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Star Trek (Gold Key) #1 – The Planet of No Return! (Review)

The first Star Trek pilot, The Cage, was produced in 1964. To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, this December we are reviewing the second season of the original Star Trek show. You can check out our first season reviews here. Check back daily for the latest review.

The Star Trek comics published by Gold Key are somewhat infamous additions to the Star Trek canon. The company began publishing comic book tie-ins in July 1967, in the gap between the first and second seasons of the original Star Trek show. They continued to publish those tie-ins until 1978, when the license passed to Marvel. These early comics have become the source of much derision over the years, with fans dismissing them as hollow cash-ins produced by people with little understanding of the franchise itself.

However, recent years have seen something of a reappraisal of these early comic books. Once IDW Publishing secured the rights to produce tie-in Star Trek comic books, they devoted considerable effort to archiving and releasing classic and little-seen material from the franchise’s history. They released the Star Trek newspaper strips in a two-volume set, before turning their attention to the classic Gold Key comic books. It is a very worthwhile attempt to provide fans with a glimpse of oft-overlooked chapters in the franchise’s history.

Plant life...

Plant life…

The Gold Key Star Trek comics are messy. A lot of the criticisms hold true. There are all manner of continuity errors in the production of the comic. Artist Alberto Giolitti takes quite some time to figure out what Scotty looks like, and the colourists take a bit of time to figure out what uniforms various cast members should be wearing. The writing is similarly clunky, with characters sounding a little out of sort as the basic plot details seem to stand at odds with still-relatively-small Star Trek canon had been established by the closing credit of Operation — Annihilate!

And yet, despite all these considerable flaws, these comics do make for an interesting time capsule. They don’t feel quite like Star Trek so much as an impression of what Star Trek would look described to somebody who has never seen it, filtered through the lense of fifties and sixties science-fiction comics. The early issues feel like three blind men describing an elephant, and it is glorious.

Branching out...

Branching out…

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Leslie Nielsen

I am not going to attempt to write an obituary for the recently deceased actor Leslie Nielsen. Countless other bloggers, film critics and media writers have already published their own versions, many of which are undoubtedly far more eloquent than anything I could come up with. Like Dennis Hopper before him, I can’t claim to have encyclopedic knowledge of Nielsen’s incredibly long and distinguished career, nor can I suggest that his filmography is composed of nothing but masterpieces. However, he was always a performer who I respected and whose considerable talents seemed to be tempered with a desire never to take himself too seriously.

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Fly Me to the Moon…

I’m back…

Science-fiction film Moon, starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey is opening in the States next week. It actually looks quite good – with reviews seemingly spanning the divide from “it’s solidly entertaining with a great performance” to “it’s classic science-fiction”. It looks likely to be one of those films I will really try to get to see over the Summer (when it eventually opens here in Ireland), and the trailer is well worth a look. Still, this got me thinking about how the fictional fascination with life on other worlds has been embraced by the genre, and whether that has really changed in recent years.

Sam Rockwell's many jobs on the lunar station include changing lightbulbs when needs be...

Sam Rockwell's many jobs on the lunar station include changing lightbulbs when needs be...

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