Back when I edited Star Trek for IDW, I put together a proposal for a series of reprint collections that I called Star Trek Archives, culling the best stories from 40+ years of Trek comic books  and re-releasing them in a deluxe format. Most of the comics in the “Trek oevre” appeared prior to the current industry trend of omnibus editions, so most had never been republished, and entire series–like some great titles from the second Marvel run of “Paramount Comics”–were at risk of falling into total obscurity.

I pitched an entire range of collections, not just “Best of Star Trek” but editions that focused on creators, characters, storylines and even villains. The project would also create the opportunity to collect special issues that had been scattered across the years, such as film adaptations, as well as dig through a few older, scandalously forgotten series to give them new life.

Star_Trek_Archives_vol01_BestOfPeterDavidcvr_largeI had wanted to put more Trek books on the shelves to coincide with the new film–the reason the Archives began appearing near the end of 2008, to coincide with the movie’s original December release date–but it would also let us tip our hats to some of the marquee Trek creators whose work had appeared throughout the years; such as fan-favorite Peter David, writer/creator of the Fallen Angel series I edited for IDW, and John Byrne, whom IDW recruited to do the first-ever Trek series of his long, iconic career after he tested the waters in the Alien Spotlight series.

And so, in October 2008, fans began seeing Archive editions like The Best of Peter David, with stories that Peter and I hand-picked from his DC Comics run, as well as The Best of Gary Seven, to go along with  Byrne’s IDW series showcasing the character, which would see its own collected volume hitting the stands at around the same time. Readers also received The Best of the Borg–a favorite of mine, obviously–collecting both Marvel and DC issues but which had the good fortune to feature cover art from the Borg Alien Spotlight I had written for IDW.

Star_Trek_Archives_vol02_BestOfTheBorg_largeSome of the collections I developed for the Archives series eventually became the roster for the spinoff Omnibus line that IDW now publishes, including the entire reprinted run of the gloriously bizarre first Marvel series, along with its later Star Trek: Early Voyages title that recounted some exceptionally well-crafted tales of Captain Pike. It also included a Trek Movie collection, to feature a new Wrath of Kahn adaptation that Risa Kessler of Paramount and I had conspired to schedule for quite some time as the only TOS film–thanks to a quirk in Trek licensing history–that never received proper comics treatment.


Last Generation #4, by Gordon Purcell, which featured Sulu in command of the Excelsior.

It’s been tremendously gratifying to watch those projects come to pass, first under my successor Andy Schmidt and now with the talented leadership of Scott Dunbier, along with other projects I originally developed plans for at IDW, such as the second Alien Spotlight series showcasing the Klingons, Tribbles and the Q, or the upcoming Captain Sulu miniseries, featuring his command of the Excelsior. (Did I just mention a new Sulu-Excelsior series to be published by IDW? Why, yes I did…)

But though these are good reasons one and all to launch the Star Trek Archives, even that conceals my true motive for the project, and for recruiting my already busy IDW cohort Clydene Nee (of San Diego Comic-Con fame) to help me out. The true reason that I conceived, pitched, negotiated and developed the entire Archives project is:

I wanted to publish Deep Space Nine.

The problem with DS9 has always been that, as has been widely discussed, IDW’s initial Trek license covered only TOS and TNG, with simply an option to pick up ancillary series like DS9, Voyager or Enterprise. And, just like with the TV ratings, comic sales for spinoff series have always been the bastard stepchild of the flagship franchises. So the question becomes: If you have only a handful of Trek titles available on the schedule, will you slot them with Kirk and Picard, or with Sisko and Kira, when you know one is likely to make reliably less money than the others?

But, again, like the TV show, DS9 has nothing if not an insanely dedicated and loyal following, and was easily the most consistently, heavily-requested Trek franchise among IDW’s readers whenever we’d ask what they wanted next. If I could test the waters for a DS9 series–some way to gauge fan support, without a full commitment to the schedule and the license–I’d find out if we could still make the Deep Space Nine numbers work.

ST-Archives-Vol4new-cvrAnd thus: Star Trek Archives: The Best of DS9.

I had known the guys from Malibu Comics, the original DS9 publisher, from way, way back in the day, when I worked as a founding writer for Wizard Magazine, and I thought they had produced some great DS9 stuff–it had even featured art by Gordon Purcell, now one of my artists on Trek at IDW, and who would go on to pencil my series Star Trek: The Last Generation. It also featured standout scripts by Mike W. Barr, who had written Trek for virtually every publisher to hold the license (minus the early Gold Key), and who I had met back during his Ultraverse days.

All of which represents an extremely lengthy and self-indulgent preamble to the news that, after years of discussion and massive fan requests–dating back to the days of my predecessor Dan Taylor in the Trek editor’s seat–it looks like IDW will now finally pick up the Deep Space Nine license.

Keep in mind, however, that like all projects not yet officially announced, this could all be the result of inside information gone frighteningly haywire, that there are infinite possible outcomes in an infinite universe, and as the saying goes, it’s not canon until it’s canon.

idw_logo2But, take note, IDW has played it extremely close to the vest about its upcoming  Trek lineup, apart from a nuTrek movie tie-in slot, the finale of John Byrne’s Romulans saga and an occasional Alien Spotlight one-shot scattered sporadically across the schedule. The runaway success of the film has propelled Trek back into the pop culture stratosphere, and IDW will be coordinating its upcoming schedule to reflect that.

I can’t say whether the DS9 Archives played a decisive role in this development, or if it’s simply the fact that the nuTrek franchise has momentarily sidelines Shatner-era TOS titles; perhaps a combination of the two, along with IDW’s longstanding posture of soliciting reader input and being responsive to what fans want. In that respect, it’s got one of the best reputations in the business.

So, what shape will new DS9 comics ultimately take? I’m speaking now from personal experience as the Trek editor and my years in the comics biz, and not from any additional inside info; but I would speculate that they will not interface with the DS9 Relaunch novels from Pocket Books. IDW has always been quite independent in its Trek storytelling, and I would expect that it will pursue its own creative path without the obligation to proactively incorporate the prose-novel efforts.

Avatar,_Book_One_coverIDW will probably do what it can to avoid actively contradicting such stories, but keep in mind that both producing comics and novels remains acutely work-intensive, and it’s difficult enough already to keep in mind 168 episodes of the TV series, let alone what happens on every page of every novel that Pocket Books has ever published. Add to that the fact that Senior Editor Marco Palmieri has been laid off from Pocket without replacement and Paramount recently lost the encyclopaedic knowledge of  Trek guru Paula Block, and you can start to imagine the difficulties involved.

That said, it seems unlikely that IDW would examine the post-TV era anyway–major characters exited for parts unknown during the series finale, and it would be counterintuitive for IDW to pay license for those characters,  only to not make use of them; moreover, Pocket has already re-examined their fates, so retreading such recently familiar ground would only invite unnecessary comparison.

Instead, what you’ll probably see, much as IDW has done for TOS and TNG, are stories set during the arc of the TV show; perhaps the Dominion War–by far and away DS9’s most popular contribution to Trek lore–and, more specifically, stories that feature Worf’s presence on the station, since that would allow IDW to integrally market a major TNG character and remedy concerns that a DS9 series might not sell as well.

comiconIDW will most likely unveil its DS9 plans at the San Diego Comic-Con next week–so, if the universe unfolds as it should, you would begin seeing new DS9 comics by either the end of this year or early 2010. I’m led to believe that a writer has already been hired, with an interior artist to follow shortly (if not already); and, if it is indeed slated for a Comic-Con announcement, then promotional artwork will already have been produced, so we may see the first new DS9 images even before the end of this month.

I’ve moved up and on to other companies and projects since IDW, but even still, it’s the one announcement I’m going to be paying closest attention to at the show next week.

Now about that Sulu series…

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LAST GENERATION Original Artwork for sale!

last-generation-logoHeya! Just wanted to post a note that my buddy and inker extraordinaire, Bob Almond, whose work made Star Trek: The Last Generation look so incredibly polished, has put original artwork pages up for sale online for the entire miniseries.


Bob Almond

If you’re a collector of original comic book art, or just want a cool-as-Kahn Star Trek collectible, you should definitely check it out. Bob makes regular convention appearances where you can pick up his Last Gen pages and stuff from other titles  (Marvel Comics, etc.), but a number of spankin’ pages from the Trek series have already sold, so you might want to look into it now before all the best ones are gone.

Bob’s so notable in the industry that he runs the Inkwell Awards (the comics biz’s premiere awards for inking work), so I was incredibly lucky to have him rock my world on The Last Generation. He’s also about as nice a guy as you’re likely to meet, so if you do run into him at a show, chat him up and he’ll tell you a couple of cool stories.

There are a number of great pieces still up for grabs, but I’ve reproduced a few of my favorites from the series below. Click on the link above to go to the Comic Art House site, which handles sale of Bob’s work.







With the grand finale of my Star Trek: The Last Generation miniseries hitting the stands last week,  I thought I’d give s a bit of cool background on some more great Last Generation covers previewed during my blogging absence–this time from the recent past, and therefore not so tragically behind the curve:

Star Trek The Last Generation #4, by Gordon Purcell.

Star Trek: The Last Generation #4, by Gordon Purcell.

Gordon Purcell has been one of the premiere Star Trek comics artists of his generation. Known for his spot-on and yet remarkably expressive likenesses, it’s virtually impossible to think about Star Trek comics in the ’90s without his signature style coming to mind. (He’s such a vet of the franchise that his first Trek work was actually for DC’s first TOS series, in 1988.) Since then, Gordon’s worked on the second DC Trek series, their TNG series, Malibu’s Deep Space Nine and even Wildstorm’s Voyager efforts. (And that just about covers it, yah?)

Gordon Purcell

Gordon Purcell

So, when a fill-in issue opened up in our IDW schedule, it was a no-brainer for us to hire him on. We liked his work so much on that issue that we phoned him up again to wrap up the first Star Trek: Year Four miniseries, and then draw the entire run of the second Year Four series, from Trek grande dame D.C. Fontana and noted TV scribe Derek Chester. Gordon’s one of the most professional, steady and reliable artists I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with as an editor, so it was great to finally have him draw a series for me that I had written.

It was also well past due that Gordon finally drew a cover for us, so I called up Last Generation editor Andy Schmidt, my successor at IDW, and he thought it was an excellent idea. Since Gordon was already handling the interiors, this cover didn’t require much participation on my part, other than to tell Gordon, “JK’s already doing the space battle, so maybe you’ll want to do the mano-y-mano between Sulu and Worf.” (Yes, I know, a moment of breathtaking art direction.)

Gordon then turned in an image so perfectly suited to the story that it can practically be inserted directly into the comic, between pages 15 and 16, and have it make the climax of his epic fight scene somehow even more dramatic. That’s quite an accomplishment, considering that the cover was probably drawn months before he tackled the interiors of the issue.

Star Trek The Last Generation #5, by JK Woodward.

Star Trek: The Last Generation #5, by Nick Runge.

Nick Runge did some fantastic cover work for me when I edited the new Badger series for IDW, featuring the inestimable Mike Baron’s classic indie character from the 1980s. Here, he pulls off a ripping homage to the movie poster for The Undiscovered Country, this time with the Last Generation characters in place of the original Enterprise crew, since issue #5 involves the Last Gen cast traveling back in time to the climax of Star Trek VI . (There’s even Worf’s menacing gaze in place of Chang’s, complete with riveted eyepatch. Nice!)

Movie poster for Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country.

The original movie poster for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

You will notice one essential difference between the two images–the explosion’s a bit bigger, colored with a more limited palette. That’s actually intentional, to accommodate a very cool placement for the trade dress (series logo, etc.), since the composition of the original image wouldn’t have allowed for its usual location across the top.

But, as inspired as this cover is, I also can’t take any credit for it–it was kept secret, as a complete surprise for me, by my wily Last Gen editor Andy Schmidt. When I first laid eyes on it, that immediately became one of my favorite moments working on the Last Generation project. It was simply a stroke of genius to execute a second homage cover (after JK Woodward’s cool-as-hell rendition of Uncanny X-Men #141 for the first issue), and have them both serve as bookends for the completed series.


Star Trek: The Last Generation #5, by JK Woodward

My pal JK Woodward served as the main cover artist for the entire Last Generation series, including this incredibly atmospheric image that harkens back to–and, really, surpasses–some of the best covers of the classic 1980s and ’90s DC Comics run.

Strangely–perhaps because JK served as the main cover artist for the series–the Internets credited him, rather than Nick, for the Star Trek VI homage cover when it was first released. Obviously, if you read it on the Internet then it must be true, so people were pleasantly surprised when JK later unveiled this stellar (no pun intended) painted work.

LAST GEN #5 On Sale — UPDATE: Selling out!

last-generation-logoWent to my Friendly Neighborhood Comic Book Store at 5pm to pick up Star Trek: The Last Generation #5, and… it had sold out, on the very first day. So, I drove 20 minutes to another, larger store, and–sold out!

For the first time in a long time, I actually felt thrilled to drive home empty-handed.

Colorist John Hunt, who worked on part of the issue along with Mario Boon, told me he had a similar experience, in which he went to his comics shop and found the very last copy available. I’ve even had a reviewer contact me looking for a copy, since it was gone on the first day at his shop, too.

It’s not a question of retailers ordering fewer copies–the numbers for issue #4 actually went up from #3–which almost never happens for a miniseries (and it didn’t have any Retailer Incentive covers to increase orders, either).

Issue #4 appeared in the retailer order guide the same month that #1 hit the stands, so rack sales and customer reaction to the first issue must have been unusually strong. And, based on these sales for #5, it looks like it continued through the entire series.

If you can’t find #5 on the stands, ask your retailer put in a reorder and it’ll show up in about a week, usually the next Wednesday or Thursday. Or, pick up the collected edition, which hits both comics shops and book stores in July, just in time for the San Diego megashow.

LAST GENERATION nominated for Best Series of 2008!

chronic-riftYow! Since I’m back to blogging, it’s time to announce that “Star Trek: The Last Generation” has been nominated for Best Series of 2008 by the legendary and longest-running SF/comics talk show, The Chronic Rift!

The ‘Rift started out as a cable TV chat show in New York City in 1989, and now 20 years later can be heard worldwide through its podcast edition thanks to the magic of the Internets. Its annual recognition of science fiction, fantasy and horror storytelling, The Roundtable Awards, tips its hat to the top genre films, comics, TV shows and prose fiction of the year.

last-generation-logoLast Generation has been named a “Best Bet” and “Pick of the Week” by Wizard Magazine–sort of the Rolling Stone of the comics biz, for the uninitiated–as well as received stellar reviews from Wizard, Ain’t It Cool News, TrekWeb, and a wide array of other top SF and comics sites, but this is the first time that it’s actually been up for an industry award.

From the official blog of the show:

We release the list of nominees for this year’s Roundtable Awards ceremony…

Best Comic Book
All-Star Superman
The Amazing Spider-Girl
Locke & Key
100 Bullets
Star Trek: The Last Generation

OK, let’s see. All-Star Superman is from Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Amazing Spider-Girl is the cult hit written by former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Tom DeFalco. Locke & Key is the breakout series from Stephen King’s son Joe Hill. And 100 Bullets is from WonderCon Guest of Honor Brian Azzarello. So, yeah…I think you’d need a degree in quantum physics to chart the likelihood that Last Generation will take home the trophy. (Maybe in an alternate universe… *rimshot*)

Joe Hill

Joe Hill

No, seriously, I’ll say it right now, and mean it, that it’s an honor just to be nominated. IDW, which publishes Last Generation, had been developing Locke & Key during my time as an editor there, and even though I had no involvement in producing the series, I thought it was far and away the most impressive thing we had published. Joe Hill himself is an incredibly fertile creator, able to rattle off story pitches like the gavel dude at a farm auction, and yet hold your attention rapt as if he’d already written the entire story in his head.

Tom DeFalco

Tom DeFalco

At the same time, I’d love to see Tom DeFalco get the nod, since an interview I did with him back in 1987 had been my first professional comics work while I was still a cubling journo in college, shortly after he became editor-in-chief and took me on a personal tour of the fabled Marvel offices in New York City.

(Regrettably, I no longer have any copies of the interview myself; though if I have a chance to sort through my parents’ old storage unit next time I’m on the East Coast, I’ll try to track it down. I think it was headlined, “An Interview With Captain Marvel”–oh, so clever.)

Marvel Masterworks, Vol. 1

Marvel Masterworks, Vol. 1

After our conversation, which lasted very nearly all day, Tom even gave me a special thanks in the Acknowledgments of the very first edition of Marvel Masterworks (Amazing Spider-Man) that came out at the end of the year–my very first professional comics credit. He also put it into the concurrently-produced second and third volumes, The Fantastic Four–which reprinted the issues that launched the Marvel Universe–and The X-Men, which became the Marvel Universe’s top-selling blockbuster franchise.

Coincidentally, one of the other names in the Acknowledgments, also just a fledgling creator at the time, will soon be taking the reins at one of the publishers I’ve worked for. (I can’t say who or which, since it hasn’t been announced yet, but you’ll hear about it soon enough. It’s a pretty big deal.)

Is that--can that be?--Yes, it's our beloved KRAD, fresh from his date with Molly Ringwald.

Is that--can that be?--Yes, it's our beloved KRAD, fresh from his date with Molly Ringwald.

Also coincidentally, the very first episode of Chronic Rift two decades ago featured my future pal and celebrated author Keith R.A. Decadido, who I would eventually hire to write Star Trek for me at IDW, but here looking as fresh-faced as the day he cracked open his first comic.  Manscaping advice, Keith: lose the beard that you’ve now treasured for so long–DeFalco and Hill already have you beat.

None of which has anything really to do with being nominated for Best Series of 2008–except to say that being 21 years old, still in college, touring the Marvel offices and interviewing the editor-in-chief, then seeing my name in the credits of a series of deluxe hardcover books that reprinted some of the most seminal issues in comics history…I sure as hell felt like a winner.

It does feel great to be nominated in such prestigious company, so a huge thanks to those involved in the process who held my series in such high regard. For everyone else, the Roundtable Awards get announced at a ceremony April 6, so be sure to send me your condolences. 🙂


Oog. How’s that for a bad headline? Fortunately, the cover art that it introduces below is outstanding in exactly the way that the headline is not. My pal JK Woodward worked for me when I edited Peter David’s Fallen Angel series over at IDW, and was one of the most consistently reliable artists in mine or anyone else’s rolodexes. But in addition to his note-perfect style and incredibly solid storytelling skills, he has a work ethic that’s tremendously authentic, in an era when so many comics illustrators are more digital designers rather than classical artists.

When JK paints, as he did for the first five issues of the Fallen Angel series, he actually paints. That’s right–not Photoshop, and certainly not MS Paint. But paint.

JK design sketch for Last Generation #3.

JK's design sketch for Last Generation #3.

So, naturally, I was thrilled for him to work on Star Trek: The Last Generation, in which he’ll be handling one of the covers for each of the five issues. People have already seen his spot-on X-Men tribute as the Retailer Incentive for the first issue, which homages John Byrne’s classic “Days of Future Past”, one of the thematic inspirations for the Last Generation series.

Though you wouldn’t know it to look at him, JK’s actually a huge Star Trek fan (unless, of course, you imagine that if Billy Idol and OMAC had a love child born wearing a Jello Biafra shirt, he’d be a huge Star Trek fan). Next year, he’ll be doing an entire issue of IDW’s Aliens Spotlight II series, a Klingon epic written by celebrated Trek scribe Keith R.A. DeCandido, whose prose novels on the warrior race have earned him honorary forehead ridges with the fans.

A preliminary design sketch for another one of JK Last Generation covers.

A preliminary design sketch for another one of JK's Last Generation covers.

Keith and I have known each other nearly mumble20mumble years, back when we were both nobodies; and now that he’s somebody and I’m still nobody, it was great to get him to come back to do a Trek comic for us. (Keith’s previous comics work, “Perchance To Dream“, remains among the high points of Wildstorm’s Trek catalog.) For the Spotlight issue, Keith delivered a killer script (no pun intended–OK, yes, intended) called “Four Thousand Throats”, which includes a fully painted sequence from JK. It’ll be the first painted Trek interiors from IDW, ever.

JK moved to Long Beach here in Southern California just as I was moving from Long Beach to San Diego to work for IDW. But when I was back up for a visit, I stopped by his flat near my old house to say hi (yes, artists love it when editors come to their homes; didn’t you know that?) and had a chance to check out some of the Klingon Spotlight‘s actual pages; and believe me, there’s a two-page spread in there that’s going to rock your Goqlath.

JK’s work has already caught the attention of the majors, and the X-Men Origins: Beast book that he painted for Marvel just hit the stands last week. I had been spending some time with Peter and JK at a convention a earlier in the year (now there’s an interesting pair at signings: Peter’s gone bald in the middle, and JK has a mohawk, so combined they have one extremely disturbing haircut); and, naturally, JK had some art on display.

A panel of Kang from JK and KRAD Alien Spotlight II Klingons book.

A panel of Kang from JK and KRAD's Alien Spotlight II Klingons book.

One of the editors for the Big Two wandered by, and not realizing that JK had already done the X-Men book, immediately began talking to him about bringing him on board for some work. (Of course, the editor also didn’t realize that JK already drew a monthly book for me, God dammit, and if you’re trying to nick my artist I’d be more than happy to take it outside and kick your–well, ah, okay, ‘scuse me, maybe I’ll just go get a hot dog. Good luck, JK, you traitorous son of a–hmm, all right then, maybe a pretzel too.)

JK’s also been doing work for Boom Studios, run by a couple of guys that I’ve likewise known for almost 20 years, so you should expect to start seeing his stuff all over the place in the not-too-distant future. Click on over to JK’s official website where you can see all of these images as well as more of his outstanding work, Trek and otherwise.

In the meantime, click on the image below to see a full-sized version of his cover for Last Generation #3. Since this is an alternate-reality series published in conjunction with the Pocket Books Myriad Universes novels, we’ve been putting clues to the series in some of the covers–though, I think, for this one you can pretty much spot it with one eye closed.

Also, while you’re at it, check out JK’s work on the X-Men homage for Last Generation #1, including an Evolution Of The Cover, with all sorts of nifty background info.

The Last Generation #3.

STAR TREK: The Last Generation #3, by JK Woodward.

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Wil Wheaton From Exile

Just a quick note: Had a message forwarded to me from Wil Wheaton, whose character Wesley Crusher figures prominently in Star Trek: The Last Generation. Wil has become an accomplished author in his own right, penning several books, writing Star Trek TOS manga for Tokyopop (which I gave high marks to in a guest column over at and running Wil Wheaton In Exile, one of the best, longest-running blogs in all of geekdom.

I had a chance to chat with him briefly when our mutual friend Tony Pascale introduced us before I moderated the Star Trek publishing panel at the San Diego Comic-Con this year, where Wil represented for T-Pop among other colleagues from IDW and my friends over at Pocket Books. Since he sat next to me, at one point I noticed him texting on his phone. I found out later he was posting to Twitter about being on the panel–as it was actually happening.

A former Star Trek actor, now writing manga and blogging about D&D, video games and Rocky Horror, posting to the Internets while sitting on a panel at the San Diego Comic Convention? Dude, your geek-fu is hardcore.

Anyway, Wil passed on some comments about Last Generation to a friend of mine from, who sent them on to me, so I thought I’d post them here:

WOW! The art on TrekWeb looks very cool… And that story sounds fantastic; it may be the first Trek comic I pick up in twenty years.

Coming from someone who once had to endure countless stories of Wesley being lame, and whose geek-fu could set my geek-fu’s ass on fire before ditching it with no legs at the bank of a volcanic river, I’m genuinely flattered.

Since I reviewed Wil’s first manga story (“he establishes his cred as a comics creator well beyond his celebrated cult of geek”), he’s had another published in one of Tokyopop’s subsequent Trek volumes that came out over the summer; and it’s not lip-service for me to say that even as his first comics works, they easily stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the stories from veteran Trek writers like novelist Diane Duane, TV scribe David Gerrold and comics guru Mike W. Barr. Wil’s stories have been illustrated by E.J. Su, one of the top artists who worked for me on the Transformers books at IDW, so people should definitely head to their comics shop or bookstore and check them out.

While I’m at it, I should also put in a shout-out to Wil’s friend Luis Reyes, who I got to know while he was Trek editor for Tokyopop and I was his counterpart at IDW, and we had a chance to hang out together at the gala, all-star, hey-is-that-William-Shatner unveiling of Star Trek: The Tour at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, not quite halfway between our respective cities of Los Angeles and San Diego.

(Which, by coincidence, featured a short film of Wil as Wes on the bridge of the U.S.S. TItan; and which, by more coincidence, has now taken up residence at the Air and Space Museum here in San Deigo.)

Luis is a great guy and a top-notch editor, and it looks like he and I will finally get the opportunity to work together for a company up in L.A. in the soon-to-be immediate future.

The Last Generation, appearing on at least three of the covers. Here, he's hunted, and then firebombed; what other tragedies could we possibly visit upon him?

Wesley Crusher figures prominently in Star Trek: The Last Generation, appearing on at least three of the covers. Here, he's hunted, and then firebombed. What other tragedies could we possibly visit upon him?

LAST GENERATION: One more from the TrekWeb interview

One more highlight from the in-depth interview TrekWeb conducted with me about my upcoming series Star Trek: The Last Generation. Check out the whole thing when you get the chance.

* * *

Where did the idea for The Last Generation come from? I saw that the first image released for the series was a tribute cover to an earlier issue of The X-Men. Did that have something to do with it?

No Evil Beards in Last Generation.

No 'Evil Beards' in Star Trek: The Last Generation.

The initial concept for Last Generation surfaced as a “Days of Future Past” epic for the Star Trek saga–the classic X-Men story of a dystopian future, time travel, and a bleak, utterly hostile world. The story always intrigued me, because unlike many other alternate-universe settings–“Mirror, Mirror” as the most obvious example–it didn’t rely on darker or evil versions of the characters; these individuals actually became more heroic than before, because they struggled against more dangerous odds, with even higher stakes, and had to rise to even greater levels of heroism to confront the risks.

I followed that same theme with Star Trek: The Last Generation. You won’t recognize much resemblance with the actual “Days of Future Past” storyline-Wesley Crusher from the future doesn’t switch places with his younger self on the Holodeck, for example, the way that Kitty Pryde did in the X-Men’s Danger Room-but I wanted that same heroic theme, that same level of desperate personal struggle and agonizing choices, focused through the lens of this different set of characters who we all know so well.

* * *

Okay, that’s enough highlights for now. Go check out the full interview!

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LAST GENERATION: More from the TrekWeb interview

More highlights from the in-depth interview that TrekWeb conducted with me about my upcoming series Star Trek: The Last Generation. Check out the whole thing when you get the chance.

* * *

Can you talk about the time-travel aspects of Last Generation? Many fans are like you, they love time-travel stories, but are also critical of when they’re not done well.

For the time-travel elements, once again I don’t want to give too much away-but I will say that what you won’t see, and what I’ve never been a fan of in time-travel stories, is the notorious “Reset Button”: Something goes wrong in the past, the characters time-travel to fix it, and then–in a crucial moment at the climax of it all–suddenly everything blinks back to normal. And then you’ve got Deanna Troi rubbing her eyes on a bed somewhere, whispering, “Will, I just had the most incredible dream.”

From Voyager "Non Sequitur". Hit the Reset Button, Harry!

Hit the Reset Button, Harry!

It’s very, very unusual to witness that story executed correctly, and it’s fraught with narrative peril, paradoxes that never get fully explained and all sorts of other permanently unraveled story threads. Even when they do offer an explanation, it’s usually so convoluted and preoccupied with resolving stray, random details that it drains the finale of all dramatic color and impact.

Everyone who’s ever read or seen a Reset Button story knows exactly what I’m talking about–to the point where when you see the button blinking in the distance, you stop bothering to care about how the characters get there, because you already know it won’t matter in the end. Tom Paris dies getting Harry Kim to the dimensional rift, and you’re somehow expected to be hanging off the edge of your seat, wondering how Robert Duncan McNeill will ever pay his rent next week. And then: Oh, look, there he is again on the bridge of Voyager, just in time for the final credits. Whew, close one.

Alien Spotlight series. Yep, that's Species 8472. Yikes!

Borg from the future, in the issue I wrote for the Star Trek: Alien Spotlight series. Yep, that's Species 8472, assimilated. Yikes!

Those who checked out my Borg Alien Spotlight know I’m a fan of time-travel stories, but also know my approach to them, so in The Last Generation it remains an open question throughout the series whether the characters will ever succeed in repairing their timeline, whether they somehow forge a new timeline, or whether they even prevail at all. That’s really the only way I’d even consider writing a time-travel story, and it’s the only way to legitimately establish honest dramatic tension without so typically cheating the readers out of everything at the end.

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LAST GENERATION: Interview at TrekWeb

My friends over at TrekWeb were awesome enough to do an in-depth interview with me about my upcoming Star Trek: The Last Generation series. You can click over there to read the whole thing, but I’ll post a few excerpts here during the next few days just to hit the highlights.

Lots of cool and interesting background material that hasn’t been discussed before, so definitely check out the whole thing when you’ve got the chance. And thanks to Gustavo at TrekWeb for giving me the opportunity to talk about it!

* * *

Andrew, you’re currently writing the Star Trek: The Last Generation comic book, which goes on sale in November. What can you tell us about this alternate-reality miniseries?

A conspiracy to assassinate Eric Forman's father. Pull the trigger already, dumb-ass.

A conspiracy to assassinate Eric Forman's father. Pull the trigger already, dumb-ass.

Last Generation spirals out of the finale of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, in which an assassination plot threatens the historic Khitomer peace conference between the Federation and the Klingons, their homeworld now dying after an ecological disaster.

In the movie, of course, Kirk derails the conspiracy just in time. In Last Generation, for reasons that become apparent later on, Kirk’s rescue comes a moment too late; the conspiracy succeeds, the peace talks collapse, and the Federation and Klingons slide inexorably toward war. But, because the Klingons now find themselves in a battle for their very survival, they fight even more ferociously than ever before, leading to their eventual conquest of Earth.

The series itself begins seven decades after the failure at Khitomer; the Klingons now rule the planet, while Jean-Luc Picard champions a rebellion against them, struggling to liberate Earth. But for the Resistance, the situation has grown increasingly desperate–Worf, the Terran warlord, begins tightening his grip, and it’s quickly becoming now-or-never, do-or-die. The rebellion’s final hope lies in the computer brain of an android named Data, invented for the sole purpose of scrutinizing the Empire for weaknesses.

Shatner's stunt-double tries to save the Federation President. What could possibly go wrong?

Shatner's stunt-double tries to outrace a beam of light. What could possibly go wrong?

Instead of potential weaknesses, however, Data discovers a single, fundamental flaw underlying the entire foundation of Empire: It was never meant to conquer Earth. History has fractured, and the Empire, as it is now, was never meant to exist. When Picard recognizes that the cracks in the timeline all converge on Khitomer, he realizes that their only chance for survival has become to travel back to the past and repair the damage.

But this isn’t as philosophically obvious as it sounds-the members of his Resistance have all lived inside the fist of the Empire’s brutality for years, losing countless friends and family to unrepentant Klingon bloodlust. To some, the idea of changing time–even correctly–to transform their occupiers into trusted allies remains unthinkable, virtual madness.

So, with the Resistance racing against what may be its final days, Picard must contend with the splintering dissent that infects all guerrilla movements, holding his insurrection together by sheer force of personality, all while struggling against an overwhelmingly superior enemy and searching for a way to rethread history itself. It is, shall we say, not exactly a stroll through the vineyards.

'Yesterday's Enterprise'. Hey, who's this?

"Yesterday's Enterprise". Hey, who's this?

About the specific story and character elements themselves: I’d rather not pull back the curtain too far, since for alternate universe stories one of the best aspects is the surprise of each new version of the characters and situations. I will say that in addition to alternate versions of Picard, Worf, and Data, you’ll see a character from the Original Series, a character from Voyager, and a few other nifty surprises along the way. (A fan of “Yesterday’s Enterprise”? You’ll be happy here.) There’s also a character who’s only ever appeared in a Pocket Books novel, so artist Gordon Purcell will get to enjoy his latest visual contribution to Memory Beta.

Most changed among the familiar characters will be Wesley Crusher, though again I’m reluctant to go into too many details; it’s no spoiler, though, that he features prominently into the series, since people have already seen him on covers for at least two of the five issues (so far–a third one is on the way). As you might imagine, a character of Wesley’s age, involved in a Resistance movement, opens up all sorts of storytelling possibilities.

As for other classic aspects of Trek in Last Generation, you’ll also discover quite a number of “Easter Eggs” throughout–stuff that doesn’t elbow you out of the story when you recognize them, or leave you scratching your head when you don’t, but which will hopefully give a nod of added appreciation if you’re sharp enough to catch them. Clues to some of the story elements are already tucked into the covers that have been released, but I think it’d be more fun to let the readers uncover those surprises for themselves.

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