PAYNEful - the site where humour goes to die, the repository of all things by Sean Patrick Payne

About the Two Doctors and the Inter-Dimensional Derby

NOTE: If you haven't read Steel Nation: Rise of the Two Doctors before coming to this area of the website, we strongly recommend that you start by reading that first before you dig into Inter-Dimensional Derby: Return of the Two Doctors! This is because that story introduces many concepts and characters that this story continues (think of it as part 1 to the Two Doctors storyline).

Sean2008. The Docs have went out of Steel Nation in round 3 and are in the middle of all sorts of havoc. Craig Munro announces his intention to run the Inter-Dimensional Derby.

I'm a massive fan of race films and car chases. The thrill of characters competing against each other to get somewhere first interests me because they usually make for massive ensemble pieces. Wacky Races, The Great Race, Cannonball Run and Monte Carlo or Bust are just a few of my all-time favourite films (or cartoons, in the case of Wacky Races). I had in fact wondered if racing would make for a good tournament setting, so the IDD was a no-brainer in terms of getting involved.

Problem was, I was right in the middle of wrapping up the Steel Nation storyline, which meant I wouldn't have time to write and draw the comics. Instead, I entered the IDD as a writer-artist team with "her indoors" Sam Dyer. We split the effort between us, with me writing the rounds and Sam drawing the pages. As you'll see, every round her style changed and evolved to accommodate the stringent time limit we were given as well as fairly harsh judge criticisms. Either way, there's still a cohesive story there we're fairly proud of.

Much as they had done in Steel Nation, the Docs left their mark on the other participants (despite almost not getting into the IDD as Craig originally thought they were Sonic the Hedgehog fan characters for fairly obvious reasons!) by being the atypical Dick Dastardly types every race setting should include.

SPOILER ALERT (highlight to read): We actually won the IDD, partially through effort but mostly because we got a free ride. Our opponents in round 3 and the final never turned in entries so we won overall by default - not much of a victory but it's still nice to say that we won an OC tournament! Ironically, this means that unlike their role model Dick Dastardly, the Docs actually succeeded in winning the race!

Like Steel Nation, we consider all events in the IDD to be canon in the Docs' story. I have put all the pages up here for prosperity, and I've even nudged Sam into providing some commentary for each page along with me. I have acquired permission from artists for characters and pages I have used that aren't by Sam and myself. I have credited and linked to the original uploads where possible, and reassure that no profit will be made from these "borrowed" pages. If you are an artist whose work I have uploaded as part of the Two Doctors storyline and you would like me to retract your work, I have no legal grounds to decline and would be more than happy to remove your pages at request; you can contact me on my deviantART account via private message or general comment. I would say it's a terrible shame if this is the case, however - not only would it cause a hole in the story, but I admire every piece that I have uploaded which is not my own.

We hope you enjoy reading the antics of the Two Doctors as much as we enjoyed producing the story!


Q. What's an original character tournament? And why do you keep capitalising the "O" and the "C"?

A. Original Character Tournaments (or OCs, OC tournaments or OCTs) are a competitive form of storytelling. Usually there's a "host" of sorts, the person who came up with the concept behind the tournament and a panel of judges they've picked. Prizes are usually offered, such as a subscription to deviantART's premium features and free private commissions by other obliging artists.

The tournament itself will have a framework of an overarching background story - picking out some of the ones I can think of:

  • A nightmare realm
  • In and around an island-based insane asylum
  • A exposition centre showcasing mechanoids from around the world
  • In the Inter-Dimensional Derby's case, it was an intergalactic space station where races are held with participants from across dimensions in space and time!

Within this framework there will be non-player characters (NPCs) who represent the tournament organisers and the judges. There will often be a choice of several pre-defined arenas for combat to take place is, as well as various rules as to what constitutes as a "win".

Artists will be paired up within standard brackets. When each round is announced, a deadline is set and artists are then required to produce a comic telling a version of the round where their characters win over those of their opponent. Presuming both artists make the deadline, the judges decide which entry is the better (subjectively this could mean "better scripted", "better drawn", "most entertaining", etc.) and the winner moves on to the next round. Artists that don't make the deadline are disqualified; bit of a problem if both artists in a "fight" don't produce, in which case it's up to the judges if they want to give one of the previous losers a second chance.

The one artist left at the end wins!

Artists that lose or other artists not competing that want to take part can produce "spectator entries", where their characters are observing what's going on but aren't actively taking part in all the fighting.

Q. Who the hell is that character there? The one with the [insert defining characteristic here]?

A. That's another problem with OC tournaments - you usually have to be there the first time around to properly appreciate everything. It's easier to pick out characters when you're actively following all entries in the tournament, but when you take just one story it's a slice of the whole, so you miss the big picture.

There's also the fact that when you're part of a tournament, you tend to try and stuff in as many cameos of other characters as you can just as an excuse to draw them, no matter how trivial the appearance!

I've credited various characters to their creators where I could.

Q. Dr. Gyrode is still a complete rip-off of Dr. Robotnik, you know.

Really? I don't see the resemblance, myself...