Robert Comsol wrote:
According to Kirk in "Court-Martial" and the subsequent wishes of the producers USS Republic (NCC-1371) was a member of the "starship class". According to the comics USS Republic was a Baton Rouge Class vessel (of the starship class).
Since USS Saladin was a starship, too, it looks like we have to conclude that Kirk's first command was another ship ("destroyer class") prior to USS Saladin.
Okay, now you are taking creator intentions too literally. Again, there's no such thing as absolute fact in something like this. Creator intentions can be useful information in forming opinions, and when there's no other information to counter them, there's no harm in taking them into consideration. Since there's not a shred of evidence that Kirk didn't
command an earlier ship, there's no reason to doubt TMoST's assertion that he did. But where later evidence does
clash with creator intentions, it's unreasonable to treat them as binding -- since, after all, creators change their minds all the time, and it actually goes against
the creators' intentions to ignore their later, more refined ideas in favor of the early, rough ideas that they deliberately abandoned.
In this case, the early, awkward use of "Starship Class" has long since been superseded by a more plausible usage wherein "starship" is a generic term for any interstellar spacecraft and ships are given class names that are generally taken from the first vessel in the class. There are decades' worth of evidence to support that usage and it makes no sense to ignore all that.