Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Assignment Earth covers

RyallTime strikes again with the release of three pre-colouring covers for John Byrne’s Assignment Earth miniseries. Here's one (for the third issue):

For the other two see the original post, here.

New Frontier covers

RyallTime (IDW editor, Chris Ryall's blog) has posted cover art for first issue of IDW's New Frontier series. The Quad-cover:

According to a post by the artist Stephen Thompson on the TrekBBS, the characters pictured are: Elizabeth Shelby, Mackenzie Calhoun, Zak Kebron, Burgoyne 172, Si Cwan, Robin Lefler, Xy and Edward Jellico.

RyallTime also posted the Captain Peter David cover:

Go to the original post, here, for more info on these covers.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Year Four, and Five

It's time to play "Quote Mr Andrew Steven Harris" again, this time IDW Mr Star Trek 2008 has been talking about IDW's intended plans for the Year Four miniseries':

Although we've made no definitive plans about this, it seems likely that Year Four will be composed of several different miniseries--probably four total, with issues numbering six/five/six/five. That would make 22 issues total, just like 22 episodes of what would have been Year Four of the TV series.

When we've reached 22 issues total of Year Four, we will almost certainly want to transition into Year Five, and may very well likely follow the same miniseries format as Year Four. So, barring unforeseen circumstances, TOS will have a mainstream "anchor" title for quite some time, though there will likely be short breaks between the different miniseries so that the writers & artists can regroup.

Wouldn't it be nice if that pattern then continued through The Lost Years period, The Motion Picture and beyond...

See the original post, here at the TrekBBS.

Playmates returns

TrekMovie has reported that the toy company Playmates will be returning to Star Trek, as it has obtained the license for making toys for the new movie. Diamond Select Toys will continue to hold the license for the rest of the Star Trek franchise.

TrekMovie are spinning it as great for bringing Trek back to the mass market, which is true, DST are quite a specialist (and comparatively small) company targeting older collectors. Personally I receive this news cautiously, as Playmates’ previous massive range of Trek toys was numerous but rather poor in terms of detailing and quality. Here's hoping they've upped their game in the years between then and now.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Star Trek phone

Time for another edition of "Find the most ridiculous (why of why would anyone buy this) Star Trek merchandise show". While perusing Forbidden Planet's online store I came across a new Star Trek phone, a "replica" of the USS Enterprise, complete with light up warp nacelles when the phone rings!

It's out at the end of the month, find out all the glorious details of this wonderful new product, here at Forbidden Planet.

Corgi and Master Replicas news

As reported by Toy news International, Corgi (and by extension Master Replicas) have extended their Star Trek license to 2010 and added the new movie to their range.

Some new products coming from Master Replicas this year will be two new props; A Star Trek V: The Final Frontier phaser, and a Star Trek: First Contact tricorder. Both will be out in July and feature various lights and sounds:

More details can be found on Forbidden Planet's listings here: Tricorder, Phaser.

Additionally Corgi will be continuing it's die cast ships range, with the second wave (which was originally to be out last year) of the USS Defiant, USS Voyager and Romulan warbird, out in a few months time (maybe).

Amok Time Two-pack

Sneaking out ahead of an official announcement, Forbidden Planet are offering pre-orders for a new action-figure two-pack from Diamond Select Toys. The pack will consist of Kirk and Spock from the episode Amok Time and will be releases in July:

You can find them on Forbidden Planet’s online store, here.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Year Four cover preview

On his new blog, IDW editor Chris Ryall has released an early version of the Sharp Brothers' cover for the third issue of The Enterprise Experiment:

See the original report, and the rest of Mr Ryall’s new blog (with various other IDW previews), here.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

New Frontier comic preview

IDW have provided Trekweb with a five-page preview of the first issue of New Frontier: Turnaround. Here is the experimental timeship, the Paradox, that the story is apparently about:

See some more pages at Trekweb, here.

New Movie site and trailer

The website for the new movie has been up about a week or so, and the trailer bouncing about the net in wibbly-wobbly pirated versions for a few days, but now they come together, for the official website now has something on it, the trailer. Go forth and see it, here.

Additionally, as reported by TrekMovie.com, if you go to NCC-1701.com you can watch little clips of the Enterprise under construction (from the trailer) and now and then it shows one of the corridors, which you can see, here, at TrekMovie.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

IDW April issues

IDW have posted their solicitations for April, the first month in which we will have more than two issues coming out, they are as follows:

Year Four: The Enterprise Experiment #1
A sequel to the classic episode "The Enterprise Incident"—originally written by [D.C. Fontana] herself—where Kirk and Spock found themselves trapped on an Enterprise out of phase with space itself and facing a plot of revenge from Romulans!

New Frontier #2
In part two of “Slingshot,” Admiral Jellico steals a prototype time ship...or does he? Not everything is what it seems.

Note: Slingshot is the former name for the entire New Frontier miniseries, the title it will now be released under is Turnaround.

Intelligence Gathering #4
When the Enterprise is the target of a mysterious futile attack, Captain Picard and crew find themselves in a mind-control mystery! Will Deanna Troi's empathic abilities prove to be an asset—or a deadly liability?

Friday, 18 January 2008

Titan model

At the TrekBBS, Sean Tourangeau (designer of the USS Titan) has posted some photos of the physical model of the Titan which will be hanging amongst the other starships in Star Trek The Tour.

You can see some more pictures at the website of the company that made it, Model Werkes.

UPDATE: You can now see the Titan in action, along with Wesley and Tuvok doing their thing:

Thursday, 17 January 2008

New movie Enterprise revealed!

AOLs movie site "Moviefone" has posted the first glimpse at the Enterprise from the new Star Trek movie. The shot shows the saucer section under construction with the nacelles behind:
See the original report, here, which also has a handy gallery of the new cast.

This design looks delightfully faithful, there's something funny going on with the nacelles, just behind the presumably unfinished nacelle caps, but otherwise she's a beaut.

A year of IDW Star Trek

One year ago this day IDW kicked off it's range of Star Trek comics with History Lesson, the first issue of The Space Between miniseries. So how have they faired in their first year?

Well a couple of months into The Space Between IDW launched their second miniseries, and have kept up two simultaneous series since. Which gives their first year a grand total of four miniseries (two of which aren’t quite finished yet).

For all the criticism it got for odd plot holes and the abysmally inconclusive final issue of the series, The Space Between was actually a pretty strong start for IDW. Each stand alone issue was an interesting tale, the second and forth issues remain two of the best they've produced so far. The artwork throughout the series was consistently interesting, and very attractive. Unfortunately the final issue, which promised to tie all the issues together, really dragged the series down as it utterly failed in giving any kind of satisfying conclusion. But if you ignore the ending, the individual stories told in The Space Between were enjoyable and well worth reading.

IDW's second series, Klingons: Blood Will Tell was a significantly stronger entry than The Space Between. The series was joined up by a continuing story arc from the start, and suffered none of the editorial errors or odd jumping to conclusions of the TSB series. Each of the first four issues creatively retold a TOS Klingon episode from the Klingons’ point a view. A delightful concept enjoyably executed. The strongest issues in this series were the second and third, which focused on a single character from the episodes and really told his story. The first and forth suffered somewhat in being tied to events of the episodes but were still thoroughly enjoyable. The final issued brought the series to a magnificent and glorious conclusion. Klingons: Blood Will Tell set the standard for IDW's Trek comics, so far some have come close, but nothing has surpassed this wonderful series.

Next up was Year Four, endeavouring to present lost episodes from the forth season of The Original Series that never was. The concept of the series is sound, and the ideas behind each issue are very good, really taking the TOS theme for exploring present day issues, touching on genetic engineering, oil and the Iraq war and reality TV and doing some very TOS-like sound-based aliens. Unfortunately the strong ideas for this series is about as good as it gets. Some issues are better than others, the forth issue, on reality TV is enjoyable, well illustrated and the story is well held together. But other issues suffer terribly from rushed an thin story telling, which isn't helped by a strict panel layout through the series which restricts pages to four wide panels (trying to emulate a widescreen TV apparently) - the result is pages were very little happens as a full quarter page panel is used for the most pointless things, and other pages were far to much of the same happens, as each panel is near identical to the previous in a long scene, this coupled with the rather flat and unexciting artwork in many of the issues crippled a series which could have been so much better. Year Four isn't all bad, there is much to enjoy, but it is easily the weakest entry into IDW's Star Trek range so far.

Finally for 2007 we got Alien Spotlight, six issues by six different creative teams (two of which are still to come). Having each issue completely standalone in story and creators seems to have helped make each issue stronger itself. The first issue on the Gorn, while not hugely original, is attractive and engaging. The second issue on the Vulcans suffers a little from some odd artwork but has a strong story. The Andorians issue has a very strong and interesting story and equally good artwork, however said artwork does suffer a little from the very texty story, with speech bubbles and talking heads filling a lot of the pages, fortunately that speech is so good it doesn’t matter. The most recent issue on the Orions is a treat for fans of Captain Pike, Orions, and Tellerites alike and fills a nice gap in Star Trek history. So from we’ve had so far, Alien Spotlight is very strong indeed, lots of good stuff and not many flaws at all, and from the looks of previews of the final two issues it’s only going to get better.

So what’s next? Well just within the anniversary (yesterday) the first issue of the next series was released. Intelligence Gathering, by the same team behind Klingons: Blood Will Tell. The first issue is off to a promising start with an engaging story and wonderful artwork, this looks sure to be another hit for IDW.

IDW first year of Star Trek had it’s bumps and hiccups, but overall they’ve done a smashing job, bringing a diverse range of stories by a diverse range of creators with plenty of talent. In the year ahead IDW will be doubling their output of Trek comics with an issue out almost every week, I have great faith that they will continue to deliver enjoyable, engaging and attractive new additions to the Star Trek universe. If they keep up the current, and ever improving, quality of Star Trek comics, then us fans have nothing but goodness ahead.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

IDW on DS9, Voyager, Enterprise and "Quadcovers"

Andrew Steven Harris has made a rather informative post on the TrekBBS about the considerations IDW has for expanding their license outside of TOS and TNG. In short, something with at least a bit of DS9 could be upon us by the end of the year, Voyager is unlikely but might happen someday and Enterprise is very unlikely indeed thanks to some likeness approval issues. And in full, have yourself a full length quote!:

I'd really, really like to see what we could do with a Deep Space Nine license; and we might, might be testing the waters soon. Don't get too excited just yet, it won't be anything devastatingly major, and it won't be until later in 2008 at the earliest; but, it could definitely lead to something.

The Voyager license is a bit trickier--the ship made it back from the DQ, and many of the crew have since spread themselves across various corners of the Trek universe. And, once the ship made it back home, stories set in the DQ lose a certain amount of their dramatic tension; you'd end up with an entire license that feels like a flashback. Still, I'd be open to possibilities, if a couple of really good ideas came across our desk, but to be honest it's probably more realistic to expect that we won't be doing Voyager soon.

A license for Enterprise, however, is for certain extremely unlikely--largely because of actor likeness approval issues. Though I won't go into any specifics, when you'd need an actor's approval for every single panel on every single page that a particular character would appear in, the logistics of producing a monthly comic book series become exceptionally difficult, and probably not worth the care-and-feeding that all of it would require. Besides, though Enterprise definitely deserved more viewers than it got (particularly near the end), it's probably the license least likely to attract readers, so it'd probably be a better use of our time to focus our attention on a more popular license like DS9.

In the same thread Mr Harris also explained exactly what the quadcover format, being launched with the first issue of the New Frontier series, is:

Quad Covers(TM) are really simple. It's four different covers bound onto the same issue. Ever see a misprint double-cover, in which two covers accidentally got stapled onto a single book?

This is exactly the same thing. Except it's four covers. And it's deliberate. And all four covers are different.

Why? Because we wanted to give people four different covers without the impression that we were trying to force them into buying four different issues. So, instead, all four covers on the same issue.

With the Quad Cover, though, we can get a lot more creative than simply having four covers stapled on top of each other. For example, the covers could be like four sequential full-page splash panels, depicting not just a moment from inside the book, but an entire sequence-- all as the "cover". For our Transformers books, we could show one of the 'bots transforming from one mode to another across four different "covers". And so on.

And why not join in the discussion yourself, at the original post, here.

Another Romulan Alien Spotlight

TrekWeb have themselves yet another preview of the forthcoming Alien Spotlight on the Romulans by John Byrne. The new preview continues on from previously release black and white and colour versions of the first five pages with the next six pages in black and white again. Here's one, showing a Bird-of-Prey's shuttlebay:

You can see the rest (which are all rather tiny), here. The issue itself will be out next month.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

A Myriad of titles

The authors of the Myriad Universes stories have been divulging their titles, in addition to Keith R.A. DeCandido's "A Gutted World" the other five will be:

"The Chimes at Midnight", by Geoff Trowbridge, which will be set in an already established alternate timeline in the TOS movie era.

"Places of Exile", by Christopher L. Bennett, which will be about what wouldhave happened if one person had made a different choice of words at a key memont.

"Seeds of Dissent", by James Swallow

"A Less Perfect Union", by William Leisner

And "Brave New World", by Chris Robberson

These are mostly coming from this TrekBBS thread, with the exception of Mr Robberson who posted the title on his blog.

Titles and tit-bits

A little cluster of newslets for thee:

-TrekMovie.com reports Perpetual Entertainment has halted development of Star Trek Online and are looking to have the game transferred to another developer.

-In a post on the TrekBBS Andrew Steven Harris (IDW editor) has stated "that Titan and DS9 are the two far-and-away front-runners" (gooooo Titan)

-Also at the TrekBBS, Kieth R.A. DeCandido has revealed the title of his Myriad Universes story: "A Gutted World", which will feature elements from several of the 24th century era series.

-David Messina has posted another little art preview from Intelligence Gathering. This one featuring a rather funky rendering of the Enterprise-D, you can see it on his blog.

Friday, 11 January 2008

More in the line from IDW

TrekWeb have posted an interview with IDW's Star Trek editor Andrew Steven Harris, in which he revealed a couple of new projects in the works, name dropped some more people contributing to the Second Stage titles and dreamed of future projects. Here's a list of new information:

-An issue of the Assignment Earth series will also be tying into the episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday" (presumably this will be the issue Kirk and gang pop up in)
-In addition to Gordon Purcell's pencilling talents, Terry Pallot will be inking Year Four: The Enterprise Experiment.
-In addition to the Mirror Images series Captain Pike will be appearing in at least one more project currently in the works (fingers crossed for an Early Voyages miniseries)
-Keith R.A. DeCandido will be providing a story in a second Alien Spotlight series, Harris didn’t specify the species but suggested those familiar with the holy KRAD will be able to guess, so that's probably Klingons.
-IDW have been in contact with Pocket Books and are currently bouncing around ideas for collaborative projects. And of course the New Frontier miniseries will be in line with the existing prose series, and IDW’s second mirror universe, a TNG one, is apparently largely built off of what Pocket have established.
-IDW and Harris would like to do Deep Space Nine, but it's still some time off happening yet.
-They are developing an idea for a post-Nemesis TNG series, involving an unspecified someone who has worked on Star Trek before with Marvel and DC, it's not likely to see light until at least earl-2009.
-IDW think four issues a month is probably about the limit before they would consider themselves flooding the market, so we're not likely to get more than that.

You can read the full interview, here.

Pocket Summer catalogue reveals

The Pocket Books summer catalogue has been released which includes some various bits on novels coming over the next few months. As ever the blurbs and covers from this are unlikely to be the final ones on the books:

Enterprise: Kobayashi Maru, by Andy Mangels & Michael A. Martin

The exciting follow-up to Star Trek: Enterprise-The Good That Men Do describes the incident that sparked the start of the Romulan War: the destruction of the merchant ship Kobayashi Maru.

The fragile Collation of Planets is convinced that in order to hold the fledgling alliance together something must be done to stop the random destruction of civilian shipping. Under orders from Starfleet, Captain Jonathan Archer and Captain Erica Hernandez, commanders of two of the most powerful starships, have een reduced to convey duty, no more than glorified babysitting. Both captains know that there is something behind all of this systemic destruction. Captain Archer believes he knows who-the Romulans. But will anyone listen to him before it is too late?

TNG: Greater Than the Sum, by Christopher L. Bennett

Believing that the destruction of the Borg controlled ship Einstein will wipe out the Borg forever, Starfleet Command sends out the Enterprise-only to discover how very wrong that decision is....

One lone ship, the former science vessel Einstein, has been taken over by the Borg. Cut off from the rest of the Collective, if the ship can be found and destroyed, the Federation could rest easy. The discovery of a system-wide slipstream that could enable the Einstein to reach the Collective, or worse, give the Borg the ability of instantaneous transportation, convinces Starfleet to send the Enterprise to stop the Einstein once and for all. Although it's only one ship, the Borg have evolved and are more determined than ever to make Earth, and the Federation, theirs.

Star Trek 101, by Terry J. Erdmann & Paula M. Block

Most Star Trek fans are well-schooled in Trek trivia, either through many hours spent watching the series on television or by poring over the myriad references and companion guides devoted to the Star Trek universe. But for the casual viewer, reading through several hundreds of pages of Deep Space 9 can be overwhelming, to say the least.

Star Trek 101 is a snappy, entertaining, and handy primer that defines the key components of the legendry sci-fi phenomenon. And now that the episodes are available for download on iTunes, this interesting and informative guide is especially useful, expanding upon the general television descriptions and quickly bringing the viewer up to speed on who’s who and what’s what in the world of Star Trek.

The catalogue also included these covers for the Myriad Universes Anthologies (interestingly both featuring TNG characters). And made note that Pocket will be doing cross promotion with IDW for many of their Star Trek books.

You can find the whole catalogue, here.

Prose excerpts

Pocket Books has posted a couple of excerpts from this months new releases, which you can find links to below:

-Klingon Empire: A Burning House, by Keither R.A DeCandido

-TNG: Slings and ArrowsThat Sleep of Death, by Terri Osborne

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Intelligence Gathering cover art

IDW were kind enough to furnish TrekWeb.com with the following pentaptych artwork for the Intelligence Gathering miniseries, which includes the first looks at the covers for issues four and five:

See the original report with some comments by editor Andrew Steven Harris on David Messina's development of these covers, here.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Intelligence Gathering sneak peak

David Messina has posted a little sneak peak of one of the panels from the second issue of TNG: Intelligence Gathering on his blog, which you find, here.

The first issue will be out towards the end of the month.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Alien Spotlight: Orions review

It's been out a couple of weeks now, but here are my thoughts on the latest Alien Spotlight issue, on the Orions.

Set on Babel, the story sees the recently promoted, and slightly bored, Fleet Captain Pike find an adventure in unravelling the illegal activities of Tellarite bounty hunter, who is also the target of the vengeful Leata, the comic's girl in the spotlight.

The story, by the ever-talented Tipton brothers, is interesting and fills the book. Getting to see Pike at this stage of life (or any really) is a rare treat. The story is engaging and enjoyable and has a lot more going on with it compared to the Tipton's earlier Gorn Alien Spotlight, which was rather more straight forward.

The art work, by Elena Casagrande (who had previously provided "art assit" on the Tiptons' earlier comics illustrated by David Messina) with colours by Mirco Pierfederici is rich and detailed throughout. The exotic location and aliens visitors to Babel are brought to life in a beautifully stylised form that maintains all the details, very similar to David Messina's art.

All in all it's hard to fault this issue, the story is big - in that it has a lot going on, and still manages to fit in the 22 pages neatly. The art is similarly near perfect throughout - I especially liked how Pike's hair had greyed in exactly the same way the older Pike from an alternative future was shown to have aged in the Early Voyages comics, whether that was intension or not it was a nice bit of visual continuity.

Once again I call for more from the Tiptons, and extend that to request more from Casagrande too. If IDW did nothing but Tipton comics by this artist or David Messina then I'd be happy, and IDW’s Star Trek line would be vastly improved!

Friday, 4 January 2008

John Byrne newsoids

Newsarama has posted an interview with John Byrne in which he gives away a couple of tiny facts about his forthcoming Star Trek projects for IDW:

The biggest item of note is perhaps that Kirk and the gang will be making some sort of appearance in the Assignment Earth miniseries. Byrne also revealed he plans to have one of the later issues feature Nixon's visit to China in 1972.

On his sooner to come Romulan Alien Spotlight issue, he notes that Paramount had him "truncate" the story as it "didn't fit with their version of the lore".

The full interview can be found here.