Most Complete Collection Of Star Trek Comics Ever Printed May Fall Short

Imagine running a marathon only to stop 20 feet of the finish line, then turning around and going home. Meet Rich Handley – a man on a mission to reprint “every single Star Trek comic published from 1967 to present.” Since he became editor of Eaglemoss’s Star Trek Graphic Novel Collection, that has been his goal. The collection will continue through Volume 140, with 120 already released, but due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty in the world, no books have yet been greenlighted after that. This will leave Handley just 20 volumes short of his goal to produce the ultimate completist’s comic book set ever printed. He hopes that fan support can help drum up enough interest for the final stretch.

TrekMovie sat down (virtually) with the man who personally owns the most complete collection of Star Trek comics in the world. He talked about how he got started collecting comics, some of his favorite pieces, and even shared some exclusive peeks at what fans can expect in the just-announced next set of volumes.

Rich Handley in front of just some of his comics collection

Every. Single. Comic.

When we say every single Star Trek comic ever, we mean EVERY. SINGLE. COMIC. Including some never-before-seen issues unearthed by Handley that even Eaglemoss was not aware of. By the time Handley and Eaglemoss are finished with volumes 121-140, they will have succeeded in reprinting everything from Gold Key, Marvel, Wildstorm, the second Marvel series, Peter Pan Comics, the newspaper strips, the British strips, and Tokyo Pop. So the only things that will be left to complete will be DC and IDW, which are the longest, if not the most popular runs of Star Trek comics. “It would be a tragic shame if arguably the two most popular publishers are the ones that aren’t completed,” said Handley. “I want people to be able to say that everything from Gold Key #1 to the current IDW run is in this series of books.” If he can get the green light on the final set of books, he’s figured out a way to squeeze everything that’s remaining into them.

“My goal is to be able to say to fans – you know how you just started collecting and you found out that there were 1,000 comics from almost a dozen publishers and you just started crying because you already have two mortgages on your house and can’t afford them? Subscribe to this series of books and you’ll get it all.”

Detail of just a few of the volumes in the most complete collection of Trek comics ever produced.

The Adventure Begins

As a teenager, Handley’s first Trek comic was DC #9 in 1984 – the beginning of an 8-part story called New Frontiers, taking place in the mirror universe. Immediately hooked, he went on to quickly collect the previous 8 DC issues and the entire Marvel run. What wasn’t so easy was the TOS Gold Key collection which took him at least 10 years to finish. Star Trek was his “gateway drug” to other comics – after his first encounter with them, he began adding different titles to his pull list at his local comic shop, much to his parents’ chagrin.

“I started collecting in 1984. When I picked up an early DC comic on the stands…”

Star Trek #9 – New Frontiers

The Search for Comics

By the early ’90s, Handley eventually finished his personal collection – or so he thought. A friend had recently returned from a Trek convention and handed him a comic that he’d never seen before. Stunned yet intrigued, Handley soon realized that he HADN’T finished his collection and that there were more out there. As it turned out, the UK had exclusively published Star Trek comics within the pages of Joe 90: Top Secret, described by Handley as “Gold Key on acid.” After literally years of searching in the pre-Internet days, he eventually found all 257 issues. Soon after beginning his own writing career, he had the idea to reach out to publishers to have them reprinted – in an effort to share these hidden gems with other fans.

IDW answered the call in 2016, reprinted all of the UK exclusives in a five-set volume, and led Handley through another wonderful little wormhole.

Images from the UK comics that Handley worked to get reprinted

EXCLUSIVE Look at Never-before-seen Comics

When Eaglemoss announced the Star Trek Graphic Novel Collection in 2017, Handley reached out to them and offered up his collection in case they were missing anything. As it turned out, they were.

Beginning with volume 72, Handley became the editor of the collection – writing all of the introductions and supplementary content. He describes the role as “maintaining the quality of the books – catching any mistakes or missing pages” – something he takes very seriously. He works with the art director, cross-referencing his collection with the layout to make sure everything is correct. Starting with volume 100, he began choosing the content himself, including bonus material Eaglemoss never knew existed and that fans wouldn’t expect.

Handley said he always tries his best to “make [the volumes] as unique as possible.” He’s not just releasing reprints; he is including a veritable treasure trove of original material including contextual information and never-before-seen comics. Back in the mid-’70s, there was a Brazilian publisher that reprinted the Gold Key comics in a seven-issue series “and somehow they managed to sneak in two original stories that were drawn and written to emulate the Gold Key style,” says Handley. “This went entirely unknown among English-speaking readers for 40 years.” One is an original story and the other one is a somewhat loose adaptation of the Original Series episode “The Return of the Archons.” Both stories have been translated into English and will be available somewhere in volumes 121-140.

Handley has given TrekMovie an exclusive first look at some of these pages:

The original Portuguese comics are included alongside the first-ever English translation

And another:

These comics can all be found in volumes 121-140

In that same upcoming set, Eaglemoss is going to reprint DC’s TNG Special #1, which originally, Handley explains, contained a few production errors. In the first story, Worf and Alexander are floating in the holodeck with no dialogue. “It turns out that there was text there – it was written and drawn by Ken Penders and Ken’s script had text in these bubbles and for whatever reason, they were all removed. So the rest of the story goes on to have Alexander learn what it means to be a Klingon but it’s supposed to resonate because he asked that question in the first two pages. So the story was weakened which is a shame…there was a philosophical discussion that was setting up the whole plot.”

Here is an exclusive look at the missing dialog in Ken Pender’s original script:

The new volumes will add back in dialogue that went missing due to a production error during this comic’s original run

The other story in TNG Special #1, written by Diane Duane, was about a day in the life of Data’s cat, Spot. Her script had speech bubbles for Spot throughout but written in minimal text like  “huh,” “what’s that,” “is that food,” etc. Handley explains, “someone at DC made the decision that ‘cat’s don’t talk’ and had all of the dialog removed so when it was published, the entire story is just Spot walking around the ship. Weirdly enough, this one worked because nobody knew something was missing – it was quirky and fun and you could still follow the story. It wouldn’t occur to you as a reader that the cat is missing dialog, but it turned out that it was.” Duane gave him the whole script and now fans can finally read these two stories the way they were always meant to. Since the collection is for posterity, all stories are reprinted as they were originally run – the scripts will be a bonus at the end with a short essay to give historical context.

Here is an exclusive look at one of the script pages of Spot’s missing dialog by Diane Duane:

As with “A True Son of Kahless”, previously missing dialogue expressing Spot’s thoughts will be printed for the first time

Get a Piece of the Action

Handley hopes that fans will vote with their wallets to get the series extended. In a recent blog post, Handley said:

“Will [an extension] happen? Honestly, it all comes down to sales numbers. If you want to see the series continue—and I truly believe it should—the best thing you can do to ensure we get another extension is simply to keep buying each volume. You can also help us by spreading the word about the Star Trek Graphic Novel Collection to fans, collectors, and news sites. Every volume sold makes it that much more likely we’ll be able to finish what was started with the very first volume.”

The Eaglemoss Star Trek Graphic Novel Collection debuted as a subscription service back in 2017. You can sign up to get 2 books delivered to your door each month for $14.95 +$2.95 shipping per book.

Or, you can purchase individual books for $19.95 each on the Eaglemoss store.

The latest release is volume 118, The Modala Imperative, a pair of connected four-part miniseries from DC in 1991, bridging two Starfleet crews a century apart, courtesy of writers Michael Jan Friedman and Peter David and artist Pablo Marcos.

For more about the Star Trek Graphic Novel Collection and to read Handley’s ongoing weekly column, head over to Eaglemoss. There, he runs through the entire history of Star Trek comics and includes some of that in-depth reporting on each of the introductions he’s written for the collection. It’s really fun and chock full of nerdy details and minutia only hardcore fans talk about.

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Not a good sign when I was able to buy 14 of them at Dollarama (a large chain of dollar stores in Canada) for about $4 each. They’re good volumes, but not sure who would be shelling out $15 to $20 for each one.

These books are great (the ones published after Hanley became editor at least.

Yes the quality really jumped up quite a bit once he became editor. And all the obscure and lost bonus content really makes this feel like THE definitive Star Trek comic collection.

Yeah I saw them in Dollarama as well, unfortunately many I saw were dented so I’ve not bought any. Should have dug into it deeper. I didn’t realize it was a set or that the spines made this cool image. If I seen them again in Dollarama I will start to load up.

I remember reading that Spot comic.

Eaglemoss and IDW, please don’t end this collection so close to the finish line! At least consider finishing DC so that everything pre-IDW is collected! #CompleteTheSTGNC

Agreed. These books are how I’m completing my collection. Ending now would be a huge mitsake.

Eaglemoss please #CompleteTheSTGNC. We are sooo close now.

I’ll buy the whole collection if they reprint the DC comics.

That’s why I signed up in the first place, to get the whole DC run. The very idea of them possibly ending this about 40 issues short of DC’s 300 or so is heartbreakng. Come on Eaglemoss do the right thing and give the fans what we’re paying for: the complete Star trek comics library. Finish DC and IDW. If they dont do it, maybe IDW will? Has anyone ever asked them?

I meant to type “about 100 short”

As a Brazilian fan, I am DELIGHTED by this discovery. I knew of the comic books, but didn’t know there were original stories written and drawn in Brazil!

And you know what? For years I’ve been wanting to subscribe this collection. And Eaglemoss doesn’t send them to Brazil… :-(

I’d love to, if I could! That is a amazing collection!

They don’t ship to Brazil? Oh that sucks. :(

Last time I checked a couple of years ago, they didn’t ship to Canada either. It was only the U.S. and Europe, otherwise I would have bought these years ago. I literally had no way to get them without jumping into my car and driving a few hours… and I didn’t want ’em *that* bad. Lost opportunity.

A friend of mine in Canada gets the series. i’ll ask him how he gets them.

They now ship to Canada (and many other places).

I live in Canada and am up to volume 97 (the are a few volumes in back order on the site, so I had to use freight forwarding services from the UK and Australia, but the bulk of volumes are available)

The Brazilian comics were published by Editora Abril from August/1975 to December/1976 (a total of 6 issues) but #1 and #2 were originally published in Diversões Juvenis #25 and #29. Each issue of Diversões Juvenis featured a different character like The Pink Panther, Laurel & Hardy, Heckle and Jeckle, Rocky and Bullwinkle and many others. The covers depicted in the article are from issue #4 (Jun/1976) and #5 (Sept/1976).
Details about the title can be found here (in Portuguese)

Seven issues–I have them. That site is missing one. :)

Here you go:

Good catch!

DC WASN’T one of the most popular runs?!?

It was–which is what the article says.

Handley is quoted as saying DC is one of the most popular, but I was reacting to this from Andosca’s text: “DC and IDW, which are the longest, if not the most popular runs of Star Trek comics”

I see your point. Yeah, that quote says the opposite of what I think the writer meant to say.

There are some gems within these volumes, but I can’t say I am personally willing to spend over $2000 for a completist collection of Star Trek comics. It would be one heck of a cool collection though, if it was more affordable. I certainly don’t knock any Trekkie that makes a run at them all!

I’ve bought Leonard McCoy Frontier Doctor (Volume 53) and Mission’s End (Volume 100). I’m curious to know whether other folks here have any specific volumes they would recommend. I’ve got the entire DC run in digital format so I’m not dying to pick those up. I’ve been reading “Debt of Honor” recently, which is pretty good. But I’d love to know what some of your favorite stories are.

I’ve got Frontier Doctor… a few of the DS9 ones too. I had enough “joys” (sorrows more like) of being completionist for the sake of a spine image in my childhood, and then couldn’t find a bookcase with enough free space to line them all up! So I’m happy to just buy individual ones.. :)

Foreword by Sheldon Cooper! ;-)

Most of the forewords are by Rich Hanley. Robert Greenberger wrote some of them, too.

As a small boy every now and then id get the uk Trek annual with the GoldKey reprints (pretty much like these Eaglemoss versions now – a particular favourite was the 1983 annual as it had a Wrath of Khan cover and photos inside) and also the odd DC Trek comic in the 80s (remember picking up #1 with the nice Wrath of Khan-esque cover in ’84 and later the Trek IV comic adaptation) then picked up the Trek V adaptation and noticed the 2nd DC run but didnt start to properly collect the comics until the early 90s from just before The Trial of Kirk for about 20 issues as well as a few TNG ones and the odd special like the Modala Imperative crossover, the Kirk Starfleet Academy annual (which seemed like an adaptation of the lost Bennett VI Academy movie), and the Trek VI adaptation. then i tuned out shortly after VI and later only picked up the movie adaptations for Gen/FC although was aware of the 2nd Marvel run with Pike,Xmen etc.. then around 2008ish saw an ad for a cd/dvd rom that contained all the trek comics up to that point – all Goldkey, all of Marvel and DC (both runs), Malibu (but not the obscure UK stuff though) and got it on ebay so was able to check out all the ones i missed and more. since then obviously picked up various IDW tpbs like Countdown, The Last Generation, Khan etc and the odd actual comic one shots like Deviations and the recent Hells Mirror.. only recently started to use Eaglemoss to pick up the ones i wanted to check out affordably like the Ellison City on the Edge and Trek vs Apes

I have that CD too. It’s great, though it’s missing a couple of things like Trek/X-Men and UK stuff.

i think i remember getting both XMen/trek comics from ebay as they weren’t on the CD and thinking that i now owned literally every Trek comic in existence.. but now theyd have to do another cd for the masses of IDW stuff.

the cd is awesome tho.. still have it thankfully. it was quite mind blowing to have every single (or thereabout) Trek comic and being able to continue reading the DC 2nd run from where i left off in about 1992 without having to buy them all separately on ebay (which i wouldnt have done).. i cant remember if it was because i lost interest in Trek as TOS had ended with VI or if just got bored of going in the comic store and thought it was all too nerdy or what.. but looking back to that era of the 25th anniversary/Trek VI and going to the comic store and flicking through starlog & cinefantastique for the latest news and looking at all the new Trek novels with the great art covers and picking up the occasional official Trek fanclub magazine and both Trek comics every month are such happy times :)

I’m looking at Hanley’s comic shelf and drooling.

This is really cool and I admit I have not let a single issue of my own small collection go. What would also be really cool is a way to get a lot of the greatest fanzines published again. The 1970s had the best fan fiction, some of the most challenging stories. In a way, they changed the way we think of franchises as a whole.

Prior to IDW starting to publish Trek comics, I had a fairly complete collection of the original publications (all of DC, Marvel, and Malibu, about half of the Gold Key, reprints of the US strips, and some other miscellaneous). I also had a then-complete collection of Trek novels, and a ton of magazines. Then the divorce happened and I felt a need to purge and lighten the load. I got rid of all my Trek print media. And boy, do I regret that. I occasionally feel like I should try to recreate that collection. But other priorities have kept me from investing the time and money to do that.

This collection might be an intriguing option if they are able to complete it. I might be especially interested in they made it available digitally (I still kind of like the idea of not being weighed down by a lot of physical print media).

It pains me to read that!!

I love this collection and it deserves to be completed in it’s entirety. Plus if it is complete I could see more people buying it if they are completionists.

This is really nice, especially the extra materials.