|"Star Trek: Year Four" #1 launches in July|
These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Unfortunately for Captain James Tiberius Kirk and his crew, the "mission" stopped short at three years – Stardate 5928.5 to be exact – following a run-in with one of the captain's old academy flames who tricked him into swapping bodies in an effort to kill him off as the now "dominant" male.
But lo and behold, thanks to fine folks at IDW Publishing, the Enterprise is primed to embark on the fourth year of its mission with a new captain at the helm as writer David Tischman takes on "Star Trek: Year Four" in an upcoming series set to debut in July.
No stranger to Gene Roddenberry's universe, Tischman previously penned the six-issue mini-series "Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Space Between" for IDW but characterizes writing "Year Four" as his own personal Kobayashi Maru."
|"Star Trek: Year Four" #1, page 1|
"I'm working hard - and the writing's been harder than I expected - but I think the stories are better because of the extra work. James T. Kirk is the only cadet to ever beat the Kobayashi Maru, and he cheated. I've faced no-win situations before. And I'm not above cheating. We'll see how I do," said Tischman, who is too young to remember the original airings in the late 1960s, but was a big fan when the episodes were rerun in syndication.
"I was sitting in our family room, too close to a humongous color console. 'Star Trek' came on right after 'Batman.' Channel 11, WPIX, out of New York. The episode that day was 'What Are Little Girls Made Of?' Androids and voice-throwing and bottomless caverns and phasers, you had me on 'Where No Man Has Gone Before,'" quipped Tischman.
|"Star Trek: Year Four" #1, pages 2 and 3|
"A Piece of the Action" and "The Cloud Minders" are must-see episodes according to Tischman and calls Year One's "Balance of Terror" his all-time favorite.
Tischman himself holds Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in great reverence and considers the three main characters of the original series the holy trinity of science fiction.
"Kirk is the ultimate adventurer. He's Tom Sawyer and Buck Rogers and Allen Quartermain all wrapped up in one – and capable of one of the longest dramatic pauses on record," explained Tischman. "Spock is the adolescent geek in all of us. Too smart for his own good, with something really special inside, who desperately wants to fit in and find a place where he can belong. The neck pinch thing and limited telepathy are icing on the cake. McCoy is crabby. I like crabby. There are too many stupid people asking for stupid things in the world. McCoy can't be bothered with that. He's great at what he does, and he lets his emotions guide his conscience. It's a good lesson – more people should listen to it."
|"Star Trek: Year Four" #1, page 4|
"My goal is to stay 100% true to the series. Period," said Tischman. "If there's going to be a new generation of readers, they'll fall in love with the same characters – and characterizations – they'll find in the original TV show."
And while Tischman says the focus of his book will be on Kirk and the main cast, he will definitely be using all the minor characters, as well.
"I actually have a huge fondness for the lesser-used characters," explained Tischman. "Nurse Chapel and Commander Kyle and Riley and I wish Yeoman Rand was still around in the fourth season, but she's not."
According to Tischman, the series will run for six issues and Year Five is not a guarantee – yet.
|"Star Trek: Year Four" #1, page 8|
For now, Tischman has no plans to include someone crying the alter ego of Ricardo Montalbán's name in vain, but admits – with nothing off-limits in terms of characters and plotlines – there will be a healthy dose of fanboy moments in "Year Four."
"'Star Trek II' is my favorite of the movies and I still believe Montalbán should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but no Khan here. But mind melds and neck pinches, any chance I get," explained Tischman.
As for Klingons and Romulans, Tischman says it may be a case of been there, done that. Got the redshirt.
|"Star Trek: Year Four" #2|
"I don't know exactly how these issues are considered. That's really a question for Chris Ryall at IDW or Paula Block at CBS Consumer Products, who's the official Star Trek person for Viacom. I'd like to hope the issues are good enough and fit into continuity well enough that they could be considered canon," said Tischman.
Beyond Tischman's Year Four reclamation project, Joss Whedon has breathed new life into his "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" franchise by presenting Season 8 in comic book form. Tischman credits the phenomenon with the simple fact that the numbers needed to succeed in comics is smaller than the number needed in TV and movies.
|"Star Trek: Year Four" #3|
Tischman also has a creator-owned book from Vertigo forthcoming that will be announced this year at San Diego and is writing "Johnny Dollar," based on his favorite 1950s radio drama character, for Moonstone.
"I have two or three other cool things I can't talk about yet. I'm busy, which is great. And I'd love to do more 'Trek,' as much as they'll let me. 2008 is going to be a fun year," said Tischman.
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