For Star Trek: The Next Generation fan Mike Johnson, writing Star Trek comics lets him create backstories for the character as well as peer into the Star Trek’s future.
Johnson was a fan as a child, beginning with reruns of the original series. “Even though the original series was already in re-runs when I was a kid, I had the big Kirk and Spock Mego action figures with the cloth uniforms,” he said. “Playing with them is one of my earliest memories.”
But Johnson is more of a fan of The Next Generation than of the original series. “I watched the original Star Trek series in re-runs, but I watched Next Gen from the day it premiered right through to the end,” he said. “It’s tough to choose a favorite character, so I’ll go with a tie: Spock and Data.”
For Johnson, writing a Star Trek comic means approaching the task as if he were writing for a movie. “I really try to think, and write, cinematically,” he said. “One of the best things about Star Trek is that it is not just explosions and action. Much of the story is driven by ideas and conversation. That can be challenging, because you don’t want the comic to just look like a bunch of talking heads, so I do my best to balance the quieter moments with more visually striking images for the artist to draw.”
One of his favorite Trek writing assignments was writing about Scotty’s sidekick, Keenser. “It’s a small thing (no pun intended), but in the issue that showed the backstory of Keenser, Scotty’s little buddy, I made Keenser the tallest person on his home planet,” said Johnson. “He didn’t fit in. And then he gets into Starfleet and he’s the smallest, but he feels at home because his engineering smarts are respected. It felt like Star Trek to turn his situation on its head, showing him as a tall outcast on his homeworld (and to show a new alien world we’d never seen before), and how that affected his character and development.”
So what can fans expect to see in the coming months in the Trek comics? “We have a big galaxy-spanning story taking place that involves the Klingons and Romulans, and after that we are heading deep into space for the five year mission,” said Johnson. “We really want to show new strange places and characters we haven’t seen before. There will be a few familiar faces from the original timeline, but for the most part it will be new adventures.”
Those adventures will include a Star Trek: Khan mini-series which will debut in October. Star Trek: Khan will be the story of Khan’s origins and how he ended up on the Botany Bay.