IDW to publish new ongoing TOS title from John Byrne

This spring, IDW Publishing will launch a new, bi-monthly TOS comic, and TrekMovie has the details.
Last December, IDW released Star Trek Annual 2013, a “photonovel”-style story from legendary comic book writer/artist John Byrne, set during The Original Series and a sequel to “Where No Man Has Gone Before”.   Taking stills from the series, Byrne utilized digital technology to place the characters in a brand new story:

What John does on these photonovel stories is nothing short of amazing,” said Chris Ryall, IDW’s Chief Creative Office/Editor-in-Chief. “He’s moved far beyond photo-manipulation and montage to constructing his own set pieces, uniforms, and characters. Much more than just comic stories, these tales are the closest thing to Original Series-era ‘lost episodes’ that the world will ever see.


The initial title received favorable reviews and quickly sold out its original print run. On the heels of that success, IDW and Byrne have announced Star Trek: New Visions, an ongoing, bi-monthly title that will launch in May, with the first issue featuring the return of the Mirror Universe.


Star Trek and Photonovels

Star Trek is no stranger to the photonovel format. Before VCR’s became pervasive, photonovels were a popular way to relive a tv show or movie. Stills were captured from the episode or film and then comic book-style word balloons would be inserted for dialogue. Bantam published 12 Star Trek photonovels in the late 1970’s based on many of the series’ most famous episodes (City of the Edge of Forever, Where No Man Has Gone Before, The Trouble with Tribbles, The Devil in the Dark, etc.). Pocket Books also later released photonovel adaptations of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. These photonovels are still fondly remembered by many older fans.


Coming in the Spring

As noted above, the first print run of Star Trek Annual 2013 is sold out. IDW will be releasing a second printing in May to coincide with the release of the ongoing series. The title is currently available digitally through

Star Trek Visions will be released as double-sized issues starting in May and will be available in print and digital form.

For more information about these titles and other Star Trek titles that IDW publishes, visit:

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Interesting. I’m not a fan of the comic book format, but if these come out in trade paperbacks I might pick one up to see what it’s like.

I liked the format of the Annual much more than the story involved, but I would be up for another issue like that. I like the work Byrne does in the Trek-world, so I think this is a reason to be excited.

NICE! i’ll have a look out for this… =)

i’ve got a nice little collection of old bantam startrek paperbacks from the 70’s ;-)

…still love the smell of those GLOSSY pages of Starlog Mag! =)

John Byrne always does a good job =)

Interesting concept… Definitely has potential!

Not even a mention of the IDW adaption of Ellison’s original script for City on the Edge of Forever? What gives?

This seems like one of the most authentic Star Trek ideas in a while.

I say they are teasing us with the City. Follow the linky…

“…Many (including a TV Guide poll of the “100 Best TV Episodes of All Time”) as the greatest Star Trek episode of all time, but there’s much more to the story than fans saw on TV. Harlan Ellison’s original teleplay for “City on the Edge of Forever” was modified before the episode was filmed, but now, at long last, fans will be able to enjoy his original teleplay in the form of an all-new miniseries coming from IDW in June: Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay.”

The Original Teleplay?

I am intrigued!

So, they kick off by boldly going where they’ve gone before?

I love that Trek still inspires iterations, but I REALLY hunger for genuinely new ideas. Not sequels, prequels, alt-quels, Nyquils, or whatever. NEW ideas and stories, please. I’ve seen many of the original series done in this format before. It’s great — if you’ve seen the eps many times.

Fantastic. I have some of those older photo-novels from the 1970’s. What a great idea to revive them and get back to original Trek – TOS – where it all started and where it was always the best!

Absolutely amazing. I downloaded the cbr version but I had to have a hard copy: went down to the comic book store and voila: 1 copy left. Now this is Star Trek: highly recommended. Brings back the great memories of the Fotonovels. More sample pages here:

Excellent job by John Byrne. There is also an article on the old Fotonovel series and an interview with the author.

LLAP & Thanks

#6 Cool! We’ll get Scotty dealing drugs, and all that stuff. Not. ;)

I still have The Trouble With Tribbles photo-novel someplace. That was the only one I bought as a kid, as it was my 2nd favorite episode besides A Piece of the Action.

This format is a little cheap (synchro vox cheap). Some hard and original work from this century would be refreshing.

On the subject of the ‘original’ “City on the Edge of Forever,” I’ll never understand how/whyHarlan Ellison could have been so butt-hurt for so long over the re-write. It’s as if he had little or no understanding of the core values of the characters (Scotty in particular) when he wrote the teleplay. I’m amazed that so much of that bizarre story was salvaged to become (arguably) the best episode of TOS. Having said that, I’ve read the original teleplay and I’d like to see a visual representation of it. Call it morbid curiosity.

I’m curious if John Byrne is isolating shots from seasons one, two, and three to be consistent with the look of those individual seasons. The uniforms changed quite a bit from season to season, as did the look of the actors. Can you comment, sir?

Can John Byrne write the next Star Trek movie?Any ne should be better the Orci…just sayin…

The problem with adapting Ellison’s original script is that it wasn’t very good. The televised version was much better. Ellison’s script was way off in its characterizations.

Love the revival of the ‘fotonovel’ concept, but I love Byrne’s art; I have been a fan since his ‘Doomsday One’ comics from Charlton. He also did some great ‘Space:1999″ comics as well.

#13. Crewman Darnell – March 11, 2014

Ellison wasn’t some television scriptwriting newb when he took on CotoF. He had already scripted not one but two successful entries of the OUTER LIMITS: DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND and TERMINA…err…SOLDIER.

Rewrites to accommodate the medium weren’t some bug-a-boo for him. It was the manner in which it was done on Trek to which he has heavily documented his objections.

Cool. I rather like the photo-novel format. I’ve been using it myself for a Youtube comic, although I picked TMP because the movie stills featured more aliens plus all the principal recurring crew, and I mixed it with images from other sci fi shows like Babylon 5, Alien, etc.

I’ve had to splice quite a lot though (and my standards are quite low). How will they feature new characters in new situations? Surely they can’t do a whole series just using the Enterprise crew?

I hope they can use images of Grace Lee Whitney as well as the Big 7.

@ 18 Disinvited

Despite whatever legitimate complaints Ellison might have had about the handling of his original script, I’m mystified that his story resembles hardly anything of the then-existing Trek universe. It’s as if he had little or no practical knowledge of the series, or the established personalities of the main characters. He may as well have penned an episode of “Perry Mason” depicting Mason as a guy who routinely bribes judges, or suddenly Mr. Spock is characterized as a lovestruck sap, smooching on Uhura. Utter nonsense like that.

#20. Crewman Darnell – March 11, 2014

CotEoF was a season 1 episode and they didn’t have word processors back then so banging off a script took some time. Also no home videotape etc. so Mr. Ellison could only possibly have been drawing upon a handful of eps that he might have caught on broadcast or had screened for him – not all of which where clearly Trek defining as we have in our minds now? Remember, McCoy wasn’t even regarded as a 1st tier character by the production for the first season, so I give Ellison’s vision some slack for not gelling with what seems obvious decades later. Besides, would we be even talking about his script diverging from what we now regard as the Trek template if his vision had been allowed to make it on screen in the show’s defining 1st season?

#20. Crewman Darnell – March 11, 2014

According to Memory Alpha:

Treatment is assigned: 16 March 1966
Story outline by Harlan Ellison: 21 March 1966

So Trek hadn’t even aired as he wrote.

boy it would be great if someone made different ship insignias during the tos era. would be great to have insignias not just from the `consitution class starships but from other ships, does any one have any ideas ?

@21-22 Disinvited

Although I’ve read Ellison’s teleplay, I wasn’t aware of the facts you just shared. I appreciate the edification. There’s a lot of Ellison’s writing that I’ve enjoyed. He’s a talented writer. I’m always taken aback though by the raw level of contempt for CotEoF, that he still expresses, like it just happened yesterday. The fact that he actually didn’t have any insight into the primary Trek characters would seem to weaken his reasons for being so sour. As a teleplay writer, he should have known that his script could be subjected to extensive editing. Maybe I’m missing part of his side of the story. I just don’t get where all of that intense bitterness stems from. Whatever the case, I do think it would be interesting to see a rendering of his original teleplay.

I love Harlan, but he’s only happy when he’s ranting about whatever injustices(both real and imagined) have befallen him any particular day.

The whole “he didn’t know the characters because the show had only started airing” argument doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Other non-staff writers had written for the series prior to Ellison and no one else had such epic problems staying within the format. He also wrote something without any regard for the budgetary restrictions of a weekly television series. Bob Justman discusses the entire saga in depth in the “Inside Star Trek” book he co-wrote with Herb Solow.

The draft that Harlan published and won awards for is a brilliant script, full of really cool ideas. But it needed a lot of work if it was going to be shaped into a one hour television episode.

That said, I’m looking forward to reading the adaptation. Should be a blast.

I wish John Byrne was still doing comic book conventions, if only so I could give him an in-person appreciation of the creative work he did on that “Strange New Worlds” piece, and give him a verbal “Thank you for doing that.”

(P.S. And I hope Byrne would be up for the challenge of figuring out a way to bring Mr. Arex into one of those photonovel issues!)

@25. Ensign RedShirt

“The whole “he didn’t know the characters because the show had only started airing” argument doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

That doesn’t totally jibe with me either, particularly because I read an interview with someone else (don’t recall who) who was part of the creative team and they described how Roddenberry was so appalled by Ellison’s proposed treatment of his “beloved Scotty,” as if Ellison should have known better. And wasn’t there some back & forth bickering between Roddenberry and Ellison during the rewriting stage? I seem to remember Ellison claiming he was financially ripped off too. If anyone has any further insight into this subject, I’d be fascinated to hear it.

And then there’s the final IDW Khan issue which explains how Khan managed to find his people and presumably destroy Section 31.

Why did Ellison grant an interview that was included in the photo novel release of “City on the Edge of Forever”? When I met him at the University of Oregon in 1977, I asked him to autograph it and he came unglued. I was aware of his antipathy towards his story’s treatment, but why the hell did he have a prefaced interview in the photo novel if he wasn’t good with it by then? I was taken aback and still haven’t recovered almost forty years later!!

#25. Ensign RedShirt – March 11, 2014

I can only respond that his prior OUTER LIMITS’ works were hour long as well and Ellison wrote not one but two successful scripts for that series with absolutely no trouble hewing them to that show’s production and time limitations. One of those scripts made him an award winner prior to any he would later receive for TREK.This leads me to conclude that, whatever problem he had writing a script for Roddenberry, it couldn’t have been the many pedestrian ones often proffered that the facts appear to clearly refute.

#27. Crewman Darnell – March 11, 2014

There is no evidence for the often made claim that Ellison made Scotty a “drug dealer” or in any way wrote him wrong in any of his treatments. In fact, Scotty didn’t appear in Ellison’s script at all.

#29. Jeffrey S. Nelson – March 12, 2014

I haven’t seen it so I have nothing to go on other than your apparently confusing the the interviewee, Ellison, with the author of a printed article regarding said interview. The photo publisher would only have to have secured publication rights from the person who interviewed Ellison and not Ellison himself for it to appear in its pages, and thus, in no way would it being there indicate an endorsement of it by him.

Your ignorance of this, no doubt earned you his infamous wrath. To be fair to you, you just got caught up one of a plethora of slimy publishing practices in book marketing, as it is for certain the publisher secured that interview’s publishing rights precisely to create the illusion of a imprimatur to influence prospective buyers such as yourself.

Interviews are consider a type of news reporting, and as such, short of the interviewer making deliberately false statements up out of wholecloth the interviewee has little recourse as to anything regarding it. Especially in regards as to what outlets the author of the interview article may sell and/or license it for publication.

I remember the photonovels.

Oh, geez, I’m an “older fan.” :-/

27 Darnell, There’s some history on it in Wikipedia. Though, consider the source.

Apparently Roddenberry confabulated and Ensign Beckwith, Ellison’s character, became Scotty in GR’s later recollections.

I remember photonovels, too. They were a great way to enjoy a movie at home before Video Players became popular. I might check this out, but I’d rather see John Byrne’s art!

@34. Marja – March 12, 2014

Now I’m skimming the teleplay book by Harlan Ellison (probably just the second time I’ve opened it since reading it in 1996.) It explains a lot. – Ellison’s side of the story at least. His 75 page “Introductory Essay” doesn’t pull any punches; as summarized by the last paragraph:

“If you read all of this book, I have the faint and joyless hope at last, after all this time, you will understand why I could not love that aired version, why I treasure the Writers Guild Award for the original version as that year’s best episodic-drama teleplay, why I despise the mendacious fuckers who have twisted the story and retold it to the glory of someone who didn’t deserve it, at the expense of a writer who worked his ass off to create something original , and why it was necessary after thirty years to expend almost 30,000 words in self-serving justification of being the only person on the face of the Earth who won’t let Gene Roddenberry rest in piece.”

@34. Marja – March 12, 2014

I’m now in the process of rereading Harlan Ellison’s teleplay book, for the second time since buying it in 1996. Not surprisingly, his 75 page “Introductory Essay” is a bit… inflammatory, but he makes a strong case for his side of the story. It certainly appears that Roddenberry had a selective memory, i.e. ‘Scotty in the role of a drug dealer’ was a repeated falsehood. “City on the Edge of Forever” is an interesting book on many levels, though beware of the dripping vitriol.

Ellison’s whining is shameful; as much as he’s attacked the aired version of CotEoF, the episode’s mass popularity gave him a pop-cultural life he would have never experienced without it. Not to mention other opportunities granted due to association with that aired episode.

He was not a director, producer or actor, so the demands (practical and dramatic) were out of his range of understanding. The finished product scored as Star Trek, and as a dramatic piece because of the changes. He can rant until he’s dust, but CotEoF as produced was the version that worked beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. What-ifs about his original story go nowhere fast.

Re: the Byrne book. interesting that he’s piggybacking off of the 70’s TOS photonovels, but the execution’s value remains to be seen.

Personally, I would love to see TAS photonovels.

23 matt rodeffer
The different insignias for each ship was a part of the tos. I remember reading an article and seeing a photo of kirk with another cpt who was wearing a different insignia to represent his ship. The article was how the Enterprise insignia (chevron) was adopted as the generic symbol of star fleet. Don’t forget the tos 1701 had a very different symbol on the side of its secondary hull. The change was made when the Enterprise went for its re fit in sttmp and the Enterprise insignia replaced the old markings with the symbol that we identify as representing starfleet (the stos Enterprise chevron).

I have a feeling that it was a conscious decision by someone G.R.? to do this.

@Harlan Ellison – Give it a rest!

John Bryne knows a thing or two about handling things like this. Definitely will want to check them out. It can’t wind up being any worse than what IDW has been doing with Trek.

#38. COMPASSIONATE GOD – March 15, 2014

Harlan Ellison, may be guilty of making various and sundry noises but whining isn’t one of them. He was sought out by Roddenberry to save STAR TREK precisely because he already had established a pop-cultural life, the imprimatur of which would attract other similarly desirable writers and letter writers as well.

Wow those photonovel or fotonovels as they were called memories! Funny I never thought there would be new ones appearing in today’s world with all the DVDs, youtube type channels, Netflix, etc, etc. I believe I have all the original TREK series fotonovels they released with an extra copy of the first one. I even have the first two films along with other films and shows that were released at roughly the same time. I also still have them all and maybe I should see what they are worth these days.;) Funny the WRATH OF KHAN fotonovel seemed to have a lower budget as it was in black and white and some images were flipped, etc. Not great work on that one. Of course in the next year or so later after that came out I am sure there were many more VCR s appearing so they probably didn’t feel they needed to put extra effort into it.

Anyways fun memories and I used to audio tape many STAR TREK episodes and I think I may of listened to some of the tapes while reading these books. Man I was such a ST nerd!;) Fun primitive entertainment times and wow the agony of trying to audio tape episodes and try to skip the commercials! ;)

Anyways with all the graphic digital programs with have at our disposal these days I am sure producing a 21st Century fotonovel must be a bit easier. Yet with new fan films and the original episodes practically at our figure tips I have to wonder how well they will do? Still sounds like a fun idea.

I do enjoy photonovels of any sort, there’s huge room for branching off and making any sort of plot you like.

There is a webcomic. Darths and Droids. It uses screenshots from the Star Wars movies as its panels, and the plot involves a group of gamers role-playing a sci-fi game they’ve made up. Right now they’re mid-way through Empire Strikes Back.

There’s another one, finished a few years ago – DM of the Rings, Same deal, a gamer group playing an RPG they’ve made up, but using Lord of the Rings.

Hell, just glancing over these two makes me want to do the same thing for Star Trek.

John Byrne is great…his run on the fantastic four almost captured the originality of lee/kirby at their best in the first 102 issues….those original issues defined n made marvel comics….n have not been equaled in originality, cosmic pop art, or scope imho….the galactus trilogy alone blew my 11 year old mind back then…

of course a tv show on back then also blew my mind…a little series called star trek….