The Library of American Comics (LOAC), an imprint of IDW Publishing, recently reprinted the L.A. Times Star Trek newspaper strip in two gorgeous, painstakingly researched and restored, hardcover volumes. Can we make a convincing case for reprinting the other obscure Star Trek comic strips, published in the United Kingdom, from 1969 to 1973?
The British aren’t coming!
Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics, Volumes 1 and 2, published December 2012 and September 2013, introduced Trekkies to voyages of the starship Enterprise known only to a few, and entirely unknown to far too many. In the two large, beautifully reproduced hardcover books, the crew of the Enterprise had four more years of adventures in daily and Sunday newspaper comic strips originally published December 1979 with the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, until to December 1983.
Ten years earlier, in 1969, citizens of the United Kingdom were first introduced to Star Trek in the pages of a weekly comic book titled Joe 90 Top Secret, six months before the television show debuted on British airwaves. Over the next four years, 265 comics, magazines and hardcover annuals featuring original Star Trek stories and art were published. Here in the colonies, this chapter in the history of the franchise is largely unfamiliar, but deserves our attention.
Although very little is known about the writers of the British strips, skilled artists like Harry Lindfield, Mike Noble, Alan Willow, Ron Turner, Jim Baikie, Harold Johns, Carlos Pino, Vicente Alcázar and John Stokes contributed colorful and fascinating renderings of the Enterprise and her crew, in a series of very British tales. Some of the stories might provoke a double take or two from American fans unfamiliar with Captain Kurt (quickly corrected to Kirk) or British nautical jargon, but they’re well worth the time it takes to track down and read. And therein lies our problem. Finding these comics takes heroic effort and way too much latinum.
When LOAC began work on the US newspaper comics, there were tentative plans to reprint the British strips too. Unfortunately, word has come from Rich Handley, the driving force for bringing the US and UK strips back into print, that IDW has dropped plans to reprint the British strips, perhaps because of a perception that there isn’t much fan interest. I’m wondering if we can do something about this, Mr. Spock’s negativity notwithstanding.
Maybe we can help!
If you’re interested in seeing the British Star Trek comic strips get the same loving attention given the US newspaper strips by LOAC and IDW, please let them know. You can send IDW Publishing e-mail from their website, post a Facebook message, or send them a tweet @IDWPublishing. Hey, if your subspace comm system is in good working order, use that too. You can also contact The Library of American Comics and express your interest. It’s vitally important!
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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.