The creative ‘Wrath of Khan’ decision that angered comic book fans
The world of “Star Trek” comics is vast. From almost the very beginning, the adventures of the Starship Enterprise and her crew have been cataloged and recreated in the pages of Gold Key Comics, BD Whitman, Marvel, DC, Wild storm, and now IDW Publication.
Since there are no budget constraints on special effects in comics, the creators were able to match Kirk, Spock, Picard, and other characters with different pop culture properties. This includes the Transformers, Green Lantern, Dr Who, Planet of the Apes, and even Santa Claus (who haunted the Enterprise-D in a limited series of DC comics in the late 1980s).
Stories are original or tell what fans saw on TV or in the movies. Sometimes the stories in the Trek comics are based on stories that weren’t filmed. It’s the case for Harlan ellison‘s “City on the edge of eternity, Which IDW published as a series of five issues. Ellison “hated“the version of” City “that aired as part of” Star Trek: The Original Series “.
One of the times that publishers have told a story in comic book format is the film adaptation. Most of Trek’s early films were adapted into the comic book format in conjunction with the film’s release, with the exception of the the biggest of all – “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” This comedy series will be released 27 years after the film.
Star Trek Comics
How did it happen? According to Andy Schmidt, who wrote the IDW series that adapted âWrath of Khanâ in 2009, there was a surprising reason.
âMarvel Comics had the rights to the first movie, ‘The Motion Picture,’ and they released it, but that movie didn’t do any good business for them,â Schmidt said in a recent interview with Heavy. âSo nobody had the license for the second movie. The second movie comes out and everyone loves it.
“DC had the rights to [The Search for Spock] and so on, and they made the adaptations, âSchmidt said.
IDW goes back in time
Schmidt now owns Comic book experience, a training and recognition company for aspiring artists and comic book authors. After a remarkable career with Marvel and IDW, Schmidt writes and edits numerous independent titles.
âWhen I was at IDW, I was an editor doing comics for ‘Star Trek’; they wanted to release a collection of ‘Star Trek’ II, III and IV, âSchmidt said. “It was a saga, and these three films were linked.”
Schmidt says that since Marvel or DC never did an adaptation of âWrath of Khan,â IDW asked him to adapt the film for comics. It was a treat for Schmidt, who owned a copy of the original “Screenplay of the film The Wrath of Khan.
The IDW team has created a series of three issues based on the film, and Schmidt says they made an artistic decision that angered many Trek fans.
âWe got raked in the coals for a number of things,â Schmidt said. “We didn’t have the space to do it all, so I took this opportunity to create a slightly different storytelling experience.”
A “slightly different experience”
What Schmidt meant by “experience” was that he used Chekov’s infamous ear scene like a cliffhanger between two of the three problems.
âI don’t really show the slug,â Schmidt said. âWe cut right before you saw Khan for the first time. And we cut the scene. We don’t explain what happened to Chekovâ¦ so when Chekov calls later you don’t know he’s under mind control.
Schmidt says the story unfolds like the script and the movie, but he âtouchedâ the Ceti Eel scene. He says fans were also unhappy with his handling of the Kobayashi Maru scenes – which the comic showed from outside the Enterprise and not the training facility, as happened in the film.
âI was like ‘give me a break!’ Schmidt said. âWe wanted to show spaceships here at one point! “
Schmidt said it was a pleasure to work on “Khan” because he was a huge fan of the film. He also said he enjoyed receiving comments and ratings from Paramount on his take on the classic.
âI was able to talk with them about my whole process and my thinking behind it,â Schmidt said. “And they ended up giving me all the changes.”
Special thanks to Conundrum Comics for help with researching this article.
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