Who Could Possibly Get Serious About Comic Books?

Comic Book Cover

Long ago, and far away, in a tiny town somewhere in Illinois, there is not much to entertain children. Sure, you can go to creeks, which are never far away, and catch frogs. You can take your net, made out of an old potato sack, and catch an incredible array of butterflies. but that's all small town adventure, not the kind of galactic adventure that comes from the imagination of a child who found great joy in staring up at the stars at night for hours.

You know, the kind of nights in small town, with stars so bright that if you reach far enough, you might just catch one. A child just old enough to know that stars don't stay the same forever, but they are born, and live, and die. They are mysterious, explosive, and cannibalistic.

Yes, most incredible adventures came from fertile imaginings like these. They still do. As far as I'm concerned, 'Star Trek', was the first real venture into a challenging, dangerous, unknown future for many of us. It was also a positive future where all people worked together to uncover mysteries and find solutions to puzzles that uncover new mysteries. It just never ends. And it is still continuing today, right now, and will abide for generations.

I believe Star Trek began a cycle of promoting discovery and curiosity in all of us. In a tiny town you could watch television, or you could read the episodes again in a book. Even better, you could read an original novel involving your favorite characters. But what I found most satisfying were my favorite characters, in an original adventure, running and fighting and winning courageously through the pages of a comic book.

I collected the Gold Key comics, one by one, as they showed up on the shelf of the Dime Store. The comics continue and have multiplied along with the number of incarnations that the 'Star Trek' industry has brought us. The Original Star Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and soon, Voyager, are constantly in production for we, the consumer, to enjoy.

Those first attempts, back in the seventies were written by people who didn't know much about the show, and you could tell when someone was completely out of character. One striking example was in an early Gold Key comic. The Enterprise crew had just eaten at a ceremony on another planet and Kirk didn't like the food, but Spock commented that he liked the meat. Oooh my, someone really didn't do their homework. I get the same disappointment when Odo smells something in the mediocre novels that Pocketbook produces today.

On the other hand, the comic book stories are written by the generation that grew up watching Star Trek and they are not about to make the same mistakes. It seems that the writers are actually watching the series and immersing themselves in the Roddenberry universe. If you look at the new crop of comic books coming out, I believe you will be pleased.

Deep Space Nine, from Malibu Comics and The Next Generation, from DC have teamed up in the first crossover. It is a four part series that is excellent in dialog, art, characterization, and plot. In recent years, when I took a second look at comics, I noticed a change in the level of maturity in writing and attention to graphics. Both have improved and the comic industry seems to focusing in more on adults than children as in the past. Because of computer advances and aging of it's readership, the industry has evolved into something we can all enjoy and appreciate.

The story opens with the disappearance of a Federation ship into the wormhole. The Enterprise and Deep Space Nine crews are assigned to rescue the ship in a joint effort. They must invade an alien ship together to rescue the lost crew, and through this shared encounter they come to respect and like each other. This is the type of story that would work well in any medium. It is as far from those original comics in depth as a computer is to a slide rule. They are not to be missed and you might just get serious about comics again.

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