Last year, current Star Trek comics publisher IDW unleashed a treasure trove of Trekkie comics goodness on a grateful fandom when it published the two-volume Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics, collecting the run of story strips which were published in a modest number of newspapers belonging to the L.A. Times Syndicate between 1979 and 1983. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that IDW pulled out all the stops for these books, restoring each of the strips (both the black-and-white dailies as well as the full-color Sunday editions) to pristine beauty.
Having read the strip only sporadically as a kid, I didn’t think twice about dropping coin for both books, as the strips represented a long-lost artifact of Star Trek comics history. I certainly wasn’t alone, as pretty much everyone I know who’s at all into this stuff was going after their own copies, too, in the hopes of filling that gap in their collection.
As it turns out, there’s still another hole waiting to be filled, and we have our friends across the pond to thank for it.
Beginning in 1969, before the original Star Trek series had even aired on British television, Star Trek strips began appearing in the classic comics magazines Joe 90: Top Secret, Tv-21, Valiant, and Mighty TV, and would continue to do so for the next four years. For the most part, most of these strips have never been available in the U.S. Following the effort to collect, restore and publish the L.A. Time Syndicate strips, there were tentative plans to release the British strips in similar fashion, but that no longer appears to be the case.
Rich Handley, founder and editor of Hasslein Books and the man most responsible for shepherding the U.S. strips project from dream to reality, has launched a grassroots campaign to see if this idea might be reconsidered:
The story has since been picked up in a few different of different places, notably TrekMovie.com and DownTheTube.net, a blog hosted by John Freeman, who is a frequent Star Trek comics and novel reviewer for Star Trek Magazine:
Of course, Rich is hoping to get the word spread far and wide, so if you’re a Star Trek fan or a comics fan (or, you know…both), then he’s hoping you might help lend support to his campaign. What do you do? Easy: Contact IDW, and tell them you’re interested in seeing this project come to fruition:
Hey, you never know, right? Ten years ago, I’d have bet you all the money in my pockets that we’d never see the L.A. Times Syndicate strips. Shows what I know.
Good luck to Rich with his campaign!