Friday, March 8, 2013

IDW Star Trek Strip Reprint

Thomas Warkentin's Star Trek Revisited

IDW have released the first of two books reprinting the Los Angeles Times' early-80s Star Trek newspaper strip. It's a classy production: a 272-page 8.5 x 11 hardback with dust jacket. Sunday pages are reproduced in color. This volume presents all the strips by Thomas Warkentin, the original writer/artist, and about half of the ones I illustrated. The second volume will finish my run and go on to the Shigetani, Myers, Colon, and Kulpa periods.

Re-reading Warkentin's stories I was reminded how very good they were. Thomas obeyed the Daily Strip Commandments--brisk stories and concise dialogue--yet he always delivered an extra bit of characterization and a clever plot twist.

His artwork was equally enjoyable. His likenesses of Spock, McCoy, Scotty and friends were just right. I especially liked his McCoy. Over time his Kirk evolved from looking like Shatner into a more generic hero, but it didn't harm things. I think the change was driven by limited reference material. Back then about the only source of useful reference was the series of comics-style Trek paperbacks using frame blowups from the TV shows. One quickly realized how often TV directors used identical setups for close-ups of major characters.

Thomas was a meticulous craftsman with a gift for drawing spacecraft and mechanical backgrounds.  This served him well on Star Trek. In a few words, the strip looked great. I heartily recommend this book--with the warning that it costs fifty bucks. The price isn't bad considering you get a quality package But it's still fifty bucks.

By the way, I don't get a piece of the sales, so my recommendation carries no ulterior motive. You get a lot of good reading for your dough. Buy the book if you can afford it.

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