The History Of STAR TREK Comic Books: Issue #1 - GOLD KEY COMICS - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The History Of STAR TREK Comic Books: Issue #1 - GOLD KEY COMICS

In the first of a new series, we boldly go where Star Trek hadn't gone before... into a comic book.

On September 8th 1966, Star Trek debuted on U.S. television. What is now referred to as The Original Series would air for three seasons and go on to spawn a franchise lasting more than five decades, seven (and counting) connected TV series', more than a dozen cinematic outings, and, even in those early days, a wide variety of licensed products. Perhaps it was only inevitable that one of those would be a comic book series, the first of which arriving just as The Original Series ended its first season.

Published by Gold Key Comics, Star Trek #1 has a cover date of Oct 1967 (but most guides list its publication date as July that year) and began a series of 61 in-print adventures which certainly can not be considered canon.

Star Trek #1 featured a story called The Planet Of No Return and would culminate with Kirk ordering the destruction of all life on said planet to stop the spread of spores which are capable of causing animals and crew members to mutate into plants. Prime directive be damned!

In most of the Gold Key issues, the majority of the crew members, except for Spock, wear lime green uniforms. The reason for this seems to lie with the original illustrator, Italian artist Alberto Giolitt. He had never seen the television series and only had publicity photos to use as references, and since Giolitti wasn't provided a publicity photo of James Doohan, early issues had Mr. Scott drawn quite differently. Basically, as a generic white man.

The first nine issues featured photographic covers; stills and promotional images from the television show. From #10 onward an illustrated cover adorned the rest of the series' run, which arrived on newsstands on a quite infrequent basis. Issue #2, for instance, is cover dated June 1968, eight months after the debut issue. By 1971 it settled into a quarterly publication, before increasing to bi-monthly two years later, and then monthly for its final eight issues.

Some talented and respected comic book writers worked on the Gold Key series, including George Kashdan, Arnold Drake and Len Wein. Although most plots in the run featured original characters and concepts, and were stylized and diverged from the TV series continuity (as witnessed with the casual genocide that took place in #1), later issues included sequels to the original series episodes "The City on the Edge of Forever", "Metamorphosis", and "I, Mudd".

The original issues are now scarce and highly collectible, especially the photographic cover ones. Various compilations have been issued over the years, including in the 1970s several volumes of The Enterprise Logs, selected stories republished in omnibus form by Gold Key's parent company, Western Publishing. Titan Books published five volumes containing issues #1–40 and entitled The Key Collection between 2004 and 2006. A decade later, IDW published 5 volumes, covering issues 1-31, known as The Gold Key Archives.

Issue #61, cover dated March 1979, turned out to be the final from Gold Key. At least one more issue was planned, to be titled Trial By Fire! but Gold Key lost the Star Trek license to Marvel Comics.

If you think things improved with the arrival of Marvel then, well you're sorta right, but Marvel's license from Paramount prohibited them from using concepts introduced in the original series. A workaround was found, though, one which we will look back at next time.

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