Star Trek (comics)

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Almost continuously since 1967, a number of companies have published Star Trek comic books, including Gold Key Comics, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Malibu Comics, Wildstorm, and currently IDW Publishing, with varying degrees of success. As of 2014, Star Trek: Enterprise remains the only Trek TV series that has yet to be adapted in comic book form.


Gold Key[edit]

The first Star Trek comics were published by Gold Key Comics between 1967 and 1978. These comics were highly stylized and diverged wildly from the TV series continuity. (As an example, in most issues, all the crew members with the exception of Spock wear lime green uniforms instead of primary-colored uniforms.) Most storylines in the Gold Key series featured original characters and concepts, although later issues did include sequels to the original series episodes "The City on the Edge of Forever", "Metamorphosis" and "I, Mudd". Writers included George Kashdan, Arnold Drake and Len Wein. Originally they were illustrated by Alberto Giolitti, an Italian artist who had never seen the series and only had publicity photos to use as references. Since Giolitti didn't have a publicity photo of James Doohan, early issues of the series had Mr. Scott drawn differently.

The Gold Key series had a run of 61 issues. (Starting with issue #20 all but nine stories were also released under the Whitman Comics brand.) The original issues, most of which featured photographic covers showing images from the series, are highly collectable. They are fondly remembered by fans, and a series of reprints ("The Key Collection") of these original titles began to appear in 2004, published by Checker, for five volumes containing issues #1-40. Starting in 2010, the Gold Key series was made available in digital form exclusively through Devil's Due Digital.

Gold Key lost the Star Trek license to Marvel Comics in 1979 (although Marvel's license from Paramount prohibited them from utilizing concepts introduced in the original series).[1]


Marvel's series of Star Trek comics began in 1979 with an adaptation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and continued for another two years, its tales presumably taking place during the apocryphal second five-year mission of Kirk and the Enterprise that would have been featured in the never-produced Star Trek: Phase II TV series. Marvel's license from Paramount prohibited them from utilizing concepts introduced in the original series, being restricted to only using the characters and concepts as they appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The series lasted a total of 18 issues, ending in 1981.

Comic Strips (UK and U.S.)[edit]

From 1969 to 1973, a series of weekly Star Trek comic strips ran in the British comics magazine eventually known as TV Century 21. A total of 258 issues were produced, as well as various annuals and specials. All were original stories. Two more annuals, under the Mighty TV Comic banner, also produced original Star Trek materials. In addition, the weekly TV Comic reprinted serialized versions of the U.S. Gold Key comics.[2]

From 1979 to 1983, the Los Angeles Times Mirror Syndicate produced a daily and Sunday comic strip based upon Star Trek. The strip debuted on December 2, 1979. The Sunday ran until October 24, 1982, the daily continued until December 3, 1983. The storylines were written and illustrated by Thomas Warkentin, Sharman DiVono, Ron Harris, Larry Niven, Martin Pasko, Padraic Shigetani, Bob Meyers, Ernie Colón, Gerry Conway and Dick Kulpa.[3][4]


In 1977–1978, before home video was widely available, Mandala Productions and Bantam Books published FotoNovels of TOS that included direct adaptations of actual color television episode frames (with word balloons) in comics format.

These books were the closest thing to viewing episodes on demand (in Day of the Dove, the features of Mara [Susan Howard] are obscured). Other television series and movies of the late 1970s, such as Battlestar Galactica also used this format.

Listed below are books from Star Trek: The Original Series (Mandala Productions/Bantam Books):

  • FotoNovel 1: The City on the Edge of Forever
  • FotoNovel 2: Where No Man Has Gone Before
  • FotoNovel 3: The Trouble with Tribbles
  • FotoNovel 4: A Taste of Armageddon
  • FotoNovel 5: Metamorphosis
  • FotoNovel 6: All Our Yesterdays
  • FotoNovel 7: The Galileo Seven
  • FotoNovel 8: A Piece of the Action
  • FotoNovel 9: The Devil in the Dark
  • FotoNovel 10: Day of the Dove
  • FotoNovel 11: The Deadly Years
  • FotoNovel 12: Amok Time.

Movie adaptations from Pocket Books:

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture: The Photostory, edited by Richard J. Anobile
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: The Photostory, edited by Richard J. Anobile (in black & white).


Main article: Star Trek (DC Comics)

The first DC series picked up immediately after Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, beginning in 1984 but after eight issues started to place stories after Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.[5] In these later issues, Kirk, after a multi-issue showdown with the Mirror Universe, is given command of the Excelsior, while Spock, mentally restored after mind-melding with his mirror self, is given the command of the USS SURAK sometimes depicted as an Oberth Class Science Vessel. However, with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home taking place right after III left off, the series quickly wiped the slate clean by having Kirk lose command of the Excelsior and Spock return to the state he was at the end of III. After the release of The Voyage Home, the series continued with Kirk commanding the Enterprise-A. These later issues also re-introduced the characters of Arex and M'Ress from Star Trek: The Animated Series. In 1988, the series ended when Paramount required all tie-in licenses to be renegotiated.

After a year's hiatus, DC's second Star Trek series began with an adaptation of Star Trek V and took place in the large gap between Star Trek V and Star Trek VI, but did not continue from the previous series, so storylines from that series were either ignored or rewritten. (One storyline was continued by Peter David in an original Star Trek: The Next Generation novel, Strike Zone.) Although more limited in scope than the first series, due to restrictions from Paramount (a prohibition on creating non-series-related ongoing characters resulted in R.J. Blaise - a popular character and love interest for Kirk - disappearing from the comic without explanation), the series lasted 80 issues and fleshed out some of the changes between V and VI, such as Sulu's promotion to captain of the Excelsior. As part of Paramount's increased restrictions on storytelling, planned appearances from Arex and M'Ress were shelved, with some formative artwork showing M'Ress (that appeared in a preview) re-drawn. The series was mainly written by Peter David and Howard Weinstein, who are also Star Trek novelists.[6]

DC also published two Star Trek: The Next Generation comic series. The first, a six-issue limited series taking place during the first season, was published in 1988.[7] An ongoing monthly series was launched from October 1989, covering from season two to just before Generations. The series was mainly written by Star Trek: The Next Generation novelist Michael Jan Friedman. The series would run until 1996.[8]

At the same time DC was publishing its comics, Malibu Comics published a Deep Space Nine series during the first three seasons, and DC and Malibu joined forces to publish a TNG/DS9 limited series. DC also published one of the first crossovers between the TOS and TNG eras in another limited series.


Beginning in 1993, Malibu published an ongoing series based upon Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and, as noted above, also joined forces with DC to publish a cross-over story with that company's TNG series. In addition, Malibu published a standalone issue focusing on the Romulans, and two issues of a "celebrity series" of stories written by Star Trek actors Mark Lenard and Aron Eisenberg.[9][10]

In 1996, Malibu also announced plans to publish a Voyager comic, and art from this comic appeared in some comic industry periodicals, including Wizard. However, Malibu was bought out by Marvel Comics, and Paramount Pictures (owners of the Trek franchise) signed a deal with Marvel to publish comics based upon Star Trek and Mission: Impossible under the new Paramount Comics banner.

Return to Marvel[edit]

Marvel Comics obtained the Star Trek license in 1996. Marvel (under the "Marvel/Paramount comics" imprint) published various one-shots and the quarterly Star Trek Unlimited series, which covered TOS and TNG.[11] Marvel published monthly comics based upon Deep Space Nine and Voyager.[12][13]

They also introduced two new series, Star Trek: Early Voyages, which dealt with Christopher Pike's adventures as captain of the Enterprise (as depicted in the rejected TOS pilot "The Cage"), and Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, which dealt with a group of cadets, including Deep Space Nine's Ferengi, Nog.

Fan acceptance of these comics got off to a shaky start when Marvel's inaugural publication of its new Star Trek line turned out to be a crossover between TOS and Marvel's popular superhero team, the X-Men. (This was later followed by a subsequent X-Men/TNG crossover, as well as a novel entitled Planet X based on this premise published by Pocket Books.) However, the different series turned out to be relatively popular, with Starfleet Academy and Early Voyages registering strong sales.

After about 18 months, however, Marvel's management reevaluated the relatively high cost of the Star Trek license agreement with Paramount resulting in all titles being abruptly canceled, even though Early Voyages was in the middle of a story arc at the time.[14][15]


Eventually the license drifted back to DC, more specifically its Wildstorm imprint. Wildstorm decided to not do an ongoing series, but instead a series of limited series and trade paperback graphic novels from 1999 onwards. Writers included Nathan Archer, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith,[16] Keith R.A. DeCandido,[17] Scott Ciencin,[18] Kevin J. Anderson,[19] K. W. Jeter,[20] John Ordover and David Mack.[21]

Their TNG publications mainly dealt with the movie era, between Insurrection and Nemesis; their Deep Space Nine stories were based on the post-Season 7 novel continuity, and their Voyager series took place during the series. Wildstorm also published an issue based on the novel series New Frontier (written by series creator Peter David)[22] and the video game Elite Force.

Their license expired in 2002.


For several years, no comic book company held the rights to publish Trek-based comics. However, in October 2004, Tokyopop announced plans to publish an anthology of Next Generation-based stories presented in the style of Japanese manga.

No firm publication date was ever announced, but two projects by Tokyopop, based upon the original series, were released instead. The new comic anthologies, produced by Joshua Ortega, were released annually in September 2006 (Shinsei Shinsei) and 2007 (Kakan ni Shinkou). Five artists and writer teams presented five new stories, per volume, based on the original series.[23]

IDW Publishing[edit]

On November 9, 2006, IDW Publishing announced that they had secured the publishing rights to Star Trek from CBS Consumer Products.[24]

IDW's first title was Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Space Between, a six-issue limited series launched January 2007.

Over the next six years, IDW would publish 31 mini-series and one ongoing series with a total of over 140 issues.

In 2009, IDW published a prequel to the 2009 reboot/prequel film Star Trek, entitled Star Trek: Countdown.[25]

In 2009, IDW published Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, written by Andy Schmidt and based on the second Star Trek movie, and the only movie with the Original Crew that had never been in comic form.[26]

In September 2011, IDW began publishing a new ongoing Star Trek series, set in the continuity of the 2009 film. A number of storylines in the ongoing series featured retellings of Original Series storylines.

In 2013, IDW published a prequel to the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness, entitled Star Trek Countdown to Darkness, which featured the Enterprise encountering Robert April, the apocryphal first captain of the Enterprise introduced in Star Trek: The Animated Series, and its main ongoing series began telling stories set after the film.


This is a list of all ongoing Star Trek comic book series.

Title Series Publisher Issues Dates Notes
Star Trek Gold Key #1 - 61 1967 - 1979 The Original Series
Star Trek Marvel #1 - 18 1980 - 1981 The Original Series
Star Trek Series 1 DC #1 - 56 1984 - 1988 The Original Series
Star Trek Series 2 DC #1 - 80 1989 - 1996 The Original Series
Star Trek: The Next Generation Series 1 DC #1 - 6 1988 The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation Series 2 DC #1 - 80 1989 - 1996 The Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Malibu #0 - 32 1993 - 1996 Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Marvel #1 - 15 1996 - 1998 Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Starfleet Academy Marvel #1 - 19 1996 - 1998 Starfleet Academy
Star Trek: Early Voyages Marvel #1 - 17 1997 - 1998 The Original Series ("The Cage")
Star Trek Unlimited Marvel #1 - 10 1996 - 1998 All Franchises
Star Trek: Voyager Marvel #1 - 15 1996 - 1998 Voyager
Star Trek: Untold Voyages Marvel #1 - 5 1998 The Original Series
Star Trek IDW #1 - current 2011–present 2009 Film

See also[edit]

  • Primortals – a comic related to Leonard Nimoy
  • Tek World – a comic related to William Shatner


  1. ^ Curt Danhauser. "Guide to the Gold Key Star Trek Comics". Retrieved 2006-12-25. 
  2. ^ Rich Handley. "The Star Trek Comic Strips". Retrieved 2006-12-25. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Los Angeles Times Syndicate Star Trek newspaper comic strip". Retrieved 2006-12-25. 
  4. ^ "I Love Comix Archive: Los Angeles Times Syndicate Star Trek newspaper comic strip". Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  5. ^ "First Star Trek monthly series from DC Comics, 1984-1988". Retrieved 2006-12-25. 
  6. ^ "Second Star Trek monthly series from DC Comics, 1989-1996". Retrieved 2006-12-25. 
  7. ^ "Star Trek: The Next Generation limited series from DC Comics, 1998". Retrieved 2006-12-25. 
  8. ^ "Star Trek: The Next Generation monthly series from DC Comics, 1989-1996". Retrieved 2006-12-25. 
  9. ^ "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine monthly series from Malibu Comics, 1993-1995". Retrieved 2006-12-25. 
  10. ^ "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Celebrity Series from Malibu Comics, 1995". Retrieved 2006-12-25. 
  11. ^ "Star Trek: Unlimited monthly series from Marvel Paramount Comics, 1996-1998". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  12. ^ "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine monthly series from Marvel Comics, 1996-1998". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  13. ^ "Star Trek: Voyager monthly series from Marvel Comics, 1996-1998". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  14. ^ "Star Trek: Early Voyages monthly series from Marvel Comics, 1997-1998". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  15. ^ "Star Trek: Starfleet Academy monthly series from Marvel Comics, 1996-1998". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  16. ^ "Star Trek: Voyager - Planet Killer limited series from Wildstorm Comics, 2001". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  17. ^ "Star Trek: The Next Generation limited series from Wildstorm, 2000". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  18. ^ "Star Trek: The Next Generation limited series from Wildstorm, 2000-2001". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  19. ^ "Star Trek: The Next Generation graphic novels from Wildstorm, 2001-2002". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  20. ^ "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - N-Vector limited series from Wildstorm, 2000". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  21. ^ "Star Trek: Divided We Fall limited series from Wildstorm, 2001". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  22. ^ "Star Trek: New Frontier one-shot comic from Wildstorm, 2000". Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  23. ^ [1][dead link][dead link]
  24. ^ "Star Trek Comics Soar Again" (Press release). IDW Publishing. November 9, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-25. 
  25. ^ Jeffrey Renaud (2008-12-10). "Writers talk Star Trek: Countdown". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  26. ^ NYCC '09 - IDW - Dr Who Monthly and More, Newsarama, February 7, 2009


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