she realises that being adopted isn’t bad at all and makes peace with her situation in a very responsible way and becomes a proper adult and is just generally fantastic.)
Throughout the comics, Izzy is never “that lesbian companion”, she’s that cool dorky ufologist who likes sundresses and old movies and Terry Pratchett. Fey isn’t “that butch bisexual companion”, she’s a badass spy who can fly the TARDIS and stands up to the Time Lords. Both are well-written characters who grow and change as the plot progresses.
Doctor Who has always been incredibly inclusive of queer people, and it’s wonderful to see that there were moments like this even long before Russell T. Davies. I love this show and all of its thirty billion spinoffs.
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