Welcome to the three hundredth and seventeenth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, Comic Book Legends Revealed goes where no Comic Book Legends Revealed has gone before…an all Star Trek edition!!! Learn the bizarre story of black Sulu and white Uhura! Marvel at the reason why there never was a Superman/Star Trek crossover! And discover the truth behind the Dreadstar/Star Trek crossover that never was!
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and sixteen.
COMIC LEGEND: In a number of 1970s Star Trek tie-in comics, Sulu was black and Uhura was white!
Between 1975 and 1979, Peter Pan Records put out a number of audio stories featuring the characters from Star Trek. The first few of these were released as “Power Records” while the rest were released as Peter Pan Records. They were re-released in different formats (vinyl, cassettes, etc.).
Alan Dean Foster, who had done a number of novelizations of Star Trek stories, wrote a bunch of these audio stories.
Some of the audio stories came with a comic book story to read along with your audio story. Amusingly enough, for some strange reason, in the comic book stories, Lieutenant Sulu, who normally looks like this…
and Lieutenant Uhura, who normally looks like this…
were depicted like this in the comics (here is the art from the first story, “Passage to Moauv” – the later stories were the same, so I’m just showing you this one)….
Amazingly enough, even Lieutenant M’ress, from the animated series, was drawn differently! In the cartoon show, she looked like this…
in the comic, she looked like this…
There are various theories over WHY this happened. One of the more popular ones is an issue over likenesses, that they didn’t get George Takei and Nichelle Nichols’ permission to use their likenesses. I don’t know if that’s necessarily true, though, as they tended to play a bit fast and loose with likeness rights back then (which is why Leonard Nimoy sued Paramount in 1977 over the use of his likeness).
I think the other most popular theory, that it was just a mistake by the art team, is the most likely scenario.
But I honestly cannot say for sure. Any other theories out there?
Either way, it makes for a bizarrely interesting comic book read!!
The great Star Trek site, Memory Alpha, has a lot more information on the Peter Pan Records here.
Check out the latest TV Legends Revealeds to see TWO legends about R-Rated goings-on on children’s television shows, specifically was there a special R-Rated Dextor’s Laboratory and did a stripper appear on Soupy Sales’ show? Also, did a producer of Buck Rogers, angry that the show was canceled, let an intern direct the finale, leading to that intern having a long career directing TV shows?
COMIC LEGEND: Paramount had a rather odd reason for not wanting to have a Superman/Star Trek crossover.
Reader John P. wrote in awhile back to ask about a story he heard involving Bob Greenberger, back when Greenberger was working as an editor for DC Comics. I asked Bob about it, and Bob confirmed the story (since the confirmation was basically “yes, that story is true,” I’m skipping John’s initial e-mail and just letting Bob tell the story):
I had been to Toy Fare to check out what was hot and what might make a good comic when I spotted the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Star Trek outfits.
I figured if Paramount would allow that, maybe they’d be up for a crossover with our best known alien, Superman. Paula Block, our licensing contact at the time, thought it had merit and took it to her department’s weekly meeting. She broached the subject and someone, unnamed to this date, at the other end of the table said, “But Superman’s not real.” Paula reported this back to me and the concept died. Imagine my frustration when I saw Marvel succeed with the comic/novel event Planet X.
Bob is, of course, referring to this novel, from 1998…
Around that same time, Paramount also had the following crossover comics with Marvel…
Thanks to John and Robert Greenberger for the interesting story!
Check out the latest Music Legends Revealeds to learn the bizarre story behind the Red Sox good luck song “Tessie,” find out whether “Centerfield” was written while Fogerty watched an All-Star Game in center field and discover the baseball player during the 1950s and 1960s who worked two very different careers – professional baseball player and professional recording artist!
COMIC LEGEND: Dreadstar and Star Trek had a surreptitious crossover via Peter David, who was writing both titles.
STATUS: False (but so close to being True)
Almost FIVE years ago, commenter Mark Kalet wrote:
Here’s one that’s not a CD/Marvel crossover but a Peter David crossover: When David was writing both DC’s Star Trek and First Comics’ Dreadstar he ran the same storyline in both books with the visiting characters acting as villains. The Star Trek crew were pretty funny looking as I recall.
In the last two issues of Dreadstar (#63 and #64), the Star Trek crew (in a fashion) definitely did appear in the comic. Here they are…
First, from #63…
And something from #64…
But I don’t recall the Dreadstar characters ever appearing in the Star Trek comic. So I asked Peter David about it, and the answer is pretty annoying…
The story never saw print. I wrote the script, and it was great. The artist even started drawing it. And then the Paramount employee who was tasked with overseeing the Trek Comics, a man who shall go nameless (Richard Arnold) shot it down. Not because he realized it was an unofficial Dreadstar crossover (which I would have understood; that would have been, as the British say, a fair cop) but because he declared it to be “too violent.”
This despite the fact that the violence actually happened OFF PANEL. You never actually saw anything; you just heard about it. This wound up as the beginning of the end of my tenure on the Trek comic because I became convinced that Arnold had targeted me personally.
Peter then went on to mention some things we’ve previously touched on in Comic Book Legends Revealed (namely here), but is still quite fascinating (in a sad way).
Particularly since he had rejected an earlier story about Kirk being in a romantic relationship by declaring, “Captain Kirk is no longer interested in women.” (Had the abbreviation WTF? been around at the time, that would have been my reaction). So I began to feel as if he was just making stuff up specifically to reject stories of mine. Since the story’s late rejection left us a hole in the schedule, I quickly banged out a one-off story that editor Bob Greenberger submitted to Arnold under a pen name, claiming that it was an inventory script he’d commissioned earlier. I made sure that the story had tons of on-panel violence, just as a test. The story was accepted by Arnold in no time flat with no changes, proving the truth to the old saying “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get you.” I did, however, give Arnold a sporting chance to figure out the script was from me. The pen name I used: “Robert Bruce Banner.”
It is a shame! It would have been a cool crossover!
Thanks to Mark for the suggestion (sorry it took YEARS for me to get around to asking Peter David about it) and, of course, thanks to Peter David for the most excellent (if sad) answer!
Check out the latest Architecture Legends Revealeds to learn whether Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel was an impervious as they claimed, discover the amazing tribute to a former Geology professor Ohio State did with the design of one of their school buildings and marvel at the strange circumstances that allowed the design of the famous clock in London’s St Pancras Station to be saved!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
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Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).
The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…
If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…
See you all next week!