Thursday, July 21, 2016

Star Trek The Motion Picture Comic

Space the Final Frontier....and, in the late 1970s, it was Marvel that got to boldly go where no man has gone before, with an adaptation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture!

It was in Marvel Super Special #15 (December, 1979), with a cover by Bob Larkin, and adaptation by writer Marv Wolfman, pencils by Dave Cockrum and inks by Klaus Janson.

This was the story of Will Decker, Ilia and V'ger, alongside the Enterprise crew of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, Sulu, Uhura and Chekov...

...and this led to Marvel's first run at a Star Trek comic book series.


With Star Trek #1 (April, 1980), Marvel boldly went with their first Star Trek comic, taking the first 17 pages from the Marvel Super Special, with V'Ger attacking a fleet of Klingon ships, Spock trying to achieve kolinar, and Admiral James T. Kirk being called into Starfleet to get reassigned to the Enterprise to deal with that "thing" out there.  Kirk informs Captain Willard Decker that he's taking over, and greets a few additions to his crew, like Lt. Ilia (a Deltan who had served with Decker before), as well as beaming Dr. Leonard McCoy on board.  The Enterprise takes off, has problems in warp drive, with Decker saving the ship, and then, they bring Spock aboard.

Quite a bit for this first issue, adapted by Marv Wolfman, Dave Cockrum and Klaus Janson (and a cover by Steve Leialoha).


The Final Frontier

Star Trek #2 (May, 1980) contained the second part of the Motion Picture story, detailing the Enterprise's first encounter with the being known as"V'Ger", with a cover by Dave Cockrum and interiors by Marv Wolfman, Dave Cockrum and Klaus Janson, dealt with the second 17 pages of the Marvel Super Special, dealing with V'Ger and his affect on the crew of the Enterprise, most notably, Ilia and Spock.

A little odd to have this, not starting or ending the story (and a bit of a flash forward to how comics would behave in the future..

....the Enterprise crew hadn't really had continued adventures in comic book form before).

Star Trek #3 (June, 1980), with the title of "Evolutions" and the same writing and artistic crew of Wolfman, Cockrum and Janson (because it was just really a reprint of the Marvel Super Special), with the new addition of Bob Wiacek on the cover, had the last 17 pages of the Enterprise's encounter with V'ger with the alien hovering over Earth, revealing its true intentions (which didn't bode well for the carbon units, that's human beings, living there), and the final fates of Ilia and Decker, with the Enterprise crew carrying on after.
Best of all, these three issues are reprinted IDW's Star Trek Movie Omnibus (June, 2011), that contains the adaptations of the first 6 Star Trek movies (with the last four being done by DC Comics, and IDW handling Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan).  

These Are The Voyages

Star Trek #4 (July, 1980) started the first new Star Trek comic story since the days of Gold Key, with "The Haunting Of Thallus" by Marv Wolfman, Dave Cockrum and Klaus Janson, and a cover by Dave Cockrum, with Kirk and crew transporting a new ambassador through space, and encountering a haunted house (as well as Klingons)....and the story continued into Star Trek #5 (August, 1980), and "The Haunting Of The Enterprise", by Mike W. Barr, Dave Cockrum and Klaus Janson, bring the monsters aboard the Enterprise, where the crew finally solve the mystery of where they are from.

Of The Starship Enterprise

The Enterprise crew dealt with another new ambassador in Star Trek #6 (September, 1980) and "The Enterprise Murder Case" by Mike W. Barr, Dave Cockrum and Klaus Janson (cover by Cockrum and Janson), with Spock bluffing out trouble in this one, and Star Trek #7 (October, 1980), with "Tomorrow Or Yesterday" by Tom DeFalco, Mike Nasser and Klaus Janson (and cover by Mike Nasser), with a planet about to be destroyed by a radioactive cloud, and the inhabitants expecting Kirk, Spock and McCoy to help and their arrival was prepared for by "those-who-have-stepped-beyond", as there are ancient statues of the three on the planet!

Its Five Year Mission

Star Trek #8 (November, 1980) deals with "The Expansionist Syndrome" by Martin Pasko, Dave Cockrum and Ricardo Villamonte, and a cover by Dave Cockrum, with the Enterprise crew dealing with Spock being kidnapped by leftover technology from the Eugenics Wars (a sideways reference to Khan, though he and his genetically enhanced humans aren't here; Khan wouldn't return until much later, in the second Star Trek movie)...

...then in Star Trek #9 (December, 1980) by Martin Pasko, Dave Cockrum and Frank Springer, and an "Experiment In Vengeance!", also sounding like a story that should involve Khan (but didn't, Marvel only had the rights to what was seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture).  Instead, the Enterprise has to find out what happened to the crew of the Endeavor, as the lifeless ship attacks the Enterprise, and is pursued by an entity known as the Unity, looking for vengeance, especially on an old friend of Kirk's, Lt. Karen Hester-Jones (yet another old friend that Kirk was involved with...).

All enough to keep a crew busy for a time!  

To Explore Strange New Worlds

Star Trek #10 (January, 1981) sees Spock and McCoy on a survey of a primitive planet, and a hard landing of a shuttle, involving the "Domain Of The Dragon God" by Michael Fleisher, Leo Duranona and Klaus Janson (and a cover by Frank Miller), with Spock and McCoy getting involved with the natives, but more or less following the Prime Directive of non-interference.

Plus, as a bonus, artist Dave Cockrum shows us Files of Starfleet Headquarters, about Starfleet uniforms and rank insignias.

Star Trek #11 (February, 1981) finds dealing with trouble "...Like A Woman Scorned", as the Enterprise crew has to deal with a station being exposed to radiation, which leads to a meeting with an ex-girlfriend of Scotty's (who brings out a witch who attacks Mr. Scott, putting him into a coma, and even having the Loch Ness Monster come to attack the Enterprise).

Wait, the Loch Ness Monster in space? 

The crew has to find where these old Scottish legends are coming from in this odd science fiction mystery tale by Martin Pasko, Joe Brozowski and Tom Palmer, with a cover by Joe Brozowski and Tom Palmer as well.

To Seek Out New Life 

Star Trek #12 (March, 1981) sees the "Eclipse Of Reason" as Janice Rand joins the crew of the Icarus, and heads out of the galaxy, with an alien crew made of beings of light (including Rand's husband, the captain of the Icarus).

The alien crew have life expectancies of thousands of years, and their form should make them immune to passing through the energy surrounding the galaxy...

....but that doesn't seem to be the case as the ship returns, with Rand and the aliens attacking, and only the Enterprise there to stop them, in this story by Allan Brennart and Martin Pasko, with art by Luke McDonnell and Klaus Janson, and a cover by Joe Brozowski and Tom Palmer.

Star Trek #13 (April, 1981) sees an old character return, McCoy's daughter, Joanna McCoy (getting around the ban on series characters as she never appeared in the original series, only making it into notes), with "All The Infinite Ways" by Martin Pasko, Joe Brozowski, Tom Palmer and Marie Severin, and a cover by James Sherman and Larry Hama.

This leads into a battle with the Klingons, as they try to claim mineral rights to the planet she is on (with Bones finding out his daughter is engaged to a Vulcan as well!  This is why this doctor doesn't make house calls).  

And New Civilizations

Star Trek #14 (June, 1981) has the story of "We Are Dying, Egypt, Dying" by Martin Pasko, Luke McDonnell and Gene Day, and a cover by Ed Hannigan and James Sherman....and oh, what a cover!  It almost belongs on a Gold Key comic, if not for the world balloons!

Ancient space?

Kirk and crew beam down to investigate, with Spock remaining on the ship.  Kirk falls prey to the force in the pyramids, changing his personality, and the captain battles with his crew, until they solve the riddle this situation presented.

Star Trek #15 (August, 1981) was written by Martin Pasko, with art by Gil Kane, Dan Adkins and Al Milgrom (and a cover by Dave Cockrum), and the story about "The Quality Of Mercy".

Spock and McCoy go to Kirk's quarters to find an alien there...

....but, it is really just Captain Kirk, preparing for a new mission, and they will have to be disguised as well.  The disguised Enterprise crew go to free a prisoner, and, things go wrong (when don't they?) and the landing party gets captured itself, giving them something to think about, as well as having to get free themselves.

To Boldly Go

Star Trek #16 (October, 1981) finds "There's No Space Like Gnomes'" under a cover by Luke McDonnell and Al Milgrom, and story by Martin Pasko, Luke McDonnell, Gene Day and Sal Trapani.

Exploring a planet, Spock gets a reading on small humanoids, and the landing party goes to investigate.  While on the planet, McCoy gets injured, and a female member of the landing party gets taken by a pair of hairy arms (much to the concern of Chekov).  It seems the Enterprise has wandered into a battle between gnomes and trolls, and have to work their way out of this trouble!

Star Trek #17 (December, 1981) sees the Enterprise crew face "The Long Night's Dawn" in a story by Mike W. Barr, Ed Hannigan, Tom Palmer and Dave Simons, under a stunning cover by Walt Simonson.

The Enterprise crew go to check on a planet where a Federation probe has crashed, and released a toxic gas on the primitive people's of that planet.  Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down in disguise, so as not to expose their advanced nature to the civilization there.  Sadly, they are found out, having their communicators and tricorders broken, Kirk and Spock escape capture, and then must free McCoy before he is executed the next day by these superstitious people.

Where No Man Has Gone Before

Star Trek #18 (February, 1982) is the last issue of the 1980s Marvel Star Trek comic, with the story of "A Thousand Deaths" by J.M. DeMatteis, Joe Brozowski and Sal Trapani, and a cover by Joe Brozowski and Terry Austin.

The Enterprise is confronted by a huge alien ship, that brings Kirk and Spock aboard, while holding the Enterprise captive.  Kirk and Spock are forced to watch each other die in various scenarios while the Enterprise crew are being slowly killed.  Kirk and Spock both prepare to sacrifice themselves for their ship, leaving an impression on their captor....

....and that is Star Trek at it's best.  Striving for more, showing hope for tomorrow, and a loyalty beyond oneself to one's friends.

Even without access to the depth of Star Trek history, these 18 comics at least show the heart of the series.

Better still, Star Trek #4 to #18 from this run have been collected by IDW, who continues the Star Trek franchise in comic for to this day, these in the Star Trek Omnibus Vol. 1, and after a few years (and the movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), DC Comics takes a chance to boldly go....


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. "Star Trek #4 (July, 1980) started the first new Star Trek comic story since the days of Gold Key..." Actually, no, there was a comic strip in the 1970s that continued into the early 1980s. Did you mean first new comic book?