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Old September 22 2013, 11:39 PM   #1
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Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

Been reading Volume 2 over the last couple of days.

I've just finished the DiVono/Harris era and started in on the Shigetani strips. I fear we're at the end of what might be considered "good" as far as the LA Times Star Trek strips are concerned.

I'm a huge fan of the Warkentin strips in Volume 1, and DiVono/Harris did a fine job with their contributions.

Not only can't Shigetani draw very well, but his plotting and pacing are even weaker than his art. Five WEEKS into his first storyline, and almost nothing has happened. Oh, wait, Kirk just got beamed off the ship. FINALLY! a story beat!

Maybe it will pick up in a few months, when Shigetani leaves and Gerry Conway takes over the writing chores.
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Old September 22 2013, 11:46 PM   #2
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Re: Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

^The two storylines illustrated by Padraic Shigetani were written by Martin Pasko, who had previously written for Marvel's TMP-era comic. I found them to be the worst stories in the entire run, in both writing and art. The art never recovers to the level of the Warkentin/Harris era, but yeah, the Conway scripts are an improvement on the Pasko ones.
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Old September 22 2013, 11:52 PM   #3
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Re: Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

Christopher wrote: View Post
^The two storylines illustrated by Padraic Shigetani were written by Martin Pasko...
The book makes a point of identifying Shigetani as both writer and illustrator of his first story ("NOTE: Martin Pasko has sometimes been erroneously cited as the writer of this storyline. However, Shigetani provided both the script and artwork for this tale...") Pasko only came aboard for the second Shigetani-drawn storyline.

That was news to me, too.
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Old September 23 2013, 12:34 AM   #4
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Re: Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

^Well, then somebody should edit Memory Alpha.
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Old September 23 2013, 11:35 AM   #5
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Re: Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Well, then somebody should edit Memory Alpha.
This somebody will, once the book arrives at his home.

But... the material that was up there was taken from Rich Handley's old site on the material -- so obviously something new has been discovered along the way.
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Old September 23 2013, 07:38 PM   #6
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Re: Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

Daddy Todd wrote: View Post
Maybe it will pick up in a few months, when Shigetani leaves and Gerry Conway takes over the writing chores.
Indeed it does. The two Shigetani stories are the definite low point for the strip. It's hard to believe something this... primitive somehow passed Paramount's approval process. Maybe there wasn't one in 1981...? Anyway, I've seen better work in fanzines. In fact, I'd wager few self-respecting fanzine editors would've printed this mess. And I know, because I was a fanzine editor back in the day (not a Trek 'zine. It was for a different property.)

I know this comes off as pretty harsh, but honestly, Shigetani's strips mostly consist of 2 wide panels containing a crudely-drawn head or two, and some word balloons. No background to speak of. And what BG he includes bears precious little resemblance to anything we're familiar with on the Enterprise.

Gerry Conway's stories were no great shakes, but a significant step up. And once paired with artist Dick Kulpa, the strip was enjoyable again. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late. Five months (and three stories) later, the strip ended.
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Old September 23 2013, 10:59 PM   #7
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Re: Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

Daddy Todd wrote: View Post
It's hard to believe something this... primitive somehow passed Paramount's approval process.
There definitely was an approval process for all tie-ins, and the Star Trek Office was maintained at Paramount. The first Shigetani strip marks the switch in uniforms to conform with ST II, and we know that the next strip had intended to use Saavik, and she had to be changed into a new character in the approvals process.

Considering the nature of a daily comic strip, the artist is often racing to complete each panel to meet the daily deadlines. I can imagine the time constraints getting worse and worse, and perhaps by this time only each story proposal was getting scrutineered?

Strangely, being known as the "LA Times strip", supposedly the strip never actually ran in Los Angeles. I guess after the initial excitement of Thomas Warkentin's stunning artwork, and the pending war of memos with Bennett and Meyer in the lead-up to ST II, the strip was probably off Gene Roddenberry's radar.
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Old September 23 2013, 11:07 PM   #8
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Re: Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

^ It was syndicated by the LA Times Syndicate, but their own flagship newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, declined to license it. Kind of weird.
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Old September 23 2013, 11:40 PM   #9
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Re: Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

Daddy Todd wrote: View Post
^ It was syndicated by the LA Times Syndicate, but their own flagship newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, declined to license it. Kind of weird.
They declined to run it. I guess there's only so much room in the comics section, and you have to drop an existing strip to take on a new one.
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Old September 24 2013, 12:03 AM   #10
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Re: Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

Right, I'm just expressing surprise that they would commission the strip without first making sure they had a place to run it in their own newspaper. But businesses make odd decisions all the time, so I guess being surprised is just an example of my naivete.
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Old September 24 2013, 01:00 AM   #11
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Re: Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

Daddy Todd wrote: View Post
Right, I'm just expressing surprise that they would commission the strip without first making sure they had a place to run it in their own newspaper. But businesses make odd decisions all the time, so I guess being surprised is just an example of my naivete.
They commissioned the strip so they could syndicate it to all of the other US (and international) newspapers who wanted it. And make money. IIRC, wasn't there also already a "Star Wars" strip?

It was highly likely that ST:TMP was going to be a bigger hit than the first SW movie had been - the first Trek strip even features a post-TMP Ilia who, in the original "In Thy Image" telemovie script, had survived her time as a probe and was to be a regular character. The strip had to be ready to run when the film premiered.

Perhaps LA Times was making sure they had a backup in case the SW popularity bubble burst? Or was overshadowed by Trek?
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Old September 24 2013, 02:27 AM   #12
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Re: Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

Daddy Todd wrote: View Post
Right, I'm just expressing surprise that they would commission the strip without first making sure they had a place to run it in their own newspaper. But businesses make odd decisions all the time, so I guess being surprised is just an example of my naivete.
And sometimes businesses that have the same name are not the same business, just related ones. The LA Times Syndicate started as a department of the LA Times, but it grew beyond that. It's the same as how not every show produced by CBS Studios (formerly Paramount Television) is broadcast on CBS -- because the shared name just means the companies share a common owner or origin, not that they're a single company.
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Old September 25 2013, 02:13 AM   #13
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Re: Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

^According to Wikipedia, The Los Angeles Times Syndicate was a division of The Los Angeles Times until The Times was acquired by the Tribune Company in 2000. So, it was a case of one division acquiring a property that another division declined to run.

Just showing I can be as pedantic as you guys!
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Old September 26 2013, 03:48 AM   #14
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Re: Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume 2 (SPOILERS)

Daddy Todd wrote: View Post
Just showing I can be as pedantic as you guys!
You're one of us now
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