I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get concerned with the…discrepancies cropping up in the flow of time. Things like the Eugenics Wars not occurring in the early 1990s (in fact, there is no record of Kahn Noonien Singh ever existing!) and the fact that my Chronowerx computer now has the name of some company called “Microsoft” on it. There’s no advanced interplanetary spaceflight or artificial gravity either, and no Millennium Gate self-contained artificial biosphere (it should have been completed in 2012). And now Anton York, whom we all know as the famed 45th President of the United States, is nowhere on any ticket in the presidential race primaries.
What is going on here? A paradox caused by the abduction of two humpback whales in the mid-80s? Fallout from the Temporal Cold War (the one from Star Trek: Enterprise, not Doctor Who)? Are we living in the J.J.-verse???
Ok, joke over. We can return to real world (real horrifying) stuff now. The panel above is from the ninth issue of a Star Trek comic series put out by the publisher Gold Key in the late 60s through the 70s (with the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the comics license passed to Marvel). This series is incredible and is probably my favorite Star Trek-spinoff material, but doesn’t get a lot of love from Trekkies because of how OUT THERE it is. It doesn’t mesh up with a lot of what later became “canon” in Star Trek; in these books Kirk annihilates all life on planets, the Enterprise routinely hops entire galaxies in its travels, and the Prime Directive? What Prime Directive? Also for the first dozen issues Scotty is played by a completely different guy:
The reason for this (and other differences, like out-of-character crewmembers and un-Star Treky situations) is that most of the writers probably hadn’t seen the show yet, and the Italian gent named Alberto Giolitti who illustrated the book in its early years hadn’t either. He DID get to use photo reference material however, so when it’s on, it’s ON. The character faces in closeups look great (guess he just didn’t get a photo of James Doohan).
In issue 9 the crew arrives on a planet deep in space, where a mad historian (!) has set up an antenna to catch the brainwaves of Earth’s greatest historical figures. He uses the brainwaves to program android facsimiles of these persons, including several notable United States Presidents.
Len Wein apparently wrote this issue! Wow!
It’s a fun read (all of these stories are, if you can take the things you love with varying degrees of seriousness) and very Trek-y in its own way, reminding this fan of the TOS episode “The Savage Curtain.” That’s the one where they meet alien duplicates of Lincoln, Genghis Kahn, and other historical figures. Serendipitously I was reading this story last night in a collected edition I have, and when I read the Anton York panel I thought; “wait, aren’t we getting ready to elect our 45th president?” And then; “man, I wish 2016-era presidential attire looked like that.” I won’t spoil the ending of the story, but it does involve Spock having a face-off with the mad historian, a guy by the name of Alexander Lazarus (of course).
If you want to experience the further adventures of the Enterprise crew through a very funky lens and don’t want to blow a fortune on the individual issues, this series has been reprinted a few times. Gold Key released a few trade paperback collections in the late 70s covering the first half of the series, and in the 2000s a company named Checker Books got a little bit further before going out of business (or maybe losing the Trek license first…in any case, Checker Books appears to be no more).
IDW currently holds the Star Trek comics license and has been releasing hardcover reprints of this series, with the fifth due out in a few months. HOWEVER it looks like they have bollixed the colors! Amazon describes the colors as “remastered”…and preview pages show that they did a pretty poor job of it (or went too far). The color tones are all changed, whereas in the Checker releases they were reproduced almost exactly. Sorry to rant, Wagoners, but this kind of thing drives me crazy. If I buy a reprint of a comic I want to see it EXACTLY as it was when it first came out, or as close as possible (on a related note, I don’t like the CGI remastering of the special effects shots on the Star Trek: TOS blu-rays, either).
There WILL be more posts on Gold Key’s Star Trek in the future, Space Station Wagoner, because they are excellent and the WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW. In the meantime, chew on some of these amazing covers. The series started out with photo covers before switching over to GORGEOUS painted ones, which Gold Key was well known for. I consider myself lucky to own two of the comics pictured below (VOODOO! and the Cyclops one).
Thanks for reading, Live Long and Prosper!