Did you know that over the past four decades there have been over 500 Star Trek comics?
That’s over 500 stories set in the Star Trek universe. These started back in the sixties with the Gold Key run that pretty much dealt with the original series and the five year mission of the Starship Enterprise. The art bore no resemblance to the original cast or series but some of these stories were quite good. I always remembering reading these in the old style BBC annuals that came out every year. The crew would go on a mission wearing these back packs and then I would watch the show and wonder where are the back packs? It was nice to see some original stories though.
Then in 1979 when Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out Marvel comics won the licence to produce a monthly comic. These would be set after the first film and chronicle the second five year mission of the Enterprise under Kirk & co. The first six to ten issues were very good but the problem (in my opinion) was that the series kept changing artist, there was no consistency in the quality of story. The big problem here was that the licence Marvel had could nor refer to the original series. This meant that the series was limited to what it could do. Soon after eighteen issues the series was cancelled.
Next up after the Wrath of Khan, DC comics took over the reigns. This in my own personal timeline is where I came in to the Star Trek comic universe. These stories were wonderful, they began with the events after Star Trek II and continued in between each of the films. Now sometime after Star Trek IV and just before V DC stopped producing the comic and the licence was renewed. However, quite a few changes were made with secondary characters, story lines etc. From what I understand this caused a lot of problems and very soon on the Holo Deck I will be finding out what went on…
Then in time for the adaption of Star Trek V DC started the Star Trek run again. This time however, they would also be running a Star Trek The Next Generation comic. Between 1988 and 1995 DC would publish 80 issues from both lines as well as countless specials, annuals and the first ever Star Trek graphic novel Debt of Honour. Some great writers such as Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman,Howard Weinstein, Robert Greenberger would create some wonderful story lines and make Star Trek as fresh, funny and interesting as it had ever been. Also DC has some of the cast write comics such as Walter Koenig, George Takei and even John De Lancie.
When DC lost the licence in 1995 Malibu won the rights to publish Star Trek comics. These stories were all based on Deep Space Nine and actually included a crossover with DC before the licence expired. Malibu was also going to create a Voyager comic until Marvel brought Malibu and thus began Marvels second attempt at Star Trek.
When I found out about Marvel writing Star Trek again I went straight to “Red Alert”! I remember those awful stories from the early 80’s but I would give them a chance. Marvel seemed very ambitious with their plans. They were going to publish a series based on the voyages of Captain Pike in “Early Voyages” (these are great by the way), stories of Nog at Starfleet (Starfleet Academy), as well as a DS9 & Voyager series and specials. Marvel also looked back at the second five year mission with a mini series which was great called “The Untold Voyages”. As well as that Marvel also did some crossovers with TOS / TNG with the X-Men, a review of these are coming up on the Holo Deck very soon… Marvel manged 93 issues which was good but due to financial issues at the company Marvel gave up Star Trek.
Then in 1999 Wildstorm took the challenge of writing Star Trek comics. What was nice and different was that WS decided to not have an ongoing series but to have specials, one-shot issues from across the Star Trek universe. Quite a few of these were Voyager related but included some TNG, Deep Space Nine. Even a cross over comic with TNG / DS9 in the recently relaunched novel universe.They also published the first New Frontier comic based on the novels by Peter David. I enjoyed the quality of the Wildstorm series, they also published two graphic novels and one was a tale of the Enterprise-E during the Dominion War (a great story with the Gorn). Soon after though due to poor sales WS did not renew the licence.
Them IDW came along. IN 2007 IDW took over the licence and began publishing Star Trek. IDW have in five years produced some wonderful Star Trek stories. They have continued the five year mission of Kirk & Spock with the Year Four series, they have produced a prequel to the Star Trek 2009 film, looked at the Mirror Universe, produced comics on the races of Star Trek and even one on Captain Jellico (a personal favourite) even looking at the last mission of the original five year mission. As I write this IDW have an ongoing series set in the JJ verse which is considered to be cannon, as well as a crossover with Doctor Who. IDW is growing from strength to strength.
Now back in September this year Wayne from Trek Mate (the Podfather) approached me to join the family and co-host with him a pod all about Star Trek in comics. How could I refuse? I was / am so excited to be talking about something I am so passionate about. We have now produced six shows and as the show grows the feedback is quite positive. I know my own personal insecurities will not allow me to think the show is a success or that if we do not reach a certain amount of listeners that the show is a failure but I know that I am determined to produce a show that if I was listening as a comic fan I would enjoy. So if you do listen then please let me know what you think, good or bad.
The show has the latest comic news, we discuss the newest releases and then we have the main feature. This we try to vary from reviews of the ongoing series from IDW, looking at topics in comics such as the Borg or even looking thorough the archives choosing stories that might interest the listener. As you can tell we have a few to choose from!
Now one of my aims for the show was to bring on as guests people from the comic industry. So far I have been able to secure five interviews from people who have either written, drawn, edited or had some impact upon Star Trek comics. A few weeks ago I was able to hold the first interview with the artist J.K. Woodward. I was so nervous and excited. What a wonderful man, we could have chatted for hours. The interview is still out there to listen to (links below). As I write this I am preparing for an interview this evening with…. no spoilers I am afraid. Again the nerves have started but I will get you the interview you deserve.
Many people don’t know what to make of Star Trek comics. All I can say is that over the last four decades there have been some powerful, moving, exciting stories from the universe I love (and I know you do too) and perhaps you should give them a go and why not while you are at it try the Holo Deck. My mission is to bring Star Trek comics alive for you to discover. You may be pleasantly surprised. If you do then please let me know what you think, my ready room is always open…
You can hear the Holo Deck at the Trek Mate website:http://www.trekmate.org.uk/category/the-holodeck/
You can hear the J.K. Woodward interview here: http://www.trekmate.org.uk/the-holodeck-issue-4/