The History Of STAR TREK Comic Books: Issue #2 - MARVEL COMICS - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The History Of STAR TREK Comic Books: Issue #2 - MARVEL COMICS

It's a return to Star Fleet with all new comic book adventures for the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise.


In the first installment of our look back through the history of Star Trek Comic Books we explored the Gold Key Comics years, from 1967 to 1978, but in the Summer of 1978, just as principal photography got underway on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Gold Key lost their Star Trek license to Marvel Comics.

Marvel's licensing deal with Paramount came with a rather strict stipulation. They were prohibited from using any concepts introduced in The Original Series! How they got round this, we will get to.

The first Star Trek comic book from Marvel Comics hit newsstands in December 1979. It was #15 of Marvel's Super Special series, the "official adaptation of the smash Paramount FILM!" Star Trek: The Motion Picture.


The 64 page comic adaptation was penned by legendary comic book writer Marv Wolfman, who was one of the main editors of the series of comic books that were to follow. Wolfman spent years with both Marvel and DC Comics; for Marvel he worked on The Tomb of Dracula, for which he and artist Gene Colan created the vampire-slayer Blade, and for DC Comics's The New Teen Titans and the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series with George PĂ©rez, as well as the God of War comics. Among the many characters Wolfman created or co-created are Cyborg, Raven, Starfire, Deathstroke, Tim Drake, Rose Wilson, Nova, Black Cat, Bullseye and the Omega Men. Marvel Comics had really put one of their best men on the job, and the adaptation was a huge hit.

As well as the comic-strip adaptation, Marvel's Super Special #15 featured stills and promotional photos from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, interviews, art and, as the cover reveals, "a new concordance". What is that you may ask? Well, basically it's a way of saying everything is the same but new. The characters you know but brand new adventures, and when the comic book series arrived these new adventures were set in what would've been the proposed but never produced Star Trek Phase II TV Series. A second five year mission that almost came to the screens before The Motion Picture went into production (we explored the reasons behind its abandonment here)

Although not straightaway...


When the first issue of the ongoing Marvel comic book arrived in April 1980 it was, along with #2 & #3, the same adaptation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture from Marvel's Super Special #15 just cut-up into three installments. From #4, though, the all new missions began...


 
#4 The Haunting Of Thallus! and #5 The Haunting Of The Enterprise! was a 2-part adventure, part 1 again penned by Wolfman before he handed over to Mike W. Barr for the second chapter. The cover art for that issue, dated August 1980, was supplied by Frank Miller - he of The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One and Sin City fame.


Issue #6 began a run of stand-alone adventures from a variety of writers (although predominantly by the recently deceased Martin Pasko of Saga Of The Swamp Thing fame), all set within the second five year mission for the crew of the Starship Enterprise. That mission came to an abrupt end with #18, cover dated February 1982.


From the pen of another legendary comic book writer, J.M. DeMatteis (Defenders, Captain America and DC Comic's Justice League International), Marvel's license expired with a "SPECIAL LAST ISSUE COLLECTOR'S ITEM!" with a story entitled A Thousand Deaths. The last page was an unpublished cover by Terry Austin for the second issue of the series, the middle act of Marvel's Star Trek: The Motion Picture adaptation, titled V'ger.


The 18 issues of Marvel's Star Trek comic books were later released in graphic novel form, Vol 1 & 2 in 2017, Vol 3 in 2018, each containing 6 of the reproduced issues. These graphic novels from Eaglemoss Collections are still quite widely available, so if you want to check out Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise on their second five year mission to explore new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilisations, then you can boldly go to either your local comic store or online dealer and nab yourself a copy.

Next time, with Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan on the horizon which major comic book house would take the baton from Marvel? We explore the next phase of Star Trek comics to find out.

Previously
Gold Key Comics

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