Monday, December 31, 2012

Day 07 - Trek Comics & Art

Did you know that you can copyright a colour? Copyright and trademark (Intellectual Property or IP) law is making itself felt in every aspect of our lives! It's not all going the way of the big businesses as Josh Wattles' pointed out in his panel at ComicCon. Artists, for example, have always had a tradition of freedom as regards to including a range of characters in their portfolios to show their artistic versatility. What's more, artists reserve a fair use or implied license to their original "work-for-hire" arrangements which, because their employers did not defend themselves against it, might be cause for estoppel in court.

My point is that even in a creative field like the graphic arts, that prides itself in its freedom of expression, Star Trek fan producers have to tread carefully. After saying that though, common sense usually prevails. Without sounding too much like a Paramount groupie, we are incredibly lucky to be working with the creation of  a corporate entity that has learned to profit from its fan interaction.

Comics and Graphic Novels
Over the past year, my major work has been as the head of TrekUnited Publishing - I think of myself as a fan publisher, just as others think of themselves as fan film-makers or fan artists. It has been fascinating for me, since it has entailed evaluating the professional publishing industry - where it has come from and where it is going - and tailoring our own work to take this into account. We have been lucky enough to have two very talented fans offer us their work to distribute - .

Nova Trek by M.D. Bruffy

Tales From The Fleet by P.D. Smith

Of course these are not the only graphic novels or comics out there, they come in all manner of shapes and sizes, with different methods of production and graphic style, some aimed at the general fandom and others at the adult reader. Here are a few that I know of (for older works, check out my 2007 article)...

Two high quality, adults only series created by Candice Greene from DAZ / Poser.
Four new strips at the start of 2012 in this long-running comic strip.
Ensign Two: The Wrath of Sue
Kevin Bolk is a popular Chibi style artist at conventions and on deviantART who made quite a stir with Clare Moseley in the Trek fan art community with his Ensign Sue must Die parody, released on the author's gallery on dA and now available as a mail-order hard copy. Well, she's back ...and she's brought friends!
Toilet humour on deviantART. 1, 2, 3.
A JJverse look at what happened to the USS Kelvin from Winona Kirk's viewpoint.
These are what I think of when as Star Trek Online comics storylines told using screen captures from the sumptuous game environment!
Great off-the-cuff sketching and a silly storyline - pretty good actually!

Book Covers
Our philosophy at TrekUnited Publishing has been to try to emulate the professional publishers as much as is practicable and the book covers we have used are a major part of that. What makes a good book cover? I am always finding something new about book cover design on Joel Friedlander's blog, The Book Designer, which I rate as my number one resource on the subject. As a catalogue of Star Trek book covers, I prefer to use Arnold E. van Beverhoudt, Jr's Sandcastle V.I. gallery of scans of the covers in his possession.
A series of five faux book covers created by Arcas in the style of the Bantam books of the late 60's.

Check out Richard Merk's photomanipulated book covers for his Star trek fan fiction book series.

A series of book covers designed by Chrisis1033 for the fan fiction series by Rigel Kent..

Fan Art
You''ll have noticed a large percentage of works from deviantART? This is an online community of artists that ranges children to top end professionals! Some pour scorn on it because of the vast number of immature works you will see there but for me it represents a more realistic cross-section of the creative spectrum than believing that only the uber-talented are worthy of calling themselves artists.

Even those top earning professionals will admit, if they are honest, that they started out with similar simplistic works. The difference is only a matter of degree. Training, experience and education come into it of course, as does determination, dedication and passion. 

It's a strange thing, but I don't think I can ever recall hearing a respected professional speak harshly to an up-and-coming amateur. They are far more likely to be supportive and encouraging. Speaking of Indie artists, one of the pleasures of fan production is when professionals pitch in to help and, just as with musicians, artists can be just as free with their talent - Todd Grosser and Sean Tourangeau spring to mind.

Four retro-styled movie posters depiting the Original Series episodes The Trouble with Tribbles, Amok Time, City On The Edge of Tomorrow and A Piece of the Action

Star Trek Animated by Dusty-abell
A fun take on an animated TOS and Pike era crew.

Star Trek Triad Triptych by Joanna-Estep
Three impressive graphic pieces that together make a bold statement

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