Earlier this year, I blogged/babbled about 2017 marking the 50th anniversary of “Trek Lit,” or the various flavors of Star Trek novels and novelizations which have found their way to bookstore shelves over the years. Yep, there hasn’t been a single year in the past half century where some kind of Star Trek book was published. I’ve been guilty of adding to that rather sizeable stack, so you know….sorry.
I was reminded earlier today that July marks yet another milestone with regards to the loveable behemoth that is “the Star Trek franchise.” Fifty years ago, this month, the first ever comic book featuring the intrepid Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise was plopped into slots of those cool comic spinner racks to be found in drugstores and grocery stores all across this great land of ours. It was Western Publishing and its Gold Key imprint was the first to carry the Star Trek banner into the “four-color” realm of comics.
Considering I just returned from picking up a stack of comics from my local shop, and included in the the bunch was the just released 10th issue of IDW Publishing‘s ongoing Star Trek: Boldly Go title, it seemed like a good day to blog a bit on this topic.
The first issue of what would become an irregularly recurring series was published in July 1967, eventually totaling 61 issues over the course of nearly 12 years. Since then, hundreds of issues of Star Trek comics have been published, based (to varying degrees) on all of the various television series and feature films. Gold Key was but the first of seven different companies who would try their hand at comics from the final frontier (including two separate turns at bat by Marvel Comics, nearly twenty years apart).
This doesn’t even count a run of newspaper comic strips in the early 1980s, and before that a series of comics based on the original series and published weekly in UK comics magazines. There have also been a number of one-shot comics or comic strips show up in other magazines or websites, to say nothing of parodies and other “unofficial” nods of one flavor of another.
“What are some of your favorites?” I can hear someone asking. Good grief…how much time do you have? We could be here a while. Yes, I definitely have my favorites, including one or two that are constantly battling to be included on my all-time favorite Star Trek stories, regardless of medium. For example, there’s Debt of Honor from way back in 1992, which has always stuck with me. There’s also Marvel’s 17-issue Star Trek: Early Voyages title, which ran between 1997 and 1998 and chronicled (at least some) of the adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise under Kirk’s predecessor, Captain Christopher Pike.
Other favorites include the 8-issue run of DC’s first Star Trek comic from 1984-1985, which collectively are known as “The Mirror Universe Saga.” Truth be told, I’d be hard pressed to come up with a definitive list, because as I perused my rather large library, looking for examples to highlight here, I found myself smiling as I recalled a story I’d long ago forgotten. What’s a guy supposed to do about that? Exactly. Like I said…we could be here a while. All day, if we’re being honest. The rest of the week, if we applied ourselves. So, let’s just cut it off here and we can all go our separate ways, all right?
So, hey! 50 years of Star Trek comics. For my money, the current roster of folks working to extend that rather lengthy list is doing a mighty fine job. Here’s hoping they continue to carry the torch for many more years to come.