Monday, September 1, 2014

The Star Trek Comic Reread

If you've been lurking around my blog long enough you know that I am a Sci Fi geek. Like all geeks the worlds and stories crafted by maestro Gene Rondenberry hold my attention, especially Star Trek. Over the years I have made financial contributions to this franchise in exchange for entertainment, escape, inspiration and above all hope.

One of these exchanges had been mentioned, in one of my world famous DTRT posts. In it I inform the reader that I had procured a CD full of star trek comics. Spanning from the early 80s to only a few years ago. It only cost me 20 bucks to start a digital library of beloved comics. I can dive in and transport myself at will or when MW let's me.

All these comics are unread by me. A treasure trove of scifi goodness awaits. I tell you there's nothing like buying behind the curve you get to save money as the offerings are no longer high demand items. Plus you get to binge on your favorites. You might not be able to keep up with the latest offerings but you don't pay that no mind when you are a fan boy. Your sole purpose is to inhale as much content as you possibly can. I guess that's why all these media streaming services have been taking off.

With great pleasure, I've been reading through them ever since. I must admit I don't do this religiously, I switch over to other sources of content like my Youtube subscriptions (Geek and Sundry is required viewing!) or my Amazon Instant video watchlist (I am so passed network programming), all to fein boredom and renew my enthusiasm.

By and by I have covered a substantial amount and here is what I have found.

The comics are subdivided by major pruveyors. DC, Marvel, Malibu, Wildstorm and Golden Key. Each has published a substantial amount of Star Trek comics. They are prominetly featured on this CD. I first dived into Wildstorm I had to see if they included the tie in comic to STVOY Elite Force. This was a first person shooter which placed you on Voyager's Elite Force, a security detail tasked with keeping the starship and crew safe in the desolate delta quadrant. I was so happy to see that they had digitized the in game comic. I was eager to see what else they had to offer.

And offer up they did. Wildstorm pulled out the stops with their Gorn graphic novel. A quick glance at the cover page let's you know the quality of the artwork and writing. At the helm is none other than Kevin J. Anderson. No stranger to the comic book world he's the genius behind "The Last Days of Krypton" a story that takes a detailed look at Superman's origins. Not to mention his collaboration on the Dune novels.

Its no wonder he was able to take another's work and improve upon it. He took an otherwise superficial and archetypical lizard man/monster and was able to envision them in a wider context. As part of a highly organized and sophisticated society. With its own hierarchy and code of conduct. The rich artwork only adds to the story. A truly fantastic piece.

Who new the lone Gorn, Kirk took on was just the tip of the iceberg?

I then turned my attention to DC and Marvel. These juggernaughts (pun intended) have been working with the franchise for the longest. Their early works can be thought of as "classics". These pieces are a bit tough to digest. Partly due to the art and then partly due to the dialogue. The graphics lack detail and definition when compared, to modern works. Take uhura for example. I am sorry to say the earlier production doesn't do the ebony beauty justice.
In Ye' Olden days the pencilers/inkers did not flatter their subjects

In more recent times they have done a better job
Story wise early Marvel were lame as compared to early DC which were entertaining. For instance Marvel was doing werewolves on the Enterprise, I mean come on? Really? DC took on more interesting topics, By delving into some serious character history. You'll get an all new perspective into your favorite crewmen. There was even a movie tie in with the third ST movie "The Search for Spock" and they had a mirror universe feature. Story elements like these beat werewolves hands down.

That is not to say Marvel didn't up its game in later years. I really liked Star Fleet Academy. It gives an inside look into how great luminaries like Picard and Kirk got their start. They all had to go through the rigors of training as mere cadets. Mr. Boothby seems immortal as he's always on hand to provide sage advise to the bright eyed rookies. Plus the political intrigue and nuances add to the excitement.

From this world Marvel launched the Telepath Wars. Which spanned all other circulating story lines. So they had all these publications going DSN, TNG, VOY and each one of their story arcs crossed with the war. But Marvel bungled the Telepath miniseries.

It was hard to follow even when I had all the comics. Imagine when serialized? There was even letters to the editor about this. They were big enough to publish them and acknowledged they made a mistake. Apparently readers found out the ending while still in the middle of the story. I guess they can address these now adays with online comics.

Oh by the way if you are interested in comics in general. Be sure to follow Saladin Ahmed on twitter. He's done a fantastic job of documenting pre-code comics. Plus if you are a fine consuer of comics you may be interested in picking up a copy of Understanding Comics. I am sure there is something there that you will like. And if you want an enhanced comic experience be sure to checkout Marvel's AR app, it will literaly make your comics come to life. (Yes I lean towards Marvel, no the Disney takeover didn't turn me off, they still give you X-Men and Kamala Khan Plus Stan Lee is fan friendly and comes out with better flicks. Excelsior!)

When it comes to recent offerings IDW has done a great job. They have taken up the mantle and are offering choice content. Their claim to fame is running comics that lead up to feature length presentations, such as Nemesis or the ST reboot. Plus innovative titles, such as bringing all the doctors from Star Trek into one story. No small feat as some of them are separated by 200 hundred years!

On another note I have gotten serious about my writing and pursuing it in a professional manner. I find that when I cut down my TV time I have more time for reading. A rule of thumb for good writing is to be a good reader. A friend of mine once told me that what you do at night right before you sleep effects your brain as it continues working on it and learning. So why wouldn't I focus my mental prowess on great literature. How else to produce something of similar quality. At any rate I will keep you posted as I read my way through Star Trek history. Bye bye for now, see you soon.

DISCLAIMER: All images are property of CBS Studios. No copyright infringement was intended.

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