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Star Trek (DC Comics, 1984) #39-40 – The Return of Mudd (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.

By its nature, Star Trek had very few recurring guest stars – outside of recurring extras and the supporting senior staff.

Star Trek was a prime-time science-fiction show in the sixties. As such, it was strongly episodic. More than that, it was a show that included its stated goal – “to explore strange new worlds” – in a narration over the opening credits. As such, the show did not tend to bring back too many recurring characters. Gene L. Coon had tried to introduce a recurring foil for Kirk in the second season, but Robert Justman had vetoed the reappearance of Kor in A Private Little War and Coon would depart before he could follow through on plans to make Koloth a recurring adversary.

Our man Mudd...

Our man Mudd…

Of course, this has not stopped Star Trek fans from seizing on various one-shot characters from the three seasons of the original Star Trek. Despite only appearing in Errand of Mercy, Kor has become a frequently recurring character in the Star Trek mythos. Gary Seven has spun off from Assignment: Earth into a string of novels and comics. Christopher Pike only appeared with Kirk in one single story, but there is a huge amount of literature dedicated to him. Still, this means that the elements which do recur are given a bit more weight.

Klingons, Romulans and Vulcans are a vital part of the Star Trek mythos. Khan Noonien Singh only appeared in Space Seed and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but his memory haunts the franchise to the point where he was revived for Star Trek Into Darkness. Harry Mudd has the distinction of being the only non-crewmember to recur within the original run of eighty episodes. So it is no surprise that Harry Mudd has become one of the most frequently recurring guest stars in the history of the franchise.

Kirk meets quirky...

Kirk meets quirky…

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Star Trek (Gold Key) #61 – Operation Con Game (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 Gold Key comics came a long way, in the end.

The early issues were full of errors and contradictions – feeling like Star Trek as described across a crowded bar, the broad strokes present but the details never synching up. Those early comics – much like James Blish’s novelisations – suggest a missing link between Star Trek and fifties science-fiction. The earliest issues offered a glimpse of Star Trek through a prism. However, the comics grew more professional (and more familiar with their source material) as they went along.

Beam me down, Scotty...

Beam me down, Scotty…

Indeed, the series attracted a number of notable writers and artists, including Len Wein. Wein would go on to write for the franchise when DC procured the license in the mid-eighties. More than that, it was clear that the writers and artists had begun to watch the show. There were none of the early mistakes that come from working with publicity materials and without context. Although the earliest issue of the comics achieved infamy among Star Trek fans, the book ran for over a decade – stumbling a bit close to traditional Star Trek values as it went along, even if it never quite abandoned its more absurd tendencies.

Operation Con Game is the last issue of Star Trek published by Gold Key, and serves as an example of how far the comics have come.

Disrupting that thought...

Disrupting that thought…

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