PHOTOS: Comic Outpost hosts "Doctor Who" viewing parties

San Francisco

Chips, drinks and pizza were supplied for "Doctor Who" fans, so they had something to munch on during the screening at The Comic Outpost Sept. 1, 2012. Photo by Virginia Tieman.

Local Whovians flocked to Comic Outpost on Saturday evening to share giggles and gasps as they journeyed with Britain’s most beloved alien in an outrun from the Daleks for a seventh season.

Though “Doctor Who” is the longest running sci-fi series of all time, having first aired in 1963, it has steadily gained fans since its revival in 2005. Comic Outpost owner Gary Buechler is new to “Who,” but was quick to share his latest obsession with the community by filling the shop with “Who” merchandise and hosting viewing parties.

“I think America has finally kind of caught on,” he said. “I’m glad I’m the first comic shop to take advantage of that, but it wasn’t meant to do that. I didn’t expect anybody to show up or buy any of the stuff on the wall or come to any of these (viewing parties).”

Buechler was thrilled to have a turnout of approximately 30 enthusiastic fans, known as “Whovians.” Donning fezzes, bow ties and other thematic attire crowded around the shop for the party.

Friends Vivian Duong, Robbin Arcega and Karen Baldomero, arrived dressed as the ninth, 10th and 11th Doctors respectively, only somewhat prepared for the onslaught of emotions they’ve come to expect from an episode of “Doctor Who.”

“I swear, ‘Doctor Who’ breaks my heart more than any girl’s ever,” said Duong.

“I never thought (Duong would) cry, ever,” Baldomero added. “Then ‘Doctor Who’ happened.”

After resolving some technical issues — which one fan tried to fix by use of their replica sonic screwdriver — Comic Outpost commenced their series of screenings with “Asylum of the Daleks,” in which the Doctor finds himself forced to help his oldest foes, the Daleks, while also trying to repair the relationship between his companions, Amy and Rory.

When it was over, Buechler immediately played it again while fans stuck around and chatted about the new spin on old villains, the reconciliation of the companions, and the heartbreaking twist at the episode’s end.

“Being around like-minded people is great,” said Hawkins. “I would compare it to being at a football game. You’re surrounded by family, people who understand why you love it.”

“I’ve always thought I’m the only ‘Doctor Who’ fan around,” said Casey Chang, a former SF State student. “So it was cool to share this with people.”

Fans agree that there tends to be something for everyone in every episode of “Doctor Who,” which is what makes it so compelling to a continuously increasing number of people.

“It’s a lot cooler than it looks,” said Sean Hawkins, a third year marketing major at SF State and new “Whovian.” “Even though it harkens back to sort of 1950s science fiction, it blends so perfectly with a lot of modern themes. And it’s creative.”

“I think sometimes we all get in the mood where everything sucks, everyone sucks, and nothing will ever get better, but the Doctor is always fighting for humanity,” said Baldomero. “He believes in the best of us. It gives me hope.”

Head over to Comic Outpost for the next four Saturdays at 6 p.m. to catch all the new episodes of “Doctor Who” as they air on BBC America.

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