New Life and New Civilizations:

Exploring Star Trek Comics

On 8 September 1966, visionary futurist Gene Roddenberry introduced the world to a science-fiction TV series that dared to go where none had gone before. Star Trek, with its progressive stance on civil rights, explored not only strange new worlds in the final frontier of space, but also the human condition, revealing the heights to which humans could soar, while exposing the ugliness of racism, sexism, and war. Though canceled after only three seasons, Trek soon returned in syndication, spawning a cult phenomenon that has since expanded to include four follow-up TV series, an animated cartoon, a dozen movies (and counting), and a staggering number of ancillary novels, short stories, and comic books. Once deemed a network failure, Trek survived to become one of the most influential franchises of all time.

Licensed Star Trek fiction has played no small part in that success. Trek comics have enjoyed almost continuous publication since 1967, spanning more than a thousand issues and storylines to date, from Gold Key / Western, City Magazines / IPC, Marvel Comics, Power Records, the L.A. Times Syndicate, DC Comics, Malibu Graphics, WildStorm Productions, Tokypop, IDW Publishing, and Wired Magazine. Quality has varied, from hilariously off the mark (Gold Key’s efforts and weekly British strips) to wonderfully reverential (DC’s longstanding titles and IDW’s current run). But from one era to the next, the illustrated voyages of the starship Enterprise have continued Star Trek‘s ongoing mission as a Wagon Train to the stars.

New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics examines the long history of Star Trek in the four-color realm, featuring insightful essays from popular Trek comic scribes and novelists, as well as other subject-matter experts. After almost 50 years, the human adventure is still just beginning — find out why Star Trek comics have not only lived long, but prospered.

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ABOUT THE EDITOR

By age three, Joseph F. Berenato began a life-long love affair with comic books, monster movies, and science fiction. Hailing from Hammonton, NJ, Joe obtained a B.A. in English and spent four years as the entertainment editor of The Hammonton Gazette before returning to his roots at his family's blueberry farm. Joe was a contributor to Gotham City 14 Miles: 14 Essays on Why the 1960s Batman TV Series Matters, and is currently hard at work authoring or co-authoring two reference guides for Hasslein Books: It's Alive: The Unauthorized Universal Monsters Encyclopedia (with Jim and Becky Beard) and Something Strange: The Complete Unauthorized Ghostbusters Encyclopedia. A graduate student at Rowan University, Joe will earn an M.A. in writing in 2015. In what little spare time he has left, Joe serves as an administrator, art director, and content contributor at AtomicWanderers.com.

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