TrekMovie spoke to Sarah Gaydos, the driving force behind the recently launched anthology series, Star Trek: Waypoint.
“I am so lucky, I can’t believe it sometimes.”
“Pinch me” moments happen to a lot of people who are fortunate enough to have an opportunity to work in some fashion with Star Trek. A longtime fan of the series herself, the chance to do something she loves, in the medium she loves, with a show she loves is not lost on Sarah Gaydos. Joining as editor of IDW’s Star Trek Ongoing series with issue 25, she has remained as much a fixture on the book as writer Mike Johnson. That continuity is something fans should appreciate as it ensures a steady vision for the franchise at IDW.
Peering at the issue wall of a local comic book store, readers will find it dominated with titles published by Marvel and DC (both of which have produced Star Trek comics over the years). The situation becomes even more acute when either publisher launches an event title, with so many crossovers that retailers have to make a choice about what to feature. It seems that less and less space is afforded smaller and independent comic companies.
Falling into the smaller category, IDW has carved out a nice niche in the marketplace with its media tie-in properties, including Star Trek, Transformers, G.I. Joe and My Little Pony. As much as fans wish there were more Star Trek comics being released each month – as it is IDW publishes generally three-to-four titles – there is only so much space on a store’s comic racks.
“It’s just so hard,” Gaydos expanded, “because I want to do everything at once, but the reality is the comic book marketplace is very crowded. I don’t think it’s fair of us to expect retailers to take on seven or eight Trek books when they have so much other material they have to carry. You have to use some strategy of what comes out when, what book ties into something that is going on.”
Connecting a mini-series or special story can sometimes be a difficult proposition, especially considering that the only new Star Trek films or shows since 2009 have been the Kelvin Timeline adventures, which are chronicled in their own monthly series. However, seeing an opportunity with the franchise’s jubilee in 2016, Gaydos brainstormed an idea for a Star Trek anthology comic which would encompass the entire Prime timeline.
“Comics anthologies are a little hard to do,” Gaydos explained, “but this is the 50th anniversary and I wanted to do something really special. Each issue of Star Trek: Waypoint will contain two stories from different Treks – all iterations except the Kelvin universe, since that is well represented in the monthly book.
We’re even leaning into some of the weirder iterations of Star Trek, as issue number two will include a Gold Key story from Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore. The artist, Gordon Purcell, is making it ridiculous and fun. Everybody’s going to be wearing backpacks, and we’ll try to have a little explainer in there as to why is this happening if readers are not familiar with the Gold Key stuff. I am also hoping that it will drive some people to the Gold Key issues – because it’s so fun. We joke about it, but there are some great stories, and my favorite Trek covers of all-time are in there.
Anthologies by their nature do not have to tie into one arc, just one theme, with Waypoint’s being an obvious one. And while the series afforded Gaydos and company some fun by telling a tale set in the Gold Key universe, the editor had an embarrassment of riches when it came to reaching out to creators and receiving story ideas when the writing community learned of the event.
I reached out to a lot of people who normally, because of budget and time, would not be able to write a six-issue series for me. The problem is, I have been spoiled by the pitches I have. Literally, I could do this book forever, and still have more pitches to go through. I reached out to people whose Trek work I have been a fan of in the past, I reached out to people who I think are doing important modern sci-fi work, and of course people reached out to me. It’s a nice mix.
Offering fans to reunite with old favorites such as Purcell has been a nice part of the project, Gaydos said, but it has also allowed talents like Sandra Lanz an opportunity to show fans what she can do as well. Lanz pens and illustrates the “B” story in Waypoint #1, and comes to the project on the heels of her creator-owned project House Girls. She has illustrated Image Comics’ Prophet and many other titles.
While both Deep Space Nine and Voyager enjoyed limited comic runs, Enterprise has never been represented in the medium. Waypoint will allow fans to finally see the fifth iteration of Star Trek in comic form. Gaydos admits to a little bit of pressure with Enterprise’s first appearance:
That is a little bit intimidating as you realize it’s the first time, so you have to make it special.
While Waypoint and John Byrne’s unique Star Trek: New Visions fotocomic continue, IDW has also launched its new Star Trek: Boldly Go ongoing monthly series, set between events of Star Trek: Beyond. Fans might not think there is any room for additional stories set during the film, but upon closer inspection will realize what Gaydos, writer Mike Johnson and artist Tony Shasteen are doing.
Star Trek: Boldly Go launches in October, and while comic book people love a number one, I didn’t just want to do it for that reason, as it feels disingenuous to me. Boldly Go is post-Beyond reality, so it was a nice opportunity to use that. Spoiler alert for people who have not seen the film, there is a part at the end that goes in fast forward – this book is what are the people up to in that timeframe.
Marking the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, 2016 saw some truly inspired mini-series for fans to enjoy, including the Kelvin Universe-set Starfleet Academy, Manifest Destiny and a collection of the entertaining Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War, with part two coming next year. In fact, 2017 will see no slowing down on IDW’s part when it comes to Star Trek.
We just announced (at Star Trek Mission New York) that Mike Johnson will be writing the Star Trek Discovery comic with art by Tony Shasteen, and oversight by Kirsten Beyer (show writer and Voyager novelist). Mike will be a busy man. Two-thousand seventeen is also going to be a big year for the Tiptons (IDW’s The Original Series mini-series purveyors) as well. Every editor wishes their books sold 100,000 copies, but Star Trek’s numbers are consistent, which is a big deal and tells me that we have a dedicated core audience. We would not have gotten to 60 issues if that was not the case. That is a big thank you to everyone who has been onboard. Literally we would not be here if it wasn’t for the support.”
Nature abhors a vacuum, and in that spirit Gaydos will be taking on a new position as Group Editor. However, she will continue as editor of IDW’s Trek-related titles for the foreseeable future.
Yes, there are wicked deadlines involved and begging for pages and scripts, and trying to keep it all moving. But at the end of the day I have to remind myself, ‘I’m working with Star Trek; this is kind of ridiculous.’ I think maybe I’m lucky to have a behind-the-scenes look that maybe other people don’t have the opportunity to see. I like to see how the sausage is made – that’s kind of my whole gig. I am very lucky to be working on this. Comics are incredibly difficult with all the deadlines, keeping all the plates moving, but remembering that the people on the other side of the desk love this as much as I do. We are all lucky to be doing this, and we are all imbuing these books with the love of Star Trek.”