Since the beginning of the year, John Byrne has been playing with a project on his message boards. Taking the concept of the Star Trek photo-novels from the seventies, where episodes were released as photo comics. Except Byrne is creating his own stories, using images from the original series Star Trek screencapped by fansite TREKCore.com.
And they look pretty nifty. He posed himself some dilemmas.
� Guest Stars. Would I want to feature characters “returning”? A story I long ago wanted to explore, for instance, was the return of Gary Mitchell. But if that happened, how would I handle it? Would I allow myself to use shots of Gary Lockwood lifted from sources outside STAR TREK? And what about actors who have not appeared on TREK? Would it be “cheating” (and perhaps even pointless) to finally have Robert Culp guest star on the show?
� Post-TOS Continuity. In my IDW series I have already visited the characters as they were after the show. While this project would be set “between episodes” in the original, would I be bound to what we know from what came later? Could I finally do “The Face of Fear”, and “reveal” why the Klingons looked so different in TMP, or does the ENTERPRISE resolution block that path? This is, after all, the kind of project that would be endlessly dissected by the overly anal fanboys, and while I generally care not a whit about what they might think, I also don’t want to just HAND them their ammunition!
� A Bottle Episode. Depending on the limitations placed by my decisions about new sets and new ships, would I be limited to a story that takes place entirely aboard the Enterprise? TOS often recycled bits and pieces of sets and props from previous episodes — NOMAD’s “head” atop the Romulan cloaking device, the Tantalus control panel decorating McCoy’s office, Beta V as Mr. Atos’ console, etc — so would I be at liberty to do the same?
Which, of course, brings up the BIG question:
� Cut and Paste. When I first conceived this project, lo these many years ago, my thought was to use scenes, including dialog, from TOS show ON VIDEO. Doing it in “fumetti” form is, of course, enormously liberating in this respect, since I can have the characters saying entirely different dialog — but can I drop Character A into Scene Q, where s/he was not before, in order to get the scene/interaction I want?
And then what happened? After many months of trial and error on the site, John Byrne reported that IDW said they’d publish it..
As of right now, TPTB have approved my story — including a “chuckle line” at the end designed to explode heads — but page count, etc is still to be worked out.
When I decided to “remaster” the pages I had already done at a higher definition, larger size, and with a smaller font, it was basically because I realized I was putting a lot of work into this, and I should probably at least SHOW it to Chris Ryall, to see if IDW had any interest. But IDW would need that hi def, so here we are.
With the return of Gary Mitchell, the crewman-turned-god none the less…
It’s a mad world world world world!