NEW YORK — Between "Discovery," "Lower Decks," "Prodigy" and "Strange New Worlds," "Star Trek" has four TV shows that are either currently airing or in production for a new season. However, the venerable franchise expands well beyond the small screen, as IDW demonstrated at New York Comic Con 2023.
The prolific publisher hosted a panel that revealed a road map for the next few months of "Star Trek" comics, and there's a lot of stuff in the works — including a brand-new "Lower Decks" graphic novel that will let you play through an original story.
IDW's NYCC 2023 panel, "Star Trek: Boldly Going with IDW Publishing" took place on Oct. 13 and included writers and artists from a variety of "Star Trek" projects. Heather Antos, group editor of licensing at IDW, hosted the proceedings, where she spoke with writers Collin Kelly and Christopher Cantwell, colorist Marissa Louise and artists Joe Eisma and Rachael Stott.
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Based on fan response at the fan panel, "Star Trek: Lower Decks: Warp Your Own Way" is possibly the most Trek project that IDW plans to put out in the next few months. NYCC 2023 marks the first time we learned about the book, but Antos promised some additional information between now and its release date in Fall 2024.
For now, we know that Ryan North and Chris Fenoglio will collaborate on the book, which will put readers (or perhaps "players") in the standard-issue boots of Lt. Becket Mariner. Throughout the graphic novel's 182 pages, players will have to make choices, thinking like Mariner, to overcome threats such as tribbles, the Borg and even Khan Noonien Singh. Antos promises that the adventure will function like a real game, complete with a win condition, which players can achieve through smart, Starfleet thinking.
"Sons of Star Trek" is a more traditional comic book project, coming courtesy of creative team Morgan Hampton, Angel Hernandez and Nick Filardi. Slated for launch in February 2024, "Sons of Star Trek" is one of those "exactly what it says on the tin" titles, which will shine a spotlight on some of "Star Trek's" most famous sons: Jake Sisko, Alexander, Nog and Q Junior. Antos didn't reveal many plot details but did hint that some other famous sons from the currently airing series could show up, too.
The team also discussed the "Star Trek: Defiant Annual" from Cantwell, Ramon Rosanas and Lee Loughridge, which will come out in January 2024. This intriguing time travel story will focus on fan-favorite characters Tasha Yar and Cmdr. Sela. Fans will finally get a chance to learn the full mother/daughter backstory, and whether the snippets that Sela told Capt. Picard about her past really represent the whole truth.
The rest of IDW's panel focused on ongoing "Star Trek" comics, starting with "Star Trek: Day of Blood." This crossover comic follows Worf and Capt. Sisko (temporarily freed from the Prophets' wormhole — it's a long story) as they try to prevent the Klingon emperor Kahless from committing a galactic genocide. The first issue is available now.
"Day of Blood" ties in with "Star Trek" (which the writers refer to as "Star Trek: No Colon"), in which Sisko leads a dream team of Starfleet officers during the gap between "Voyager" and "Nemesis." The series' third arc, A Savage World of Glass and Bone, is about to begin. Sisko and his crew will confront one of Starfleet's most mysterious adversaries, the Tzenkethi. Issue #13 from Jackson Lanzing, Kelly, Marcus To, Loughridge and Clayton Cowles came out on Oct. 25.
"Star Trek: Defiant" is another ongoing series, which the writers described as "Dirty Dozen set in the 'Star Trek' universe." Worf, B'Elanna Torres and Ro Laren use the titular ship to hunt down some of Starfleet's most dangerous enemies. The book's second arc, Another Piece of the Action, is in progress, and issue #8 is available now.
In October, IDW also released the "Star Trek: Holo-Ween" miniseries. As the title suggests, things go awry on the holodeck for the Next Generation crew, recasting the bridge crew as versions of classic movie monsters. Issues #1, #2, #3 and #4 are all currently on sale. Longtime fans will be pleased to hear that Redjac, the noncorporeal entity that manifested as Jack the Ripper and threatened the TOS crew, plays a role in this one.
While the "Picard" TV series is done, the comic book world has "Star Trek: Picard's Academy" from Sam Maggs, Ornella Greco, Charlie Kirchoff, Jeff Eckleberry and Sweeney Boo. This prequel series follows Picard during his Starfleet Academy days, before he was the even-tempered diplomat that fans know and love. The first issue is already out, and the series is ongoing.
Finally, there's "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: The Scorpius Run," from Mike Johnson, Ryan Parrott, Hernandez and Filardi. This series sees the crew of Capt. Pike's Enterprise in a deadly race against hostile aliens, set in one of the most dangerous regions of space. The first two issues are currently out, with three more on the way.
While IDW discussed eight different projects at the NYCC 2023 panel, the company played coy about some of its other plans. While fans asked whether we'd see more choose-your-own-adventure graphic novels, Antos pointed out that they'd have to see how well "Warp Your Own Way" sells first. She was similarly noncommittal about future one-shots with "Lower Decks" characters, or comics that would depict the adventures of Capt. Seven of Nine aboard the Enterprise-G.
Whatever the case, Kelly reminded the audience that each one of these series has a defined endpoint in mind, as IDW would rather provide satisfying endings than let the stories peter out over time. Once the current crop of comics is done, it's safe to say that we'll probably see a whole new batch of 23rd- and 24th-century adventures.