“Assignment: Earth” at 50.

Though we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek series premiere back in September 2016, it’s been fun to recognize various favorite episodes as they each reach their own respective golden milestone. Landmark installments like “Arena,” “The City on the Edge of Forever,” and “The Doomsday Machine” have all gotten a bit of love as they turned 50, but it’s also fun to recognize those episodes which might not often show up on various “Best of” lists while still being personal favorites.

For me, “Assignment: Earth” is one such episode.

Continue reading ““Assignment: Earth” at 50.”

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Catching Up: Interviews and Planet Comicon!

Well, last week was a thing.

I spent most of it battling illness, being stubborn about it and trying to keep all the balls in the air. It started midweek, and only went downhill from there, to the point that when Saturday came around, I was a sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-headed, fevered, unable to really rest person.

planetcomiconBetween that and some family issues Kevin was dealing with, we made the decision to withdraw from the tables we’d planned to man all weekend at Planet Comicon, Kansas City’s awesome pop culture convention/party. It was the fair thing to do, given that Kevin was already scheduled to work a good portion of the weekend at Hallmark’s PopMinded booth and my not even being there at all on Friday due to my own work scheduled. With all of that and my being sick, we knew the con could reassign those tables to other creators/vendors who were on a waiting list. That said, both Kevin and I missed the opportunity to spend the weekend hanging out with friends, making new friends, and – yes – offering our various titles and other wares for sale.

On the other hand, we’d also both made a commitment to friends and fellow writers Jennifer Frontera and Jason Arnett to participate in a panel Jennifer was moderating on Sunday about writing “for hire” and/or for licensed properties. Kevin would be back at the con to continue helping out with the PopMinded booth on Sunday, so all that remained was for me to swallow enough meds to keep me upright and presentable for a few hours. So, I jammed a bunch of stuff down my throat with a Mountain Dew chaser and with my trusty sidekick, daughter Addison, set off for Bartle Hall.

The panel went off nicely, I thought. Jeni was a superb moderator, hitting us with a string of well-considered questions that generated some good discussion between the four of us and also prompted some great questions from our audience. After the panel, Jason graciously hosted Kevin and me at his table for a short while, where we were able to sign books for people who’d been trying to track us down throughout the weekend.

My biggest regret of the weekend was not being able to catch up with everybody I’d been hoping to see, but also that we needed to back out on our commitment to the con itself. The gang who runs Planet Comicon have always been incredibly supportive of me and Kevin, and we hate not being able to participate in the entire weekend’s fun and games. Hopefully we’ll be back to normal for next year, when Planet throws its 20th anniversary party!

DrasticMeasures-CoverElsewhere, last week’s distractions made me all but completely forget that yet another interview with me about Drastic Measures was made available for your listening torture enjoyment. Matthew Miller from TrekZone.org contacted me a week or so ago to talk about the new book, and damned if we almost got through the thing before one of us remembered why we were talking in the first place. Matthew’s provided the results of that gabfest over at the TrekZone site, so you’re free to stick them in your ears at your convenience. Check it out:

TrekZone.org: Author Dayton Ward On Writing Trek Novels

Many thanks to Matthew for hosting the interview!

Speaking of interviews, I know of two others which are prepping to drop in the coming days, and I have another phone interview scheduled for this evening. Between now and then, I’ll be finalizing the manuscript for a book project that’s due later this week.

Busy writer is busy!

Empty Space: A Kickstarter project by Michael Jan Friedman.

Well, lookie what we have here.

My buddy Mike Friedman is at it again. First off, the dude has a list of publishing credits about a mile long, encompassing novels, short stories, comics, and TV. He’s been around the block a few times. About once every year or so, he undertakes a somewhat bold quest of bringing to life some writing project without the benefit of a publisher. In recent years, he’s turned to crowdfunding to help him amass the money necessary to bring these plans to fruition. He tends to set modest fundraising goals with these things, and in every case (four, so far), he’s hit his mark and delivered on everything promised.

He’s also one of the genuinely good, decent guys in this whole writing business thing, and I really am helpless to resist him when he pulls something like this.

This time, though, Mike’s stepping up his game. Instead of prose novels or short story collections, he’s swinging for the fences and trying to bring to life a new graphic novel: Empty Space.

What’s it all about? Well, I should probably let Mike tell you:


I’ve described Empty Space as a cross between Star Trek and Lost, but it’s really more than that. It’s a twisty, turny, sometimes unsettling narrative set against the limitless backdrop of the stars, with the sort of bizarre alien species and against-all-odds derring-do that’s always characterized the best space adventure–along with a heaping dollop of the macabre.

This is the kind of tale I’ve wanted to tell for a long time. In fact, it’s a dream project for a guy who fell in love with comics and science fiction at the age of six and never stopped loving them.

It’s also a chance for me to give back to you–the readers who’ve been following me for decades–the best, most intriguing, and most entertaining work I can possibly come up with. If at any time in your immersion in Empty Space you think you know where the story is going…I humbly invite you to think again.


Okay. I’m in.

Empty Space is intended to be a 128-page graphic novel, filled to overflowing with juicy art and page-turning story shenanigans. There’s also a boatload of cool perks for those choosing to back the project. As I write this, I’ve already become a backer, because hey! It’s Mike.

For the complete rundown on Empty Space and all the delicious stuff waiting for those who opt in, run on over to Kickstarter and check out the project’s page:

Empty Space by Museworthy, Inc.

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Good luck, Mike! I hope you make it, and not just because I want my own copy of this to hold in my grubby little paws.

Happy 95th Birthday, Stan Lee!

Wishing a Happy 95th Birthday to the Generalissimo himself, Stan Lee!

He’s been at the epicenter of comics for more than seventy years. I still have my copy of How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, which I purchased when I was a teenager with thoughts of one day drawing comics of my own. Despite reality asserting itself, that hasn’t dampened my love of the medium, and a lot of that is thanks to this man right here.

95, and he’s still running like a cheetah shotgunning Red Bull. I hope I have half his energy when I’m his age.

Wait. I want half his energy now.

The happiest of birthdays to you, sir.

Excelsior!

Star Trek: Waypoint

STWaypoint-TradeCoverShort stories that run the gamut of Star Trek‘s history, set during the Original Series, The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, and more, featuring all your favorite characters. Capturing a galaxy of emotions, these weird and wonderful stories may expand on rarely explored corners of the universe, or provide closure for long forgotten plot threads, but they all remind us why we love Trek.

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Collecting the six-issue miniseries from IDW Publishing as part of celebrating Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary, Star Trek: Waypoint marks mine and Kevin’s first foray into the realm of comics writing. Editors Sarah Gaydos and Chris Cerasi let us run (almost) completely off leash once we pitched them our basic concept, which was pretty much “A love letter to the old, wacky Star Trek Gold Key comics from the 1960s and 70s.”

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Then…then…they partnered us with veteran comics artist Gordon Purcell and colorist Jason Lewis, and holy crap! Did these two gents do an amazing job recreating the look and feel of those comics gone by.

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I know, right?

Our story, “The Menace of the Mechanitrons!” appeared in Waypoint #2. Now it, along with the eleven other stories from the mini-series, have been collected into a single swank-looking trade paperback which now graces my “brag shelf” along with copies of my novels and other writerly shenanigans. Kevin and I join a stellar lineup of writers and artists including Gordon and Jason: Donny Cates, Sandra Lanz, Mark Chater, Sam Maggs, Rachael Stott, Mairghread Scott, Cecil Castellucci, Corin Howell, Megan Levens, Vivek J. Tiwary, Scott Bryan Wilson, Hugo Petrus, Capar Wijngaard, Simon Roy, Cavan Scott, Josh Hood, Gabriel Hardman, Corinna Bechko, and Christopher Herndon.

Where can you get your own copy? I’m so happy you asked:

IDW Publishing’s website
Trade Paperback and Kindle e-Book/Comixology format from Amazon.com
Trade Paperback from Barnes & Noble
Trade Paperback from Books-A-Million

The book might be a little big for a stocking stuffer, but I suspect you can manage well enough. Y’all are a pretty savvy bunch.

Star Trek: Waypoint – the trade paperback has a shiny new cover!

st-waypoint2-subscriptioncoverSome of you who visit this space from time to time may recall that, last year, Kevin and I got to cross a pretty cool item off our respective Bucket Lists: Write a Star Trek comic. This took the form of IDW editor Sarah Gaydos inviting us to contribute a story to Star Trek: Waypoint, the six-issue comics mini-series she was developing as part of the celebration for Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary in 2016.

Because Kevin and I are a bit insane, we decided to pitch to Sarah our idea of doing a story in the style of the old 1960s/1970s Gold Key Star Trek comics. Sarah liked the notion to pull us aboard the IDW Trek ship, and partnered us with comics veteran Gordon Purcell, who contributed the art. Our story, “The Menace of the Mechanitrons!,” is what we hoped would be a love-letter to those wacky Trek comics of old, and was one of two stories included in Waypoint #2. Indeed, each of the series’ six issues contained two 10-page stories, spanning the various Star Trek series over its 50-year history.

As is common in comics, and particularly with limited run projects such as this, the entire Waypoint series will be collected and made available for purchase in a sparkling new trade paperback format, complete with a new cover! Check it out:

STWaypoint-TradeCover(Click to Biggie Size)

Star Trek: Waypoint – the collected mini-series – is slated for publication on Tuesday, November 28th. You’ll be able to get it from your local comic shop or bookstore, or order it via IDW’s website or the usual online book haunts. For example:

Trade Paperback and Kindle e-Book/Comixology format from Amazon.com
Trade Paperback from Barnes & Noble
Trade Paperback from Books-A-Million

Just in time for holiday gift shopping. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat a coincidence, amirite?

Happy 50th Anniversary, Star Trek comics!

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.

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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).

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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.

trek-debthonor“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 list of 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.

st-ev01st-musOther 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.

Star Trek: Waypoint collection: Comin’ at ya in November!

Good news, everyone!

For those of you who haven’t yet partaken of IDW Publishing‘s bi-monthly Star Trek: Waypoint mini-series (and really…what’s up with that?), you’ll be pleased to know that the entire 8-issue run will be collected into a trade paperback and officially made available for your reading pleasure on November 28th.

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This means that the story Kevin and I wrote for issue #2, “The Menace of the Mechanitrons” (and which was gloriously illustrated by the great Gordon Purcell), will be able to annoy the people we missed the first time around last fall, or perhaps irritate you all over again if you went in on the individual issues.

While this will be mine and Kevin’s first time having a comic story collected in such a manner, longtime readers and supporters may recall that it’s not our first time being in such an anthology in any capacity. Au contraire! Indeed,  our short story “First, Do No Harm” from 2006’s Star Trek: Constellations anthology was also included in Tokyopop’s Shinsei Shinsei, the first edition of their Star Trek manga collections. One of their manga stories was also included in the back of Constellations, as part of a marketing crossover in observance of Star Trek‘s 40th anniversary in 2006.

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Holy crap….2006? My, how time flies.

Speaking of time flying, I know November sounds like it’s a ways off, right? Particularly when you consider that the fourth Waypoint issue only came out yesterday and with the remaining four issues in the pipeline for (presumably) May, July, September, and November releases. But, if 2017 is anything like the last couple of years, November will be here before I know it or I’m ready for it.

In the meantime, pre-order links are already active at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You an also take the book’s ISBN,  978-1684050178, to your local independent bookseller and have them set up a pre-order for you. I’m betting your hometown merchant would love you for that.

Besides, it’ll be out just in time for Christmas, and I’m betting copies of this will make great presents. No, really.

“Assignment: Earth,” the so-so Star Trek episode that keeps on giving.

WARNING: Nerdy rambling lay ahead.

garyseven01The other day on Facebook, noted science fiction author and all-around good guy Robert J. Sawyer mentioned that he’d stumbled across a fan website devoted to “Assignment: Earth,” the Star Trek original series episode that closed out the show’s second season in 1968. As the conversation evolved, mentions where made about how various novels and comics have revisited the idea of super human agent Gary Seven, his assistant, Roberta Lincoln, and an enigmatic cat/possible shapeshifter named Isis working behind the scenes of Earth history to make sure humanity is able to survive the challenges and obstacles it will face in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, until such time as it evolves into a “mature civilization.”

Continue reading ““Assignment: Earth,” the so-so Star Trek episode that keeps on giving.”

New interview with me & Kevin @ TrekMovie.com!

You think people would learn their lesson, and quit calling us, but nooooOOOOoooo.

TrekMovie.com certainly hasn’t.

st-waypoint2-subscriptioncoverLate last month, the popular fan-driven Star Trek news site, for reasons surpassing understanding, dispatched intrepid interviewer Rich Shepis to talk to me and Kevin, without even the courtesy of giving him combat pay or even body armor. Nope. They just threw him at us, like the innocent little lamb that he is. I mean, “was.”

The result? A new joint interview with me and Kevin, which has now gone live over on TrekMovie. The topic? Mostly, it’s us yammering at length about our recent foray into comics writing. Specifically, that spiffy second issue of the Star Trek: Waypoint mini-series from IDW Publishing, as so ably overseen by the wonderful Sarah Gaydos and Christopher Cerasi, who almost without doubt are only now coming to grips with the horror of having invited us into their sandbox to play even for a brief while.

The interview was conducted via teleconference, with Rich transcribing our non-stop, ear-splitting cacophony of stream-of-conscious babbling. Hey, Kevin and I have been doing this for a long, long time by this point, so anybody daring to interview us both at the same time should really know better, don’t you think?

Everybody give it up for Rich. He weathered the storm, and lived to tell the tale.

Anyway, go check out our new confab, courtesy of Rich and TrekMovie, if only so you can behold the line that gave me my first true out-loud laugh of the day:

“Chemistry is that one intangible that either exists in a situation or doesn’t, and has contributed to form some of the greatest partnerships of all-time, including Lennon/McCartney, Kirk/Spock, and Star Trek writing partners Kevin Dilmore and Dayton Ward. In fact, the duo is perhaps the greatest off-screen bromance seen in the franchise’s history.”

Dammit. That’s funny.

TrekMovie.Com: INTERVIEW – Authors Kevin Dilmore & Dayton Ward

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(Photo Credit: Janice Sanborn)