imageA little-over a year ago, a new Facebook friend, (whom – I met on a Dayton Ward comment thread), invited me to like his New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics Facebook page. I knew, as soon as I saw what the page was about, that I would be awaiting something special; and I’ve followed it’s progress with great interest, since-then. Indeed, me and Joseph F. Berenato (New Life’s editor and brainchild), have become (I consider) good friends, because of this outstanding book; (despite our having never-met, in real-life). In January, I asked Michael Clark and Bunny Summers if I could run a story on this much-anticipated book, and they gave me their blessing.

So, I put a three-question request together, then I solicited some responses and begged-participation from the book’s contributors in a Facebook Instant Message; (these-being well-known writers, authors, artists and editors; giants in their fields). They were very-gracious and provided me (this green, upstart, unknown wannabe, of no experience) with invaluable insights and fascinating behind-the-scenes looks into what they had written. I put it all together and I wrote an exclusive article (one called it ‘lengthy’, which made me smile), publishing it on the VisionaryTrek.com site; and, Wow…it garnered very-good reviews (for-which, I would like to thank, all of you).

Gold Key ComicsNow, I’m here to tell you about this finished, soon-to-be-released book from Sequart Organization, and – why you should get your hands on a copy for your own library. (It will debut at Shore Leave Con, the first-weekend in August, but I have been given an exclusive look. Also, Joe will be moderating a panel there, with several of these contributors.) In a word, New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics is Awesome! It’s everything I was hoping for, and – more. This amazingly-researched, lovingly-written anthology takes us on a journey into every aspect of Star Trek comics; from the brand’s many publishers (7), to the off-the-wall stuff, which has it’s own niche in this franchise empire. Each writer was tasked with writing an essay on a specific era in Star Trek comic’s history (which – spans from July 1967, to today, with only a brief hiatus, back in ’03-’06), and they’ve pulled-it-off brilliantly. This is a first-of-its-kind masterpiece. It’s jam-packed with knowledge, interviews with writers- and artists-of-the-day, photos of each era’s works and lots of cool insights into how the genre was shaped, and how it has grown into what it is today. This is an incredible trove of facts; all penned by fans who love Star Trek as much as we do.

Mavel ComicsHere are some examples of what you’ll see within these pages: Did you know that the artists and writers for Gold Key had never seen an episode of Star Trek when the comic-line first came out? That’s one of the tidbits that Scott Tipton‘s essay tells us. Alan J. Porter says that Captain Kirk was far-removed, from what Americans knew him to be; he was an ‘ineffective and somewhat rash leader’ in the Joe 90: Top Secret British strips. According to Kevin Dilmore, Chekov was, once-again, absent from a line of coloring books from Western Publishing Co in the late-70’s; just as he was, from TAS. Ian Dawe’s covers the topic of feminism in a fascinating essay, in which he discusses the changing roles of Uhura and Saavik, uniforms, and how women were portrayed in comics. Do you remember the Bickleys? They were the Beta Shift relief crew in TNG’s early-years. You’ll learn about them, and about a Klingon named Konom, who pre-dated Worf’s arrival on the bridge of a Federation Starship.

Wildstorm ComicsRich Handley takes us on a trek through the U.S. newspaper strips and he covers items that were scrapped, left undone or never developed. Jim Beard writes about Marvel’s first Star Trek run; while Dayton Ward goes into their second-go, in the 90’s. Bob Greenberger gives us the goods on the creation of TNG during his editor-days at DC. Keith R. A. DeCandido goes back to Wildstorm, (which utilized the talents of some very-respected ST writers); Martín A. Perez explores the Peter David New Frontier comics; Cody Walker has the IDW ‘new’ Star Trek movie tie-ins; plus – there are many more.

Countdown Orci-RobertAll-total, there are 17 contributors at-work, here; with a foreword by Star Trek icon, David Gerrold. I love everything about New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, and – I’m absolutely certain, that you will, also. As I like to say: “This is #GreatStarTrek!” Some of the greatest minds of the genre are represented, doing what they do best: entertain, inform, and – advance this mighty franchise into another era. I’m honored to have been included in this epic work, and at having the opportunity to work with these titans, myself.

Before I go, I want to tell you a liitle about that terrific cover by Pat Carbajal. I introduced myself to Pat, today, and he told me he followed Joe’s ideas and suggestions, sketching the cover-art out, until it was approved; then, he set-about painting it up into what you see, here. He said the idea was to give it that Gold Key look, and I believe they hit the bullseye. It’s a great show of the iconic, as-well-as, the historic aspects of Star Trek. Don’t you agree?

On a personal-note: “Thanks, Joe, for your assistance, at every turn, and – for the mention of little-ol’ me, and my colleagues across the pond, at VisionaryTrek.com, in your terrific introduction. We are humbled and grateful, Sir. Congratulations, on a job well-done” (And, yes…I will be purchasing my copy.)

Lt. Eric Cone