Wednesday, 8 May 2013


STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS opens in the UK this week (and I can't wait) which seems to be a good excuse to run a multi-part cover gallery for DC's first crack at adapting the franchise, published between 1984-88.  I've covered its predecessor, from Marvel, in a previous post here.

DC had one killer advantage over the House of Ideas: the terms of the license.  Marvel had only been allowed to exploit elements specifically included in STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (so, the Klingons were in... but the Romulans were not) leaving the rich tapestry of the TV show strictly off-limits.  Marvel's attempts to fill the gaps with their own tales were notoriously hit-and-miss (frequently more MISS than HIT).

DC's lawyers negotiated a far better deal: their creative teams were able to plunder the movie series, both the live-action and animated TV incarnations as well as allow DC to create their own supporting cast (a situation which eventually caused creative conflict with the studio... and briefly led to publication being suspended in 1988 only to restart, without the supporting cast, a year later).

The DC version was also fortunate to be coming off the back of a hit, commercially and creatively, movie which restored a buzz to the franchise.  The new comic launched into the gap between the second and third movies (The Wrath of Kahn wouldn't receive a comics adaptation for decades) which, initially, placed Spock off-limits (save for a handy flashback in issues 7-8).  STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK (adapted by DC as a one-shot special) slotted in between the 8th and 9th issue leaving the crew reunited, albeit without the Enterprise.  Not that Spock stayed at Kirk's side for long... but we'll get to that.

The two-part origin of Saavik is notable for continuing to use Kirstie Alley, rather than her replacement in the role Robin Curtis.

This first DC volume eventually clocked-up 56 regular issues, three annuals (1985/86/88), two movie adaptations (III and IV) and a two-part WHO'S WHO IN STAR TREK covering the movies to date as well as the TV versions and DC's own supporting cast.

Unlike the Marvel issues, there was no British edition (although some of the later DC material would be reprinted over here in the nineties) but the American edition was part of the DC bundle shipped over to British newsagents each month.  That's how I got my copy of the first issue way-back-when.


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