So, it’s here…the history of Star Trek on comic books, over 500 comics, all on one small five inch plastic and metal disc. Graphic Imaging Technology has just released Star Trek: The Complete Comic Book Collection on DVD ROM. The burning questions… how is it, what does it really entail, how easy is it to use, is it worth it? Oh… and… how cool is this!?
As reported in our preview of Star Trek: The Complete Comic Book Collection, GITCorp has been busy scanning (almost) every single Star Trek comic, cover to cover, including all of the advertising, all to be stored in individual PDF archives on a single DVD ROM. I must say, having played with this set for about a week now, I am impressed! Everything is here, right down to the ads. I was reminded of my comic reading youth, the only thing missing was the tactile feel of the musty paper.
The interface on the set is fairly simple, and it starts starts automatically on a Windows machine with Acrobat Reader installed. They recommend at least version 7 (versions below 6 will display a Trek logo on each page as a watermark designed to show up when printing). On a Mac, you have to actually open the “Start.pdf” file inside Acrobat. On this opening screen, which is a PDF in and of itself, are several links of interest. The “History” takes you to a small essay about the history of Trek, “Bios” shows very brief biographies of the main characters from each series, and the main one, “Comic Books” takes us to the meat of the product.
The various options and the original cover art down the middle…
(click to enlarge)
The “Comic Books” link takes us to a screen with the five major publishers, and each of those links takes us to the list of comics included from each publisher. As I was wandering through this section, I was amazed at some of the extra bits and pieces that were collected for the set. For example, in the Gold Key section, some extra covers are included, and the extra bits and pieces included in the four Enterprise Logs books are also included, but the stories themselves are not reprinted within.
Drill downs into WildStorm comics (click to enlarge)
In all, the interface is simple to use, even if it does open a new window for each new menu/screen, and even if it doesn’t open the windows quite large enough for the actual PDFs to fully display. The lists of comics are quite detailed, and when you go to an actual series to read one, you get a PDF showing you each and every cover of each issue. To read an issue, click on the cover. Simple!
An example of the scanning done for WildStorm’s “The Gorn Crisis”
Each issue is scanned in a two pages per single PDF page, as can be seen above. There are occasional sections of the page where the colors lighten toward the spine, but this tends to only happen on the thicker trade paperbacks and the hardcovers. Oddly, GIT chose not to scan all of the Enterprise Logs from the Gold Key era, books that compiled earlier issues, but did choose to scan the complete collections for every other era released (DC Comics and WildStorm to be precise). I’m not entirely certain why this was the case, but that’s the way that it was done.
In addition to all of the included comic books, GIT saw fit to include the Peter Pan Records comics as an added bonus. This series was 11 stories long, all on record, and six of them had comics published, containing some of the most amusing gaffes in Star Trek comic book history. This was a nice addition, but it would have been very cool to have actually included the audio of each story too, although I expect that licensing rights there would have been problematic.
Speaking of licensing rights, I’ve noticed two issues missing, “Star TreX”, and “Second Contact”. These are the two issues done by Marvel comics that crossed the Star Trek crews with the X-Men of comic book fame. Missing out on these was unfortunate, but at the same time, it’s no great shakes. One other thing missing is the US and UK comic strip series from the LA Times and Joe90 Magazines (respectively). According to GIT, they were unable to sort out the licensing issues for these publications in time for release, but they hope to be able to release them in the future.
Kirk’s entry from the first DC Comics “Who’s Who” book, showing the watermark… (click to enlarge)
While these PDFs are all password protected so that you cannot export images, you are able to print them, although, as mentioned above, a Star Trek watermark appears on each page. I guess that this is so that we can’t print them with three or four colours of vegetable ink on cheap newsprint, add in a glossy cover, staple it together, and pretend that these are original comics. Of course, the “TM & © 2008 CBS Studios. All Rights Reserved.” stamped at the bottom of each page might give it away too. Fortunately, the printing does look pretty good and the watermark is relatively unobtrusive. I’ve included an image of Kirk’s entry in the first DC Comics “Who’s Who” issue as a example of what the page looks like with the watermarking when printed. (Note that the image above is a printed page that was scanned back into the computer.) Each PDF is already configured to print the two pages together on one piece of paper in a landscape format. The first issue when I printed it took 27 pages for a 52 page issue.
A Captain’s Log entry, zoomed to 300% in Acrobat, and a screen shot take… (click to enlarge)
As can be seen in the image here, the quality of the images is pretty sharp. This image was zoomed to 300% in Acrobat, and then a screen shot was taken. At 400%, serious pixelation began to occur on the screen. The images are pretty sharp, but, as expected, it’s likely best to read them slightly magnified on a larger monitor if you have one available.
Overall, this set is mint and well worth picking up if you’re a fan of the Star Trek comics. The set is well produced, consistently good in terms of quality, and an excellent set to have on your shelf if you ever want to check out some of the older comic books out there. The box’s cover art may not be as good as it could, but it’s what is contained within that counts. In my opinion, the ones most worth reading are the second series of the DC Comics, the WildStorm, and the Malibu DS9 series. But don’t take me at my word as to which series are the best, hit up Amazon below, and get the set for a paltry $39.99!
Get your collection
Star Trek The Complete Comic Book Collection DVD works with both Windows and Macintosh computers. It is available for order now from Amazon for $39.99.
why does the box appear to be so thick? did i miss some detail from the article?
Would love to have the box set.
GAWD I feel old! I remember buying and reading the Gold Key….They were good but not great….they also had gold keys of Lost In Space…Then when Marvel did Star Trek I thought it was move up from Gold Key….but they werent that much better….I bet the DC was the best of the bunch from my feeble memory. I think I only got one or two of the dc comics…
Got it! Love it!
I’ve never really been a fan of Trek comics, with a few exceptions, mainly because the artwork was so inconsistent. It seems very few artists were able to convincingly capture the look of the Enterprise.
Still, these may be worth picking up, if only for the historical value. It is a very unique piece of Trek memorabilia, after all. And who knows, there may be some nifty little Trek stories to surprise me.
Happy birthday to me! But I have to wait till 10-14 to get this and the series “Quark” on DVD. Worth the wait.
Wow, that looks awesome! I’ve only got a few Trek comics over the years, but that seems like a GREAT price for what you get.
This is absolutely terrific.
I’ve been collecting Trek comics for a while and while MOST stuff is available in easy-to-find trade paperbacks, not ALL of it is – certainly not the one shots and the annuals.
The X-Men crossovers mentioned aren’t too tough to find for the completists out there.
Making my Amazon purchase now.
2 pages per PDF page is too many, instead of PDF they could have EASILY gone with .CBR format and leave it to the viewer as to how they want to display their comics. I have a widescreen MacBook, so it’s really not an issue for me, but I would rather read my comics one page at a time for full effect (unless it’s a double page spread).
I’m surprised as well that they rescanned everything, there are already scans of most of the Trek ouevre out there that are better than the examples shown. I’m REALLY surprised that they didn’t go back to the publishers themselves for better copies.
Of course I suppose that would have driven the price up too high.
I’ll be interested to see how well it sells. Star Trek comics aren’t typically thought of very highly, I wonder if that will change after being able to read 99.9% of the license’s output.
Probably not, because let’s face it, there are a lot of bad Star Trek comics, and not that many good ones.
Need some clarification here: Are you saying none of the Gold Key comics are included or just the Star Trek Logs? If the comics are included then it makes sense the Star Trek Logs would not be included — since the Star Trek Logs were just reprints of the Gold Key comics.
Still *hate* that cover. The interface isn’t much better. As to “special features”, I’m disappointed that brief bios of the many writers and artists who actually produced all this material is absent in favor of some lame “essay about the history of Trek” and “brief biographies of the main characters from each series”. But I don’t really care that the X-Men crossovers aren’t included.
Having said all that, I’ll still probably buy it. My gripes are minimal when compared to the vastness of material presented here. Bravo to whoever spearheaded this endeavor.
Cool. I hope they do a Star Wars one.
I have a couple of the early Gold Key comics. Anybody know if there still valuable anymore? My earliest one is issue #4, I think and it’s in pretty good condition.
Hmm… It sounds great, but no “Second Contact”? That’s one of the few I wanted to read right away. I’ll have to keep it on a wish list for now…
I might actually have to pick this bad boy up
why didn’t they just cut the page from the binding to achieve a scan without the whiteness? Did the comics hold too much value for them to be cut up?
Amazon.com here i come!
Surprised they got so much lined up but didnt get the X-Men double.
i love the idea of it all on one disc its amazing- wonder how long it will take to get all 700+ episodes and movies on one device…
Hopefully not the 23rd century.
stupid question but why didnt they do it on dvd so u could play it on tv- that would be awesome- instead of just the computer or are they readable on dvd- i thought i heard ir referred to as a dvd…
I may be a Star Trek fan but i dont know enuff about this type of disc/files ect ect can some tech wiz give me an idea of what i can & cant do with it?
#3: The box is thick, and has some wasted packaging, and a standard Amray DVD case slides out with the DVD-ROM in it.
#11: They could’ve gone with existing scans and CBR files, but to satisfy the people they were licensing from… you know how it goes — I’d hope!
#13: Sorry for the confusion. The complete Gold Key set is included (minus the script for #62). The covers and extra “bonus” bits from the four Enterprise Logs are also included. The reprints (and reprint covers) from the more recent Checker Books aren’t included. My surprise there was that they scanned the entire TPB reprints that DC and Titan did (despite including all of the comics already), but didn’t do the same for the Enterprise Logs. I’m not sure why they didn’t treat the Enterprise Log reprints the same way they treated the other reprint collections.
#18: From talking to Ray Pelosi at GIT, they plan to, down the road a bit, have some sort of raffle for the “complete” Star Trek actual comic collection. I’m not sure of the exact details on that as yet though.
#20: This is a computer DVD-ROM. Not a TV DVD.
Will get it. But not this edition, only the next one – without the effin’ watermark.
Not gonna pay for a mutilated article.
I’m getting this for sure.
I have private scans of the extra gold key stuff (I think) and the X-men. So those few will complete this collection but give me a much higher quality rendering. I dare say these “password protected” pdfs could be easily broken BUT YOU DIDNT HEAR THAT FROM ME
#22: Every edition will have the watermarks when you print. They don’t show when you read it though, unless you’re using an old PDF reader. That was part of the licensing that let us even get these.
#24: All of the extra Gold Key stuff is included. Just fyi. :)
Are included the 80s DC comics? I remember mythic tittles as Who killed Captain Kirk by Peter David… ;-) I miss all those ol’ times… Nostalgia…
Definitely gonna have to pick this one up – the nostalgia value alone will be worth it, and I remember lots of good stories from the DC run in the 1980s.
I used to have one of those Peter Pan record sets when I was a kid – what do you mean, Sulu is black??? He looked like the doctor from Sealab 2021!
Man I grew up on those Peter Pan record sets. I wore out my little portable record player listening to them!
Not only was Sulu black, but Uhura was a white blonde… I’ve never heard an explanation for that. But the stories weren’t half bad for kiddie records. They only made comic books for about half of them though. I wonder why?
“why does the box appear to be so thick? did i miss some detail from the article?”
Same reason most new software comes in a bix that’s way bigger than the storage medium the software is on – consumer psychology. The size and weight of the packaging makes people think they’re getting their money’s worth when plunking down 40 bucks for a little disc.
“Not only was Sulu black, but Uhura was a white blonde… I’ve never heard an explanation for that.”
I assume they didn’t want to pay for George Takei and Nichelle Nichols’ likenesses. Three of the comics, Mirror for Futility/The Time Stealer, Crier in Emptiness and Passage to Moav, and several of the record sleeves were done at Neal Adams and Dick Giordano’s Continuity Studio, and were otherwise pretty accurate to the look of the show. I think Dick Giordano even inked those himself. Given how professional and exacting those guys are (especially Neal Adams), Sulu and Uhura’s appearances must have been a deliberate choice on the part of someone at Peter Pan.
Wow, all the comics in one box, at a very reasonable price. But I’m old, I like to hold comics books in my hands.
Sorry, I neglected to add –
“But the stories weren’t half bad for kiddie records.”
Most of those stories were scripted by Elliot S! Maggin & Cary Bates, who were big fans of the show in the 70s and big name comic writers back in the day, or by Alan Dean Foster whose name I assume everyone knows. So at least they were generally written by people who knew the show.
Mirror for Futility/The Time Stealer was the one I had. My sister had Passage to Moauv/The Crier in Emptiness.
They were indeed pretty decent stories. My personal favorite was Mirror for Futility – that could have been adapted to a pretty decent TNG episode, in my opinion…
“You are quick, quick, evil one. Did you truly think to trick me, ME, with such a feeble lie? This United Federation, this tiny fabrication masquerading as an inhabited ship, is but a decoy, manufactured in your own perverted factories. You will pay for that! DIE, evil misfit!
I shall exterminate your noisomeness, Imperial Vileness!”
But I still think, if they didn’t want to use George and Nichelle’s likenesses, they still could have at least made Sulu and Uhura of the proper ethnicities… Ah well.
Oh and one other thing – it’s too bad they couldn’t have included the Peter Pan audio tracks – the fighting computer-controlled ships in Mirror for Futility sounded like Darth Vader versus Cobra Commander… that was great!
Where (off-line) can you buy this? Does Best Buy carry it?
It’s *all* of the Trek comic books, ever, except for the crossovers with the X-Men. So that includes the ’80s DC line, yeah! :)
35. Benjamin Adams –
It’s *all* of the Trek comic books, ever, except for the crossovers with the X-Men. So that includes the ’80s DC line, yeah! :)”
**Not exactly accurate. This collection only covers up to the WildStorm Comics issues and none of the recent IDW titles.
That’s okay. The IDW ones blow.
RE: the special features
I feel it was a missed opportunity not including some sort of bios on the writers and artists who produced all these stories in favor of an essay on Trek history and bios of characters. It’s more likely that the folks buying this set will be familiar with Star Trek already and less knowledgeable about comics and the people who make them.
There are a lot of comics writers and artists of note represented here. It would’ve been nice to acknowledge them and mention some of the other projects they’ve been affiliated with. Howard Weinstein, for example, wrote many of the TNG stories for DC in the 90s and has also written several Trek novels and even an episode of VOY. Neal Adams (whom #29 steve623 mentions) is regarded as one of the most influential comics artists of all time and had a lot to do with making Batman the way we know him post-60s TV show. Frank Miller, another pioneer in the medium, did an issue in the 70s (and his collaborator on ‘The Dark Knight Returns’, Klaus Janson, also worked on a few). Diane Duane, Walter Koening, John DeLancie, Aron Eisenberg and Mark Lenard all were guest writers of Trek comics. And then there’s Peter David. The late Dave Cockrum (co-creator of the modern X-Men in the 70s). Curt Swan (the most prolific Superman artist). Todd McFarlane (Spawn, Spider-Man), Walt Simonson (Thor) and John Byrne (X-Men, Fantastic Four, Superman) all contributed to the ‘Who’s Who in Star Trek’ comics.
14….I have the entire Marvel SW on 2 discs…try ioffer
Curt Swan did beautiful work on a post-Star Trek IV story at DC that I remember very fondly.
Neal Adams actually has a recent sketch of Shatner as Captain Kirk that’s either for sale or recently sold on his website that is really nice. I don’t know if Adams is a Trekkie, per se, but he did some great Trek illustrations back in the ’70s. There’s a Power Records album sleeve of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy on an alien planet surface that Adams did that almosty literally jumps off the page, its so energetic and lively.
Neal Adams still remains at the top of my favorite comic artists list. DC has been reprinting all his work for them in hardback (with a few more volumes collecting the remaining odds and ends coming in 2009) and I still can’t get enough.
I know the illo you speak of. I loved his work on the ST Peter Pan book and records. Very glad its being included in this collection.
RE: 37, Energize:
“That’s okay. The IDW ones blow.”
Among others, I thought the IDW Klingon series was great… but you’re entitled to your wrong opinion.
LOL! I thought I was the only person in the world who could still quote that line from Mirror for Futility from memory.
You’re off by a couple of words I think. But close enough. Man I might even be able to quote most of that entire story from memory. I listened to it that much!
Re: #43 – I have a ton of Power Records, both digital recordings and the actual records, sleeves, et cetera, and they remain a ton of fun. Great nostalgia, and I’m pretty sure I can still quote large chunks of them. In the era before VCRs and DVDs and a million channels on cable TV, that was how I passed rainy Saturday afternoons as a kid. There are a handful of nice Power Records-related websites, many with mp3s you can download, that you might enjoy looking up.
Re: #41 – I just finished reading a Dick Giordano biography and career retrospective, which features some of the beautiful inking he did on several very memorable Neal Adams pieces. Those were the days. Adams, Giordano, Gene Colan, John Romita, John Buscema, Joe Stanton, Jim Aparo, Barry Smith, Gil Kane, Bernie Wrightson, and of course Kirby – the abundance of talent in the ’70s was really staggering.
Howard Weinstein also wrote the animated Trek “Pirates of Orion”.
I bought the set recently. The scan quality varies. The Gold Key issues have that horrible watermark on each page, except the covers. It really disrupts the reading process. GIT (and Paramount/Viacom/CBS/whomever) should be ashamed of making the Starfleet arrowhead symbol so prominent.
Some of the other issues are nicely scanned. All offerings lack the professional cleanup and refinement in Photoshop, imho. I enjoy that I have numerous ST issues to enjoy. I’m saddened by the lackluster quality, tho.
And yes: ALL of the Gold Key issues are included. GIT chose to provide cover art for the #1-4 compilation issues only, but didn’t reproduce the interiors. They’re already available as separate issues (#1-61).
Now I can relax and re-read all of these books -I own most of the Gold Key, DC and Marvel originals, stored safely away. Someone released 2 or 3 of the original Gold Keys as free PDF downloads a few years back.
Maybe 50 years from now, my grandkids can sell all these antique comics and make a tidy sum? Or not.
There is an awful lot of acid in the newsprint used in the 60s-80s.
Overall, I wasn’t too dis-satisfied with this DVD-rom. I bought it about a week ago and spent my vacation reading a lot of the comics. The scan quality isn’t awful, but for some stuff it certainly could be better. I also noticed a couple places where the originals they scanned were ripped. They couldn’t find a clean copy to scan?
Still, despite the slight shortcomings of the interface and a few other things, the thing was only 50 bucks. For what you’re getting for 50 dollars, the little gaffs can be overlooked.
I know I’m enjoying my reading immensely. I can’t get over how the Gold Key comics had rocket flames coming out of the nacelles pretty far into the 1970’s.
I think I’d be fine with the watermark. This currently looks epic. I’d install it into my computer, and print all the TOS comics in color. THAT would be awesome