John Barrowman and his sister Carole are carrying on the adventures of the Torchwood team in a comic book series published by Titan Comics, featuring art by Neil Edwards. In ‘Torchwood: The Culling’ #1, the Barrowmans are paying tribute to Elisabeth Sladen, who portrayed Companion Sarah Jane Smith on ‘Doctor Who’. Sarah Jane is probably the most famous and popular Companion in that series, having originated the role from 1973-76, opposite the third Doctor, Jon Pertwee and carrying on with the fourth, played by Tom Baker.
In the comic book, Captain Jack Harkness (whom John Barrowman played on both ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Torchwood’) and Gwen Cooper discover a new character named Sladen, who is found buried in a pod in the Arctic. The nature of this character is unknown at this time. The first issue will be available on October 18th.
After Pertwee departed ‘Doctor Who’, Sladen remained as Companion to probably the most famous Doctor, the fourth, played by Tom Baker. Sladen reprised the role of Sarah Jane for the 1981 pilot ‘K9 and Company’ but it was not picked up as a full series. She later returned for the 1983 twentieth anniversary special ‘The Five Doctors’ and other subsequent specials.
When ‘Doctor Who’ was revived in 2005, Sladen once more returned as Sarah Jane opposite David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor as well as Billie Piper as his current companion Rose Tyler. This appearance led to Sladen being given her own spin-off series ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ which lasted an impressive five seasons and spawned a tie-in clip series called ‘Sarah Jane’s Alien Files’.
Sadly, Sladen passed away in 2011, ending ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’. The ‘Doctor Who’ episode ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ was dedicated to her memory. This comic book introduction is the latest tribute to her legacy.
In a statement, John Barrowman stated:
“We are very excited to bring this new character Sladen to the world of Torchwood. You all know both Carole and I were great fans of the wonderful Elisabeth Sladen who played Sarah Jane Smith and what a better way to pay homage to her and create a character with her last name. Elisabeth Sladen / Sarah Jane Smith was the mother of our ship on Doctor Who and now Sladen lives in Torchwood.”
The comic arrives on Tuesday, October 18th.