Here’s another bit of interestingly nerdy news that escaped my notice during my recent vacation.
Fans of Star Trek, comics, and Star Trek comics doubtless know the name John Byrne. He’s pretty much a legend, having produced a number of memorable stories over a career spanning more years than maybe he wants to admit. He’s both a gifted artist and a wonderful storyteller, all the more so because like most of the folks who continue to thrive in his business even after so many years, he keeps learning and adapting as new technologies and techniques are introduced, integrating these new tools into an already impressive skill set.
So far as Star Trek goes, Byrne’s contributions to comics in that realm are among the strongest offerings yet provided by the current holder of the Trek comics license, IDW. A longtime hardcore fan of the original series in particular, Byrne is one of the few comics writers who’s best able to reproduce the characterizations of Kirk and the gang for the page. Plus, he just seems to like playing and experimenting with this or that, often starting out as a playful project for his own enjoyment before expanding it enough for the rest of us to ogle.
Which brings us to this bit of news, which I found over at the ever-awesome Trek Collective:
What’s really interesting about this latest project is that it’s not a “regular” comic in that draw/ink/color way. Instead, Mr. Byrne is upping the ante a bit, using photo references from episodes of the original Star Trek series and manipulating and re-compositing characters and other bits from these existing images with new backgrounds and other surroundings in order to give us a “lost episode.” For example, check out these sample pages:
(Click images to Biggie Size)
Old-school fans (like me) will get a familiar fanboy/fangirl tingling in various appendages, as Byrne is obviously paying homage to the super-cool Star Trek “Fotonovels” of yesteryear. Remember those? For those too young to have enjoyed these things in the pre-VCR/DVD/iTunes era of on-demand home entertainment, the old Fotonovels were one way to relive favorite Star Trek episodes. A few years ago, I babbled about them:
It seems that Mr. Byrne has been playing around with this idea for the past several months, and has been making the results of his efforts available for visitors to his own website and message forums. You can review the evolution of this project here:
It’s one thing to take an existing story and pictures and convert it to a comics-like presentation, but it has to be a wholly different, time-consuming ball game to produce something like this from scratch. It’s obvious from the pages presented that Mr. Byrne is having a hell of a fun time doing it, and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished result of all his hard work. At present, it appears that the comic will be in stores sometime in early 2014.
On another note, I’m happy to see IDW (and other licensees who’ve been doing various other things) embracing a bit of whimsy with respect to Star Trek. I’ve often believed Trek tends to take itself a bit too seriously when it comes to merchandising, and that they’re missing out on the “kid market,” whether that means actual kids or those of us who don’t mind a bit of harmless goofiness with our Trek. Neither group should be underestimated or otherwise discounted. Bring the fun, by golly!
(Thanks very much to The Trek Collective for providing the heads-up!)