TrekInk: Review of Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever #3 + Preview | TrekMovie.com
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TrekInk: Review of Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever #3 + Preview August 26, 2014

by Mark Martinez , Filed under: Comics,Review,TOS , trackback

Barely a week into their time journey, Spock is traumatized, Kirk is spellbound, their relationship is strained, and Beckwith is nowhere in sight. The third issue of Harlan Ellison’s The City of the Edge of Forever makes its way to your local comic shop this week. Read TrekMovie’s review (with spoilers) and a preview after the break.

 

Cover: Art by Juan Ortiz, Subscription cover: Art by Paul Shipper

Star Trek: Harlan Ellison®’s Original The City on the Edge of Forever Teleplay #3
written by Harlan Ellison, Scott Tipton and David Tipton, art by J.K. Woodward, letters by Neil Uyetake, edits by Chris Ryall, covers by Juan Ortiz and Paul Shipper

Story

Finding refuge from the angry crowd in a dusty basement, Kirk and Spock take stock of their circumstances. A friendly building manager lends a hand with a job offer. With food and shelter in hand, Kirk instructs Spock to program his tricorder to find the focal point that Beckwith will be drawn to, in spite of warnings that the calculations will damage the circuitry. On the way home from his dishwashing job, Spock sees the words of the Guardians come to life in the person of Sister Edith Keeler. There’s still no sign of Beckwith, so they keep watch on Keeler.



See Kirk and Spock Stalk.

As predicted, the tricorder’s circuitry burns out. While Spock worries about repairs, Kirk finds them a room in the same boarding house with Keeler and awkwardly strikes up an acquaintance. Spock notes Kirk’s fascination with the charismatic woman.



See Kirk Bedazzled.

Review

Wow! Spock is severely pissy and pedantic in this installment of Ellison’s story. And AARGH!#$@%&! The dialogue includes one of my literary pet peeves. Discussing the probablility of Beckwith’s arrival, Spock says “… until he is drawn to the Keeler woman“. What is with the Spock vulcan and the last-name-of-a-woman woman reference? I realize this is common English language usage, but it makes my teeth hurt. I guess it’s not that big a deal in comics, but I still occasionally see it in present day articles where it simply doesn’t belong. I don’t recall if this line is in the broadcast episode. Anyone remember? No matter. As in previous issues, the story closely follows the original teleplay and we get a less congenial, potentially fragile version of the Kirk/Spock relationship. Spock seems rattled and Kirk is caught off guard by Keeler. Well, ok, Kirk is caught off guard by any attractive woman, but Spock is definitely off-kilter, and haven’t we’ve learned to expect that when he travels in time? Anyway, the Tiptons are keeping the story moving along and I like the edginess in the relationship between the Captain and his first officer. A shout-out to letterer Neil Uyetake. He’s doing a good job handling a lot of dialogue.

I can’t speak highly enough of J.K. Woodward’s artwork on this mini-series. His muted color palette for the depression-era setting is very important to the story being told. When Edith Keeler appears in her sky blue cape, she stands out like an angel. No wonder Kirk is spellbound. I don’t recall this kind of reaction to her on-screen appearance. Equally important is his treatment of Kirk and Spock, featured together in most of the panels. I’m looking forward to what he’ll do when the malevolent Beckwith enters the timeline. I’m also impressed with Paul Shipper’s subscription covers. He’s doing a fine job presenting the iconic characters featured in each episode. As is appropriate for this installment, Juan Ortiz features Kirk meeting Keeler on his stylized cover. I like his covers, but more and more, I’m drawn to Shipper’s work. As I’ve said before, everyone involved is doing an outstanding job and the critical moments are still to come.

City on the Edge of Forever #3 will be at your local comic shop Wednesday, August 27, and available in digital format too.

Preview of City on the Edge of Forever #3

But wait, there’s more for you to read!

A while back, Know It All Joe posted some interesting reading. Joe discusses Ellison’s teleplay and provides copies of a writer’s work draft of the script, a shooting script, and just for kicks, the entire fotonovel of The City on the Edge of Forever for comparison. Disclaimer: I have no idea who Joe is. I found the post while looking for information about Ellison’s script.

Star Trek comics coming in September

Next up from IDW Publishing are Star Trek #37 and City on the Edge of Forever #4. You can pre-order Star Trek comics at a discount from Things From Another World, just click on the banner below.

Find Star Trek comics, toys, statues, and collectibles at TFAW.com!

Mark Martinez is an obsessive-compulsive Star Trek comics reader and collector. You can visit his website, the Star Trek Comics Checklist for more than you ever needed to know about Star Trek comics.

Comments

1. Li'l Shat - August 26, 2014

The great thing about Star Trek is that it ALL distills back to the original series. That is definitely a good thing, and a saving grace for the franchise.

2. ObsessiveStarTrekFan - August 26, 2014

Am I the only one who got a sense of cognitive dissonance while reading the preview panels (specifically panel 3)? This no longer gels with all we have learned from the Star Trek movies and various series about Vulcans, their culture, and time as a spacefaring species. I’m not criticising the comic – it is just that so much canon has been built up in the Star Trek universe in the decades since this version of The City on the Edge of Forever was first written.

I’ll have to tell my obsessive nitpicking brain that this is an alternative universe where Humans made first contact with Vulcans, not vice versa. Then I should be able to sit back and enjoy the story.

3. Khan 2.0 - August 26, 2014

I wonder if we’ll see alternate versions of various other episodes and movies in comics? e.g. Planet of the Titans, Roddenberry JFK Trek II, Bennett Academy Trek VI, Yesterdays Enterprise Generations, Renaissance First Contact, Heart of Darkness Insurrection, Crossover Trek XI, Bermans Beginning Trilogy

& maybe a ‘Phase 2′ series as if the show had been brought back in the 70s without Spock

4. Chuckunit - August 26, 2014

Stuff like “the Keeler woman” rates right up with “you people” in the pantheon of demeaning language.

5. Chuckunit - August 26, 2014

Stuff like “the Keeler woman” rates right up with “you people” in the pantheon of demeaning language. Spock is sounding pretty damned bigoted in the preview, too. The original script was written without an idea of whom Spock, Kirk, or any of them were. The story editor or any one of a number of people in the creative chain of command might have made (well, in fact, did make)
changes to Ellison’ script if only to keep a sense of continuity of character. This comic adaptation has brought this legendary Trek artifact to light, and I believe less and less that Ellison was any more a victim than any other TV writer to have a script doctored so it would be more compelling, and more produceable given a limited budget (although, for its day, TOS started with a pretty damned respectable budget when compared to other major TV productions.

6. Chuckunit - August 26, 2014

One last thought….

I think the landing party returning to a Starship full of pirates is just plain WTF’ery. Calling up for the Enterprise and having it just not being there, or ever having been there not onlu upped the stakes, but was chilling as hell.

7. Disinvited - August 26, 2014

#0 Mark Martinez – August 26, 2014

RE: Keeler woman

It’s a linguistic form of emotional distancing. The Spock character [see what I did there?] realizes that Keeler’s “true” fate will likely reside out of anything that would seem or feel morally or ethically correct in the moment as he and Kirk actually “lives” it. Thus, he logically deduces that forming ties to her as a human being in her own right might interfere with his and Kirk’s mission which very well could be to ensure that the young woman meets an unjust and “untimely” demise.

#2. ObsessiveStarTrekFan – August 26, 2014

You have to remember that Harlan’s first outline pitch for this was submitted somewhere around the end of March 1966. No STAR TREK of any kind had aired yet. I don’t believe Roddenberry had even exhibited the Shatner pilot at a SF convention at that point, i.e. the thing was still being invented and, at best, the only possible thing Harlan MIGHT have been able use as a guide was a screening of WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE.

And I’m not so sure Kirk was engaging in a discussion of history in regards to who discovered who as he was in planetary chauvinism in an attempt to rattle Spock’s cage, i.e. the type of chauvinism the, to be introduced, Chekov character would have in regards to Russia.

Besides, Vulcans taking to space 200 years after Russia’s first Cosmonaut doesn’t really say anything about who discovered warp drive let alone who first.

8. CmdrR - August 26, 2014

Why does the tricorder burn out… or, for that matter, the “stone knives and bear skins” computer Spock rigs in the TOS version? Why can’t the tricorder — which has recorded about 3,000 years of Pharaohs ruling, dictators marching, and paint drying in utter detail — simply play it back on its own? If they said the batteries died, that would probably be better. Then Spock would learn how hard it is to wash enough dishes to afford an eight-pack of Double-A’s. Those suckers are pricey!

Love the crap in the basement!! “Canned” laugh track… “I Must Scream” reflected in a mirror… and a dusty pile of (rejected?) scripts? Is this Harlan’s basement… or — uh oh! — did the Guardian drop Kirk and Spock inside AM?

9. Melllvar - August 26, 2014

This looks soooooo good. I love the combination of starship styles between George Kirk / TOS era! Amazing. I’m looking forward to this (hopefully) happening even more than the next ‘real’ film hahha!~

And as much as i ALWAYS pay out the nitpickers on this site… I feel the need to point out that the Ares class should have NX rather than NCC :p

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, ey? :)

10. Melllvar - August 26, 2014

So uhh… my post above was supposed to be on the Axanar page.

Don’t I feel like a prize Pakled.

11. Adam Bomb 1701 - August 26, 2014

Are the actors getting paid for using their likenesses in a comic? It was Leonard Nimoy’s lawsuit over the use of his face (as Spock) on a Heineken billboard that was one of the stumbling blocks to his signing on to to “TMP” back in 1978.

12. Cole - August 26, 2014

Spock is uncharacteristically acting like a little bitch in this preview.

13. Disinvited - August 26, 2014

# 12. Cole – August 26, 2014

” Spock is uncharacteristically acting like a little bitch in this preview.” — Cole

Again, remembering that this was originally conceived at a time where the only two fully-formed Treks for Harlan to go on, were the two unaired (at that time) pilots, which of those two Spocks was HE’s acting uncharacteristically like? Smiley Spock, or “Kill him [Kirk's best friend.]! Kill him, NOW! ” Spock?

14. Disinvited - August 26, 2014

# 8. CmdrR – August 26, 2014

” Why does the tricorder burn out… ” — CmdrR

Basically, because Spock hadn’t thought to have the tricorder do its history search before he entered The Guardians’ time portal, when it could have taken its most energy efficient sweet time for as long as that might take and still enter the portal after that search completed to stop Beckwith. But because he didn’t start it until AFTER it time traveled he had a much tighter deadline available for the device to complete its task, and thus it had to be pushed to its limits to speed things up which would likely result in one or more of its components being strained to the gills in such a faster than normal design specs would allow search burning out

15. Danny - August 26, 2014

#3

” wonder if we’ll see alternate versions of various other episodes and movies in comics? e.g. Planet of the Titans, Roddenberry JFK Trek II, Bennett Academy Trek VI, Yesterdays Enterprise Generations, Renaissance First Contact, Heart of Darkness Insurrection, Crossover Trek XI, Bermans Beginning Trilogy

& maybe a ‘Phase 2′ series as if the show had been brought back in the 70s without Spock””

Well the last one’s being done as a webseries but unfortunately episodes keep getting delayed or scrapped!

As for the above yes to them all! “Yesterdays Enterprise” was never tipped as a movie but they said they wish it had been after.

Berman tweeted the cover of the first draft of the first TNG movie which ‘no one had ever seen’ – I wonder if he was teasing something?!

16. dayxday - August 26, 2014

For those of you complaining about the use of the term, “Keeler woman”. Please do not read Huckleberry Finn or look into what the letters in NAACP stand for.

You might be offended to find out that there are additional terms, now considered offensive, that were in common usage over the last 100 years or so.

The point being: The comic is based on the teleplay that was written in 1966. Complaining about something that is a reflection of the times in which it was produced strikes me as ludicrous…much in the same way thatI consider my son’s complaints that “Casablanca” isn’t a good movie because it’s in black and white to be ludicrous.

17. Mark Martinez - August 26, 2014

@16

I’ve read Huckleberry Finn. Good book. I’m familiar with the NAACP. I’m still going to complain. Call it linguistic emotional distancing, as pointed out by @7, or whatever, it just sounds dumb when I read it.

18. Legate Damar - August 26, 2014

So far, the televised version of the story definitely seems better than the Ellison man’s version. He clearly didn’t understand what Star Trek was supposed to be about-a world where humans have moved past nonsense like selling highly addictive drugs to primitive aliens.

For a show set in the 23rd century, and made in the 20th, it seems a bit absurd to assume that humans developed space travel 200 years before Vulcans. Even before First Contact, it was pretty clear that Vulcans were a much more advanced culture than humans. And I’m sure their must have been some references to how violent Vulcan culture used to be.

19. Disinvited - August 26, 2014

#17. Mark Martinez – August 26, 2014

I will try to be mindful that somehow for you this is a pet peeve that registers for you much as if Ellison had some how presciently employed the now far more commonly employed “the Keeler b*i*tch” would for me.

However it strikes, you do well to be mindful, as you evidently are, of the fact that in the area of the United States known as The South, where I was born and raised, and well past Ellison’s use of it in the 60s:

http://www.panola.edu/library/panola-watchman/document/1975/10-05-1975.pdf

“David Langford, 11-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Billy Langford of Carthage was seriously injured Tuesday afternoon when the motorcycle he was driving collided head-on with a 1914 Chevrolet driven by Kathryn Watson, also of Carthage.

Langford was reported in good condition Friday at Schumpert Hospital
in Shreveport. He suffered multiple fractures in his left leg, lost two toes from
his left foot and will have to have skin grafted to the bottom of that foot.
According to a member of the family, two metal pins have already been placed
in his left leg and a third was to be inserted.

The accident occurred as both vehicles, traveling in different directions. turned a corner and met head-on. The Watson woman was not injured. …” — “Youth Hurt In Wreck”,THE PANOLA WATCHMAN; October 5, 1975; Vol. 2 No. 47

“The Watson woman” was and likely still is in common usage, and does not strike those there that speak in that manner as “odd” or “dumb”. It would be most unwise to, no matter how fleeting, give credence to any notion by any one of the conclusion that said usage categorically flags one as deserving of either one of those appellations.

20. David G. - August 26, 2014

#3: I had the exact same thought while attending the Las Vegas Trek Convention about IDW doing this with other episodes after (a) buying and reading the 2nd issue there and — more importantly — (b) paging through the phenomenal “These Are The Voyages” book there and reading about the much, much different original idea for the “Mirror, Mirror” story.

(P.S. to IDW: You really, really, really should’ve brought more copies of the Harlan comics — my goodness, seriously a lot more copies of those — to this year’s Las Vegas convention when you had the man himself there to sign the things!)

21. Disinvited - August 26, 2014

# 18. Legate Damar – August 26, 2014

“He clearly didn’t understand what Star Trek was supposed to be about-a world where humans have moved past nonsense like selling highly addictive drugs to primitive aliens.” — Legate Damar

Ellison submitted his first outline on March 21,1966. It was a first season episode. They didn’t even begin filming any of the NBC ordered episodes for that first season until May 24, 1966. Ellison submitted a revision on May 1, 1966. How was he to gain this understanding? From non-existent episodes? Roddenberry, himself, hadn’t finished inventing the thing just yet, and it wasn’t until after filming a few episodes that he got any inkling that a Writer’s Guide would be a handy think to have or what would be useful to include in one.

On June 3, 1966, HE submitted his first draft teleplay. The filming of May 24th’s THE CORBORMITE MANEUVER did not complete principal photography until the day prior on Jun 2, 1966.

So where was HE supposed to have gained this insight? From the original pilot were a Starship Captain neither dismisses out of hand nor is repulsed, but instead revels in slavery? In the second pilot, where a Starfleet officer gains the ability to have his every whim met and displays non of this vaunted “having moved passed nonsense” nonsense?

22. Disinvited - August 26, 2014

#21. Disinvited – August 26, 2014

“think” should be “thing”.

“non” should be “none”.

23. Mark Martinez - August 26, 2014

@19 Disinvited

“in the area of the United States known as The South”

You mean like Chattanooga, where I was born?

But you’re right, “dumb” is the wrong word. Common usage or not, the word for referring to Kathryn Watson as “the Watson woman” is “disrespectful”.

24. Disinvited - August 26, 2014

Also the Russians got into space first but we still out advanced them and are the only ones to have gotten men to the moon only to abandon that “advance” shortly thereafter. Being first is no guarantee of anything.

25. Disinvited - August 26, 2014

# 23. Mark Martinez – August 26, 2014

” Watson as “the Watson woman” is “disrespectful”.” — Mark Martinez

Coming from an era where “the Watson girl” clearly was meant to so be, I’ll entertain your notion.

But I think it’ll be a longtime before I see Popeye or a plumber named Culligan as being “disrespected. “

26. CmdrR - August 26, 2014

14 – Wow, you just invented a totally NEW way for time travel stories to hurt my head.

27. kmart - August 26, 2014

21.
You’re very right, and what points even further to this is the first scene in one of GR’s CAGE drafts (maybe an outline?) which has Pike or April kicking a guy off his ship, because the guy got upset by the sight of ugly aliens and started shooting them. Xenophobic murderers serving on the Enterprise? Saints preserve us!

28. Aurore - August 27, 2014

I would like to thank the Mark Martinez dude for the review.

…Hopefully, he won’t consider this post (of mine) disrespectful…

:)

29. Aurore - August 27, 2014

@ Mark Martinez.

(In order to avoid any misunderstanding)

@ 28, I wasn’t mocking you over what you wrote.

I enjoy reading your contributions to the site ; I often learn from them.
And, today, in particular, I learned a lot from the discussion in the comments section.

30. Disinvited - August 27, 2014

#28. Aurore – August 27, 2014

I would like to thank the Aurora dudess for unintentionally shedding light on the struggle I am having with how the masculine form apparently does not carry the disrespect stigma but if it is accurately feminized in the case of a female sailor or plumber somehow it does?

“Olive, the sailor woman.”

“Hey Culligan, woman!” ?

31. Aurore - August 27, 2014

“…I would like to thank the Aurora dudess for unintentionally shedding light on the etc, etc…”
_____

The “Aurora” woman does have a lot to learn!

:)

Thank you for sharing…

32. Daoud, The Sinfonian - August 27, 2014

Let’s cut Ellison some slack on this. When he wrote the story outline, Roddenberry still had Star Trek set closer to 2900 than 2200, as many of the development materials (re-read your Making of Star Trek, and World of Star Trek, and Making of Trouble With Tribbles books — “the” reference books of the early 70’s) indicated it was likely 700 to 800 or more years in the future. This explains a lot of the early scripts…. the idea being that humanity had spread out into the galaxy, then retrenched, and thus a United Earth Space Probe Agency going out reconnecting with lost colonies and such made a lot of sense.
.
If he’d stuck with that, think how much more things like the U.S.S. Valiant, the Archons, Magna Roma, and many other Trekworlds could have made a heck of a lot more sense.
.
In that regard, the comment of Kirk to Spock is in line with the original series outlines… that this new ship was also on a patrol mission to reconnect with Earth colonies… and thus if we first “went into space in 1969, and Vulcan did so 200 years later, circa 2169″… then if we’re 1000 years later…. the comments make sense. Vulcan would have been one of the ‘stabilizing’ nations during the time between Earth colonies and the Federation forming 600 years or so after Earth went into space.
.
Of course, when it came time to nail it down closer (various theories said early 23rd century to early 24th century), Space Seed finally crashed all of the dates down to MUCH closer to our times. Before 1988’s TNG: The Neutral Zone… any number of timelines had TOS in the 2210’s!! (I always preferred Star Fleet Battles Y-notation… which LONG predates Star Wars’ BBY and ABY dating!) Anyhoo…. you MUST read this comic with your (or my) 1965 viewpoint to understand it. Trying to use 2014 thinking is really ridiculous. I like the comments previously about reading Huck Finn… but find the DIGITAL copy at the UVa library, because most of the copies out there are edited I find to remove certain words.

33. Legate Damar - August 27, 2014

21-Well, that is why it was rewritten to become a much better episode. I just don’t see the point of adapting Ellison’s early draft, from before it was drastically improved by rewrites. Surely, every episode goes through multiple drafts, but we aren’t getting comic adaptations of the crappy early versions of every story.

34. Aurore - August 27, 2014

“…@ 28, I wasn’t mocking you over what you wrote.

I enjoy reading your contributions to the site ; I often learn from them.
And, today, in particular, I learned a lot from the discussion in the comments section.

__________

…Hence the post I wrote ( in jest ) @ 28.

After writing it, though, since your tone had been serious during the discussion, I decided to type another comment ( @ 29 ), as I then said, in order to avoid any misunderstanding…

…And, now, of course, there is also this very post…

…Man…earlier, I should have merely said ; “Thank you for the review, Mark Martinez “.

:)

35. Disinvited - August 27, 2014

# 33. Legate Damar – August 27, 2014

“Well, that is why it was rewritten to become a much better episode. I just don’t see the point of adapting Ellison’s early draft, from before it was drastically improved by rewrites.” — Legate Damar

Well, this is where your assessment diverges from other more experienced judges. Harlan’s early draft script was the one that won the Writer’s Guild Award and not the supposedly “superior” rewritten shooting script. That award, alone, justifies his script, unmodified by others as it was in submission, being realized in some manner, and it is to be hoped not solely limited to this.

36. Michael Hall - August 27, 2014

@ 33–

“21-Well, that is why it was rewritten to become a much better episode. I just don’t see the point of adapting Ellison’s early draft, from before it was drastically improved by rewrites. Surely, every episode goes through multiple drafts, but we aren’t getting comic adaptations of the crappy early versions of every story.”

Well, maybe it’s because the story behind the making of “City” has been a major part of Trek lore for the past 50 years, still relevant to this day only because of the aired version’s status as a classic piece of 20th century American television. Maybe it’s because IDW editor Chris Ryall has wanted to do this project for the better part of a decade, with the stars coming into such alignment as to make it possible only within the last year or so. Or maybe it’s because the “drastic improvement” brought by the rewrites, so self-evident to yourself, is not as obvious to a list of notables which includes Leonard Nimoy, Peter David, Walter Koenig and the late James Blish. Even producer Bob Justman, who was personally responsible for many of the changes made to Ellison’s work, ruefully admitted his regret that much of the poetry had been leeched from the script by the time it went before the cameras. As noted above, Ellison’s original version won the Writer’s Guild award for the best teleplay of any type that year while the aired version won the SF Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation. That has long suggested to many, Legate, that both versions are well-worth your time–but the good news is that no one is forcing you to jump into a portal and purchase this adaptation. Ignore it, or not, as you see fit. But for those of us who have managed to be both fans of Trek and Harlan Ellison’s body of work–it hasn’t always been easy!–this new take on an old classic is a real gift, the coolest thing with the name “Star Trek” on it in many years.

(Oh, and Legate? The first issue of the comic adaptation of “City” is already in its second printing, so it looks like IDW make reap some considerable rewards for taking a chance on this property. Which, to answer your question, is as much a part of the “point” as anything else.)

37. Michael Hall - August 27, 2014

Love the subtle enhancements to Ellison’s original teleplay such as Kirk referring to Spock as an accomplished Ethnologist, and the Tricorder-as-primitive-AI subplot. And while it would have been an interesting creative choice either way, I’m glad they decided in the end to keep the likeness of Joan Collins for Edith Keeler. Whatever Ellison’s personal feelings about the actress, she did well by the role, and it by her.

38. Legate Damar - August 27, 2014

36-Well, fair enough, I guess. To be fair, the first two issues aren’t bad, but they really don’t feel like Star Trek. Maybe I would have liked it better if Ellisson rewrote it without using the Star Trek characters, but this story seems to be counter to the very ideology (not to mention continuity, but you can’t blame him for that) of Star Trek.

39. Michael Hall - August 28, 2014

My respectful advice would be to judge this take on the story on its own merits, without worrying so much about the continuity or canon issues. It’s true that the characters in many instances don’t sound much like “themselves,” Spock especially. (There are times that actually works to the story’s benefit, as with his genuine consternation at the social conditions during the Depression, but the complaints about his diet of Earth vegetables just make him sound peevish.) The script would have had to be rewritten to fix that in any case, as well as to scale down the huge number of speaking parts to bring in the show at a price Star Trek could reasonably afford. Ellison being Ellison I doubt he would have made such changes gracefully, but his biggest objection about what was done to “City” has always concerned (no spoilers) two very significant changes made to the story’s final act which, as with the aired version, is “City” at its most powerful and poignant. Harlan felt, and still feels, that those alterations watered down his original concept from a tale of love and loss to just another melodramatic, action-adventure TV hour. After all these years I still feel that assessment is unduly harsh, while at the same time being able to see his point. But that’s a judgment you’ll have to make for yourself.

40. Jack - August 30, 2014

40. Which two changes? It’s 48 years too late for spoilers.

That Kirk stopped himself (and Bones) from saving Edith Keeler?

Would Ellison have made those other character changes? I don’t know. I do like that he has Rand actually doing something and being a competent officer (compare that to Uhura standing around saying “Captain, I’m frightened.” But the rest of it doesn’t fit into that season (yes, I know it was written in ’66), let alone anything that’s come since.

I’ve read that he hated that the script took the mentioned possibility that Keeler’s pacificism might have let the Germans win and made it the concrete reason that she had to die (but he had it there in the draft script in the first place). Supposedly he thought the episode, as shot, was very pro-Vietnam war. But, I don’t know…

Here’s what I don’t understand: Beckwith is a moustache-twirling villain who let entire alien races become addicted to his crappy drug — and yet *he’s* the one who saves Keeler, who he doesn’t know? Why would he do that? It doesn’t make much sense.

It seems like Ellison just resented being asked to make any changes, period.

41. Michael Hall - August 30, 2014

40. Which two changes? It’s 48 years too late for spoilers.

Not at all. The comic book adaptation is ongoing; besides, the Ellison teleplay (and his introduction to it, which specifies the changes which went a bridge too far) is readily available if you really need to know. Don’t make me do your homework for you. :-)

I’ve read that he hated that the script took the mentioned possibility that Keeler’s pacificism might have let the Germans win and made it the concrete reason that she had to die (but he had it there in the draft script in the first place). Supposedly he thought the episode, as shot, was very pro-Vietnam war. But, I don’t know…

I’ve read this myself but have never seen any proof offered for it. As you say, his own script mentions the possibility, and while Harlan was very opposed to American involvement in Vietnam he’s anything but a pacifist.

Here’s what I don’t understand: Beckwith is a moustache-twirling villain who let entire alien races become addicted to his crappy drug — and yet *he’s* the one who saves Keeler, who he doesn’t know? Why would he do that? It doesn’t make much sense.

It’s a fair question, which the version of Ellison’s teleplay published in the ’90s (and hopefully, this adaptation) does address.

42. Jack - August 31, 2014

Ha. Fine. I’ve read the teleplay — not his intro. So he changed it? I thought it was the original?

Okay, anyone know when (and how often) Roddenberry said the Scotty-drug thing? At conventions? Interviews? I’d been reading everything I could find about Trek since the early ’80s and hadn’t ever heard that. The concordance (or the compendium!) mentioned Beckwith…

43. Jack - August 31, 2014

I also don’t get the Richard Dix joke. Is it just that it’s Richard with Dick(s)?

44. Pauln6 - August 31, 2014

Yeah I’ve always just assumed that Uhura was frightened because that’s what Janice would have said and then you go back and think hang on, Janice should have rocked in that episode, why would someone go back and change it to make the woman (now Uhura, a senior officer) and make her weak and afraid.

I aplaud the vision to use Rand as a competent character and lament the fact that in nearly 50 years almost nobody has tried to carry that trhough.

I admit that I miss the Guardian of Forever in the story and some elements, such as Bekwith behaving like Nero, would benefit from being toned down in a second draft, make the death an accident, have him escape while the investigation into the death is ongoing etc and tricorder issues should be as a result of temporal displacement but overall i agree that the longer, more nuanced story is proving to be very entertaining and I rather like Spock’s whining – he is far outside his comfort zone after all.

45. CDR Arch - September 1, 2014

My comics request is to see a few of the best Trek novels turned into graphic novels. My top 4 requests would be: Black Fire, The Final Reflection, Web of Romulans and Entropy Effect. I wonder how difficult it would be for IDW to get rights from Pocket Books? Ashes to Eden was the best Trek comic ever made IMO.

46. Disinvited - September 1, 2014

#45. CDR Arch – September 1, 2014

As CBS owns all those publishing entities outright, I don’t think securing those rights for its IDW wing would be any tribble at all.

47. Jack - September 3, 2014

45. My enemy, my ally.

48. Jack - September 3, 2014

“He clearly didn’t understand what Star Trek was supposed to be about-a world where humans have moved past nonsense like selling highly addictive drugs to primitive aliens.” — Legate Damar

This whole “humans have moved beyond” idea is a misreading of TOS (one Roddenberry perpetuated and one which nearly sunk TNG). It’s also bad for storytelling. More than that, it’s just silly.

Sure, society can move beyond such nonsense. And, sure, education, opportunities, relative economic equality (arguably) and culture can push individuals away from such nonsense.

But there will always be greed and assholes (and TOS acknowledges that there are penal colonies etc.). And TOS had at least one drug episode (Mudd’s Women).

What doesn’t entirely make sense is that this would be going on, without detection, for so long on the Enterprise. Especially when we’re talking about getting entire races hooked on the stuff during Enterprise visits. Possible, but it seems unlikely from what we’ve seen. it would have been possible to do this convincingly, but Beckwith isn’t it.

Other misreadings of TOS: that Kirk was a maverick/rule breaker. Kirk pretty much followed the rules. He was never irresponsible or impulsive. He didn’t enjoy officious bureaucrats. But he took procedure and rules seriously.

49. Keachick (Rose) - September 4, 2014

#48 – “Other misreadings of TOS: that Kirk was a maverick/rule breaker. Kirk pretty much followed the rules. He was never irresponsible or impulsive. He didn’t enjoy officious bureaucrats. But he took procedure and rules seriously.”

Yes, I agree, Jack. There were times when TOS Kirk appeared not to follow the rules to the letter, as with the Prime Directive at times. However, the rules here have always been open to varying interpretation. Just because he chose not to necessarily follow a particular rule did not mean that he did not take it seriously. A situation could present as requiring another course of action that could violate a part of a rule and it appeared that Kirk would document his reasons for acting as he did.

That was the biggest mistake that Kirk’s younger AU counterpart made – not properly documenting events and giving reasons for his actions (ref: incident on Nibiru). As with recognizing that he, Kirk, should be about seeking justice, not revenge, he also recognized the need to be honest and fully accountable for the decisions he makes and the orders he gives.

50. Disinvited - September 4, 2014

# 48. Jack – September 3, 2014

” What doesn’t entirely make sense is that this would be going on, without detection, for so long on the Enterprise. Especially when we’re talking about getting entire races hooked on the stuff during Enterprise visits.” — Jack

Tell that to Ben Finney or crewman Norman. And as for contraband on the Enterprise, who and how did tribbles get a pass in regards to being allowed on board? And didn’t Mudd manage to smuggle some controlled substance (Venus drug?) pass the transporter that he used to enhance women in MUDD’S WOMEN?

But again I stress Ellison handed in his first draft after only one, count it, one of the NBC contracted first season episodes, THE CORBOMITE MANEUVER, had barely completed principal photography. There was no Writer’s Guide at that point so the only possible thing Ellison could have been “misreading” or getting wrong is extrapolation from the 2 pilots — neither of which featured the McCoy character.

51. Michael Hall - September 4, 2014

@ 48 Jack–

For the most part, I agree with you. I’ll only take slight exception to your statement that Beckwith had gotten entire races hooked on the drugs he peddled when there’s nothing in the script itself to support that idea. (In fact, there’s no direct mention of his dealing drugs to aliens at all, though it seems likely.) But on a series where only the main cast ever seemed able to get off the ship with any regularity, you’re right that Beckwith’s activities couldn’t have remained undiscovered for very long. Ellison has long decried the idiocy of McCoy accidentally injecting himself with a dangerous drug (I actually thought it was pretty well-staged on film) as a replacement for the whole Beckwith/Jewels of Sound subplot, but it’s obvious that his own version wasn’t without its own issues.

One of the things I’m really enjoying about IDW’s adaptation are the little Easter eggs that artist J.W. Woodward is sprinkling in each issue. For #3 we get a newspaper ad for playwright Ellison’s production of “I have No Mouth and I Must Scream;” the same horse-drawn “Widin Dairy” truck that appears in the aired version; Doctor Who skulking at the mouth of an alley; and best of all, Blood from Ellison’s “A Boy and His Dog” giving Spock the eye as he wearily heads home after a seventy- hour week of washing dishes. As alternate Trek realities go I’ll take it over the J.J. ‘verse any day.

52. J.K.Woodward - September 5, 2014

Thanks Michael! I always appreciate when people find those buried treasures. You caught all but 1 HE Easter egg in that issue. Also, there are 2 more in 4 and so far 4 in issue 5. There’s also what I think is a very funny Trek Easter egg in 5. I always have fun finding these things in comics, and so I always try to insert them into my own art.

53. Michael Hall - September 6, 2014

J.K. Woodward—

Man, it’s quite a thrill to hear from the artist himself. If you’re referring to the “canned laugh track,” yeah, I caught that but didn’t mention it since it wasn’t a direct Ellison/genre reference. Of course, if you meant something else I’ll just have to keep looking (and with great pleasure).

Since I have your ear, may I say what a splendid job you and the rest of the team have done with this project so far? LeBeque’s drug trip; the planet of the Guardians (who barely seem to exist in the same dimensional reality as our heroes—how did you manage that on a flat page with still artwork!?); the imaginative Condor settings; the trip through time and the gritty Old New York reality that proves so strange and alienating to Kirk and Spock—all of it rendered in a painterly style that seems to have aroused a bit of controversy but seems a perfect fit to me in illustrating this kind of story.

Of course, it’s the fourth act where everything comes together for “The City on the Edge of Forever,” and I suspect that’s where you’ll face your greatest challenge as an artist in bringing this version to life. Ever since reading his original teleplay in “Six Science Fiction Plays” back in 1975 I’ve wondered how Ellison’s preferred ending would have played out on film. It’s beautifully written, but to work dramatically it requires that the audience have a clear sense of Kirk’s internal struggle when he finally makes his choice between the future and Edith Keeler’s life. That would have been a formidable challenge for the director and Bill Shatner to put across effectively; now it falls almost entirely to you. I don’t envy you the task, but if you succeed I suspect that this version of “City” will effectively stand on its own as a work of art (and touchstone of the Star Trek mythos) as long as the aired version, and will be something you’ll look back on with considerable pride for the rest of your career. So good luck!

54. DTS - September 17, 2014

Michael: Haven’t seen it yet, but JK Woodward’s “Canned Laugh Track” is likely a reference to (waitforit) “Laugh Track” by Harlan Ellison.

Also, to those — like Uninvited — who are trying to defend Ellison’s script against the complaints of others, you’re likely wasting your time. Even though Ellison has put it behind him, there are still a LOT of people (fans of Trek and othewise) who take it upon themselves to hold a personal grudge over Harlan Ellison’s dissatisfaction with the shenanigans of Roddenberry and others back in the day. So they’ll never be happy with Ellison’s terrific, unproduced “Trek” script. Even to the point of getting pedantic over a phrase like “the Keeler woman”. Save your breath — and keystrokes.

You and I — and quite a few others, judging by the sales — may think Ellison’s original script is the Bee’s Knees, but you’ll never convert the fundamentalists.

55. Michael Hall - September 19, 2014

@ 54 DTS–

Agreed. Those who can’t divorce themselves from their expectations about what this story should be, based on the past fifty years of an entertainment franchise that has produced produced works both outstanding, terrible, and (mostly) in-between, might want to engage in the fine art of growing up a little. It doesn’t matter, you see, that it turns out the Vulcans achieved space flight first, or that Roddenberry’s Enterprise likely wouldn’t host a drug dealing murderer, or even that Kirk and Spock don’t sound much like “themselves.” What matters is being able to experience this beloved story afresh, after almost fifty years, through the eyes of the man who dreamed the dream and a team of fine artists who have done every bit as much to bring this vision to life as the TOS cast and crew did with the aired version. That’s a rare gift to the fans of Star Trek, and it’s a real shame that some just can’t get or appreciate it.

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