Thursday 16 May 2013


Here's the final Cover Gallery of the regular issues of DC Comics' first crack at STAR TREK.

Publication suddenly halted (although I don't think subsequent issues were ever solicited) after the 56th issue (which looked suspiciously like an inventory tale anyway) without warning.  DC and Paramount were locked in behind-the-scenes wrangling over the future direction of the book and the supporting cast.

Simultaneously to the main book, DC had also published a six-issue STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION limited series, based on the show's first season (or, more accurately, extrapolated from the show's bible and the shooting scripts of the first few TV episodes as the comic had to debut alongside the syndicated series) so - with plans afoot for a regular TNG book and the imminent release of STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER - the studio obviously saw the moment to renegotiate the license with DC.

Both titles did return, along with another movie adaptation (which also - unusually - had a UK edition published under license from London Editions), the following year in a swankier format.

The arrival of DEEP SPACE NINE upset the apple cart when Paramount, rather than automatically grant the license to DC, favoured Malibu Comics.  For the indie start-up, it was a deal worth doing as not only did it raise their own profile in the industry but it also proved they could take on the big boys and do business with the Hollywood studios for major licensing deals.

Malibu, eventually home of the ambitious Ultraverse (after giving Image a helping hand) eventually started to succumb to the declining market and put itself up for sale.  Marvel, fearful of loosing market share to DC (also sniffing around the West Coast outfit), snaffled-up the smaller rival and promptly struggled to do anything meaningful with the characters it had just acquired and - eventually - shelved the lot.

However, the Malibu tie-up did open the doors for Marvel to do a comprehensive deal with Paramount to license various properties including Star Trek and the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movie franchise,. snatching Trek away from DC.  Marvel went all-out on the deal, launching a raft of new books based on the constituent shows (now including VOYAGER) as well as 'non-core' spin-offs like STAR FLEET ACADEMY (also a series of books from Pocket Books), THE EARLY YEARS (based on Trek's original pilot episode The Cage) and - possible in a nod to Marvel's own history with the franchise - a book set during Kirk's (largely unchronicled) second five year mission after THE MOTION PICTURE.

Although Marvel apparently considered the line a success, it pulled the plug because the cash-strapped publisher wasn't happy about the licensing fee it was paying Paramount.  The franchise then hoped back to DC via their Wildstorm imprint before the current deal with IDW.

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