Tag Archive: Scott Tipton

City on the Edge of Forever from IDW Publishing JK Woodward

Fans of the original Star Trek series may be excited to see the original script for Harlan Ellison’s award-winning teleplay to the classic episode “The City on the Edge of Forever” will soon be adapted into comic book form.  It will be a director’s cut of sorts, as Ellison has been vocal over the years that his original vision was better than what ended up on the screen, modified by Gene Roddenberry and at least four other writers.  Ellison published the complete script and notes in his 1996 book about the episode’s “evisceration.   Nearly fifty years later Ellison won’t let his anger rest, having filed a lawsuit in 2009 that was later settled.  Ellison is back yet again, and now fans will get to see his original work in visual form, produced by a Star Trek creative dream team.

Scott Tipton and David Tipton will adapt the Ellison teleplay to the comic script, and powerhouse Star Trek/Doctor Who Assimilation² painter/artist J.K. Woodward will provide the artwork for the story.  Juan Ortiz, whose Star Trek work we’ve reviewed here previously at borg.com, will provide the cover art in his own unique retro style.

Juan Ortiz City on the Edge of Forever poster

Trek fans really couldn’t ask for more, although considering fans count the episode among the most revered and well-crafted of the series, it may not be many fans’ first choice for an episode that could stand to be redone, or undone  for that matter (cough cough “And the Children Shall Lead,” (ahem) “The Way to Eden”, (ahem) “Spock’s Brain”).

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By C.J. Bunce

You can spend your weekend at Comic-Con wandering the exhibit floor looking for mass market collectibles, talking with dealers of original art, talking with writers and artists of current and classic comic books, attend panels and see comic and other creators, TV and movie stars and get the low-down on coming projects, go offsite for parties and studio and publisher events–the biggest problem is doing all you want when there is nowhere close to enough time to do it in.  If you’re in for only a few days, you really have to pick up your pace and narrow down what you want to see.  Since I spent a whole day in panels and did not stay for the entire weekend, any encounters I had with creators and studio celebrities were pretty much based on happenstance this year.  Many creators are now friends, others I gawk at like everyone else from afar.  So who did I see?

First of all, in panels I saw the cast of Community, Firefly, and the new series Arrow, including guys I’d love to talk in person someday–Alan Tudyk and Adam Baldwin, David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel from Bones, and the guy you may know as Bud from Married with Children, David Faustino, who is doing voice work now for Nickelodeon, and he voiced the character Mako as part of the Legends of Korra panel.  As I mentioned earlier in the week, waiting in line allowed me to meet and get a photo with Joss Whedon.

The Soup host Joel McHale, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, former Angel star David Boreanaz and Korra’s David Faustino really stood out as funny guys in these panels–surprisingly quick-witted people who got the crowd cheering with everything they said.

I saw the main cast of the Syfy Channel series Haven during their signing session.  They really looked like they were having a good time–like they really get along with each other.  Also signing in the Sails Pavilion were Richard Anderson, who was the classic character Oscar Goldman from one of borg.com’s favorite borg shows: The Six Million Dollar Man, and Cindy Morgan from the original Tron and Caddyshack.  I hoped to run into Bruce Boxleitner, JK Woodward and Scott and David Tipton but my panel schedule caused me to miss meeting them.

On the exhibit floor I watched Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) and Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) talk with fans and sign autographs.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was coming into the hall and I staked out a photo op location but his handlers moved him out of the hall so I missed seeing him.

As a Star Trek fan, I was very happy to finally meet and have a nice conversation with Brent Spiner.  He was a great guy who was as nice in person as you’d hope him to be from years of watching his lovable character Data.  I also had a brief chat at day’s end with Levar Burton, also a friendly guy, signing photos of Geordi LaForge for fans.  I’d met Marina Sirtis before so I didn’t chat with her this round, but she was also signing Counselor Deanna Troi photos in the hall.

Earlier this year I reviewed Table Top, a new, fun Web series hosted by Wil Wheaton with the Geek and Sundry creators.  I met him near a Starbucks and shared my feedback with him on his show.  We talked about some of the games and he graciously introduced me to his wife and friends.

Wheaton is truly “one of us” and a really personable guy.  Of everyone at the Con, he is probably my first pick of someone you’d like to wander the Con halls and chat with.  Another show host, Blair Butler was attending the Con from the popular genre cable channel G4.

Of the comic book realm, I met Cat Skaggs, a well-known comic book artist who was signing cover prints to Smallville Season 11 #1 and she sketched a great Green Arrow bust for me.

I also met Neal Adams–a comic book legend who created the look of the Silver Age Green Arrow and I finally was able to add one of his sketches to my folio.  Neal was sketching non-stop for fans just like the newer, younger artists in Artist Alley–a real “working artist” even after all these years.

I ran into my friend Freddie Williams II also, and he also was busy sketching for fans throughout the Con and selling original art from his various DC Comics series.

David Petersen, known best for his Mouse Guard work, was working on commissions for attendees and selling shirts and art at his booth in Artist Alley.  I also lucked into getting a sketch from him and enjoyed talking with his wife, who manned the booth when he was doing signings elsewhere.

I ran into Frank Cho again this year and he said he is still expecting to get Guns & Dinos out soon.  He was selling a great pin-up calendar featuring Brandy and the Liberty Meadows gang.  More on that in future posts.  A nominee for the Eisner in two categories this year, Rachel Rising creator Terry Moore was busy talking with fans.

As with last year, Jim Lee could be found at several panels and signing throughout Comic-Con.

As with Freddie Williams, I met up with several folks from back in the Midwest.  I ran into artist Ande Parks and met his wife, while hanging with Sean and William from Elite Comics and Chris Jackson who runs Planet Comicon.  Parks was chatting with his frequent cover artist Francesco Francavilla, this year’s Eisner cover artist of the year winner, and someone we have talked about here at borg.com all year long for his great cover art.  I ran into Star Trek author Kevin Dilmore twice on the exhibit floor–my third year seeing Kevin at the Con.  It’s crazy how you can be in your hometown and never run into anyone, and then fly to San Diego and see so many people from back home.

Review by C.J. Bunce

The first issue of Assimilation² was a nearly perfect read for fans of both Doctor Who and Star Trek.  As we reviewed here a few weeks ago, Issue #1’s introductory story focused on the 11th Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory.  For fans of Star Trek who felt a little left out in Issue #1, Issue #2 was sure to satisfy your craving for more Picard & Co.  In fact, Issue #2 is so well crafted you will feel as if this story is a long-lost episode of the TV series.

I’ve read a number of versions of Star Trek translated to comic books over the years.  The biggest problem I encounter as a reader is with a writer fully understanding the characters enough to not only repeat words the main characters said in the original iteration of the show (which always seems to land with a thud), but to be able to understand the characters to a level of writing entirely new dialogue in the manner of those characters.  In the Star Trek comic book universe this may be the first time someone nailed it.

It helps that JK Woodward’s painted panels look almost photo-real, almost like I am wearing a pair of eyeglasses or looking through a window and viewing the old TV series.  It’s a strange effect, but I love it.

Like many Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, the story of Picard’s ship begins with an away mission that isn’t really the focus of the story.  Here Commander Riker leads Data and Worf to a planet of amphibious lifeforms and rare minerals being collected by a Starfleet-based team.  (The local captain actually looks a bit like the actor Cheech Marin in his mature years!).  Upon returning, on a whim, Picard asks his team to ready the holodeck as a new Dixon Hill holonovel is available.

We’ve seen the Star Trek crew encounter sentient or near sentient beings in the holodeck before.  We’ve met Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis Moriarty, who actually stepped out of the holodeck.  In Star Trek Voyager we met a small Irish town that became so enmeshed with the crew they seemed like series regulars.  Here, the encounter is classic Enterprise-D stuff.  Riker could not be written and drawn better.  Data is perfectly drawn.  Holodeck episodes were often the best and certainly the most fun for stories–“The Big Goodbye”–the episode that introduced us to the holodeck, won a Peabody Award.  Dwight Schultz’s Barclay character had a stand-out performance as a Starfleet engineer with holodeck addiction in the episode “Hollow Pursuits.”  The emergency medical hologram doctor in Star Trek Voyager had his own best performance falling for a valkyrie named Freya in the holonovel of Beowulf in the episode “Heroes and Demons.”  Like I said before, they just nailed it with this story.  They did so to the point that they even included an obligatory buddy Pinocchio-esque conversation between Data and Geordi that easily would have been in the series (I know some folks like this stuff but it got monotonous in the series… but I say “enough already with the android self-reflection plots”).

One thing yet to be addressed is whether writers Scott and David Tipton will have Captain Picard consider the Doctor as a Q or not.  I’ve never been a big fan of the Q characters but am interested to see if this ever is an issue.  Of course, Picard and the Doctor only meet up with Cybermen and The Borg at the end of this issue.  The big face off, I expect, is coming in Issue #3, which will not be released soon enough for this reader.  The cover for Issue #3 features Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock from the TV series era, so I am expecting some time travel.

Be on the lookout–one of my favorite secondary Star Trek characters has a cameo in Issue #2–none other than Susie Plaxson’s Dr. Selar makes an appearance with Doctor Beverly Crusher and Nurse Ogawa.  (Hopefully the amphibious lifeforms will end up back on the Enterprise-D at some point–maybe in the heard of but not seen null gravity ward?).  And there’s a really nice sweeping view of the Enterprise-D appearing right where it would after a commercial break.

Two issues in and it remains my nominee for Best Team-Up Series ever.  Bravo!

Review by C.J. Bunce

Waiting and waiting for IDW Publishing’s extraordinary crossover of Star Trek and Doctor Who, Assimilation², I actually missed the release and finally picked up my copy, which was already in its second printing.  Everything seems to go to second printing these days because it’s a pretty predictable task for the distributor to know how much of what will sell based on comic store orders.  Still–an initial sell-out and in-demand second printing reflects the big fan bases out there that are Star Trek and Doctor Who, the Trekkies and the Whovians, as stated on our member badges.

If you love the current Matt Smith and Amy Pond Doctor Who, you will love Assimilation².  If you are a Trekkie, Issue #1 will have you adding Issue #2 to your comic book pull list.

To get it right, any adaptation of Matt Smith’s Doctor Who must have his banter right.  It must show Amy Pond as curious and inquisitive and hesitant.  It must show husband Rory as protective and cautious.  And it must break out of the comics page with a crazy opening action sequence, closing out some prior grand, epic, historic adventure.  And include the ludicrous blue phone box called the TARDIS and those evil, stilted cyborgs called the Cybermen.

Check.  Check.  Check.  Check.  Check.  Check.  And… check.

This is the crossover to rival all crossovers.  Believe the hype.  And it is pretty much perfect.  Actually I’d call it perfect but I’m sure there is something not perfect and I am just ecstatic they got it so right–I guess they have two of the big three genre franchises and adding a Star Wars element may just cause the world to explode.  Someone who gets Trek and Who?  They’re writers Scott Tipton, David Tipton and Tony Lee and artist J.K. Woodward.

Let’s start with the writing.  First, since this is an ongoing series focusing on Doctor Who’s 11th Doctor and Star Trek: The Next Generation, there will be a lot to cover, and so Issue #1 features only minimal Next Generation content.   But where the Doctor will meet Lieutenant Commander Data and Commander Riker is one of the best lead-ins/cliffhangers to a next issue I have seen in years.  If you have seen the Emmy Award winning Next Generation episode “The Big Goodbye” you’ll have an idea of what I am talking about.

The series opens with a visit to a place Star Trek: The Motion Picture fans, and specifically fans of the Deltan named Ilia, will find a refreshing place to start–Delta IV.  Bombarded by The Borg of Next Generation, Voyager, and First Contact fame, a Federation officer realizes they have partnered with another cyborg entity, and unlike past visits from The Borg, these borg aren’t just assimilating, they are annihilating.  A Cybermen partnership with The Borg?  Perfect.

Next we land smack dab in the middle of an ancient Egyptian adventure with rip-roaring action, the Doctor, Amy, Rory, a pharaoh, and an alien visitor.  Team Tipton and Lee do exactly what they need to and get the personalities and banter just right.  They leave for their next adventure, which will pick up in a very familiar place for Next Generation fans in Issue #2.  And look for a few “Easter eggs.”  Bravo!

Now to artist J.K. Woodward.  If you’re going to have a breakout work this is the place to do it, and I will go so far as to say his work on Issue #1 rivals Alex Ross’s painted art in his Uncle Sam series.  It may even be better than the paint work on Ross’s Marvels series.  It’s not as detailed to be sure, but his renderings of actors gives us more than enough to let us slide right back into watching old Next Generation episodes and the next season of Doctor Who.  Woodward also does something you don’t see every day–action sequences in a completely painted tale that are beautiful and interesting.  His Delta IV looks how you might have imagined it.  His 1940s era San Francisco seems so, so familiar you’ll feel like you’ve been there before.

Tipton, Tipton, Lee and Woodward make it look easy.  But if you’ve read a lot of genre property spin-offs, you know that Star Wars writers cannot get away from having Luke and Han repeat ad nauseam “I have a bad feeling about this.”  Look for none of that in Assimilation² Issue #1.   These guys got it right.  Let’s hope these guys keep up the momentum in Issue #2 and the rest of the series.

By C.J. Bunce

There be SPOILERS here…

Let it be known that we here at borg.com will never pass up an opportunity to talk about borgs, from wherever they may originate, be it the 1960s or 1970s or 1980s or even the 2010s, or some future century.  As filming wraps next week in San Francisco for the next Star Trek movie, the release of the new Trek/Doctor Who crossover is getting closer.  And borgs from two franchises and several time periods will finally collide.

Just as we previewed the covers for the coming Issue #1 and Issue #2 of the IDW Publishing mash-up series with the long title, Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who Assimilation,² the comic industry Previews catalog published the cover to Issue #3 this week.  And it doesn’t take much of a discerning eye to notice some cool… cosmic anomalies:

If you can get past the smirk-inducing, albeit true to the original series, belly button shot of Captain James T. Kirk (cleverly included by artist Elena Casagrande), there is something amiss here… this is a Next Generation spin-off series, right?  And isn’t that the fourth Doctor?  And isn’t that the older version of the borg Cybermen?  What’s going on here?

It turns out that the Writers Tipton have some tricks up their sleeves for us, in the realm of some time travel between the 24th century of Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s Enterprise-D and the 23rd century of Captain Kirk’s original Enterprise (“with no bloody A, B, C, or D,” as Scotty would say), including an appearance by the shuttle Galileo (currently rotting somewhere in a yard in Ohio, if recent reports are accurate).  And a visit from the Fourth Doctor, to boot.  That’s a lot to bring together, but we Trekkiewhovians (WhovaTrekians???) are up for it.

And there’s one more bit of fun–color art for an alternate cover for Issue #1 by artist Tony Lee:

And this adds one more twist to the fun, with an appearance by The Borg from Star Trek Voyager, specifically Seven of Nine before she was separated from the Collective.

This is a further variant, a retailer edition signed by artist Tony Lee, available only from UK comics retailer Forbidden Planet:

Can’t wait?  Neither can we. Issue #1 will be released May 30, 2012.

One of the key differences I have always appreciated is the differences between Star Wars and Star Trek that make both franchises great.  Star Wars was more rounded in science fantasy and Star Trek in science fiction, the difference primarily being thw eighting of the world building between magic and technological explanations.  It may be that is the reason that the omniscient race of Qs rubbed me wrong in Star Trek: The Next GenerationStar Trek was always better staying away from magic or religion, a leaning and preference of creator Gene Roddenberry himself.  Q’s silly jumping in and out of crises, and even causing them, often made Picard, our hero, look baffled and sometimes petty and annoyed, which I think detracted more than it added to the series.  So I’m a bit surprised that I am not bothered at all at a union of similarly omniscient Doctor Who and Captain Picard’s crew in the May mini-series Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation².

What’s more fun than taking the two franchises’ greatest borgs, Cybermen and The Borg, and throwing them together?  A conversation between Rory and Data?  Commander Riker hitting on Amy Pond?  Is Q a long-lost Doctor?  Is the Doctor a long-lost Q?

Billed as the “two of the greatest science-fiction properties of all time come together in a comic book for the first time” that’s mainly true, although fans of the now-defunct Wizard Magazine and artist Mike Mayhew may recall seeing this stellar image created for one of Wizard’s last issues, bringing together for the first time the crew of the original Star Trek and Matt Smith’s Doctor Who with companion Amy Pond, chock full of Romulans and Klingons and Daleks and Cybermen:

I contacted the artist of the above artwork Mike Mayhew (www.mikemayhewstudio.com) to get his reaction to the new Star Trek/Doctor Who team-up:  “It’s about time!  IDW has set the stage for the sci-fi crossover folks have been waiting for.”

Mike explained the background for the Wizard project, too: “I was contacted by Wizard magazine for art to accompany an article called “Last Man Standing” that debated who would win: Vader vs. Agent Smith, Ripley vs. Sarah Connor, Alien vs. Skrulls, etc.  Wizard gave me all the characters they wanted and I researched the weapons and ships.”

I for one love it when obvious fans of genre series get to dive into the creative process like this.  borg.com readers will know Mike from his past work on Green Arrow.  He is currently finishing up the successful Marvel series FEAR ITSELF: THE HOMEFRONT and is currently working on a creator-owned book.

As a rabid fan of both Star Trek and Doctor Who, I couldn’t be happier that CBS and IDW Publishing finally realized what a good idea they had from the Wizard Magazine reference.

From the CBS/IDW announcement: “By joining these two sci-fi powerhouses, fans will be taken on the ultimate adventure through time and space,” said Liz Kalodner, executive vice president and general manager of CBS Consumer Products.  “We are excited about this new adventure for the Doctor and the fact that he will be travelling with Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his iconic crew. This is a perfect partnership for not only Doctor Who’s incredible fans, but also for the brand. We have just celebrated our most successful year yet. Doctor Who’s latest season delivered record ratings for BBC AMERICA and it was most downloaded full TV seasons of 2011 in the U.S. on the iTunes Store,” says Soumya Sriraman, executive vice president Home Entertainment and Licensing.

The eight-issue limited series will be written by Scott and David Tipton, who have written for Star Trek before in Star Trek: Infestation.  Doctor Who writer Tony Lee is also expected to contribute to writing duties for the series.  A key feature of the series will be painted covers and interior art by James K. Woodward (Star Trek: Captain’s Log: Jellico, Star Trek: New Frontier, Star Trek: The Last Generation, Star Trek: Alien Spotlight).

One photo circulating the Web shows the 11th Doctor taking companions Amy Pond and hubby Rory to Star Trek’s past–the bridge of Picard’s Enterprise-D:

If this is truly from the series (sometimes blogs release their own Photoshop fantasies as reflecting a new release so it is anyone’s guess) this may indicate the future time period for this mash-up, or that there may be some time travel within Picard’s tenure in Starfleet.  I know what you’re thinking:  Will the Enterprise-D be harder to steer than the Tardis?

Here’s a nice 2012 convention sketch by Woodward merging Doctor Who with Batman:

Sketch from Woodward's website: http://www.jkwoodward.com

And here is some of Woodward’s past work on the Star Trek franchise:

Cover to Star Trek: Captain's Log: Jellico

Woodward's take on klingons and Captain Harriman in Alien Spotlight: 4000 Throats

Woodward is pretty creative, too.  Check out this great take on a classic Justice League of America cover (#195).

And yet another great Woodward cover, proving yet again, the coolest Klingons wear eyepatches:

Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation² is scheduled for release May 2012.

C.J. Bunce



Review by C.J. Bunce

We previewed the Star Trek Vault here a few weeks ago.  The Star Wars Vault and Marvel Vault in particular were stunning looks at their respective franchises.  The audience for prior versions of the successful Vault series was virtually any reader of any age.  I am uncertain as to the audience for the Star Trek Vault.

In a mirror universe, this new addition to the Vault line could be a great first level overview of the Star Trek universe.  For any reader in this universe who has never seen any book before about Star Trek, this book may be an introductory, but cursory, look at what Star Trek has to offer. But at $39.99 retail, what general reader would purchase this kind of book other than the full-fledged fan?  I would surmise that only the most die-hard fan of Star Trek would buy this type of compilation.  And because the book is shrink-wrapped you cannot even get a hint of what is inside.  The typical Trek fan has probably already seen most everything in this book before.

The biggest negative is obvious at first look. The Star Trek Vault, explicitly stating on the cover it documents 40 years of Star Trek, is stunningly thin.  At under 130 pages there is just physically not enough space to give a respectable overview of each series and benchmark in the history of Trek-dom.  Moreover, author Scott Tipton is clearly not an expert on Star Trek as can be gleaned from the writing, and from the forward and the fact that about the first half of the book is devoted to pre-Next Generation history, this is a book for a passing fan of the original series with only a fleeting care of all that followed.  In comparison, the Marvel Vault was writen by comic book legend Roy Thomas and the Star Wars Vault was written by the well respected Star Wars collector and insider, Steve Sansweet.  Failure to select a Trek insider, collector, or uber-fan, like the obvious choice of Larry Nemecek or maybe Doug Drexler would have been, is the main misfire with this effort.

The inserts are not of a high quality, especially considering the purchase price.  A vault should also contain hidden jems.  There really is little here that has not been published before.  Enterprise, which has never received an adequate compilation, gets only a few pages of coverage.  The seven-years of Voyager gets a similar quick review.

At Comic-Con this year, Trek insider and writer Larry Nemecek revealed dozens of before unseen images to a crowded room of Trek fans and said there were thousands of images in the archives.  This book contains nothing as interesting as was disclosed in that panel.

A better investment and look-back at the first 40 years of Trek can be found in any of the books we reported on earlier here and here.  Even the periodic Star Trek magazine includes more information than can be found in the Vault.  And hundreds of better, candid, and behind the scenes photos can be found free at TrekCore.com.

My final disappointment is that a book about the first 40 years would be published well into Star Trek’s 45th year.  And why no mention of the latest Star Trek movie?  Unfortunately some strange editorial decisions resulted in a book that could have offered so much more for fans of this great franchise.

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