DC Comics' Star Tek (1st Series)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Steve67, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have to be honest, Ian, I'm not sure I believe this. I'm not saying that your recollection of what Arnold said is incorrect. But at the same time, he's not a disinterested party and, given the politics of the time, it was in his interest to promote the view that Roddenberry was wresting back control of the franchise from the infidels who had pillaged it in his absence.

    From a business standpoint, Arnold's story doesn't make any sense. Voiding all of their existing licensing contracts would cost Paramount a lot of money; it would be like the Activision lawsuit of a decade ago, but spread across dozens, even hundreds, of licensees. Admittedly, much of the money Paramount would have to pay out to abrogate the contacts would be paid back if the licenses re-upped after renegotiations. But you're talking about an immense amount of work and an immense amount of money, to say nothing of legal billable hours involved in sorting through the Gordian knots of hundreds of contracts. It just seems... staggeringly, incompetently insane for a company to do this for such marginal benefit given that the products before and after didn't materially change.

    The reason I used the word "coincidence" deliberately is that DC Comics' first series ended where you would have expected it to end if they had a five year contract with Paramount and the contract had come to its end without renewal.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Although it ended about 2 months and 4 issues short of a full five years' worth. So how do the contracts define the time period? Is it from the publication of the first issue or from a calendar month specified in the contract? Maybe the discrepancy could be explained if the first issue was delayed a bit.
     
  3. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Balls, I left the word "about" out. The thought was "ended about where you would have expected..." *grumble*

    I assumed it was a five year/sixty month contract. And since DC would need to get up and running -- find a writer, find artists, etc. -- before they could publish their first issue, then they wouldn't get 60 issues out during that period. But they did get fifty-eight issues out in those sixty months, if you count the Star Trek III and Star Trek IV adaptations which slotted into the monthly issue slot in 1984 and 1986.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Okay, that explains it.

    Hmm, I wonder what that says about DC's TOS Volume 2 and TNG, then. They both ran for 80 regular issues and, let's see, 78 months for TOS and 77 months for TNG (they did some brief biweekly runs in there). So maybe they finished one 5-year contract and got cancelled not quite a third of the way through the second one? Or could it have been, say, an 80-month contract that wasn't renewed?
     
  5. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I always thought the second DC contract was ended prematurely (and Malibu's Deep Space Nine and Voyager contracts as well, the latter of which they never even published an issue) and rather abruptly because at the same time Marvel announced their partnership with Paramount. That deal was Marvel throwing stupid money at Paramount, which ultimately led to the cancellation of the whole line when Marvel's new accountants realized that they were never, ever, ever going to make money on the deal. I don't blame Paramount for taking Marvel's money, but you have to wonder how different Star Trek comics history would have been, and how much more stable, if Paramount had stuck by the steady hand of DC.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Of course, I forgot about Marvel taking over.
     
  7. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    From the replies to the above linked article...

     
  8. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    My recollections are not just of Richard's angle, but also the angry campaign run by some of the Pocket authors at the time (on the GEnie and Compuserv news groups).

    I think perhaps they were able to nullify/renegotiate because the original licensing contracts had been signed before TNG was conceived, so special arrangements had to be made to enable Pocket to do those earliest TNG novels, DC to publish its six-part TNG Season One mini-series, and FASA to do two TNG products: an officers' manual and a Season One sourcebook. (Similarly, IDW got special permission to cameo Phlox in one of its comics, despite not having an ENT license.) If the licensees wanted to incorporate TNG after Season One, then they'd have to renegotiate their contract.

    Maybe it was coincidence that all the contracts were due for renewal? But Roddenberry certainly took the opportunity to have the rules tightened.

    It's worth putting the question to Bob Greenberger. He may recall that the all licenses were voided and everyone was sent back into negotiations. I heard Richard report this several times. DC's Series I comic was ended very abruptly; the lettercol had only just mentioned numerous upcoming storylines that never came to fruition as described. DC certainly didn't expect the hiatus to go on so long. There was also the "1989 memo" (published in full on the old news groups) that was sent to the re-signing licensees, explaining the tightening of the rules of what elements could no longer be used (ie. no TAS, no long-running original characters, no more cross pollination between licensees' products, etc).

    Would Paramount have to pay out a contract if it was being renewed anyway? In that case, wouldn't it only be FASA in need of a payout (unless they were at the end of a contract) and FASA had supposedly broken its contract by not submitting materials to be vetted by the Star Trek Office. I recall a few years ago, someone connected with FASA mentioned some of this on this board. There was a lot of anger about their license, from both sides.

    I recall that Roddenberry and Paramount were particularly keen to be rid of FASA. The "Officers' Manual" was laden with errors (eg. Betazoids hailed from Haven) and they released it for publication without submitting it to the Star Trek Office.

    Ah, I see the conversation has continued.

    Yep.
     
  9. Steve67

    Steve67 Commander Red Shirt

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  10. shivkala

    shivkala Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I loved issue #40 as a child, in which the crew becomes embroiled in another adventure involving Harry Mudd. This one in which the crew's wishes come true.

    I loved the 2nd series, as I started collecting comics about a year into its run and I even had a subscription for about 2 years. However, hunting down issues from the 1st series was a lot of fun. Those comics were a bit more "free-wheeling," while the 2nd series was a bit more serious.
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There are a few stories I remember quite fondly from that DC run.

    * "The Trouble with Bearclaw" (29)
    * "Maggie's World" (30,31)
    * "The Doomsday Bug" (34-36)
    * "The Return of the Serpent" (43-45)

    Great stuff.
     
  12. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The few issues I've read of the old DC Comics I've really enjoyed. I thought the Final Mission comic, which featured Decker, the Klingons, and the Talosians was perfect. It was an episode that never would have been in the 60s but would have been done now.
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    I agree. My main disappointments with Series II had to do with the need to reconceive M'Ress and Arex as new characters, M'yra and Fouton. While I really loved Fouton, knowing that he replaced my favourite TAS character was so frustrating.

    Also the new, higher quality paper permitted more intense colours (no more halftones, a staple of Series I) but to me it seemed that they overdid the dark brown colourings on the Klingons and M'yra.

    Favourite Series I stories were Diane Duane's "Double Blind", and the three annuals: "All Those Years Ago..." (first mission), "Final Mission", and the Scotty's wife tale ("Retrospect").
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
  14. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't get the love for "Double Blind." I guess it's supposed to be one of the comedy episodes, but if it is then the humor falls flat.
     
  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    I find it hilarious.

    Especially Naraht the horta watching the Ajir aliens eating the furniture in the rec deck. "That looks so gooood."

    And the Grond, looking like cute little pussy cats, demanding that Kirk surrender his vessel. I think it was Sulu who wonders, "What are they gonna do, shed on us?"
     
  16. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed. I thought it was dull.
     
  17. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And that's just it. Humor is in the eye of the beholder.

    Thank you for telling me what you get out of the story. Because I don't get anything out of the story.
     
  18. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Matter of taste, I guess. Honestly, though, i used to foind it funnier than I do now.

    I do still really like Diane Duane's McCoy story "The Last word" a few issues later (#28) with the really nice Gray Morrow artwork.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
  19. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yep. Awesome story. :techman:
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Another matter of taste. I like the story, but I never particularly cared for Morrow's artwork, which seemed to be largely traced from photo reference and had kind of a weird texture to it.