DC Comics' Star Tek (1st Series)

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

  1. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

    Oct 13, 2004
    I've recently re-read the first 16 issues (plus the Search for Spock adaptation, which comes right in the middle, between #8 & #9.)

    The art sometimes looks rushed and slapdash, except for the Search adaptation, which is truly beautiful. Mike Barr's scripts can be all over the map; when reading a bunch together, it seems pretty clear he didn't always have the end game mapped out when he started a story arc (or else he was doing some of the best fake-outs ever.)

    Despite the flaws, I really love these stories. They have a vigor and an electricity that no Star Trek comic before or since has surpassed. This series was the reason I first started visiting a comic book store. And I have to say I think it holds up really, really well.

    The series declined in quality following #16, when Mike Barr stepped away and a succession of writers took over the title for a few years before Peter David got the regular gig. Some worked for me (Diane Duane) some didn't (Mike Carlin.) Peter David was doing amazing stuff for the last year or so before the end, but just as things were getting awesome again, the plug was pulled.

    Subsequent Trek comics have generally had more polished art and tighter continuity with the Canon, but have never been as much pure fun, IMHO.
  2. indianatrekker26

    indianatrekker26 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 8, 2006
    Agreed about Morrow's art, and to take it further, back then I couldn't stand how the interiors of the ships were never drawn even close to how they looked in the movies. Now I wonder if it is due to them not receiving any reference material.
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    ^No, I think Sutton and Villagran just had their own improvisational approach to technology design. I came to see it as part of the charm of their work.

    There was clearly some access to reference materials. If you look at issue #1, the Enterprise exterior isn't drawn quite right -- for instance, the hangar bay doors are rendered as an angular, clear dome. But in later issues, their rendering of the ship gets more accurate because they gained access to the necessary reference (I think I remember this even being stated in the letters page at one point).

    But they were inconsistent in their use of references. When Spock's science ship Surak debuted, it was initially drawn to look like the Grissom, but in a later issue it was drawn like a smaller Excelsior and in another one it was just a vast rectangular slab festooned with radar dishes and technological greebles.
  4. King Daniel Paid CBS Plant

    King Daniel Paid CBS Plant Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    I liked how DC drew the Enterprise and Excelsior interiors. Those comics had a far more distinctive look than what came later.

    And their Romulan ship innards (seen in the Doomsday Bug storyline) looked kinda like the Narada!
  5. King Bob!

    King Bob! Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jan 30, 2001
    I always liked the artwork for The Last Word, it really fit the story being told.
  6. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 22, 2010
    The DC run was very serious, and I appreciated that.
  7. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Huh? You must have missed Diane Duane and Peter David's work. :guffaw:
  8. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

    Oct 13, 2004
    Just finished a complete re-read of the first DC series last night, including three Annuals, two movie adaptations (III & IV) and two issues of "Who's Who in Star Trek"

    It's been a couple decades since I last read through these. My memories were that the first bunch of issues were great, that it floundered around as an inconsistently-written mess with generally great artwork for a couple years, then was really just hitting its stride again when Paramount pulled the plug.

    Re-reading it over the last week, I can't find a single reason to change any of those opinions. The run of issues starting with 17 all the way through 47 is, frankly, disappointing. Oh, there are definite high points - Diane Duane's three issues - but with the rest it's best to keep expectations fairly low.

    Issues 1 - 16 (written by Mike W. Barr) and 48-55 (written by Peter David) are as good as Star Trek comics have ever been, and probably ever will be. (Issue 56, the final issue, was clearly kept around in case someone missed a deadline, and was only published because it was already bought and paid for. It's pretty bad, both art and story-wise.)

    I really disliked Michael Carlin's work at the time, and was elated when he went off to do the TNG miniseries in 1987, opening up the opportunity for Peter David to come aboard. Upon re-reading Carlin's work, I feel I was unfair to him, for its not significantly worse than anything else done between Barr and David.

    There were attempts to establish a continuity during those years, but the writer turnover every 2 to 8 months prevented anyone from establishing anything like a "voice" in the line. So I'm not saying Len Wein, Mike Carlin, Bob Rozakis and Tony Isabella (and all the one-shot writers) were simply bad writers. They may very well have been able to write awesome stuff, had they stuck around long enough to really take hold of the book and shake it around some.

    So, in short, this is a mediocre series of comics, with 16 amazing issues at the beginning and 8 awesome issues at the end -- and some great Annuals and movie adaptations along the way. The rest is pretty much a mess, story-wise, but has great art.
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    I think Tony Isabella's contributions -- the Redjac 2-parter and "The Trouble With Bearclaw" -- are pretty solid. He was going to take over as the regular writer with #31, but plans abruptly changed and he had to hand it off to Len Wein, whose work was decent but suffered from stilted dialogue. Bob Greenberger's "Around the Clock" solo issue was also quite good -- I was disappointed he didn't do more. Heck, even Mike Carlin's final issue was pretty powerful.
  10. Steve67

    Steve67 Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 15, 2005
    'The Transformed Man' Recording Sessions
    I've just started to read the immediate post-Mirror Universe issues and although it's nice to read stories focusing on Uhura, Sulu, and Scotty, these tales felt like fill ins after the massive arc of issues 9-16 and they seem all the more disappointing since there wouldn't be any lengthy storylines akin to those near-legendary Mirror Universe issues.

    I'm still enjoying these and as I've mentioned before, the Tom Sutton-Ricardo Villagran art has the same appeal as Carmine Infantino's art did in those Marvel Star Wars books of 1978-80. I like their take on the "look" of Star Trek, as I particularly enjoyed the space station in the splash page of issue #20, Giri.