Rich Handley Author and Editor

Throwbook Thursday—New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics

I’ve decided to highlight books I’ve written, edited, co-edited, or contributed to throughout my career, and to post a new one every Thursday, in keeping with the whole “Throwback Thursday” trend. Hence, “Throwbook Thursday.” Get it? (But please do not throw books. It can hurt someone and damage the books.)

In 2014, I contributed to the first of numerous Sequart essay anthologies. That book was New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, and it was edited by my friend and frequent collaborator, Joseph F. Berenato. I’ve been privileged to work on eleven Sequart books and counting, as an editor and/or writer (I’m prepping the eleventh right now, in fact), and I owe that to Joe for bringing me into the family.

Like me, Joe Berenato is a lifelong Trek fan and comic reader, so he was a natural choice to edit this volume. And because Joe, again like me, knows a lot of folks just like both of us, he was able to bring together writers who know their Star Trek; in fact, several of them have written for the franchise professionally. Tribble creator David Gerrold penned the foreword, while the essays were provided by Joe, me, Jim Beard, Julian Darius, Ian Dawe, Keith DeCandido, Kevin Dilmore, Robert Greenberger, Mark Martinez, Tom Mason, David A. McIntee, Martín A. Pérez, Alan J. Porter, Colin Smith, Scott Tipton, Cody Walker, and Dayton Ward. How’s that for an amazing lineup?

Star Trek is among the most influential franchises out there, and licensed fiction has played a huge role in its success. The comics have been around since 1967, courtesy of Gold Key, Marvel, Power Records, the L.A. Times Syndicate, DC, Malibu, WildStorm, Tokypop, IDW, and other publishers, culminating in nearly a thousand comics to date, as well as almost 70 serialized strip storylines. (Incidentally, they all sit on my shelves.)

Quality has varied from amusingly off the mark (Gold Key’s efforts and the weekly British strips) to reverential (the DC-Malibu years, the second Marvel run, and IDW’s current tenure), but from one era to the next, the illustrated voyages of the starship Enterprise have continued Trek‘s mission as a “Wagon Train to the stars.” Under Joe’s expert editorial eye, New Life and New Civilizations examined the franchise’s long history in the four-color realm. If you’re into Star Trek comics (and I definitely am), then this book is for you.

My contributions? I turned in “Faith of the Art: Stripping Down the Daily Newspaper Serials,” which chronicled the L.A. Times strips published circa Star Trek: The Motion Picture‘s release, plus a second essay titled “Lost Enterprises: The Unpublished and Rejected Star Trek Comics.” Joe invited me to write the first because I’d spearheaded an IDW project the year prior to get the strips reprinted in their entirety. For the other, I looked back at Trek comics that, for whatever reason, never saw the light of day.

I was thrilled to be part of this project, especially once I glimpsed Patricio Carbajal’s whimsical artwork. The concept Joe and Pat came up with was priceless: a redshirt happily reading Star Trek comics while unknowingly sitting on a Horta. Hilarious! It was a perfect choice to adorn the anthology. You can find New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics at Sequart, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere.

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