Tag Archives: graphic novels

Really Strange New Worlds: Star Trek Comic Book Crossovers

Most of the time, crossovers between fictional properties are the stuff of fanfiction. In comics, though, they’re a longstanding tradition. In some cases, like with Star Trekthere are comics based on a TV show or movie, and the medium allows for some interesting mashups we’d never get to see otherwise. These can be a little tricky to find or hear about, but Star Trek has five that I know of, ranging from natural teamups to more unexpected combinations:

  1. Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation2 by Scott and David Tipton – This 2012 crossover comes in two collected volumes, although the second is a little harder to come by. It’s probably the most natural combination on this list, being two of the most famous sci-fi TV shows ever, and seeing as how the Doctor can appear pretty much anywhere and have it pretty much make sense. The dialogue is in character and the art actually looks like the people, plus I love that they worked in a Tom Baker/TOS crossover flashback and how the art changed for the “past.” I haven’t been able to read the second volume, though, so I can’t say how it works as a whole story.
  2. Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War by Mike Johnson – Six issues, collected in one volume in 2016. MY FAVORITE of all five, because it’s not just an interesting crossover, it’s a fantastic book. I expected the usual thing where everyone misunderstood each other and Hal punched the Enterprise or whatever, but it’s more thoughtful than that. It starts simple and slowly adds characters so you can appreciate the different dynamics involved. You get to see the Trek characters with rings, of course, and it never gets hung up on how “unlikely” it is or sucks up time with characters demanding explanations, it just happens and tells a whole story. It goes big stakes, but simple plot, which is ideal for a limited-time thing like this, BUT it actually doesn’t reset to normal at the end, it starts its own continuity! I haven’t read the second volume yet, it only came out in September.
  3. Star Trek/Legion of Superheroes by Chris Roberson – Six issues, collected in one volume in 2013. I’m a little disappointed in this one, because it could’ve been a really interesting exercise. Both stories are about hopeful, technological futures driven by humanism. Plus it puts both sets of heroes into a universe new to both of them, a creative idea that works really well here, but there’s no depth to the character interactions. And Kirk is gross to Shadow Lass, which is not cool at all. They do the usual reset to status quo at the end.
  4. Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive by Scott and David Tipton –  This one is a five-issue volume from 2015, and it starts off great. The Tiptons do a great job of creating a TOS-episode atmosphere — after all, discovering incredibly Earthlike planets with slightly different development is par for the course in TOS. Unfortunately it spends a lot of time on buildup and then just fizzles out into nothing (although I did like the little twist at the end). This is the comic that provided this post’s entirely appropriate featured image.
  5. Planet X by Michael Jan Friedman – The oldest and perhaps oddest of the bunch, this is a 1998 novel crossing Next Generation with the X-Men. I’m including it here not only because it started my childhood obsession with the X-Men and later love of comics, but also because it follows on early TOS/ and TNG/X-Men one-shot comics, which I haven’t been able to purchase as yet. It’s kind of a boring book re-reading it now, but I loved it back in the day, and it avoids all the comic book problems of not enough characterization and no continuity or lasting effects. So, it’s worth a go for novelty alone.

Did I miss any? And which unread items are worth pursuing? Info-share in the comments.

Consuming Comics – Geek 501

After checking out a whole bunch of comics and graphic novels from our local library it got me thinking of all the forms that comics take. There is the comic strip in the newspaper that so many of us grew up reading. Now we have online web comics that for many of us have probably replaced reading any newspaper comics. Then there are the serial comics that come out monthly with longer stories that can happen over years. These are the typical superhero comics, such as Batman and X-Men. They might be released on a regular schedule, but then the stories will get compiled into a trade paperback. On top of that there are graphic novels that are single releases of a story. Often times they are fictional, but they have also been used for memoir or other non-fictional stories. This has even gone so far as to be used to help explain concepts such as copyright and media consumption.

Using drawings to help tell a story means that the visuals of the story can be shown through the pictures instead of explained and interpreted. The interesting thing is that even though all the elements are the same there seems to be a class difference between the various comic types. Graphic novels definitely seemed to be treated as a higher form than the regular weekly / daily comics. Even though there is an art to being able to get out so much content every week. Continue reading

Crossing Story Medium

The Animatrix - an example I thought of but didn't work into the post otherwise.

The Animatrix – an example I thought of but didn’t work into the post otherwise.

More and more it seems that stories are crossing from one medium to another. This is done either by telling the same story in a different medium or continuing the story in a new medium. It is interesting when the story creators decide to take the story to a different medium to tell it.

Now recently there have obviously been a lot of comic book stories, and books have been translated to TV shows and movies. At the same time TV shows and books have also been translated to graphic novels. Recently I think there has been an increase in this happening. I don’t know if this stems from a simple desire for more revenue streams or as a way to introduce the story to a wider audience.

The big thing is that there are a couple of different ways that this medium crossing occurs. One of the first things that kind of has to be decided though is what is the core or main story and which medium does that story exist in. Then you can tell what the cross points and off shoots are and pinpoint how they connect.

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Amulet – All Caught Up

So after Holly and I started reading Amulet, Holly wrote an initial review. When we were about halfway through reading, I got to chance to see the author, Kazu Kibuishi, presenting live about his process. Now that I have read through Volume 6, and am now officially all caught up with all there is thus far, I thought I would add a bit to the discussion.

I don’t want to add too many details because, like Holly, I don’t want to spoil you – I want you to read these. They’re great. And knowing more now as I do, I think they’re even better – as they were developed entirely as Graphic Novels, as a form – not printed as comics and then bound together. I had mentioned in my previous post that I had more I could write about that, and about Kazu’s process – so I’ll talk about that!

Then I’ll just talk about a few of my favorite aspects, and things that I think might interest you more in the story, to get you reading too! I have found Amulet on ComiXology, so I know that is a reading option. It’s also wildly popular with younger readers right now, and published by Scholastic who know how to get kids and adults reading the same thing! As such, you should definitely be able to find this at the library, at least in the US! (Sorry Japan, you might not have this one.) Alright, let’s take a look at Amulet!

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Making Comics and Graphic Novels with Kazu Kibuishi

Last week I wrote quite a rant about comics, and about how I don’t find them to be a bad thing. I tried to also stress the point that this hasn’t made me blind to the state of the world, doesn’t make me a child. Well, somewhere in the process of writing the rant, I got it all pretty much out of my system.

Kazu Kibuishi Presentation - Amulet Covers

Which was a good thing, because the next day, I had the opportunity to see graphic novelist Kazu Kibuishi presenting on “Making Comics and Graphic Novels.” And I pretty much came at this with my mind clear, which led to five and a half pages of notes (taken on my iPhone no less). There’s no way I can include all of the insights from Kazu, so at the very least, I need to pretty much leave myself out from here.

Kazu is known for a number of his different works, including as the editor on Explorer and Flight, the cover artist on the 15th-anniversary covers to Harry Potter, as the author of the webcomic Copper and the author of Amulet. His work is exploding in schools right now, but I have been far enough removed from those that I had not heard of his work until I knew he was coming. So Holly and I have been reading Amulet, as Holly mentioned, and it’s pretty amazing. It’s sad to think that it’s not done yet (volume 6 came out recently, out of a total of 9), and we’ll have to join all the other fans now in waiting for new issues! But it will be worth it. So allow me to explore the world of comics and graphic novels from the perspective of Kazu Kibuishi!

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