This piece is written pretty much just for Trekkies (or Trekkers, I suppose, if you are one of those who enjoys a snifter of brandy while enjoying the shows, movies or novels), so if you don’t care for Star Trek, well, I’m sure your bathroom needs cleaning out or something.
I have been reading various collections of the old Gold Key Trek comics, which began in 1967, and continued on a semi-regular basis until 1979, when the studio granted the rights to Marvel.
In today’s world, we have Star Trek movies, multiple TV shows, novels, comics, video games, soundtracks and ringtones.
But in the early, pioneer days? When we were a simpler, happier people?
We had the show, which went off the air in spring of 1969. We had the excellent novelizations of episodes written by James Blish, the first Trek Novel (Mission to Horatius, by SF writer Mack Reynolds) and we had the comics.
Gold Key had the comic book rights to several TV properties besides Trek: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, among others. Most of them are best long forgotten.
But the Trek comic deserves mention not because it was so good – it wasn’t – but because it was just so damned odd. The art was courtesy of a few fellows in Italy who only had photos of the crew and the exterior of the ship to go by. They had no idea, until years later, what the interior of the ship looked like.
As a result, well, lots of levers get pulled. And for some odd reason, Scotty seems to have blonde hair.
The stories themselves, many of which were written by Len Wein, who would become a comics legend, would have benefitted greatly if someone – anyone! – had bothered to watch even a couple of episodes of the show.
Yes, it got better, but the early stories are chockfull of wonderful non-Trek nonsense:
Even though the Enterprise seemingly can’t reach the speed of light (no warp speed here), the ship is constantly visiting new galaxies. When folks are transported to the ship, they enter the “ether of time,” and time itself seems to be measured by something called Galaxy years and hours.
Oh, and lunar minutes.
Men wander around the interior of a a ship we don’t recognize wearing sunbelts, and “Great Novas!” is uttered on more than one occasion.
Star Trek, it isn’t.
But consider this, Tactful Reader: what if you don’t read them as Star Trek adventures – which becomes easier as you read the early stories – but, say, the further adventures of J.J. Adams and the crew from “Forbidden Planet.”
You might well be going, “Huh. That story had some interesting ideas.” This is pretty much the only way to read these 1960s efforts, I think. To take them seriously as Trek, well, as a man often quoted on the show once wrote, “That way lies madness.”
If you get a chance, pick up a volume of these collected stories. Though purists may not enjoy them, I think that others may enjoy them a great deal, even given their obvious limitations.
Cuz I’m in the mood for a little Christmas music, today’s blog was written withy the help of John Denver’s “Christmas in Concert,” CD.
Okay. I skipped over “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Other than that, it’s a pretty good album. In addition to Christmas music, many of his classic songs are also included.
Now on YouTube – Gnu in the Garden: Comedy Shorts
A collection of short comic pieces I have done in the studio over the years.
Quote of the Day
What I bring to the interview is respect. The person recognizes that you respect them because you’re listening. Because you’re listening, they feel good about talking to you. When someone tells me a thing that happened, what do I feel inside? I want to get the story out. It’s for the person who reads it to have
the feeling . . . In most cases the person I encounter is not a celebrity; rather the ordinary person. “Ordinary” is a word I loathe. It has a patronizing air. I have come across ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. – Studs Terkel, Touch and Go: A Memoir