Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

Trek Tuesday – Gold Key Comics

gold key

When the original Star Trek series was released, Gold Key Comics adapted it into the comic book medium.  Beginning in 1967, the series was published irregularly until the early 70s when new issues came out every other month.  The comic, surprisingly, lasted over 10 years (and nine years since TOS went off the air) and reached 61 issues.

So, why am I saying all of this?  Well, this series was weird.  Like, really weird.  Though there were eventual issues that followed up on various episodes, many of the stories (especially early on) were so wild and so un-Star Trek that reading through them can be discombobulating.

Last winter, friend of The Culture Cast, Brian Hajik, gave me a copy of Star Trek: The Enterprise Logs.  It is a collection of the first eight issues of the Gold Key comics.  It was really tough to read through them.  Everything was so incredibly different from the show.  The characters sort-of looked like their real life counterparts, the “set designs” were all over the board, and, this is the kicker, the stories sort of had the opposite message that Star Trek typically tried to portray.

For example, there is an issue where plant spores (which turn people into trees – yeah, I know) are leaving a planet and might possibly infect the universe.  The solution? Phaser and kill off the tree-like people living on the planet so they won’t hurt anyone again.  Another time, the crew willingly leave a group of people to die horribly when an asteroid explodes.  This all goes without mentioning how emotional Spock acts during all of this.

So, why is this the case?  Well, for starters, it has to be read with some context.  Today, there are some stone-cold things we can expect from Star Trek which are part of the franchise’s core.  Back in 1967, Trek was largely a blank slate.  These stories likely wouldn’t have taken anyone aback.

There is also the fact that the creative team involved at the time had never really seen Star Trek, so they were making it up as they went.  From what I have read, they had some publicity shots from the show, but that was about it.  This really explains such a radical departure of what would have been the norm back then.

I don’t know if I can really recommend this to anyone.  Perhaps to other big Trek fans.  This is such a curiosity and probably the craziest Star Trek ever made.  Don’t go in looking for anything revolutionary as you are not going to find it.  But, if you want some wacky stuff unlike anything else (Trek-wise), this is where it is at.

~N

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